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Leviticus 11:5-6

5 And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. 6 And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you.

The verse states we are not allowed to eat a rock badger and a hare, and I follow this. I don't eat these anyway, however I am confused as I look at the picture of a rock badger and a hare. They have parted-hoof. Please enlighten me with this.

Rock Badger

Rock Badger.

Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yellow-spotted_Rock_Hyrax.jpg

Rock Badger's foot pad in detail showing a distinctive toe lobes.

Hare

A common long-eared hare or rabbit.

I'm confused, what is the difference between a toe and a hoof? Sorry for this dumb question.

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  • A hoof is a bony encapsulation around the toes (cows have toes in their hooves). In the photos above you see toes, not hooves.
    – pcoz
    Jun 27 at 23:35
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The definition of hoof

noun, plural hoofs or hooves [hoovz, hoovz] for 1, 2, 4; hoof for 3. the horny covering protecting the ends of the digits or encasing the foot in certain animals, as the ox and horse.

Thus the animals that you show do not have a horn covering the entire foot, (as with a horse or ox), nor do thy have a single division in the middle. Their toes are not covered. Thus a horse has a single hoof (and is not kosher) and an ox has a split hoof.

Vayikra 11:3

Any animal that has a cloven hoof that is completely split into double hooves, and which brings up its cud that one you may eat.

That is, the split is on the entire hoof with an opening at each end like an ox. A horse has an opening at one end but is closed at the other. That is why a horse hoof is shaped like a U ,while an cow hoof or a sheep hoof is like ( )

Another example shows the picture of a camel hoof on top and from below. The pictures which presented show that (1) the camel’s foot is not a hoof, and (2) it is not completely split. The pictures show that the two branches of the foot are joined at the rear. The pictures viewing the foot from above show that the foot is not really a hoof, but that the two branches look like toes with toenails.

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  • Thanks for clarifying. My mind is restricted from choosing between divided hoof and wholly cloven hoof. It did not cross my mind that animals without hoof is still considered unclean. Thanks. Jun 28 at 4:50
  • @alyssaeliyah A divided hoof is as far as I know the same as wholly cloven. That is, the split is on the entire hoof with an opening at each end like an ox. A horse has an opening at one end but is closed at the other. That is why a horseshoe is shaped like a U ,while an ox hoof is like ( ) Jun 28 at 17:05
  • See Rashi to Vayikra 11:3. You can have a hoof which is מפרסת פרסה - divided at the top - but not שוסעת שסע - wholly cloven all the way through.
    – Joel K
    Jul 5 at 13:58
  • @JoelK Yes that is what is meant. A horse is מפרסת פרסה, but an ox is שוסעת שסע. I added Rashi and tried to make it clearer Jul 6 at 17:23
  • That’s not what Rashi means. According to Rashi a camel is מפרסת פרסה, but not שוסעת שסע. See Rashi on 11:26
    – Joel K
    Jul 6 at 17:32

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