The month of Elul, when we prepare ourselves for Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe, begins with The New Year for the Animals, where we learn about compassion, care, and openheartedness. The Barn Sanctuary in Chelsea, where over 120 rescued farm animals experience love and care, gave our Beit students and teachers excellent examples of compassionate care.
Aharon Varady writes on OpenSiddur: What a better way to begin a month dedicated to humbling ourselves and repairing our relationships than by reflecting first on our relationship with behemah — the domesticated animals which depend on us for their care and sustenance. The category of behemah includes all animals historically bred by humans as domesticated creatures, both kosher and non-kosher, e.g. cats and cattle, dogs and donkeys, goats, pigs, chicken, and llamas. If we can imagine, empathize, and understand the dependency of behemah in our care, how much better can we realize our relationship with blessed Holy One, and the infinite chain of inter-dependencies uniting all living relationships in reflection of this Oneness.
The mission of the Barn Sanctuary: We rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected farmed animals by creating a safe haven where these individuals can recover and thrive. We envision a world in which farmed animals are seen as individuals and treated with empathy and compassion.
Our virtual tour guide, Sarah Chouinard, did an outstanding job of introducing us to the animals, and attentively answering our students many questions. Sarah spent a full hour with us as we visited chickens, goats, sheep, donkeys and cows in addition to the pigs and turkeys.
The Barn Sanctuary is a wonderful local organization that we hope you will support. Visit them at barnsanctuary.org