What makes an animal kosher? Clearly a simple question - apparently not according to Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, the "Zoo Rabbi." The latest contribution in his brilliant Torah and nature literature series, this fascinating work explores Torah literature and the latest zoological research to present a detailed and comprehensive study of this thought-provoking topic....
|Title||:||The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax|
|Number of Pages||:||231 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax Reviews
BOOK REVIEW: "The Camel, the Hare, and the Hyrax—The Laws of Animals with One Kosher Sign in Light of Modern Zoology" by Rabbi Natan Slifkin. 2nd Edition. Zoo Torah/Gefen Books. 2011.The Torah gives a general rule for determining whether a land animal is kosher: it must bring up the cud and have a (completely) split hoof. If an animal has only one of these signs of kashruth, it is not kosher. The Torah goes one to cite four animals which have but one sign of kashruth: the camel, the hare, and the hyrax (because they bring up the cud but do not have a split hoof) and the pig (because it has a split hoof but does not bring up the cud). Centuries later, the Talmud raised the question of why these four examples are given. Since we already know the general rule, we apparently gain no new insight from these examples. The Talmud appears to answer the question by saying that the Creator of the world knows his creation, and these are the ONLY examples of one-sign animals. Curiously, however, in making this statement, the Talmud explicitly discusses only the camel and the pig; the hyrax and hare are included only by later exegesis. In the 13th century, Ramban (Nachmanides) made the claim explicitly: these are the only four species in the world (בעולם) which exhibit one sign of kashruth. Sages of the 18th and 19th century added a bolder claim: the list's being comprehensive and exclusive is evidence of the divine origin of Torah. Moses was not a hunter or zoologist; he never knew of the existence of Australia, the New World, or even far-flung regions of Eurasia. The fact that no other one-sign animal has subsequently been identified, the later sages argue, is more than eerie coincidence. It is evidence that the Torah was written with superhuman wisdom."The Camel, the Hare, and the Hyrax" examines all aspects of this claim in breathtaking scholarship of both Torah literature and zoology. The author carefully analyzes whether the Hebrew texts have been properly translated. He ruminates on—pun intended—the concept of bringing up the cud (מעלת גרה) and split hoof (מפרסת פרסה) to explore the boundaries of those concepts. He notes that the hare and the hyrax are not ruminants in the usual understanding of the term, and considers possible ways how they might be included in the Biblical category of animals which raise the cud. But if these two species are considered among those that raise cud, there are others, such as the capybara or kangaroo, which might similarly meet that modified standard. He also addresses the issue of lamoids (the llama, guanaco, alpaca, and vicuña) which clearly bring up the cud but have incompletely split hooves. Also, he discusses how the modern concept of species differs from its corresponding Biblical concept (מין). This book will not be of interest to all readers. In fact it will not be of interest to most readers. But to those who have given serious thought to its subject, the book provides an in-depth analysis which gives proper respect and consideration both to traditional Jewish teaching and modern zoology. The author concludes the book thusly: "The Torah's list of animals with one kosher sign involves difficulties...The divine origins of the Torah are neither proved nor disproved by the camel, the hare, and the hyrax."Potential readers of the book should note that my positive assessment of it is not shared by several Great Sages of the Current Generation (גדוליי הדור). They declared that the book was forbidden to read, own, or distribute because it is a book of heresy. "Even what is not heretical is expressed in a way only a heretic would speak." Although I do not share the conclusion of these sages, I mention their injunction so as to avoid "placing a stumbling block before the blind." Potential readers who wish to honor the ban (חרם) of these sages should not read this book.
A very good, but technical discussion about the Torah's laws with respect to animals that have only one kosher sign and how they align or fail to align with modern scientific knowledge of the animal kingdom.This is not an easy subject but Rabbi Slifkin does an excellent job of discussing every possible way of understanding the issues. His conclusions may be controversial to some readers, but I think everybody should agree that his points are all well researched and are thoroughly grounded in the writings of the Jewish Sages.