We know that Noach took onto the ark all kinds of animals including "every creeping thing of the ground" (מִכֹּל רֶמֶשׂ הָאֲדָמָה), which I've always understood to be creeping things that actually locomote on the ground, not all bugs. Does this last group include insects like flies, mosquitos, cicadas, bees, and so forth, bugs that fly or fritter about or buzz but don't creep? If not, how did they survive?

(I grant that this question assumes they were created during the six days though they aren't mentioned there either, so one possibility is that they're considered too insignificant to be mentioned. If so, I'd appreciate a source for that.)

  • 1
    Sanhedrin 38A -- halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_38.html -- "Our Rabbis taught: Adam was created [last of all beings] on the eve of Sabbath. And why? — ...Another answer is: In order that, if a man's mind becomes [too] proud, he may be reminded that the gnats preceded him in the order of creation. "
    – Menachem
    May 24, 2013 at 5:17
  • See Gemara and Rashi Shabbos 113b May 26, 2013 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


Rashi to Gen. 7:14, citing Chullin 139b (bottom), points out that locusts are included in the phrase צפור כל כנף, "birds of every kind of wing." (To be precise, the Gemara there explains that צפור means kosher birds, and כל כנף means non-kosher birds plus locusts. Incidentally, then, that also indicates that the description in Gen. 1:22 of G-d creating עוף כנף, "winged birds," would also include locusts.)

Considering that locusts are classified (Lev. 11:20-23) among the שרץ העוף, "flying insects," I would assume - although I don't have a proof for this - that the Gemara mentions locusts simply as an example, and that other creatures such as the ones you mentioned are included by implication too.

  • didn't chazal believe that flies spontaneously generated? May 24, 2013 at 20:36
  • @CharlesKoppelman: not flies, but smaller creatures (whose eggs are invisible to the naked eye) such as lice and worms.
    – Alex
    May 24, 2013 at 22:28
  • @Alex Are flies' (or most insect's) eggs visible?
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2013 at 6:57
  • @DoubleAA: according to Wikipedia they're about 1.2mm in size, which is surely large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
    – Alex
    May 26, 2013 at 16:05
  • @Alex Ok, but Wikipedia also says that louse eggs are 0.8 mm in size, which is equally visible with the naked eye.
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2013 at 16:08

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