Questions tagged [animals]

Questions pertaining to the identity or biology of animals mentioned in Jewish texts literature, or the status of animals in areas of Jewish law, such as diet or damages.

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47
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5answers
3k views

Are sea sponges kosher?

The sea sponge is scientifically classified as an animal (kingdom Animalia), therefore maybe it would be considered unkosher, as seafood. On the other hand, its phylum Porifera is distinct and ...
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6answers
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Does the Torah discuss aliens?

Does the Torah discuss extra-terrestrial life and/or civilizations? Do any Torah sources exist which discuss what these hypothetical beings would be like and their status/nature? (eg. Would they be ...
28
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3answers
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Is it acceptable under kashrut to eat tyrannosauridae meat?

Theoretically speaking, if tyrannosaurs were still present these days, or in some way or another brought back, would they be kosher? Let's assume that they are properly slaughtered and prepared.
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5answers
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What is it about pigs that's so despised vs. other non-kosher animals?

We all hear about pigs being so much more reviled than other forms of non-kosher. This is true in general culture; I believe such a minhag was recorded with regards to using soap rendered from non-...
23
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2answers
633 views

If I injure a bug, should I kill it?

I'm sure this has happened to lots of people: you somehow injure a bug (or some other animal). I have always heard that this is a case of Tzaar Baalei Chaim, and that you should kill the bug to ...
21
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3answers
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Does an ivory spoon make hot tea non-kosher?

Both the handles of cutlery and entire spoons have been made of elephant ivory, which is from a tusk (a tooth) of an elephant. Elephant is of course not a kosher animal. Presumably, then, these spoons ...
20
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7answers
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If a pig was genetically modified to chew its cud, would it be kosher?

If they were to genetically modify a pig to chew its cud, would it be kosher?
19
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7answers
786 views

G'dolim or Rabbis Owning Pets

Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?
18
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4answers
749 views

Why are there no fish korbanot?

Land animals, birds, wheat and fruit offerings all feature on the list of offerings that Bnei Israel bring for Hashem. Is there anyone that discusses why there are no fish korbanot?
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4answers
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Are Animal Crackers depicting non-kosher animals non-kosher?

Are animal crackers that depict animals such as swine, lions, and camels treif?
17
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5answers
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Werewolf in the Torah

I have been told that there are Pirushim on the Torah who speak of werewolves. Can anyone locate them?
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8answers
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Eating Meat: What Changed?

Adam wasn't allowed to eat meat. After the mabul (Flood) we were suddenly permitted to eat (Bereshit 9:3). What changed (ie what was the reason we weren't allowed to before, why are we allowed to now ...
17
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2answers
255 views

Did the brothers know about the snakes and scorpions in the pit?

Yosef's brothers took him and threw him into a pit (Bereishis 37:24). Chazal tell us that the pit had snakes and scorpions in it (see Rashi there). Reuvein seems to think he is saving Yosef by ...
17
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2answers
385 views

Why was the parah aduma found in 2002 disqualified?

In 2002, various news sources reported that a red heifer was found and the Temple Institute in Israel declared it kosher. Many of these sources later reported that the parah aduma was disqualified ...
16
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4answers
739 views

Kashrus status of turkeys

From what I have heard there were those that did not eat turkey (such as Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky Zatzal) due to a question whether we have a Mesorah as to the Kashrus of this bird. I know that many ...
16
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2answers
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What is the significance of bears in Judaism? Why has Dov (or Dov Ber) been such a common Jewish name?

I understand, to some extent at least, why lions are an important symbol in Judaism. After all, in the beginning of the Shulchan Aruch we are told we should rise like a lion to serve our Creator, and ...
14
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2answers
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Why do Fish not need Shechita?

In order to eat "regular" Kosher animals, there is a requirement for the animal to undergo Shechita (ritual slaughter). If an animal were to be killed / die without Shechita it is forbidden to be ...
14
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6answers
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If shepherds are taboo to Egyptians, what do we make of them having sheep themselves?

Yosef tells his family to say they're shepherds because that's taboo to Egypt: you must say, 'We and our fathers have dealt in livestock all our lives'. You will then be able to settle in the ...
14
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3answers
659 views

Would a genetically engineered red heifer be usable?

Assuming that a non-Jew chose to create a genetically engineered parah adumah (red heifer) and further assuming it met all the halachic requirements --no two black hairs, hadn't been used for work etc....
14
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1answer
344 views

Status of a human-mermaid offspring

This is NOT Purim Torah. Dolfinim can give birth from humans. What are dolfinim? Says Rav Yehudah, mermaids.1 Bechoros 8a. Translation follows Rashi. Whether there are actually mermaids is ...
13
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3answers
596 views

What does it mean that Hashem plays with the Leviatan?

The Talmud in Avodah Zara 3b says that the last quarter of the day Hashem plays with the Leviathan. Is there any explanation of what that means? If so, where? הקב"ה יושב ועוסק בתורה....רביעיות יושב ...
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1answer
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Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
13
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2answers
864 views

Why did the animals of Ninveh have to fast and wear sackcloth?

In Yona 3:7-8 we find that the people of Ninveh included the animals in their teshuva process. Why make the animals fast and don sackcloth? How was this part of the teshuva process?
12
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2answers
611 views

Why do we think of the korban pesach as a sheep, not as a goat?

Ask many a grade-schooler (and many an adult, for that matter) what animal the korban pesach is, and he'll tell you "a sheep".[1] In fact, it can be a sheep or a goat. (It's explicit in chumash (...
12
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1answer
643 views

Veal and Kashrus

Is there any kashrus issue with veal? What about with white veal?
12
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3answers
2k views

Is Okapi meat Kosher?

Is the Okapi a kosher animal? According to its Wikipedia page, it is most closely related to the giraffe, which everyone seems to agree is kosher. A quick Google search tells me that it chews its cud. ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Is kopi luwac (civet excreted coffee beans) kosher?

Kopi luwak , or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and egested by the Asian palm civet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak Is it kosher because they ...
11
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10answers
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What is the problem with dogs?

Deuteronomy 23:19: לֹא תָבִיא אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל נֶדֶר כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ גַּם שְׁנֵיהֶם Why does the Torah have a problem with using the ...
11
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5answers
378 views

Does the colouring of animals depend on what the mother sees before conception?

What is the meaning of the strategies (hishtadlus) that Yaakov made with the conception of the animals starting at 30 (37)? Is it or was it a natural thing that the colouring of animals depends on ...
11
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3answers
6k views

How much is 2 Zuz worth in current USD?

As mentioned in the Passover Hagaddah, how much is "2 Zuz" worth in March 2013 US Dollars? Please note there may be different types of Zuz: "זוזי פשיטי" and "זוזי ממש" (Ketuvot 67a). This may be the ...
11
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3answers
711 views

Why is Bil'am not surprised that his mule is talking to him?

During the scene in parshat Balak, it says that "God opened the mule's mouth" and it asked Bil'am why he hit him. Bil'am answers the donkey. It seems that he is not surprised at all that the donkey is ...
11
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3answers
228 views

Regurgitating Living Forbidden Species

The endurance artist David Blaine is covered in this video showing the technique where one could learn to swallow certain live animals. And, at will, regurgitate the live animal (for example, a frog). ...
11
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1answer
320 views

What can I feed my elderly cat during Pesach?

I have a 19-year-old cat who is (now) on a low-protein diet, precluding the canonical week of tuna. Is there someplace I can buy chametz-free, low-protein food? Are there any consequences (for me) ...
11
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1answer
348 views

Animals Created By Sefer Yetzirah

The Malbim explains that someone created a calf using Sefer Yetzirah, and it could then be eaten with milk. What is it about the animals created from Sefer Yetzirah which make it permissible to eat ...
11
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3answers
330 views

Hamster Food and Chometz

I have hamsters at home, and their usual food is chometz. I can feed them with cornflakes and other kitniyot for a short period (about a week, maybe more), but not for a long time. Hamsters store food ...
11
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3answers
393 views

Animals vs. plants: kashrus

Why did God make all plants, but only some animals, kosher? Sources, please.
11
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1answer
447 views

Are plants that exhibit rapid plant movement considered non-Kosher animals?

There is a question here asking if sea sponges are Kosher. The answers seem to center around the idea that regardless of if they have animal cells, a halachic classification might depend on how it ...
11
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1answer
187 views

Interfering with wild predator and prey animals

Would it be considered tzaar baalei chaim (animal cruelty) to assist a wild animal at the expense of another? Would it be acceptable to help a wild predator catch wild prey (causing distress to the ...
10
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3answers
510 views

Did all animals come into the Teiva?

Were there any type of animals that were destroyed completely by the Mabul? (For example - Is there any source that there were dinosaurs or any other type of wildlife and they were destroyed by the ...
10
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4answers
647 views

What's the difference between כשב and כבש?

What's the difference between כשב and כבש? Why does the Torah use both?
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5answers
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What did the Jews' animals in the desert eat?

The Talmud in Bechoros 5b says that "When the Jewish people left Egypt, there wasn’t a single Jew who didn’t have [at least] ninety donkies laden with silver and gold from Egypt" I assume there was ...
10
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2answers
538 views

Chad Gadya: The price of a kid goat

Was the fair market value of a kid goat really two zuzim? This piyyut is of course allegorical, but, if the value given is highly inaccurate, is the discrepancy in value symbolic beyond the symbolism ...
10
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3answers
507 views

How could we learn behavior from animals?

The gemarah in Eruvin 100b says that had the Torah not been give we would have learned various behaviors from certain animals, such as modesty from the cat. To me this presupposes that had the Torah ...
10
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1answer
408 views

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter?

Is a Jewish farmer allowed to raise animals for non-kosher slaughter? Does it make a difference whether it is a non-kosher animal (e.g. pig), vs. a kosher animal? Does it make a difference whether the ...
10
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3answers
186 views

Putting a suffering animal out of its misery - Mitzvah, Reshut or prohibition?

How does the concept of Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim deal with putting an animal out of its misery by killing it in order to prevent unnecessary pain (of the animal)? For instance, when one sees an animal ...
10
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3answers
315 views

Shofar from an extinct animal

After paying a trip to the Natural History Museum in London I found myself wondering... would it be allowed (to any extent) to use a shofar of an animal that has kosher simanim but is extinct? There ...
10
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1answer
208 views

mating prevention as Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim

Does anyone know whether keeping an animal of one sex as a pet is considered Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim or not, since it cannot mate?
9
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2answers
900 views

Why do you make a Bracha on seeing a monkey?

Why do you make the Bracha Mishaneh Habriyos on seeing a monkey?
9
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1answer
306 views

Can 'cruelty to animals' render an animal not kosher?

The problem of cruelty to animals is rife in the food production industry. This article brings the reasoning of two Rabbanim to forbid foie gras and veal on these grounds: Some of the greatest ...
9
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2answers
263 views

Snakes talking?

I am wondering why snakes no longer talk. The Lord punished the serpent by making him crawl on his belly and eat dust, and be at odds with Eve's offspring, but it does not mention taking away the ...