Monday, May 11, 2009

Redeeming First-born Donkeys

by the Bray of Fundie

Seems we've developed a tastes for seeking out new and exotic Mitzvos while routinely ignoring or transgressing the ones that confront us daily.
I've got an aesthetic gripe as well. To me the decorations adorning the newborn Donkey are:

  1. Historically inauthentic. I somehow doubt that in ancient Israel, in an agrarian society of farmers and ranchers that may have featured many such pidyonos in a herd in any given year, that the ranchers bothered with dressing up the First-born Donkeys.
  2. The decorations seem kitsch and garish. Who came up with this idea/design? It looks to me like something more appropriate for a grade school arts and crafts project than for a community wide once in a lifetime Mitzvah observance.
  3. Is Tzaar Baalei Khayim not a factor? In the video I link to below the donkey seems a bit uncomfortable. Just leave the poor beast alone and get it over with as swiftly as possible
  4. Is the donkey the "kheftza" the Mitzvah or the sheep that it is being redeemed with? It seems to me that as the sheep is what will ultimately be the gift to the Kohen IT should be getting all dolled up, or maybe both animals, but why ONLY the donkey?
To see a video of the recent Melbourne community First-born Donkeys redemption click here.
What's next? A"snuff film" about a rancher who chose option "B" (
יג וְכָל-פֶּטֶר חֲמֹר תִּפְדֶּה בְשֶׂה, וְאִם-לֹא תִפְדֶּה וַעֲרַפְתּו="And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck)
How would such a donkey be decorated??? With a black hood?

Search for more information about the first born donkey redemption at

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