The Ramban notes in his commentary on Bamidbar 21:9 the following:

(Source from Sefaria.org)

וכבר הזכירו דבר מנוסה מפלאות התולדה כי נשוך הכלב השוטה אחרי שנשתטה בחליו אם יקובל השתן שלו בכלי זכוכית יראה בשתן דמות גורי כלבים קטנים ואם תעביר המים במטלית ותסננם לא תמצא בהם שום רושם כלל וכשתחזירם לכלי הזכוכית וישתהו שם כשעה תחזור ותראה שם גורי הכלבים מתוארים

It has already been mentioned and a tested matter from the wonders of science, that one who is bit by a rabid dog, after he has been affected by the [rabies] disease, if a sample of his urine is placed in a glass vessel, small, young dog pups will be observed in the urine. If you were to strain the urine through a cloth, no marks will be seen in the urine. [However,] when you return it [the urine] into a glass vessel and let it sit for about an hour, the image of the young dog pups will appear [in the urine]

My Question

In a similar vein to what I asked in this question, Where else besides for the Ramban is this phenomenon recorded? Is there any other recounting of such an occurrence?

(I am impartial about the sources, be that Jewish or Non-Jewish)

  • see the way it is described here, it sounds like a part of the insanity, but no source, though. Jul 2, 2018 at 17:26
  • @רבותמחשבות theres this too books.google.ca/… Jul 2, 2018 at 17:31
  • @רבותמחשבות but the sources are later than the Ramban. Jul 2, 2018 at 17:32
  • @TrustMeI'mARabbi Are you only looking for sources pre-dating Ramnban?
    – Alex
    Jul 2, 2018 at 17:33
  • 1
    @TrustMeI'mARabbi Perhaps edit that into the question.
    – Alex
    Jul 2, 2018 at 17:47

2 Answers 2


Saul Lieberman, with his unique erudition and knowledge of Greco-Roman literature, writes as follows (Hellenism In Jewish Palestine p. 190):

Nahmanides and Rabbenu Bahya in their commentaries on Num. 21:9 refer to our text in TB [Yoma 84a] and remark that this is also recorded in the "medical books." I was not able to find any reference to it in the early (my emphasis) Greek and Latin medical works.

The first physician who mentions it is Paulus Aegineta (beg. 7th c.) who informs us that "it is thought that the bitten man sees in the water the image of the dog who inflicted the bite." From Paulus it was taken over in later medical literature. However, Paulus Silentiarius (6th c.) already refers to this belief in an amatory epigram: "They say that a man bitten by a mad dog sees the brute's image in the water." The rabbinic text which credits Abaye with the advice to a man bitten by a mad dog that he drink water from a tube in order to avoid the image of the dog seems to be the earliest instance on record of the previously cited belief.

  • My question is regarding seeing images of puppies in a infected persons urine. This relates to earlier in the Ramban Jul 3, 2018 at 3:22
  • @TrustMeI'mARabbi Hence my crediting of Leiberman's erudition. The above is probably as good as it gets. (I'd wager that specific depiction isn't recorded elsewhere; could be mere effective imagery of the other recorded references.)
    – Oliver
    Jul 3, 2018 at 3:47

The Rabbainu Be'chay במדבר כא/ט writes that this is referred to in the Gemorah יומא פד.

דנכית ליה ... תריסר ירחי שתא כי שתי מיא לא לישתי אלא בגובתא דנחשא דילמא חזי בבואה דשידא וליסתכן

The Gemara continues to discuss the baraita: One bitten by a mad dog will die. ... And during those twelve months of the year, [when his clothes are buried,] when he drinks water, let him drink only from a copper tube and not from a spring, lest he see the image of the demon in the water and be endangered.

  • Ramban himself cites that gemara. Don't see what RB is adding.
    – Oliver
    Jul 2, 2018 at 20:05
  • @Oliver - You"re right. However, the Ramban just says which Daf, while the RB quotes the actual Gemorah. Jul 2, 2018 at 20:15
  • 1
    @Oliver, there was no such citation in the question above, so this is a great answer to a terribly asked question.
    – msh210
    Jul 2, 2018 at 20:58
  • 1
    @msh210 if you mind explaining whats so terrible that would be great. Jul 2, 2018 at 21:26
  • 2
    @msh210 The gemara doesn't present the same hydrophobic reaction which Ramban depicts. I understand OP to be asking for a source for "וידוע מדרכי הרפואות שכל נשוכי בעלי הארס... כמו שכתוב בספרי הרפואות"; Ramban clearly did not glean his description from that gemara. (This may be the most "horrible" part of the q: not specifying so.)
    – Oliver
    Jul 2, 2018 at 22:14

You must log in to answer this question.

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