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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The Torah's list of animals with one kosher sign

I have a question that has been troubling me for many years and I have never received a satisfactory response. On March 22, 2005 THE NY Times had an article entitled Religion and Natural History ...
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1answer
63 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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101 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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What defines a “בהמה” (also “חיה”)?

As discussed in *Dag* (דָג) in kashrus halacha, *Tzomeach* (צוֹמֵחַ) in kashrus halacha, and *Of* (עוֹף) in kashrus halacha, there are different rules used to determine the kashrus status of ...
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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 ...
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*Tzomeach* (צוֹמֵחַ) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as tzomeach, animal, bird, or fish, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew cud ...
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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 ...
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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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Throwing out bagged bread vs. feeding to ducks?

There is a prohibition of throwing out bread in larger quantities than a k'zayit (olive-size) if it is still fit for human consumption (see Orach Chayim 180:3; Regarding if it is no longer fit for ...
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51 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 ...
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129 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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122 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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75 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 ...
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61 views

Why is 1 Elul / 1 Tishrei the New Year for livestock?

The first Mishna in Rosh Hashanah says that 1 Elul is the new year for livestock, i.e. I can only tithe one year's "crop" of livestock at a time, so 1 Elul delineates the herds. (Update: we follow the ...
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44 views

Is it permissible to bring back extinct species?

Is it allowed according to halacha to bring back extinct species? The technology is on its way, and i have seen some discussion in non-Jewish contexts about the ethics of it, and how we might be ...
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28 views

What is a תלא אילן that looks like the תחש?

Shabbat 28a discusses the תחש skin that was used as a covering for the Mishkan. One opinion there (R' Nechemya) says: רבי נחמיה אומר מכסה אחד היה ודומה כמין תלא אילן והא תלא אילן טמא הוא ה"ק כמין ...
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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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98 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?
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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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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 ...
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136 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?
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120 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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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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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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85 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 .
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118 views

Doggie “Kisses” on Tisha b'Av when Rechitza (Washing) is Forbidden

Several authorities forbid washing on the Ninth of Av, and many of those same authorities often require one to sit on the floor or a low stool during that evening and morning. However, I own a dog and ...
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26 views

Do animals have a connection with God?

According to Jewish sources, do animals have a connection with God? by connection I mean some kind of awareness of His existence or perhaps some sort of communion.
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46 views

Animals in the plague of 'Arov'

Where is the source that wild animals even from different habitats came to Egypt to attack the locals? Is it a Medrash, if so, where?