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 create non kosher animals?

why did hashem create non kosher animals, was it to tempt us and see if we would control ourselves?
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5answers
776 views

Eating Giraffe Meat

Why is it common practice not to eat Giraffe Meat?
7
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2answers
391 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?
7
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3answers
187 views

Animals sixth sense

It seems that there is evidence that animals possess a sixth sense, such as in their fleeing from the area struck by the huge tsunami of 2005 well before the earthquake which triggered it occurred. Is ...
7
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2answers
920 views

Ten plagues of Egypt: hail and pestilence

According to Moses, the fifth plague of Egypt killed all livestock except that of Israel. If all were killed, then why did Moses warn the Pharaoh to bring his cattle to shelter before the hail? The ...
7
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1answer
142 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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3answers
156 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 ...
7
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1answer
360 views

What are some understandings as to how animals populated different continents after the flood?

What are some understandings as to how animals populated different continents after the flood? Did some species of animals survive the flood? Or are we to understand that the flood only affected the ...
7
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2answers
130 views

What is it with the donkeys all over Parashat Mikeitz?

So, we got Bereshit 42, psukim 26, 27 כו וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת-שִׁבְרָם, עַל-חֲמֹרֵיהֶם; וַיֵּלְכוּ, מִשָּׁם. כז וַיִּפְתַּח הָאֶחָד אֶת-שַׂקּוֹ, לָתֵת מִסְפּוֹא לַחֲמֹרוֹ--בַּמָּלוֹן; וַיַּרְא, ...
7
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2answers
157 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?
7
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2answers
182 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 ...
7
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1answer
203 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 ...
7
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4answers
238 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 ...
7
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2answers
205 views

Elisha, the children, and the bears: what is really going on here?

After Eliyahu goes up to heaven, Elisha solves a water problem in Jericho and then heads to Bethel. On the way, some young children accost him, he curses them in the name of God, and two she-bears ...
7
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1answer
278 views

Spaying of female dogs

Is it acceptable to spay a pet female dog, or is there a prohibition against neutering a female dog like that of a male dog?
7
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2answers
154 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 ...
7
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1answer
168 views

*Of* (עוֹף) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as plant, animal, of, or fish, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew cud and ...
7
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0answers
117 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 ...
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4answers
1k 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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3answers
3k 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 ...
6
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4answers
261 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 ...
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1answer
300 views

Can a service dog enter a Temple during service?

At Rosh Hashanah service today, a congregant brought his service dog with him. He's not blind, the service dog vest said it was for hearing. Is the temple being kind, or are they required to permit ...
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3answers
3k views

Why do/did Jews sacrifice animals?

What's the purpose of sacrificing animals in Jewish tradition/law?
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2answers
121 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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3answers
400 views

What's the difference between כשב and כבש?

What's the difference between כשב and כבש? Why does the Torah use both?
6
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1answer
207 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
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2answers
97 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 said,...
6
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2answers
178 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
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2answers
283 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 intervene)....
6
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9answers
761 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 ...
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4answers
476 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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3answers
117 views

Acceptable to receive transplant of organs grown inside pigs?

If scientists could grow human organs inside of pigs, would it be halachically acceptable to receive a transplant of such an organ? A recent article in National Public Radio about US and British ...
6
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1answer
67 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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2answers
342 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
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1answer
123 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 ...
6
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1answer
262 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 ...
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1answer
63 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 ...
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4answers
606 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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2answers
228 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?
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3answers
78 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
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1answer
242 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
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1answer
364 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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5answers
340 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

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
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1answer
349 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 ...
5
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1answer
91 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, ...
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1answer
212 views

Why two lambs to make a meal for Isaac?

In parshat Toldot Rivka asks Yaakov to get 2 kids for her to cook for Isaac. What can we learn from using two kids? Was it in the time of year when kids are first born and they were tiny? Was a ...
5
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2answers
160 views

Are mouse-deer kosher?

Mouse-deer do chew cud (they has four stomachs), but have not two, but four hoofed toes. Are they kosher?
5
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4answers
4k views

Can Jews raise pets (cats, dogs, swine)?

The Muslims do not have swine but they do have cats and dogs. Something to do with not touching haram animals. I know that Jews also consider pigs unclean, as well as cats and dogs. Is this ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...