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Yom Kippur and a cat

October 9, 2011

A few years ago, I bumped into an acquaintance right before I went to services for Kol Nidre (the evening service that starts Yom Kippur). She was looking for a home for an abandoned cat, who had rotten teeth (literally), been hit by a truck (literally), and who had lost part of an ear to some large predator, although my acquaintance did not tell me any of this. All she said was that she had rescued this cat, but had too many cats (rescued) and did I know of anyone who would take in this poor animal. I said that unfortunately I did not and forgot all about it until that night our rabbi, who by the way has no animals in his safekeeping, talked to us about stewardship of the earth and how caring for animals was a good thing to do. I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to do anything, until the next day (Yom Kippur), when the universe intervened. While I was at home between services, limp and dreary from fasting, the acquaintance “dropped by” with the cat in a carrying case. She thought my son would like to meet her. I did not have the energy to say no. A small orange thing slunk out of the case and ran under the couch. We have to keep her, said my son. All I could see was an unimpressive orange tail. That was all he could see, too. What a cute tail, he said. Personally, I think you should choose a cat when you can see more parts of the body, like the face, legs etc. Also, you should be well fed. However, that is not how things happened. And the rest is history. All of my black clothes have orange fur on them. And I had to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on the vet. Now, she only has two teeth and has digestive issues. But she sits on my lap and licks my fingers. We should probably have called her Yom or Kippur or something. But my son named her sherbet because she is pale orange. This year, we did not adopt any cats. But I do have a renewed sense of obligation to the world. What exactly are my good deeds? Those first century rabbis were probably really busy, too, but they still made the time to feed the hungry. Or, I guess their wives did.

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