LettersLetter From Alan N. Finkelstein Concerning Mourning for a Companion Animal - 11 Jan 2004
Letters From All-Creatures.org and The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation

Letter From Alan N. Finkelstein Concerning Mourning for a Companion Animal
11 Jan 2004


I just had to put to sleep my beloved cat Hazel. I had her for 18 and one-half years. After she was put to rest I said the Jewish Mourners Kaddish for her and ME. I told my Rabbi what I had done and he went ballistic.

You know what, I believe that my pet was a gift from God. She gave me a lot of joy. Therefore in my grief upon her passing, I wished to reaffirm to God my faith in Him even as I lost my pet. What was so wrong in that?

If you all have any comments on this I wish to hear them.


Alan N. Finkelstein

Reply from Frank L. Hoffman

Dear Alan:

Thank you for writing.

In our opinion, you did the correct thing. Right in the first two chapters of Genesis, we are taught that both humans and animals are neh-fesh khah-yah, living souls. There is no distinction, though some people try to make one, because of their pride of life and desire to dominate, much as the Nazis did to the Jewish people.

There are many other rabbis who would have done what you did and/or offered other prayers.

The greatest of all commandments is to love God with every part of our being, and if we do this, we must also love His whole creation. We cannot exclude a Hazel from this love, and our thanks to God for allowing the two of you to share the perfect love of God for those 18-1/2 years.

Hazel is in the everlasting arms of God. His child has come home. And you will see her again some day.

If you have some photos of Hazel, and would like to write something about your life together and your feelings, we love to publish them as a memorial to her.

In the Love of the Lord,


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