A very Rare Animal

The American red wolf was once widely spread throughout the entire south-eastern part of the United States of America. Also the grey or timber wolf was spread throughout the entire American continent from central Mexico up to the arctic regions of Canada and Alaska; except in the arid deserts, where there were no wolves. But, when new settlements of colonists were set up in all parts of North America, and people chopped down forests to create cities and farms, they pushed out the wolves from most of their habitats.

At the same time, people, especially the farmers who raised cattle and sheep, regarded the wolf as their enemy number one. The hungry wolves often attacked and devoured domestic animals, so the farmers thought it was necessary to kill on sight every wolf they came upon in field or forest. Thus, the wolves disappeared from various parts of the land, and today it is rare to find a wolf, except in remote regions. Even more rare, not only among wolves but also among American animals in general, is the red wolf. Today only about several hundred red wolves still live in America. They are found in just a few small areas -on the borders of Louisiana and Texas.

The red wolf, like all wolves, lives in a den, which it digs in the ground. Sometimes it takes over the den of a fox. But in that case, it has to make it bigger both at the entrance and inside, because a wolf is much bigger than a fox. An adult red wolf weighs about ninety pounds (41 kgs) and reaches a length of five feet (1.5 meters). The female wolf is a little smaller. The red wolf, however, cannot be compared in size to the grey wolf, which lives in Alaska and Canada and weighs about twice as much. Canadian wolves can weigh up to 175 pounds. In Alaska a wolf was shot that weighed 197 pounds.

Wolves, when they choose a mate, are very loyal and devoted to each other, and live together all their lives, which could be up to 15-16 years.

They have litters of six or more cubs. The new-born open their eyes a week after birth. Both parents take care of the cubs. At first the mother feeds them with her milk and only leaves them alone for a short while, when she goes out for a drink of water, or to get the food which her partner has hidden for her some half a kilometer away from the den. Storing food at such a distance from the den is also a precaution for the safety of the family. For, if an enemy should approach the den, the smell of the hidden meat would draw the enemy away from the den.

When the cubs are about two months old, the den becomes too small for the family, so they move out and live under the open sky. They find a wide green meadow, where the cubs can run about and play freely. At the same time, they learn from their parents how to catch mice and similar small animals, and how to protect themselves from falling prey to an enemy.

Both parents can now hunt for food together. They hunt rabbits, birds, hedgehogs, snakes, rats and field mice. In order not to leave the cubs alone while the parents go hunting, they often find a kindly "aunt" who comes to act as "baby-sitter." The parents do not stay away too long. They return with enough welcome food for everyone. "Mama" takes over the care of the cubs and "papa" indulges in a well-earned "snooze," to refresh himself from the long and tiresome hunt.

This hunt usually starts after sunset, when it is getting dark. The adult members of the area assemble together and the pack of wolves set off like a well-trained "military" unit. During. The night, they may cover 20-30 kilometers. It is no easy task to bring down, and kill, a moose that can weigh up to 1600 pounds, and is armed with huge, deadly, branched horns.

The hunt is quire a big undertaking, but the reward to the hunters is that their hunger will be satisfied for a good few days.

Is Your Name Ze'ev, Wolf, or Velvel?

If any of our readers is called Ze'ev - Wolf -or Velvel (Little Wolf), he should not feel offended by our topic.

He should also not feel ashamed of bearing the name of a wild animal. Suffice it to mention that when our father Jacob blessed the twelve tribes, he com- pared many of them to wild animals and other creatures; in fact, he com- pared his beloved Benjamin to a wolf.

Ze'ev-Wolf is not the only name after an animal. Aryeh-Leib (lion), Zevi-Hirsch (deer), Dov-Ber (Bear), are other well-known Jewish names. Also other live creatures serve as Jewish names; for example Jonah (a dove), Rachel (a sheep), Zipporah (a bird), Devorah (a bee). The prophetess Huldah,* who is mentioned in Tenach, carried the name of a weasel. King Josiah had a secretary called Shafan (a hare, rabbit). The last two names are not in use nowadays.

When our father Jacob blessed his children, the holy Tribes, he compared a number of them to certain animals: Judah, the ancestor of King David, was compared to a lion, king of the forest; Issachar, from whom descended great Torah scholars, was compared to a don- key, which is known for carrying great burdens unflinchingly -a hint at carrying the yoke of Torah; Naftoli, whose land in Eretz Yisroel produced fruits much quicker than any other part, was compared to a deer; and Benjamin to a wolf.

The Divine prophecy that rested on Jacob inspired him to bless the Tribes according to their different traits. The holy Zohar explains that Benjamin was compared to a wolf because in his portion of Eretz Yisroel the Altar was built; the place where sacrifices were offered in the morning, and in the evening. The Altar "devoured" meat and fat, which was offered up to G‑d, reminding the human being to devote his best energies and abilities to the service of the Al- mighty.

Actually, this is the lesson taught us by the laws of the "sacrifices," in the Book of Vayikro (Leviticus). The Hebrew word for "sacrifice," Korbon, means also "drawing near." The Service of the "sacrifices" in the Beth Hamikdosh was in order to draw the Jews nearer to G‑d. Today, in the absence of the Beth Hamikdosh, prayer takes the place of "sacrifices" and brings the person closer to G‑d. It is no coincidence that the Hebrew word Ze'ev has the numerical value of 10. It is explained in certain holy books (also in the Tanya) that the Divine soul in man has ten properties, or powers. Three of them are in the mind; they are Chochmoh (wisdom), Binoh (understanding) and Daas (knowledge), the initial letters of which make the word ChaBaD, which is the name of the school of thought and way of life of the "Chabad Chassidim." The other seven powers are in the heart; they are Chesed (kindness), Gevuroh (strength), and so forth. These ten powers in man correspond to the ten Divine powers by means of which G‑d has created and rules the world.

In addition to the Divine soul, a human being possesses also an "animal" soul, with ten similar powers. But while the Divine soul constantly strives for G‑dliness, finding pleasure only in spiritual and holy matters, the " animal" soul is interested only in "earthly" pleasures. This creates a conflict. However, when the ten Divine powers in man "devour" (conquer and master) the ten animalistic powers, the "animal" or "beast" in man is not only "tamed," but it, too, becomes good and holy. Then there is no longer any conflict, and the person attains inner harmony and peace of mind, for the whole man becomes G‑dly. The duty of a Jew in his daily life is, therefore, to see to it that his spiritual powers should master his physical powers and thus put all his powers in the service of G‑d.

Flesh, blood and fat are the physical makeup of the human being. They are the "fuel" that give man energy to keep him going as a living human being, who thinks, speaks and acts. We must use these energies in accordance with the Will of our Maker, by exercising our thoughts, words and deeds in accordance with the Torah and Mitzvos which-G‑d commanded us. In this way, the "wolf" in us becomes a spiritual "wolf," in the sense that our father Jacob blessed his beloved son Benjamin as a "devouring wolf," as explained in the Zohar.

Our readers who bear the name "Ze'ev-Wolf" certainly have no reason to be ashamed of their name, if they live up to this name in its "inner'. Meaning.