Tonight starts the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the ‘head of the year.’ At this time of year, I become introspective and review the past year. With the loss of Nine, Sofie, and Louise, last spring, I felt a need to look deeper at what the Jewish scripture says about the spirit of the animals and where they go when they leave their earthly bodies. So, below are some ramblings and my pseudo investigation. The Zoo and I wish you peace and health for days to come.
L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year”
Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of what the Jewish people call the ‘Days of Awe.’ These are 10-days when people are asked to look inward; to think about what they have done in the past year, both good and bad. This is a special time when you have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness, to make amends to anyone you may have hurt or wronged in any way. The ‘Days of Awe’ end with the Yom Kippur holiday, known as the ‘Day of Atonement.’
According to the first book of the written Torah, Genesis, God judges all humans and creatures during that 10-day period to decide if they will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year. I am not sure exactly how the Great Spirit judges creatures, but the scripture says ‘all creatures’ are judged, so I guess they are. Mostly the Torah talks about how God doesn’t like people or animals killing (lifeblood) each other, but with creatures, since that is part of their nature when it comes to survival, I think that is kind of a difficult thing to interpret. Anyway…
What I really wanted to know is whether the Torah talked about where creatures go after they leave their earthly shells. I found support that animals go to heaven in the article called “Do Dogs Go To Heaven):
Chapter eleven and chapter sixty-five of the Prophet Isaiah each describe the new heaven and the new earth: he who dies at 100 will be considered a mere youth; the wolf and the lamb will feed together and the lion will eat straw like an ox. We don’t see that in this world, so it relates to the next. Animals will be there who will neither harm nor destroy.
Isaiah 11:6 “… the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. (NIV)
The way I read this, animals will be at peace in heaven.
This last year has taken many souls from the Zoo and their passings weighs heavy on us still. I know that everything has its season. I know it was just their time to move on. But, I find solace in the thought that their souls may be together, with all my departed, in a place of peace and eternal harmony.
May this new year bring health and happiness into your home and may you find renewal for the year to come.