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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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, ...
7
votes
2answers
144 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 ...
3
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2answers
87 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 ...
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1answer
38 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
62 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?
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1answer
571 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
71 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
30 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
69 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
67 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
187 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 ...
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3answers
298 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
100 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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3answers
582 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
110 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 ...
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0answers
65 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
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1answer
78 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 ...
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votes
1answer
110 views

Why God refers to Deer and Gazelle on Eating without sacrificing?

In this question Can jews eat unclean animals when blood is removed? God mentions that jews can eat gazelle and deers without sacrificing them first. That's because all sacrifice must be in the ...
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1answer
359 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?
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2answers
141 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
1answer
153 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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1answer
137 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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2answers
95 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 ...
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0answers
28 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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votes
3answers
614 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 ...
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2answers
105 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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1answer
89 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
85 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 ...
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2answers
531 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?
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1answer
141 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? ...
3
votes
2answers
232 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
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1answer
135 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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1answer
88 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 ...
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votes
1answer
535 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
112 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 ...
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0answers
35 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Does halakhah forbid Jews from eating pets that die naturally?

Suppose you keep a goldfish in your house. One day, it dies. Assuming that it has died a natural death (that is, you didn't intentionally kill it), is it kosher to eat this goldfish?
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2answers
424 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 ...
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votes
2answers
361 views

Why was King Shaul commanded to kill all the animals of Amalek?

In the Haftorah for parshas Zochor we read that Hashem commanded King Shaul not only to destroy all the Amalekites, but also all their animals. Why was there a need to destroy also the animals?
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5answers
295 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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1answer
177 views

Answering Amen to kaddish for a dog

I once attended a synagogue regularly where a particular congregant was infatuated with his dog. Upon the passing of the dog the congregant began to say kaddish. He was unclear of his reasons for ...
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1answer
63 views

Does tzar baalei chayim include mental anguish?

Does the prohibition on causing tzar baalei chayim (paining animals) preclude acts which only cause an animal mental anguish, such as scaring them, or it is limited to physical pain?
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1answer
57 views

Why did the bull demand Eliyahu hand it over?

In the Yalkut Shim'oni on Ⅰ M'lachim 18 (remez 214), we see a bit more of the story found in that chapter of Navi: Eliyahu's bull continued following him. But the bull that was designated for ...
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4answers
196 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 ...
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1answer
142 views

Status of an elderly pet on Shabbos/Yom Tov

My dog passed away just short of her 19th birthday, which is very geriatric in dog terms. I believe she would have been the equivalent age of a human in their 100s. She was blind, deaf and arthritic, ...
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1answer
116 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 ...
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1answer
117 views

sefer Yetzirah ox goring,or Golem damages

If an ox made from sefer Yetzirah gored a regular ox, or vice versa, or if a golem hit someone is there any Torah obligation to pay for damages that was inflicted? I used the classic example of ...
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1answer
178 views

Animals Created By Sefer Yetzirah

The Malbim explains that someone created a calf using Sefer Yetzirah, and it could then be eaten with milk. What is it about the animals created from Sefer Yetzirah which make it permissible to eat ...
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2answers
120 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

Is shooting rattlesnakes on a cattle range considered hunting?

Part of taking proper care of the cattle on a range is eliminating all dangerous vermin or predators both for the safety of self and cattle. Rattlesnakes are the worst example, and most rangeland ...