The lamb was one of the first animals that the human being began to raise as a domestic animal, if not the first.

We learn in the Torah that: Abel was a shepherd of sheep. Right up to the present day, the lamb is one of the most important animals to mankind. A lamb provides for humans both meat and clothing (wool).

Sheep are raised in large flocks.

In certain countries there are more sheep than people. In Australia, for example, there are roughly thirteen sheep for every person; in Argentina there are three times as many sheep as people. Even in America, in certain Western States such as Montana, Utah, New Mexico and Idaho, there are also more sheep than people.

Besides meat and wool, the lamb also provides us with leather and other raw materials such as fats, which are used for various industrial and cosmetic products.

The domestic sheep come in different sizes. The ewe (female) can weigh about 100 pounds in certain kinds, and more than twice that amount in other types. The ram (male) is usually larger, weighing between 150 and 300 pounds.

The sheep family comprises both sheep and goats. Both are Kosher (ritually pure) animals. They have, however, certain differences: a goat has a beard and a lamb does not; both have horns, but the horns of a lamb, especially of a ram, are twisted, and the tips are pointed frontwards; goats' horns are not so twisted and are bent backwards.

There are, however, certain types of sheep without horns, or where only the rams have horns but not the ewes.

Most sheep have tails. In Asia there is a type of sheep with a very fat tail; the shepherds there make special two wheel carriages to help the sheep carry their heavy tails!

A lamb usually lives about thirteen years. At the age of one year, the ewe becomes a mother and gives birth to little lambs every year. When the new born sheep are two days old, they can already move around on their own.

There are wild sheep who live in the open spaces. The biggest among the wild sheep are the Argali sheep, which live in the Altai Mountains of Siberia and Mongolia. Other types of wild sheep live in Tibet and other parts of Asia.

In North Africa lives a type of wild sheep known under the name of "Aoudad", which are very similar to goats. In Southern Europe there is a type of wild sheep called "Mouflon".

The domestic sheep are specially raised and developed because of their meat or wool. They are divided into four categories, according to their wool: long-haired, medium-haired, fine-haired, coarse-haired.

Most of the thin-haired sheep, which grow a fine strand of wool, are to be found in Spain and are known as "Merino" sheep. The Spanish government forbids the export of these sheep.

A number of these sheep, however, were smuggled out of Spain and were raised in other countries where they developed even better than in Spain. American Merino are regarded as the best. They are entirely covered with wool from head to foot, or rather from nose to tail. This type of Merino is raised also in Australia, South America, France and elsewhere in large numbers.

Among the best of the long-haired sheep are the English "Lincoln", "Leicester" and "Cotswolds". Lincoln sheep are raised in large numbers also in Australia, Argentina, and Western America. The medium-haired sheep are raised mainly for their meat.

Sheep like their own company and are, therefore, raised in large flocks. They feed on grass and can manage with little water. They can therefore be raised in dry climates. Texas leads among the American sheep-raising states, with over six million sheep being raised yearly.

Australia takes the lead among the sheep raising countries of the world, with about 120 million sheep raised yearly. Russia takes second place, with about 80 million, followed by Argentina with about 50 million.

The USA with about 30 million head, occupies seventh place. England with about 20 million, holds tenth place.

In Ancient Egypt, the lamb was idolized. It was one of the main gods of the Egyptian nation. We can therefore realize the self sacrificing courage of the Jews in Egypt when they obeyed G‑d's command, taking sheep - one lamb for each family, which they kept tied to the bedpost from the 10th of Nissan until the 14th, and then sacrificed it as a Korban Pessach to the Almighty, roasted it whole and ate it with Matzah and Moror (Bitter Herbs) on the night of Pesach, the evening of their liberation.

A lamb is a quiet, helpless animal. It is also very sensitive; wherever she receives a knock, she feels it in every part of its body. The Jewish People is compared to a sheep because of all the virtues that a lamb possesses. The sheep's only protection is the shepherd and we Jews also rely solely on the Shepherd of Israel, the Almighty.

Whenever a Jew is smitten, the whole Jewish people feel it. As sheep cling to each other, so do the Jews. Seventy sheep would be unable to defend themselves against one wolf, how much more so one lamb against seventy wolves. Yet that is our position in the world.

Jews are torn and attacked from every side, and yet they survive, while the wolves break their teeth. That is one of the greatest miracles in world history. Naturally, the miracle takes place only because the Almighty is our Shepherd, and He tends and protects his Jewish flock.