The Mishnah in Avos (1:12) says that one should אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה, love creatures and draw them close to Torah. The Mishnah doesn't say אנשים, people, but rather בריות, all creations.

Now, the first half makes sense. It's well in line with the principle of not causing צער בעלי חיים. But how does one draw animals close to the Torah? For that matter, it's creatures, not just animals. How is one mekareiv things like bacteria, or rocks?

Related: Can an Alien convert to Judaism?

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  • 8
    Rocks can be elevated by throwing them at wrongdoers. Duh...
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 27, 2017 at 5:28
  • 5
    @mevaqesh They can also be elevated by picking them up...
    – DonielF
    Feb 27, 2017 at 6:46
  • But the questions speaks of spiritual elevation; bringing then Close to God.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 27, 2017 at 6:56
  • @mevaqesh If you grind them up and add them l'shem shamayim to your Shabbos cholent, then both they and you will be elevated. Not sure about the cholent though.
    – Zev Spitz
    Feb 27, 2017 at 8:17
  • Unless you're extending the definition of בריות to mean "anything created", I'm not sure that this term applies to rocks. Can you clarify / confirm this for me?
    – DanF
    Feb 27, 2017 at 16:39

2 Answers 2


Rocks were already brought closer to Torah. Didn't Moshe hit the rock in the desert? What came out of the rock? Water. Nu ... and what is Torah compared to - water! Q.E.D.

Animals - also already brought close to the Torah. Moses brought his sheep to Mt. Horev. What was Mt. Horeb? None other than Mt. Sinai. We know that the Torah came from Mt. Sinai. So, technically, Moses brought his animals close to the Torah before the Torah was even given.

If you're not pleased with that explanation, remember that the Mishnah you quoted said "close to or "approaching" the Torah, but not actually next to it. If you read the story just prior to the discussion of the 10 Commandments, G-d commands Moses to make a fence so that the animals should not arise Mt. Sinai. So, Moses brought them close to the Torah, but they weren't actually there to receive it.


As everyone knows, Lurianic Kabbalah teaches that after the Shviras Hakeilim - The Breaking of the Vessels, Nitzozos Hakedusha - Sparks of Holiness, flooded the world and went into everything in creation. The Arizal taught that recapturing these Nitzozos can be done through the use of these objects for a mitzvah.

Included in all objects are animals as well. Thus, when one eats food for a mitzvah, be it for a Holiday meal, or to give one strength to learn Torah, that action captures the Sparks and raises it on high.

However, this raises a dilemma. How can one recapture the Sparks from food that is non-kosher which one in not permitted to eat?

The Bnei Yisaschar (ח"ב דף צ"ה ע"א.) makes a famous statement: one who abstains from eating food that had non kosher food fall in, but was nullified through the rule of Bittul B'Shishim ie. The non kosher is less that 1/60 of the kosher food, is an Apikores - a non believer in the Torah. The Bnei Yisaschar explains that since our job in this world is to recapture those Holy Sparks, he who demurs from eating this food actually rejects the entire premise of the Torah itself.

This is clearly the interpretation of the Mishna cited above, "Ohev es Habriyos, U'mekarvin Le'Torah" that the true "drawing creatures close to the Torah" is through this process of recapturing the Holy Sparks, which through it we show our devotion to the Torah and its mission statement for us.

Regarding non food items, as again we all know (of course) that R Chaim Vital in the Sefer Shaar HaGilgulim quoting his master the Arizal, every creation can be a reincarnation of a previous soul which needed a Tikkun. So therefore to mekarev them to the Torah ie. Giving them their needed Tikkun is the greatest form of Kiruv to the Torah one can possibly do.

Based on this principle, Rav Aharon Bina Rosh Yeshiva of Netiv Aryeh in the Old City is careful, when faced with a cat or animal crossing his path to exclaim "I Am Mochel You! - I absolve you from your sins!" Thus perhaps giving the animal their much needed tikkun.

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