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What is the smallest living creature mentioned by the Sages in the Talmud / Midrashim, maybe bugs/mites/bacteria?

Are there any invisible to the naked eye?

  • I wrote here regarding the fact that halacha is not concerned with what the eye cannot see. Maybe relevant for you – mbloch Aug 13 '18 at 13:34
  • @Al Are you looking for aggadic sources as well or actual creatures? – Orion Aug 13 '18 at 13:47
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Shabbat 107b:

אמר ליה אביי וכינה אין פרה ורבה והאמר מר יושב הקדוש ברוך הוא וזן מקרני ראמים ועד ביצי כינים מינא הוא דמיקרי ביצי כינים

Abaye said to him: And lice do not procreate? Didn’t the Master say: The Holy One, Blessed be He, sits and sustains from the horns of wild oxen to the eggs of lice? [He answered him:] There is a species that is called lice eggs.

It seems to me that this piece of gemara is describing Hashem as sustaining all creatures, ranging from the largest - the re'em (here translated as the wild ox) - to the smallest, a species known as 'lice eggs'.

If this interpretation is correct, then the smallest living creatures known to the author of this passage would be the aforementioned beitzei kinim, or 'lice eggs'.

[Note, however, this article by R. Dr. Slifkin where he claims that when the gemara talks about 'lice eggs' as a distinct species, this is referring to actual lice eggs, which at the time were believed to be laid by lice but from which lice did not hatch. According to this interpretation, then, this gemara does not actually mention any small living creature.]

  • Actually, lice are mentioned numerous times. It can also be clearly seen. How about bugs in fruits we can's see with naked eyes? – Al Berko Aug 8 '18 at 18:04
  • what about the bug which flew into titus' ear, was that not described as being the smallest creature? – heshy Aug 8 '18 at 18:51
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    @Heshy It’s described in Gittin 56a as a בריה קלה. I don’t think that that’s necessarily the smallest creature. – Joel K Aug 8 '18 at 19:12

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