Mitzvah the Mutt

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Mitzvah the Mutt book coverWhat the Book is About:

This is the perfect book for kids who love animals. When Mitzvah the mutt is adopted by the Bergers, he brings his unique doggie perspective to everything Jewish. Matza balls become edible tennis balls and Moses at the Red Sea must be another dog who loves the water. Full of puns and silly jokes, this book is pure fun!

Jewish Content and Values

  • Mitzvah is the newest member of a family that celebrates traditional Jewish holidays. Seeing these holidays through a dog’s eyes gives a nice twist to the customs surrounding Shabbat, Hanukkah, and Passover
  • Tsa’ar Baalei Haim (preventing the “suffering of living beings”) is a Jewish value that is underscored in this book. Mr. Ruben gives Mitzvah to the Berger family when he realizes he doesn’t have enough space for Mitzvah to play.

Positive Role Models

  • Mitzvah: The word mitzvah broadly refers to an act of human kindness or a good deed. Although he’s just a dog, Mitzvah lives up to his name, demonstrating kindness and helpfulness. 

Content Advisory

This book has no content advisory

Topics to Discuss

  • The Bergers take wonderful care of Mitzvah and always make sure he has enough to eat. Do you have any pets? What kinds of things do you have to do in order to make sure your pet stays healthy and happy?

  • There is a Midrash (a story told by Rabbis interpreting Biblical texts) that says that when Noah was in his ark he always fed the animals before he fed himself. Besides giving them food, what other ways can people care for animals?

More for You

Talking animals in Judaism: Jewish texts and folklore are peppered with stories about talking animals. Even the Torah (the five books of Moses) has examples of this. There is the snake that speaks to Eve in the creation story (Genesis 3:1-20), and there is also the peculiar story found in Numbers (31:16) about Balaam and his talking donkey! Balaam is a non-Israelite prophet hired by the King of Moab to curse the Israelites who are passing through his lands. But Balaam never carries out his orders because his donkey stops in its tracks and refuses to move! Balaam hits the donkey repeatedly and suddenly the donkey begins to speak, convincing Balaam to give up on his foolhardy mission. Balaam is influenced by the donkey and spontaneously proclaims the beautiful poetry of “Ma Tovu,” praising the Jewish people.