In The Legends of the Jews, Ginzberg relates this story:

The first time Adam witnessed the sinking of the sun be was also seized with anxious fears. It happened at the conclusion of the Sabbath, and Adam said, "Woe is me! For my sake, because I sinned, the world is darkened, and it will again become void and without form. Thus will be executed the punishment of death which God has pronounced against me!" All the night he spent in tears, and Eve, too, wept as she sat opposite to him. When day began to dawn, he understood that what he had deplored was but the course of nature, and be brought an offering unto God, a unicorn whose horn was created before his hoofs, and he sacrificed it on the spot on which later the altar was to stand in Jerusalem.

Does anyone know an earlier source for this story?


1 Answer 1


The Gemara in Shabbas 28b brings that Rav Yehuda said that the Ox that Adam offered had one horn. The discussion in the gemara was discussing what group should the Tachash (unicorn- or singled horned animal) be classified under,a beheima or a chaya. The Gemara in Avoda Zara 8a adds also the whole story with Adam and Chava.

  • +1 seffer siach chulin implies the creature was a giraffe. The fact that it has one horn like growth in the middle of it's head is not in conflict with the fact that it has two others on the side. However someone I know spoke to the author who said he never meant to imply that creature was a giraffe. Go figure.
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2017 at 0:20
  • @user6591 its intresting that he thought it was a giraffe since the gemara says that a giraffe also had one horn and is called a chaya,so from the gemara itself it cant be that the animal was a giraffe,unless your referring to the gemara in AZ
    – sam
    Jan 22, 2017 at 0:25
  • I don't remember all the details and I don't have my copy handy. There was a now sized piece iirc discussing the tachash keresh connection. Maybe your point is why he said he never really meant what it seems like he meant:)
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2017 at 0:41
  • @user6591 R' Slifkin in "mysterious creatures" claims that the two "side horns" are not true horns but some other growth. The central bony horn of a giraffe is not present in all giraffe species. Jan 22, 2017 at 0:48
  • @David that means he likes the giraffe idea or not?
    – user6591
    Jan 22, 2017 at 1:00

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