Questions pertaining to the identity or biology of animals mentioned in Jewish texts literature, or the status of animals in areas of Jewish law, such as diet or damages.

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6
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0answers
23 views

Why all the talk about colored sheep and goats?

In the VaYetze weekly reading (Parasha) there is a long description of the colors of the sheep and goat: Akudim, Nekutim... What is the reason behind all of this descriptions? If the text wanted to ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

What was the significance of the ram by the Akeida?

The Akeida ends off with Yitzchok being spared and Avraham finding a ram as a replacement sacrifice. In general, what exactly was the nature of this symbolic sacrifice? Rashi tells us that with ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

Why does the posuk emphasise that Lavan was Ya’akov’s uncle?

It says in Bereishis 29:10: וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה יַעֲקֹב אֶת-רָחֵל, בַּת-לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ, וְאֶת-צֹאן לָבָן, אֲחִי אִמּוֹ; וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב, וַיָּגֶל אֶת-הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר, ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Praying Mantis (גְמָל שְׁלֹמֹה) and Ladybugs (פָּרַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ), roots in early sources?

Are the hebrew names of the praying mantis (גְמָל שְׁלֹמֹה) and ladybug (פָּרַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ) found in Tanach (or later, in chazal)? If so, what is the justification for these names?
1
vote
1answer
193 views

Were some Jews transformed to monkeys for violating the sabbath?

Some historical Islamic sources quote that early Jews who violated the Sabbath were transformed into apes : O Jews! Remember that Allah sent His torment on the village that disobeyed Him and broke ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the significance of bears in Judaism? Why has Dov (or Dov Ber) been such a common Jewish name?

I understand, to some extent at least, why lions are an important symbol in Judaism. After all, in the beginning of the Shulchan Aruch we are told we should rise like a lion to serve our Creator, and ...
5
votes
1answer
46 views

Sforno on the Nachash

The Sforno on Bereishis 3:1 explains that the Nachash, snake, is not an actual snake but is rather the Satan/Yetzer Harah. With that in mind, what does the Sforno do with the curse Hashem gives the ...
11
votes
3answers
355 views

Would a genetically engineered red heifer be usable?

Assuming that a non-Jew chose to create a genetically engineered parah adumah (red heifer) and further assuming it met all the halachic requirements --no two black hairs, hadn't been used for work ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Why did Yaakov only mention sheep dying?

In Bereshis 33:13 it says יג וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֲדֹנִי יֹדֵעַ כִּי-הַיְלָדִים רַכִּים, וְהַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר, עָלוֹת עָלָי; וּדְפָקוּם יוֹם אֶחָד, וָמֵתוּ כָּל-הַצֹּאן. Yaakov initially ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Snake lamps on Shabbos? [closed]

I have a pet snake that has two types of lamps. One lamp is turned on in the mornings (day lamp) and then the other is turned on at night (night lamp). They both are needed to produce light and heat ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Were there more than just 2 or 7 pairs of animals on Noach's ark?

Noach was told to take a pair (male & female) of all non-clean animals, and 7 pairs of clean animals into the ark. However, Breishit 6:21 says: And take thou unto thee of all food that is ...
7
votes
1answer
173 views

Proliferation of species after the flood

I am curious as to how many species didn't go extinct immediately after the flood. There were 2 of each non-kosher animal that came off of the ark. I assume that the foxes and lions got hungry ...
2
votes
3answers
121 views

Do Jews Believe Dinosaurs Lived in the Same Time Period as Humans?

According to the book of Genesis, animals and humans were created on the 6th day. I am wondering what Jews think of dinosaurs. When tested for dating (radioactive decay), their bones appear to be ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Did Aaron's staff turned into a snake or a crocodile?

In exodus 7 it says on verses 8-12: ח וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר. ט כִּי יְדַבֵּר אֲלֵכֶם פַּרְעֹה לֵאמֹר, תְּנוּ לָכֶם מוֹפֵת; וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, קַח אֶת-מַטְּךָ ...
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vote
6answers
620 views

How do we reconcile the order of creating animals betweeen Genesis and science?

http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6932/does-the-torah-encoded-age-of-the-universe-match-science#comment53788_6932 The Genesis 1 creation account conflicts with the order of events that ...
3
votes
3answers
117 views

Are Llamas Kosher?

Being that llamas are ruminates it seems to me that they clearly chew their cud. But I have not found any definitive information on whether or not the have fully split hooves. Furthermore, they are ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

Which Animals Have Only One Kosher Sign?

Vayikra 11:4-7 mentions four animals that either chew their cud or have split hooves, but do not posses both kosher signs and are therefore not kosher. At the present time, is this a complete list or ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

What does Judaism say about pets in the World to Come?

What does Judaism teach about animals in the World to Come? Pets hold such a beloved place in the now and appear, more than other animals, to have there own will in their actions. Is there hope that ...
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Leather and vegetarianism according to Rav Kook?

According to Rav Kook, it is ideal to be a vegetarian. This is because he assumes G-d would not create a world in which creatures could not exist in harmony (see linked article) and therefore this ...
7
votes
1answer
168 views

Shofar from an extinct animal

After paying a trip to the Natural History Museum in London I found myself wondering... would it be allowed (to any extent) to use a shofar of an animal that has kosher simanim but is extinct? There ...
10
votes
1answer
122 views

Interfering with wild predator and prey animals

Would it be considered tzaar baalei chaim (animal cruelty) to assist a wild animal at the expense of another? Would it be acceptable to help a wild predator catch wild prey (causing distress to the ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Suckling directly from a kosher animal

After scouring the internet for various legitimate medical cures to a certain innocuous virus, several obscure websites suggest suckling directly from the teat of a goat (mirrored by several people my ...
5
votes
1answer
357 views

Are there still those who obey the mitzvah of Ma'aser Behemah?

If I am a farmer or keep animals, is it possible to obey the mitzvah of Ma'aser Behemah in today's times? Is is right to obey this mitzvah?
6
votes
2answers
123 views

Does a dog know that it's a dog?

According to Jewish thought, do animals have the self-awareness to know that they exist? Do they know that they are animals? Does an animal differentiate itself from other animals?
4
votes
5answers
183 views

Torah view on conservation and recycling

It may seem obvious that we should 'look after' the world that Hashem gives us but is it considered a mitzvah to involve oneself in nature conservation and/or recycling?
8
votes
1answer
192 views

First-born animals today

From what I understand, the laws of "bechor behemah tehorah" (kosher first-born animal) are still in effect today, both in Israel and outside. To avoid problems with this, we sell a share of the ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Cutting ones finger in the middle of shechting

If someone was shechting a chicken (for example) and by mistake cut their finger would their be reason to be concerned for the problem of "shehiyeh" ("pausing"). What about if the person accidentally ...
6
votes
1answer
102 views

Why can't Hashem chase the people out of Canaan quickly?

Exodus 23:29 says that Hashem promised not to drive out the indigenous peoples of Canaan too quickly lest the wild animals become too plentiful. This is repeated in Deuteronomy 7:22. However the ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Is taxidermy kosher?

Is the art of taxidermy kosher? What about keeping animals that are stuffed in your house? My family has recently become more observant and my brother wanted to get several stuffed animals, fish, ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Hunting in Judaism

Hunting is generally frowned on in Judaism, and hunting for sport is especially frowned on. However, as hunting is not completely assur, I had the following question: how exactly would a Jew hunt? ...
4
votes
2answers
71 views

Kill a no-longer-profitable horse?

My understanding is that a horse is killed when its profit no longer matches its expense. Is this something Jews should/may do? I can think of some pros and cons, but wonder what authorities have ...
4
votes
11answers
285 views

Pinchas Ben Yair's Donkey

וַיָּבֹא הָאִישׁ הַבַּיְתָה וַיְפַתַּח הַגְּמַלִּים וַיִּתֵּן תֶּבֶן וּמִסְפּוֹא לַגְּמַלִּים וּמַיִם לִרְחֹץ רַגְלָיו וְרַגְלֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ. Breishis 24:32 Rashi on this Posuk ...
6
votes
2answers
196 views

Playing with a pet on Shabbos

Is there any opinion that holds one may play or touch a pet on Shabbos (even though animals are normally muktzeh on Shabbos.) Specifically one that is meant for this purpose (to play with.) I heard ...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Is there a book that cross-references where the names of animals are mentioned in Tana"ch?

I was impressed with the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, as it had a verse that mentioned the name of the animal. Is there a book that simulates this idea, i.e. a book that quotes the verse of all the ...
10
votes
3answers
592 views

Why is Bil'am not surprised that his mule is talking to him?

During the scene in parshat Balak, it says that "God opened the mule's mouth" and it asked Bil'am why he hit him. Bil'am answers the donkey. It seems that he is not surprised at all that the donkey is ...
5
votes
2answers
81 views

Snakes talking?

I am wondering why snakes no longer talk. The Lord punished the serpent by making him crawl on his belly and eat dust, and be at odds with Eve's offspring, but it does not mention taking away the ...
5
votes
5answers
257 views

Do Animals Have an Afterlife

What does Torah say about an afterlife for animals? Is there somewhere animals go after they die? Please include the sources of your answers.
6
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4answers
859 views

Horse back riding for women

Is it permissible for an Orthodox woman to do horseback riding in an ordinary saddle, or does she have to use a sidesaddle? Furthermore, would she be able to use women's trousers made for horseback ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

What actually happened to Jacob's and Laban's sheeps and goats?

Genesis 30 (JPS): 34 And Laban said: 'Behold, would it might be according to thy word.' 35 And he removed that day the he-goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were ...
1
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1answer
82 views

Are some Apes banished Humans

Had read some midrash or zohar that some apes were human beings who were banished and became apes. Don't remember the source. Does anyone know this?
2
votes
0answers
61 views

What does a porcupine have to do with a berit milah?

R' Natan Slifkin, in this recent blog post, presents the above-embedded picture of a porcupine from the Rothschild Miscellany (Italy, 15th Century CE), which adorns a yotzer (seasonal additional ...
12
votes
2answers
509 views

Why are there no fish korbanot?

Land animals, birds, wheat and fruit offerings all feature on the list of offerings that Bnei Israel bring for Hashem. Is there anyone that discusses why there are no fish korbanot?
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Is there any halahic problem davening in the presence of a dog that assists a blind person?

The Shulchan Aruch mentions that one should not daven in the presence of a dog. Is there an exception or leniency made if a blind person accompanied by his dog walks into the shul minyan to daven? ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly mentioned anywhere in Rabbinic literature?

My late great grandfather was a torah scholar, but with all his learning, he never knew that a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. He was amazed when someone told him about the common ...
3
votes
2answers
206 views

Explanations from חז״ל for Noah's ark?

Today, a very learned friend of mine and I were discussing the difficulty of the literal interpretation of Noah's ark. That is, we could not fathom how multiple samples of every animal on earth could ...
7
votes
1answer
263 views

Chad Gadya: The price of a kid goat

Was the fair market value of a kid goat really two zuzim? This piyyut is of course allegorical, but, if the value given is highly inaccurate, is the discrepancy in value symbolic beyond the symbolism ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

which animals have tuma neveila

tuma sheretz applies only to the shmonei sheratzim (8 critters) mentioned in the torah. But what about tuma neveila (which is more severe)? Is it for all other animals or some? what about small ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

Is kopi luwac (civet excreted coffee beans) kosher?

Kopi luwak , or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and egested by the Asian palm civet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak Is it kosher because they ...
6
votes
3answers
89 views

How could we learn behavior from animals?

The gemarah in Eiruvin 100b says that had the Torah not been give we would have learned various behaviors from certain animals, such as modesty from the cat. To me this presupposes that had the Torah ...
4
votes
0answers
30 views

Badikas Chamatz in courtyards of cities today

Shulchan Aruch HaRav says: קרקעית החצר אין צריך בדיקה לפי שעורבין ושאר עופות מצויין שם והם אוכלים כל חמץ שנופל ואפילו אם ידוע לו שיש שם בחצר ודאי חמץ אין צריך ליטלו משם בשעת בדיקת ליל י"ד ואפילו ...