The donkey is a lot less stupid and aggressive than some myths would like to make it believe. Scientific research and many reports from donkey breeders give a very different picture of this friendly animal who, not so long ago, was one of our closest friends and a very helpful and precious aid for human kind.
Stubborn, stupid, ignorant, angry … Here are some examples of the many slanders attributed to him. We also mock him for his big ears and long nose. Many idiot ideas have tarnished its good reputation of yesteryear. He was, however, one of the main helper of humanity for thousands of years. After a few decades of motorization, it has almost been forgotten, and we only find it in several degrading expressions of our daily life. However, it is one of the most disciplined animal able to do the most sordid labors, and who has been the most faithful companion of man in his misery.
Despite these indicators, we must remember that those famous donkey’s ears that were once placed upon the heads of the bad students were not originally used to make fun of the given child, but rather symbolized the desire to the adult to see a little of the animal’s wisdom passing through the head of the kid wearing them. The gentle, well mannered, attentive and rational donkey was used by former teachers before the pupils as an example to be followed.
It is very rare that a donkey would kick out. If that should happen, it means that he had a very good reason to do so. Unlike the horse who kicks out frequently, donkeys fight only in case of danger and self-defense. It can also be the result of an accident. It is also rare for donkeys to turn against each other. While the horses must be separated, when the rations are distributed to them, the donkeys can be fed together safely. They usually gather around the received food and share it equitably before eating it together. Only males sometimes get into conflict with each other generally because of a charming female. Only mistreated donkeys raised in very bad conditions can become aggressive and dangerous for humans.
In general, the donkey is a sweet animal that likes company. They love children a lot and have a great need for affection which is given back a hundred times.
If they can live a community of donkeys. This community life begins with the little one when it is presented to the community at the age of 23, the mother is introduced to the community. During 6 to 10 months of breastfeeding, you learn to live with others. As a donkey cares instinctively, outside the mother, other members of the community are actively involved in raising the foal. Unlike horses, where one can quickly see which individual is the dominant individual in the herd, there is equality between donkeys. At a very young age, there is a lack of competition for authority, which can be observed in almost all animals and most people. However, an older man can be a kind of “old sage” and act in a form if a conflict situation arises between two bankers. Seniors are highly respected and newcomers are much smarter than horses do between them.
In short, donkey groups function as a unified family where everyone is listening and taking responsibility for the community. Respect and serenity in the relationships between them are innate and anticipated behaviors.
If they can, donkeys live in community. This community life begins when the newborn is presented to the community by his or her mother after at the age of 23 days. They learn to live with the others during the 6 to 10 months of breastfeeding time. As the donkey instinctively cares about his mates, beside the mother, other members of the community are actively involved in raising the foal.
Unlike horses, where you can quickly see who is the dominant individual among the herd, between donkeys, equality reigns. The spirit of competition is simply missing since the very beginning of their lives. This is even more remarkable since competition is one of the main characteristics of all living souls. However, an older member of the flock often fulfills the role of the “old wise of the tribe” and intervenes in case of eventual conflicts between young males. Older members are respected and newcomers are accepted much faster than amongst horses.
In short, herds of donkeys are working as very unified families where everyone assumes his responsibility, cares for the needy and for others. Respect and serenity are innate and required traits within the group.
Ethologists consider that donkeys are smarter than horses since having more personality than the latter. According to the observation of ethologists, donkeys are much less submissive than the horses. In addition, their social system allows them to adapt much more easily to new situations. Their supposed stubbornness is in fact hiding a very high degree of wisdom and prudence. When he refuses to go forward and obey the orders from his master, he does not do it by rebellion but because he is perceiving a danger. The donkey won’t put its hooves on icy, loose or muddy ground, if it is not certain of being able to cross it safely. When he hits the ground with his hoof, it is not by caprice but by prudence to test the consistency of the path on which it goes.
Before diving into anything, donkey stop, think and finally make a decision. They are considered as capricious and rebellious because of their prudence, intelligence, and wisdom. The horse, on the other hand, does not fear anything, he jumps, rushes on the battlefields and the minefields without asking any questions if he is ordered to do so. The donkey, on the other hand, regards his and his master’s life as being more important than the latter’s orders. The donkey will never obey despotic and irresponsible people. He obeys only the one he loves. He obeys the one he considers to be a member of his own family.
But he will oppose what he is asked to do, if it goes against common sense and common interest.
He is so attentive that if he goes out for a walk with a group of people and one of them wanders or gets away from the group, he will stop and only continue his journey when the person has rejoined the others. If you ride him and you fall, he will stop and wait until you get up again. He will never leave your luggage unattended. The horse does not even stop when its own master falls from his back!
Scientists also observed that donkeys have their tactics to achieve their goals. They examine the fence until they find a breach from where it could eventually escape if needed, for example to be able to join their beloved one.
He lived 3000 years in humility at the services of humanity. Since the invention of the combustion engine, his role has been relegated to oblivion. However, he continues to give an excellent and valuable service in the care of sick children. As competition is excluded among donkeys, handicapped and shy children are more able to develop an affective relationship with the animal quickly, which would be much more difficult with a horse.
From the world’s point of view, the donkey is not really a symbol of success, strength and power. To my knowledge, it does not appear on any flag, coat of arms or any other symbol of any nation. But if we examine it under the magnifying glass of the Word, this animal plays a very interesting role in the Bible. It appears in the story of Balaam where, unlike his master, the donkey saw the angel of יהוה and refused to move forward to protect his master from certain death. In his blindness, Balaam reacts violently and starts beating his humble animal. It was here that the Lord offered him the ability to speak. Nowhere else in the Bible do we find examples of terrestrial animals able of expressing themselves in human language. An animal receives a human attribute in order to reveal human absurdities and humiliate man.
Samson also beat the Philistines with an donkey jawbone. But later, a much more noble role will still be offered to our animal.
The donkey appears in several commandments, a sign of its importance among the Jewish people. The tribe of Issachar has it for symbol since Jacob himself declares that his son is a rawboned donkey.
It was on the back of a donkey that Abraham went up on Mount Moria to offer his son Isaac as a burning holocaust. Moses put his wife and son on a donkey when he returned to Egypt, and Yeshua also made the same journey on a donkey when he was forced to flee with Joseph and Mary in the face of Herod’s rage. Later, the donkey received the greatest role in its history when the prophecy was fulfilled, according to which the King arrives in Jerusalem sitting on a donkey’s colt. Jn 12.15
The donkey is one of the many animals on earth. He is neither the most beautiful nor the most noble among species. He is nevertheless one of the main actors in the history of salvation. With the camel, he played a major role in the transportation, movement and work of men. He is a kind of symbol of the Jewish people as a bearer of the Word of יהוה. A people that is not the most brilliant at the base, a very small people among the many others. They are neither the strongest nor the most beautiful. It cannot be a slave serving human interests and will oppose to anything that goes against common sense or rather against the Commandments of the Almighty. We were offered to the Nations in order to serve them just as the donkey served the whole humanity. A careful, obedient and thoughtful cargo carrier who brings the Lord in person. He will never go where the cargo could be endangered and will never serve the selfish and human interests that may profane what has been entrusted to him. No one can use him and his talents for his own tyrannical purposes. Their strange and unusual behavior is deliberately misinterpreted, and their good qualities are consciously diverted from their context in order to be able to accuse them of the opposite of what they are in reality.
The Jew is the donkey on which the Savior appeared in the world, because he was of our blood, of the tribe of Judah, the descendant of King David. The Jew is this Balman’s donkey who, although he does not yet know Christ, will see him earlier on the road and show greater humility than the pagan prophet he is carrying and who speaks with Elohim, even in the name Jesus.
Morality in all of this for the Jew is that the only possible way for us is this: to be a donkey, to carry the Word of יהוה and to tolerate the curses of the horse worshipers.
Zeev Shlomo 07/08/2010
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