If you come upon your enemy's bull or his stray donkey, you shall surely return it to him…Six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, in order that your ox and your donkey shall rest, and your maidservant's son and the stranger shall be refreshed. (Exodus 23:4,12)

This painting highlights two of several references to laws regarding animals in this week’s Torah portion. One example is that we must not harbor ill will towards our enemies, to the point that we go out of our way to return any lost animals to the enemy. In the painting, the animals, alive and full of life, are confronting us, inviting us to move beyond our natural instincts and act with neighborly love.

Also in this portion, the Torah not only commands us to rest on Shabbat but to allow our animals to rest as well. The animals here seem to be stopping in their tracks. On Shabbat, everything, including our animals, receives spiritual nourishment.