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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7
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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 ...
6
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5answers
571 views

Eating Giraffe Meat

Why is it common practice not to eat Giraffe Meat?
6
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2answers
140 views

How/why does kaparot work?

The ritual of kaparot [lit. atonement], which is usually done just prior to Yom Kippur (usually the day before), where one waves a chicken or an [unspecified] amount of money over one's head in a ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do/did Jews sacrifice animals?

What's the purpose of sacrificing animals in Jewish tradition/law?
6
votes
3answers
243 views

What is better - checking yourself - or buying pre checked?

Nowadays you can purchase pre checked fresh lettuce, and frozen checked veggies. What is more preferable - to check yourself or to purchase pre checked?
6
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2answers
182 views

Can I defend my animals with lethal force?

We know that it is permitted, in self-defense, to kill one who is trying to kill you, and I have heard that this applies to other people too (I see someone trying to kill someone else and I ...
6
votes
1answer
135 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
83 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
50 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?
6
votes
2answers
153 views

“Tzon k'doshim!” ―“Baa!”: source/provenance

In some synagogues, on Simchas Tora, someone will shout "Tzon k'doshim!", meaning "holy sheep/goats", or "Tzon kadashim!", meaning "sheep/goats of sacrificial-offering sanctity". He's replied to with ...
6
votes
2answers
177 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
337 views

Are there meforshim on perek shira?

Are there meforshim on perek shira? I'm looking for anything besides artscroll. If there are many, which would you recommend to start?
6
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1answer
56 views

Was it only the tamid whose head was near the altar, and face toward the hechal?

The korban tamid was slaughtered north of the altar (mizbeach). Its body was oriented lengthwise so that its head was toward the altar, and rotated so that its face was directed toward the hechal. A ...
6
votes
0answers
89 views

Does halakha count primates as “almost human”?

I have read that the although the halakha requires koah gever (human strength/exertion) for pouring water over hands for n'ttilath yadhayim but it says explicitly in the Mishna that a qof (monkey) may ...
6
votes
4answers
757 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
251 views

Check cashmere for Shatnez?

Is one required to check cashmere clothing for shatnez? Cashmere is a kind of wool that does not come from sheep.
5
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3answers
67 views

Noach: why the people's food mentioned first

בראשית ו כא:‎ ואתה קח לך מכל מאכל וכו' והיה לך ולהם לאכלה Why is Noach and his family's food mentioned before the animals' food? The halacha is animals eat before humans.
5
votes
3answers
842 views

How much is 2 Zuz worth in current USD?

As mentioned in the Passover Hagaddah, how much is "2 Zuz" worth in March 2013 US Dollars? Please note there may be different types of Zuz: "זוזי פשיטי" and "זוזי ממש" (Gemara Ketuvot 67a). This may ...
5
votes
1answer
190 views

Milk and Meat of Non-Kosher Animal Species

Is cooking milk with the meat of non-kosher animal species the same problem as cooking milk with the meat of kosher animal species? In other words: can a Jew cook milk with a non-kosher animal ...
5
votes
5answers
232 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.
5
votes
2answers
74 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
1answer
78 views

When a sacrifice calls for “two turtledoves or two common doves”, can it be one of each?

There are places in the Torah that call for an offering of "two turtledoves, or two common doves" (as translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan), e.g. Leviticus 12:8. Could s/he bring one of each kind, ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

Aristotle eating Aiver Min HaChai

I heard there is a Rambam that mentions that Aristotle ate Aiver Min HaChai. I am looking for both the source in the Rambam and any earlier sources that could have been the basis for this.
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the word “tzvi” ambiguous?

The word tsvi (צבי) is traditionally considered to mean "deer". For example, the Hebrew name "Tsvi" has the Yiddish equivalent "Hersh", and "Hirsch" means "deer" in German. On the other hand, in ...
5
votes
1answer
203 views

Does anyone have a proof text that animals *don't* have spirits?

I've heard it said that animals don't possess a רוח However, Ecclesiastes 3:21 uses the phrase רוּחַ הַבְּהֵמָה. Is there any text that indicates that animals don't possess a spirit? Edit: Upon ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

Can you experiment on animals?

May a person perform or otherwise participate in experiments on live animals which will cause the animals pain? I would assume this is forbidden under tzaar baalei chayim. But perhaps there is a heter ...
5
votes
0answers
213 views

Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
5
votes
3answers
342 views

what did the Jews' animals in the desert eat

The talmud in Bechoros 5b says "When the Jewish people left Egypt, there wasn’t a single Jew who didn’t have [at least] ninety donkies laden with silver and gold from Egypt" I assume there was not ...
4
votes
11answers
264 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Why does the Torah list animals before converts?

אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ Why would the Torah List animal before the Geirim?
4
votes
1answer
312 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?
4
votes
2answers
178 views

Beef from cows?

Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Kashruth Administrator at the Chicago Rabbinical Council, says: You would think, with so many cow sh'chitas in America, with so many, you know, steaks, what we have, that ...
4
votes
1answer
188 views

Shabbos Shira - putting out bread for the birds

Is there a problem with putting out bread for birds on Shabbos (in a case where there is no carrying issues)?
4
votes
2answers
117 views

Shechting non-Kosher animals

The question was asked: If someone for example is sick and must eat from a non-kosher animal. Must it be shechted (slaughtered) first like a kosher animal? I don't see any reason why it should, since ...
4
votes
1answer
204 views

Playing with non-kosher animals

I have often heard it said that there is a tradition amongst kabbalists not to own, play with or possibly even look at animals that are not kosher. Assuming that this is correct, my question is ...
4
votes
2answers
102 views

Bird droppings invalidating location for prayer?

One may not pray near feces or other sources of biological waste and decay that give a foul odor (see the article for several opinions on when/how it applies). Does this include bird droppings? ...
4
votes
1answer
222 views

What is the אדני השדה

The Mishna in Kelaim 8:5 talks about the אדני השדה . I know of a few perushim who say that this is a type of monkey (Tiferes Yisroel syas that it's an orangutang). If you look in the Yerushalmi on ...
4
votes
1answer
75 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. However the previous verse states that Hashem will send ...
4
votes
0answers
27 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
302 views

What is the problem with dogs?

Deuteronomy 23:19: לֹא תָבִיא אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל נֶדֶר כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ גַּם שְׁנֵיהֶם Why does the Torah have a problem with using the ...
3
votes
3answers
577 views

Why did the Israelites build a golden calf in the desert?

Why did the Israelites build a golden calf in the desert? The question is, why a calf? Why not a golden cat, a golden eagle, a golden lion, golden parachutes or a gold bar? Of all the images they ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

Is it prohibited to derive benefit from a mixture of milk and meat if the animal was improperly slaughtered?

Is it prohibited to derive benefit from a mixture of milk and meat if the animal was improperly slaughtered? Assume the animal slaughtered, like the milk-giving animal, is kosher, but the slaughter ...
3
votes
2answers
175 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
481 views

Are there burial requirements for pets?

Halacha requires certain burial practices for people, because people are special. Are there any requirements or, especially, prohibitions regarding pets who have died? Is it acceptable to cremate ...
3
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Is there a special status for the offspring of an animal that was dedicated for a Karban?

For example, if someone in the time of the temple dedicated a cow for a Karban, and before they could bring it to be sacrificed it became pregnant (or impregnated another cow), would its calf have any ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

Is it permissible to be mechalel Shabbos to save the life of an animal or pet?

Is it permissible to be mechalel Shabbos to save the life of an animal, such as a family pet? Could minchag, chumras, and/or purely Rabbinical prohibitions be relaxed in such a situation, and to what ...
3
votes
1answer
31 views

Is there a concept of giving a fatter sacrifice?

Is there a concept of giving a fatter sacrifice as opposed to a smaller one? I believe the Torah says there are different levels of sacrifices depending on your wealth (e.g. a cow vs. a bird vs. ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Michvar goats' sneezing from Jerusalem incense?

Tamid chapter 3 says (in my own free translation): One could smell from Y'richo the scent of the blend[1] of the k'tores. Rabbi Eliezer b. Diglay said, "Father's house had goats on Mt. Michvar ...
3
votes
1answer
179 views

Remove mouse trap on shabbos

Are you allowed to remove a mouse trap with a mouse on it on shabbos?