In vayikra 11, we're given an overview of the kosher and non kosher animals. Among mammals, it singles out four as explicitly non kosher: the pig for only having split hooves, and the camel, hare, and hyrax for only chewing their cud.

I can conceive of different reasons for having three separate examples in the later category (different types of cud chewing or inappropriate hoof splits ...), but what I can't conceive is why we need three separate verses (4–6) for these examples. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Edit to clarify:

Why doesn't the Torah condense it to a single prohibition attached to a list: "et hagamal v'et hashafan v'et ha'arnevet (which are three discrete examples of the following properties), ki shosa'as shesa hem uparsam aynenah mafreses, tameyim hem lachem."

  • 3
    It keeps the baal kriah on his toes, he has to remember which are "hu" and which are "hee."
    – Shalom
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:07
  • 1
    @Shalom Not completely true. I discovered the simple "trick". Pay attention (which I think every B.K. should do) to which word is being modified. "arnevet" ends in segol-taf, which is a common hint that the word is nekevah, and thus, its adjective is hi.
    – DanF
    Apr 14, 2015 at 16:02
  • 1
    @Shalom Much easier than DanF's suggestion: Become chassidish and you can always say "hee"!
    – Adám
    Apr 14, 2015 at 16:16
  • Interesting coincidence - I was doing chazara of daf yomi (kesuvos 60) and it learns out that the chalav of a woman is muttar from the use of "hu" by the gamal... this might point towards an answer... Apr 16, 2015 at 2:05

4 Answers 4


Blockquote I am not an expert in hares and hyraxes but the camel's issue is foot related but the others are cud related. I think the hare has 2 types of poop. One which it re-eats and the final form. Presumably the hyrax does the same thing with barf. We need the other 2 to say that these activities don't count as cud chewing.

i'm upvoting your answer and adding to it. People mistakingly assume that the Hare and the Hyrax chew their cud in the same way that the camel (or cow or deer) does, this is very far from the truth. Chewing of the cud the way that the camel does requires a multichambered stomach, which neither the Hare nor the Hyrax have. As you have pointed out, the hare often chews it's feces, this is not chewing of the cud. And i believe the Hyrax does a different system as well.

So i believe your point makes sense. Why 3 different Pasukim?

  1. Because the Camel chews it's cud in the normal way

  2. Because the Hare chews it's cud in a different way.

  3. Because the Hyrax chews it's cud different than the first two.

Therefore, to Israelites who originally might not have known the difference, the Torah uses the same terminology of chewing the cud, seeming superfluous. But now that we have the science and the observation to know that they are different, we can key in on the hint that the Torah is giving us.

  • That's explaining why we need three species as examples. I already concede that as potentially important in my question. It doesn't explain why the three examples require different verses, which implies separate dinim, not just unique examples. Apr 15, 2015 at 20:53
  • 1
    If you are asking "Why would G-d make three separate verses," i can't answer that. Because i'm not convinced that G-d divided the Torah up into verses. It was transmitted as letters and overall divisions, but not in verse form. The Rabbis or transmitters of the text are the ones who were in charge of parsing it even further.
    – Aaron
    Apr 15, 2015 at 23:18
  • I had this conversation earlier this morning with someone. The issue is that the repetition of the issur among the three examples still hasn't been addressed. We have a counter example in the gemara that explains the extraneous phrase "asher einenu tehora" as midas nekiyus. The triplicate phrasing here should have SOME import then... Apr 15, 2015 at 23:57
  • Ah. So because it's repeatedly forbidden, you are saying it must add layers of meaning, like not boiling a kid in it's mother's milk being repeated 3 times. It's simple meaning cannot be the answer, it's repetition must yield 3 separate answers?
    – Aaron
    Apr 16, 2015 at 0:21
  • Correct, because otherwise the same meaning is accomplished by condensing it into a single prohibition attached to a list. Apr 16, 2015 at 0:30

The assumption behind this question is that every letter, every word and every verse of the Torah is measured out carefully. Thus, we see that from an extra vav, a halacha may be derived. When, in the discussions often found in the gemara, one Tanna interprets an extra word in one way to prove his point, we must take pains to explain how his disputant, the other Tanna, makes use of that extra word. When an entire narrative is repeated, as with Eliezer and Rivka, this is deemed extraordinary and goes to show Hashem's great esteem for the Avot. When in parashat Noach, the Torah adds a few words in one instance so as not to use the cruder language, this is deemed extraordinary against the usual background of brevity and so teaches us the importance of refined language.

To sum up, there is this well-established notion that the every jot and tittle of the Torah is deliberate and that there is no unneeded repetition. While on a peshat level, many Rishonim would talk about natural linguistic motivations for extra words -- e.g. kefel inyan bemilim shonot, at the very least, in the realm of midrash halacha and midrash aggadah, there should be no repetition to no deliberate purpose.

There should therefore exist a systematic interpretation of every seemingly extra letter, word, and phrase in the Torah.

Many years back, I read a scholarly book (though cannot remember the name) about midrash halacha. The author asserted that, though Chazal attempted to make such a systematic interpretation across Torah, they did NOT succeed in this. That is, if you look through all of midrash halacha (of a work of midrash halacha) to see that every pasuk is accounted for, and every extra word, according to each opinion, you will find gaps that are really gaps.

Your question is then about one of these apparent gaps.

I don't know if Chazal interpreted the extra split into pesukim here. I believe that they do.

See Sifra on these pesukim, and particularly this quote:

"את הגמל כי מעלה גרה הוא.. ואת השפן כי מעלה גרה הוא.. ואת הארנבת כי מעלה גרה היא" מה תלמוד לומר? אם לתיקון המקרא הרי כבר נאמר 'הגמל והארנבת והשפן כי מעלה גרה המה', ולמה באו? לרבות את הריבויים שאמרנו.

That is, it seems to ask why state separately these three, in three separate statements. And if for the purpose of Tikkun HaMikra (unclear what it is -- HaLivni says it is ambiguous and is the only place found in Rabbinic literature), it is already stated (Devarim 14:7) הגמל והארנבת והשפן כי מעלה גרה המה. Rather, it is to include all the ribuyim we have stated.

So one should then learn through this Sifra carefully to deduce which ribuyim are accomplished specifically by splitting it up in this manner.

Edit: Also, I saw the following in a parsha sheet this Shabbos - which is what called me back to answer this question in the first place:

Torah Lodaas parsha sheet - Baal Musar about invalidating someone, only on basis of past, present, future

  • What was the point of those first few paragraphs? And where have you seen mipharshei HaTorah say 'kefel inyan bemilim shonot'? Nach, sure. Torah? I don't think so.
    – user6591
    Apr 28, 2015 at 2:03
  • 1
    Here is one example from Torah. Bereishit 32:8: ויירא יעקב מאד ויצר לו. Radak writes: כפל הענין במלות שונות לרוב יראתו Apr 28, 2015 at 3:06
  • The point of those first few paragraphs is this. The question, like most on this site, is based on assumptions. We must first make those assumptions clear and lay them out in the open. On a peshat level, there is no question. It is just stylistic. On a derash level, this might be a fool's errand. Not in this case per se, but in the general case, that one cannot go about asking and expecting answers using this methodology. It may not be possible, and it may be that Chazal had all their intended conclusions laid out and one cannot apply the methodology blindly. Apr 28, 2015 at 3:10
  • But that means Radak felt it necessary ro give a reason why it was doubled. Not like in Nach where the mifarshim use those words to say don't worry, move along. That example is simply a borrowed term with a different usage. The assumptions on this site that every word in the Torah are weighed and necessary and are there deliberately by Hashem to teach something are based on the common orthodox/modern orthodox/hassidic/chareidi [or whatever you want to call people who believe in Torah MiSinai directly from Hashem] view.
    – user6591
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:09
  • 1
    Here is another, on "כֹּחִי וְרֵאשִׁית אוֹנִי יֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עָז". in bereishit 49:3. rashbam writes דיבור אחד הוא, דרך המקראות לכפול את דבריהם. As to the rest, I will compose a comment later. Apr 28, 2015 at 13:41

In Devarim they're listed the way you suggested, all in one posuk.

Daas Sofrim says (http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=39783&st=&pgnum=169) that in Vayikra they're given each their own posuk to stress the issur because these animals were commonly eaten, and also because each one is on a different level in ruchnius (and Chazal say that each one represents one of the four kingdoms).


I am not an expert in hares and hyraxes but the camel's issue is foot related but the others are cud related. I think the hare has 2 types of poop. One which it re-eats and the final form. Presumably the hyrax does the same thing with barf. We need the other 2 to say that these activities don't count as cud chewing.

  • That explains why we need the three examples, but not why each example needs an individual verse. Apr 14, 2015 at 11:59
  • 3 concepts, 3 posuks Apr 14, 2015 at 13:38
  • That's not how the gemara works, generally. "Unneeded" words are used to drive separate concepts and rules. Entire extra verses that we would expect to be condensed (especially consecutive verses) need to be giving entirely separate rulings, not just different classifications. Example: li tivashel gedi bechalav imo written three times needs to provide three different dinim. Apr 14, 2015 at 13:42
  • Perhaps 3 are needed because you can't learn one from the other. Apr 14, 2015 at 16:54
  • So the question is why would we need three separate issurim rather than handle different examples under the same issur. Apr 15, 2015 at 20:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .