A Jerusalem rabbinical court recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning. The cruel sentence stemmed from the suspicion that the hound was the reincarnation of a famous secular lawyer, who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago. Several weeks ago, a large dog entered the Monetary Affairs Court near the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim.
The dog scared the court's visitors and, to their surprise, refused to leave even after they attempted to drive him away. One of the judges suddenly recalled that about 20 years ago, a famous secular lawyer who insulted the court was cursed by the panel of judges, who wished that his spirit would move on to the body of a dog (considered an impure animal by Halacha). The lawyer passed away several years ago.
Still offended, one of the judges sentenced the poor animal to death by stoning, recruiting the neighbourhood's children to carry out the order. Luckily, the dog managed to escape. The head of the court, Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin, denied that the judges had called for the dog's stoning. But one of the court's managers confirmed the report.
"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."