Yesterday I went to trim at a rescue barn. One of the residents is a 30 year old pony mare whose health had declined in her old age to the point where she was at death's store - she'd lost huge amounts of weight and had constant diarrhea. No one could figure out what was wrong, and no treatment worked.
Until she was put in with the donkeys. Whereupon she more or less immediately started to feel better and gained 100 pounds in short order.
I trimmed the donkeys too. I was warned that they could be "a bit frisky" and as I know I am no match for a donkey, I expected the worst. One donkey did indeed turn out to be a little stubborn, but the other one could not have been more accommodating. She just stood there and did everything in her power to be as helpful as possible. While at the same time retaining her enigmatic donkeyness.
What is this mysterious donkey quality? Is it a reserve, a distance, a judging? It seems to convey an immense amount of knowledge, imparted in tiny doses, in great silence. One senses that Eeyore-like trait of endurance and ... not exactly cynicism, but perhaps realism. Every now and then, a clear transmission of intelligence is received, as if beamed down from an alien civilization on a distant planet. We are not alone! I hear that donkey society is non-hierarchical compared to that of horses, and I believe it. Authority seems to be devolved to each donkey, authority not only over itself but over others too - a non-violent authority, which demands the good of all.
They say that when Moshiach comes, he will come on a donkey. Of course this could mean that Moshiach will come in a donkey. Judaism has this beautiful idea called "inversion" whereby in the Messianic era, everything is turned upside down. What was down is up, what was weak is strong. The body informs the spirit instead of vice versa. Woman is the head of man. And so on. Of course we can see these things happening these days all over the world, and this teaching is very much in keeping with the idea, which more and more people are espousing, that we can learn from our animals - not just practical truths, but spiritual and moral truths also.
The donkey - the only animal (apart from the serpent) who speaks in the Bible - perhaps is well aware of all this, and has been biding his time until the day when we will listen to him.