Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

We know that Noach took onto the ark all kinds of animals including "every creeping thing of the ground" (מִכֹּל רֶמֶשׂ הָאֲדָמָה), which I've always understood to be creeping things that actually locomote on the ground, not all bugs. Does this last group include insects like flies, mosquitos, cicadas, bees, and so forth, bugs that fly or fritter about or buzz but don't creep? If not, how did they survive?

(I grant that this question assumes they were created during the six days though they aren't mentioned there either, so one possibility is that they're considered too insignificant to be mentioned. If so, I'd appreciate a source for that.)

share|improve this question
1  
Sanhedrin 38A -- halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_38.html -- "Our Rabbis taught: Adam was created [last of all beings] on the eve of Sabbath. And why? — ...Another answer is: In order that, if a man's mind becomes [too] proud, he may be reminded that the gnats preceded him in the order of creation. " –  Menachem May 24 '13 at 5:17
    
See Gemara and Rashi Shabbos 113b –  Meir Zirkind May 26 '13 at 7:21
add comment

1 Answer

Rashi to Gen. 7:14, citing Chullin 139b (bottom), points out that locusts are included in the phrase צפור כל כנף, "birds of every kind of wing." (To be precise, the Gemara there explains that צפור means kosher birds, and כל כנף means non-kosher birds plus locusts. Incidentally, then, that also indicates that the description in Gen. 1:22 of G-d creating עוף כנף, "winged birds," would also include locusts.)

Considering that locusts are classified (Lev. 11:20-23) among the שרץ העוף, "flying insects," I would assume - although I don't have a proof for this - that the Gemara mentions locusts simply as an example, and that other creatures such as the ones you mentioned are included by implication too.

share|improve this answer
    
didn't chazal believe that flies spontaneously generated? –  Charles Koppelman May 24 '13 at 20:36
    
@CharlesKoppelman: not flies, but smaller creatures (whose eggs are invisible to the naked eye) such as lice and worms. –  Alex May 24 '13 at 22:28
    
@Alex Are flies' (or most insect's) eggs visible? –  Double AA May 26 '13 at 6:57
    
@DoubleAA: according to Wikipedia they're about 1.2mm in size, which is surely large enough to be seen with the naked eye. –  Alex May 26 '13 at 16:05
    
@Alex Ok, but Wikipedia also says that louse eggs are 0.8 mm in size, which is equally visible with the naked eye. –  Double AA May 26 '13 at 16:08
show 1 more comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.