One fine Sunday, Berel decided to go to the local zoo with his wife and kids.
As he neared the lion’s cage, he was astonished to see a lamb lying peacefully with a lion beside her.
“That’s wonderful,” he cried. “Finally, the prophecy from the Good Book is realized!”
Berel ran to the zookeeper. “My congratulations! You have finally made everyone see that peace is at hand. But tell me,” he implored the zookeeper, “how do you make a lion lie down with the lamb?”
“It’s no problem,” replied the zookeeper. “Every morning, I simply put another lamb in the lion’s cage!”
Source: Slightly adapted from Gedalia Peterseil,
Tell It from the Torah
(Pitspopany Press, 1998) page 143
Here’s God’s dream for humanity according to the Good Book:
The wolf will romp with the lamb,
the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
their calves and cubs grow up together,
and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide. – Isaiah 11:6-9
Normally the lamb is lunch for the lion and the goat is a snack for the leopard. Animals that don’t normally get on – eat together and rest side by side in peace. And what is more “a child will lead them”, the prophet Isaiah says. Animals that we would hardly describe as suitable pets for a child – wolves, leopards, lions and snakes are play mates for a little child. There is no fear and no anxiety. The helpless and the innocent live in safety and have no dread of the big and the powerful.
Is this just a perfect picture of a perfect world? Is this just a dream, a surrealistic vision? What do you think is possible in a world that is still wounded by so much division?