Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dog gets skila?

The Ynetnews headline is "Dog sentenced to death by stoning" and here is the first paragraph:
A Jerusalem rabbinical court recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning. The cruel sentence stemmed from the suspicion that the spirit of a famous secular lawyer, who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago, had been transferred into the dog's body.
We finally learn that the head judge denied it--why am I not shocked? And then we read this:
. . . one of the court's managers confirmed the report to Yedioth Ahronot:

"It was ordered by the rabbis because of the grief he had caused the court," he said. "They didn't issue an official ruling, but ordered the children outside to throw stones at him in order to drive him away. They didn't think of it as cruelty to animals, but as an appropriate way to 'get back at' the spirit which entered the poor dog."
So the dog was bothering people and a judge asked neighborhood kids to drive it away? (And "the grief he had caused the court" refers to which incarnation?) Angry Arab just quotes the first paragraph and MondoWeissnik Adam Horowitz leaves out the judge's denial and the subsequent "confirmation." And there you have it: a bunch of people are now walking around thinking a dog got skila.

Update: And Vos iz Neias also leaves out the paragraph quoting the manager, but we do, at least, get the preceding sentence mentioning the denial.

Update: I see now that there is a link to this story at the Drudge report, linking to a Telegraph version of the article. T is also a BBC story. I should make it clear that there are no stoning sentences in our times in Jewish law. In ancient times an animal could be sentenced to stoning for killing a person and in certain other cases, but there is currently no such thing. Also, the BBC article states "Dogs are often considered impure animals in traditional Judaism" and some of the other articles say something similar. What does it mean? If you refer to a dog as a "beheima tameiah"--an "impure animal"--you are basically stating that dog meat is not kosher. So the claim of an actual stoning "sentence" was highly suspect to begin with and it is being spread by journalists who are, at best, only vaguely aware of what they are talking about.

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