I'll take the essence of Labrador Retriever over the essence of Hasid any day of the week, Shabbat included.
Dogs are Man's Best Friend. Can't say the same for Ayatollah Rabinowitch.
Comment by Dan Silagi — December 30, 2013 @ 1:32 AM
In the Temple the kohanim butchered innocent animals w/ blood galore everywhere even tho according to the Psalmist (mizmor 50) God loathes such sacrifices: "Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" — that was Kosher, but guide dogs are treif — this is a shanda
I cannot understand the turning away of those blind people because of their seeing-eye dogs. Stray dogs and cats pass by the Kotel all night long, their presence for centuries hasn't affected the sanctity of the place. Animals, whether kosher for food or not, are also creatures of Hashem, are they not? Even if the Rabbi were right in forbidding the dogs (I don't think so, but I'm not a Halacha expert), what right did he have to turn away the men? Anyone with a heart should have offered their help in lieu of the dogs' and assist them in reaching and touching the wall. This is callousness at its wost.
Comment by Myriam Obadia — December 30, 2013 @ 9:45 AM
A gentleman in the Shul that I daven in Brookyn became blind due to illness. He was a talmid chacham, worldy, educated who brought his dog into the Shul, with the approval of the Rabbi. The dog sat patiently under his chair during davening and Torah laining. We all joked that the dog finished the entire Shas together with the men in the morning Daf Yomi. It is a lesson to us all to be open minded and tolerant of those with disabilities.
Comment by Judy Goldring — December 30, 2013 @ 4:55 PM
Guide dogs are more virtuous than most men, so what's the problem? Myriam Obadia is on to something though…if the dog's assistance is not allowed, where are the brothers of the blinded to guide them?
See Section V of http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/english/halacha/jachter_1.htm
It seems that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and, at least at one time, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik permitted seeing eye dogs in a synagogue, though other halachic experts did not. The debate surrounds the issue of the sanctity of a synagogue and whether it is parallel to the sanctity of the Temple, which was a space in which dogs were not permitted. Similarly, we would have to discuss whether the Kotel is more similar to a synagogue or to the Temple in this respect. There are ways to argue in both directions and it's not at all a simple halachic issue. However, I agree that some solution should have been made that could accommodate the group. I just would hesitate to condemn Rabbi Rabinowitz before even discussing the halachic issues pertaining to this question and knowing the extent to which accommodations were attempted or offered. From now on, when discussing religious Jewish matters, first (1) give people the benefit of the doubt and (2) take into account Jewish tradition and law before jumping to conclusions.