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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Making restitution for a “missing” ox: a question on the Mishna

There are four classes of people who are entrusted with items of value (Bava Metzia 7:8, Shevuot 8:1): one who looks after it as a favour, one who does so for a fee, one who borrows it and one who ...
2
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1answer
35 views

How can a parah adumah be validated?

This question links to a post from the Temple Institute that mentions that a red heifer was born in Israel in 2002 and that a couple of rabbis had traveled to check the cow and verified that it was ...
4
votes
4answers
481 views

Why did Yaakov send only animals to Esav?

In Parshas Vayishlach, the Torah details the gift Yaakov sent to Esav, consisting of hundreds of animals of various types. Why did Yaakov only send animals? Why not send other things like gold, ...
2
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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, ...
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1answer
49 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
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1answer
293 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
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2answers
3k 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 ...
4
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1answer
64 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 ...
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1answer
28 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 ...
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votes
1answer
65 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 ...
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1answer
60 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 ...
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1answer
182 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
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3answers
194 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 ...
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1answer
92 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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6answers
754 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
396 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 ...
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0answers
93 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
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0answers
49 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
109 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
178 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
134 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
76 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
358 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?
7
votes
2answers
128 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?
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5answers
202 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?
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votes
1answer
202 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 ...
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vote
1answer
85 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
105 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
134 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, ...
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vote
1answer
108 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? ...
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11answers
305 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
245 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
26 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 ...
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3answers
604 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
91 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 ...
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votes
5answers
273 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.
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4answers
973 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 ...
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1answer
86 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?
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0answers
79 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 ...
13
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2answers
526 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
119 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
125 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 ...
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votes
2answers
218 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 ...
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1answer
325 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 ...
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1answer
69 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
101 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
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0answers
33 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
117 views

Meaning of dreams with some kinds of animals

The gemara in berachot says: "All kinds of beasts are a good sign in a dream, except the elephant, the monkey and the long-tailed ape" (57b). Why is a dream with an elephant, a monkey or a long-tailed ...
8
votes
2answers
417 views

Why do we burn chametz instead of other ways of destroying it?

Before Pesach we burn whatever chametz we have not sold or otherwise removed from our ownership. Why specifically do we burn it instead of finding another way to dispose of it? Perhaps a lest wasteful ...
7
votes
4answers
185 views

The difference between שור and פר

In Mishpatim (and perhaps elsewhere), the Tora refers to an animal incurring or causing damage, and calls it a shor, שור, commonly translated ox. In Pin'chas (and Achare and perhaps elsewhere), the ...