By: Rabbi Ari Enkin
Folks – since it is still Adar with two days of Purim around here I just didn’t have the “frame of mind” to prepare a more “normative” post for this week. As such, I thought that I would take this opportunity to share with you some very important halachos concerning monkeys that everyone should know.
I don’t make this stuff up folks! It’s really all there in the sources. Enjoy!
- King Solomon had several pet monkeys.
- If one’s pet monkey escapes on Shabbat one is permitted to chase after it and recapture it. There is no concern for violating the restrictions of “trapping” or “muktza”.
- Although a monkey is not a non-Jew, nevertheless, one is not allowed to have one’s monkey participate in cooking, including putting a pot of food on the fire. Any food prepared by a monkey remains forbidden under the principle of “bishul akum”.
- A monkey may not serve as a shochet.
- One is permitted to allow one’s monkey to prepare the Eruv Tavshilin.
- So too, a monkey may be appointed to serve as one’s shaliach to deliver mishlo’ach manot on Purim.
- A monkey that forces itself upon a woman does not disqualify her from marrying a kohen. Yes, this really has happened.
- The Midrash says that one who is drunk is comparable to a dancing monkey.
- When one comes across a monkey (or elephant) one recites the blessing “Baruch atah….meshaneh habriot”.
- There is a Chassidic custom not to stare at a monkey. This is based on the teaching that the evildoers who built the Tower of Babel were turned into monkeys.
- One’s monkey is permitted to pour the water upon one’s hands as required before eating bread (netilat yadayim), though some disagree.
- One must always feed one’s monkey before feeding oneself.
- Monkeys are disqualified from serving in the Beit Hamikdash in any way.
- It seems to be unanimous among the entire spectrum of orthodoxy that a monkey can be honored at a wedding ceremony with the reading of the ketuba.
- It is considered inauspicious to dream about monkeys.
- There is an opinion that the President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, is actually a monkey.
 Divrei Hayamim II 9:21.
 OC 308:39, 316:12; Mishna Berura 316:57, 328:58; Shaar Hatziun 658:3. The ruling of Rabbi Yitzchak Zilbershtein cited in V’harev Na, V’yakhel.
 Shevet Halevi 9:164. See there for more on having your monkeys and other pets help you around the kitchen.
 Tosefta, Chullin 1.
 Tosefta, Eruvin 2:12; OC 409:8.
 Chatam Sofer to Gittin 22b; Piskei Teshuva 148; Chashukei Chemed, Megilla 7a
 Masechet Derech Eretz, Arayot, 7.
 Yerushalmi, Megilla 4:1.
 Tanchuma Noach 12
 Berachot 58b, O.C. 225:8
 See Tiferet Meshulam p.759, cited in Birurei Chaim 3:19
 Sanhedrin 109a, Yalkut Shimoni;Noach
 OC 159:12.
 Rema, OC 159:12.
 Berachot 40a; Gittin 62a.
 Zevachim 14a; Menachot 7a, 100b.
 First announced by a prominent YU Rosh Yeshiva and later ratified by the Rabbah herself. See: http://www.torahweb.org/torah/2004/parsha/rsch_dvorim2.html and http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2010/03/15/1011127/rabba-sara-speaks
 Berachot 57b.
 http://www1.albawaba.com/news/israel%E2%80%99s-shas-spiritual-leader-calls-peres-monkey-ben-eliezer-fat-dancing-bear and http://www.bhol-forums.co.il/topic.asp?topic_id=582905&whichpage=&forum_id=771