DER YIDDISH-VINKL February 25, 2005


Published February 25, 2005, issue of February 25, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

In his typically incredible way, our steady contributor, Stanley Siegelman, has unearthed an otherwise obscure item about zoos. In Lithuania, high-ranking Orthodox rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv frowns on the operation of zoos. He even would forbid visiting a zoo. His authority is a 16th-century code of Jewish law that bars the raising of animals for any purpose other than food.

Here is Siegelman’s view of the matter:

Nayes fun Khayes

Oy, hert zikh tsu! Mir hobn nayes

Es hot tsu ton mit vilde khayes!

Der rebe fregt: “Du bist a Jew?”

Az yo, torstu nit geyn in “zoo.”

“M’muz nit kukn oyf baheymes!”

(In English zogt men, “Dat vood shame us!”)

Farvos iz dos farbotn? Zog!

Dos iz a frage! Oy a klog!

Der entfer ligt in heylik bukh

Vos heyst di Shulkhan Orukh

Baheymes zaynen nur tsum esn

(Kom vi in a delicatessen.)

Un nisht tsu shteln oyf “display”?

Dos iz a “rationale”? Oy vey!

Derfar iz der “zoo” a treyfener plats

Azoy goyish vi di “Hottentots.”

A yid vos folgt nit dem bafel

Vet shnel gefinen zikh in “hell”

A Yid vos tut azelkhe zind

Iz take shlekht un beyz — a “fiend.

Gey nisht zen di malpe “cage”

Oy, tsind nisht on dem rebn’s “rage”

Loyft nit zen a leyb in zoo!

Es past nisht, boychikl, “entre nous.”

Baheymes zaynen nisht far “lookin’”

Zey zaynen nor far “fres” nokh “cookin’.”

News About Jews and Zoos

Attention, please! We have new rules

Pertaining to the “animules”

A rabbi gives this news to Jews:

It’s wrong for Jews to visit zoos.

“A Jew, devout or secular

Should shun a place that has a bar!”

Explain to us, oh reb, at least

This rule concerning man and beast.

For answers, see Shulkhan Arukh

Our sacred text, you there must look

With holiness it is imbued

It stipulates that beasts are food.

They’re meant man’s hunger to allay

They’re not for onerous display

This means a zoo, per se, is “treyf

And to man’s very soul unsafe.

From this decree there’s no escape!

The Orthodox are going ape!

’twould be a sin, a moral gaff

To gaze upon a caged giraffe!

Gorillas are unfit to view

If they’re confined within a zoo

This edict isn’t worth defyin’

Just to see a locked-up lion.

In short, a beast is not for lookin’

It is, instead, designed for cookin’.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.