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 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

What was Moses' staff made of?

What was Moses' staff made of? Copper? What's relationship between Moses' staff being turned into a snake in Parsha Sh'mot and the incident in Parsha Chuckat if there is any?
6
votes
0answers
105 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 ...
7
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1answer
198 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?
5
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1answer
158 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.
2
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0answers
100 views

Training an animal to do malacha

Is one allowed to train an animal to do malacha on shabbas (e.g. turn on a light)? Is it comparable to amira l'nochri (telling a non-Jew to do so), or do we say its mutar altogether?
3
votes
1answer
61 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 ...
5
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1answer
108 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 ...
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0answers
87 views

7+7 clean animals(Noach 7:2)

Why is the clean animals mentioned only once and the rest of animals(a pair) is mentioned numerous times with the omission of the clean .
5
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0answers
358 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 ...
3
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0answers
140 views

Could Yonah's “whale” have been a whale?

Just prior to the start of Yom Kippur this year, a young child corrected me when I mentioned Yonah's whale and said that, "it wasn't a whale; it was a Dag Gadol." I had to admit, this was good ...
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5answers
208 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?
7
votes
1answer
187 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 ...
0
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1answer
126 views

Considering feelings of animals

Assuming that animals feel physical and emotional pain in some way that is comparable to human feeling, why does Judaism discount their needs? I am interested to hear rabbinic discussions about this. ...
8
votes
1answer
375 views

Gift of a Teddy Bear to New Born Baby

Can I give a new born jewish baby a furry Teddy Bear? I was told that a handmade teddy bear especially made as a gift and given to a new born baby of a religious family was returned? A doll would be ...
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6answers
540 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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2answers
282 views

Why was the parah aduma found in 2002 disqualified?

In 2002, various news sources reported that a red heifer was found and the Temple Institute in Israel declared it kosher. Many of these sources later reported that the parah aduma was disqualified ...
11
votes
1answer
257 views

Are plants that exhibit rapid plant movement considered non-Kosher animals?

There is a question here asking if sea sponges are Kosher. The answers seem to center around the idea that regardless of if they have animal cells, a halachic classification might depend on how it ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

what is the רציפי of perek shira?

I am curious as to the identity of the רציפי an animal identified in perek shira. From what I understand the translation of bat is erroneous and I'm wondering what the correct translation is.
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1answer
88 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 ...
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votes
2answers
2k views

In Genesis 22:8-14, is there a difference between a ram and a lamb?

Having taken a translation from this website, which I am told to have Orthodox Jewish credentials, I am referring to Genesis 22:8-14 'God will see to a lamb for an offering, my son,' replied ...
7
votes
3answers
166 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 ...
1
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1answer
108 views

Why does the RaMBa"M allow one to derive benefit from cooked mixtures of milk and meat of improperly slaughtered animals?

As noted in this other question and its comments and answers, the RaMBa"M allows one to derive benefit from the cooked mixture of milk and meat of an animal of a Kosher species that was not ...
3
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1answer
36 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. ...
2
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0answers
56 views

Berachah at the zoo?

Should one say the Berachah of משנה הבריות when one goes to the zoo* and sees many animals one would never see outside the zoo? What if one actually sees animals that he has never seen before? Should ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
180 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
674 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 ...
3
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0answers
130 views

Is it considered tzaar baalei chayyim to deliberately feed a live animal to another animal?

There are many pets available today that experts recommended to feed (infrequently or at times solely) on live animals. Many reptiles (snakes, chameleons, geckos, monitors, etc.) and many fish are ...
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4answers
3k 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 ...
2
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0answers
140 views

Is a Jew able to go hunting?

What is the Halacha in regard to whether or not a person can go hunting? What have Poskim said on this issue?
3
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0answers
79 views

Were semi-marine animals on Noah's Ark?

Otters, alligators, salamanders, frogs, penguins, seals, polar bears, sea lions, platypuses, beavers, sea snakes, sea turtles, etc. These animals to varying degrees need to be able to be both on land ...
6
votes
2answers
268 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 ...
8
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1answer
479 views

Viewing copulating animals

As a child at the zoo I was taught that one is not allowed to view animals while they are copulating. However as a pet owner I have learned that the exposed genitals of animals do not prohibit a ...
13
votes
3answers
441 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
278 views

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter?

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter? Does it make a difference whether it is a non-kosher animal (e.g. pig), vs. a kosher animal? Does it make a difference whether the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

Animal testing of cosmetics and other products

To what extent does tzaar baalei chayyim--the prohibition on causing needless pain to animals--apply to animal testing of products such as cosmetics? What are the potential halachic problems for both ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Purchasing products that were not manufactured in a Torahdik manner?

Are there any restrictions on purchasing or using non-food products that were manufactured in violation of the Law? If so, on what grounds? For example: A non-Jew manufactures a product, and, in ...
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votes
1answer
451 views

Where in the Torah does it says we cannot eat live anmals? [closed]

I remember something along not eating meat with blood still in it. Does it really mean that we cannot eat an animal when it's still alive or that blood is literally not okay? Some too related follow ...
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4answers
910 views

Why were cows so Important and preferred as sacrifice over other animals in Bani Israel?

I read a lot about cows used in sacrifice , what is the reason that cows were sacrificed and what was the importance of cows for Bani Israel
4
votes
1answer
304 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 ...
2
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0answers
123 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 ...
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2answers
176 views

Laws of “Shehiyah” relating to a “Chayah”

In the Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh Deah Siman 23) we find the laws of "shehiyah", which relates to the laws of shechita. This is basically a prohibition stating that one may not pause in the middle of the ...
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votes
2answers
417 views

Can one make a mi'shebeirach for animals?

Is it proper to conduct a mi'shebeirach prayer (which is a prayer normally said by a synagogue official, at a communal Torah reading, for the health and recovery of a sick person) for the ...
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vote
6answers
869 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Aggadah Of Great Bird Destroying Towns

I once heard about Jewish aggada telling about big bird throwing huge eggs made of steel which were destroying towns. Does anyone knows if there such aggada exists and what the source for it is?
6
votes
2answers
167 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 ...