Exotic Joe-Tiger King and Shabbos 51B

During this depressing and scary time of Covid 19, the only funny thing to watch is the crazy show “Tiger King”.  It is a show about some crazy-nut-job, Mr. Joe Exotic, who owns and runs a “Big Cat Zoo or  Reservation”. It is full of tigers and big animals. Joe Exotic charges to pet the small tigers and runs a successful gift shop.  Joe Exotic hires freakish people, ex-cons and other such types to work the zoo.   As the Jewish comedian Modi says in his act, “this show  is a whole madrega of Goyim that we don’t see in NYC.” (This is a  whole new level on Non-Jews).

What does this have to do with limud hatora?- Well on page 51B the Mishna discuss which implements to can be used in walking or taking animals out on shabbos.  The goal is to limit or calibrate the need to carry on shabbos and balance the need to control the animal on shabbos.  The Mishna lists some crazy animals: a camel and a dromediary with a nose ring. Can you imagine walking in Central Park with a dromediary wearing a nose ring? Or what agragrian society needs a dromediary? and especially what use do these animals have on Shabbos.

The interesting  thing is that the Talmud recognizes that people need animals for farming, transportation and recognizes that they must be controlled. The conflict is control of animal and spirituality of shabbos.  The SD would like to weigh in.  It is a reflection of life. Life is a balancing act, the need to control, dominate, work, transport and the need to take refuge in a spiritual dimension.   We need to keep our camels on a leash, but not so crazy big that it would be a spiritual burden.

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