Koheles 3:19

כִּי מִקְרֶה בְנֵי הָאָדָם וּמִקְרֶה הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִקְרֶה אֶחָד לָהֶם כְּמוֹת זֶה כֵּן מוֹת זֶה וְרוּחַ אֶחָד לַכֹּל וּמוֹתַר הָאָדָם מִן הַבְּהֵמָה אָיִן כִּי הַכֹּל הָבֶל

Because that which befalls the humans befalls animals; one thing befalls them all. As one dies, so dies the other; they have all one breath. So man has no pre-eminence over an animal because everything is vanity.

This verse is recited in the prayer that begins “L’olam…,” that a person should always be G-d-fearing and acknowledge the truth. On this verse, the Metzudas David explains that some things in life only happen to people. Other things only happen to animals. Death, however, embraces every living thing alike. When it does, a person’s deeds are no more significant than an animal’s – that is, if he occupied himself with temporal things such as the pursuit of wealth. If one lived a life of Torah and good deeds, then his life actually meant something.

Relief for the Jewish Community of Houston - Donate Now