One Friday morning a group of Hasidim set out for the town of Lublin to spend the Sabbath with their teacher, the legendary clairvoyant Reb Ya'acov Yitzhak, also known as the seer of Lublin. Reb Dovid of Lelov, whose deep love for animals earned him a reputation as a gifted horse whisperer, was among this group of disciples. After encountering several obstacles and delays on their way, the group arrived just as the sun was about to set Friday afternoon. Fearing that they would be late for Sabbath prayers and miss the Seer's holy teachings, the group hastily abandoned their horse and carriage and ran off to the synagogue — everyone that is, except Reb Dovid. When the seer realized that Reb Dovid was missing, he sent the others to look for him. Where did they find him? In the livery, feeding the horses. When they asked him what he was doing there, he responded that all the others had run off without thinking to feed and water the horses, who were weary from the arduous journey, and so he had stayed behind to do just that.
Reb Dovid was a Hasid in the truest sense of the word, a lover of the divine, and his love for God was expressed through his deep compassion for all creatures and all living things. It was absolutely clear to Reb Dovid that by observing the mitzvah of tzaar ba'alei chaim, the commandment to prevent the suffering of animals, he would obtain more closeness to God than by seeking spiritual upliftment in the synagogue. Reb Dovid understood that it is in the expression of compassion — the love and care we extend to all living things — that we find the divine presence.— Estelle Frankel, Sacred Therapy