Sad Dog™ Mishpatim

January 2011
Sterling silver

I was asked to make a bat mitzvah present for a girl whose Torah portion was Mishpatim, a selection from Exodus that deals mostly with civil law—fairly dry material when looking for artistic inspiration. Fortunately, her cousin told me that her bat mitzvah project (a socially-aware outreach that many b'nai mitzvot undertake to help understand and demonstrate their responsibility as new adults in their community) was the care of animals, and that the bat mitvah herself is a yellow labrador's human.

This helped to key me in to Exodus 23:5, which reads "if you see the donkey of someone you hate lying under its burden, would you refrain from helping him? You shall help him repeatedly." Rashi interprets part of that phrase, וחדלת מעזב לו (v'chadalta me'azov lo, "would you refrain from helping him?") as the Torah itself being incredulous that any amount of ill will would prevent someone from helping not just the owner but especially a suffering animal.

I had a design that started out as a reject option when I was creating a wire daschund pendant for a different customer, but that had always been my personal favorite of the sketches I made for that project. I call this "reject" Sad Dog™ and had been intending to make a collection out of it for my retail site. It occurred to me that this design was perfect for this bat mitzvah present and for her community project—after all, how could one see this sad canine face and not want to help it? And so, this iteration with the imploring quote from Mishpatim is the first-ever piece of the Sad Dog™ line—may the young bat mitzvah wear it in health!

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