The Camel, the Hare, & the Hyrax

A study of the laws of animals with one kosher sign in light of modern zoology

By Nosson Slifkin

Out of Print
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"Every animal that has hooves that are fully split and brings up the cud, you shall eat. However, this you shall not eat... the camel, the hare, and the hyrax, for they bring up the cud, but they do not have split hooves; therefore they are unclean to you." (Deuteronomy 14:6-7)

For more than a century, the Torah's list of animals with one kosher sign has been a source of controversy. This obscure topic is used both by those seeking to demonstrate the Torah's scientific knowledge and also by those seeking to challenge it. Do we know the correct identities of these animals? Do they indeed  chew   the  cud   and   lack   split

hooves? Does the Torah claim them to be the only such animals? And are there any others? This groundbreaking work draws upon a wealth of Torah literature and the latest zoological research to present a detailed and comprehensive study of this difficult topic.

"Rambam wrote that difficult and deep passages of the Talmud cannot be addressed by enthusiasm alone. We do a great injustice to the Torah and the Sages by providing explanations that don't really hold water. Sensitive areas of the Torah must be approached with hard work, thorough research, rigorous analysis, and intellectual honesty. In this authoritative book, Rabbi Slifkin once again applies these qualities, and this is why it succeeds."

- Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Author, Maharal: Be'er HaGolah (Artscroll) Review

This book has recently generated a good deal of controversy, with many rabbis condemning its ideas as being beyond the pale of Orthodoxy. Yashar Books has consulted with a number of Orthodox rabbis and is comfortable in saying that different communities have different standards in this matter. We are happy to serve those communities that feel these books are acceptable. If you personally have questions on this matter then we urge you to consult with your local Orthodox rabbi and act accordingly. More information is available at the Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog and at the author's website.

Inside the Book

Table of Contents

1. Hooves and Cud
2. Is the List Claimed to be Exhaustive?
3. Systems of Classification
4. Camels, Llamas, and Camas
5. Shafan and Arneves - Unknown or Extinct?
6. Shafan - The Hyrax (PDF)
7. Arneves - The Hare
8. Cecotrophy in Other Animals
9. The Controversial Capybara
10. Marsupials and Merycism
11. Pigs, Hippos and Peccaries
12. Kosher Pigs?
13. Rules of Teeth and Fish
14. Solutions and Conclusions


Chapter 6:
Shafan - The Hyrax ( PDF)

About the Author

Rabbi Nosson Slifkin
Zoo Torah

Born in Manchester, England, Rabbi Nosson Slifkin (Google him) studied there at Yeshivas Shaarei Torah. He then moved to Israel, where he spent many years in study, at Yeshivas Midrash Shmuel and the Mir Yeshivah. He then taught Talmud and Jewish philosophy at Ohr Somayach Institutions, where he received ordination, and now teaches an extensive Zoo Torah course at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah and Midreshet Moriah Seminary for Women. Rabbi Slifkin has written extensively for the Daf Yomi Advancement Forum (Kollel Iyun HaDaf) and many newspapers, websites and journals. He has been invited as guest lecturer to Bar Ilan University and to numerous synagogues worldwide.

Several years ago, Rabbi Slifkin began teaching about the relationship between Judaism and the animal kingdom at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. He then developed the Zoo Torah program, which he has since successfully operated in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, St. Louis, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego. This program has led Rabbi Slifkin to be featured in television and radio shows as well as in countless newspapers and journals. Rabbi Slifkin has a lifelong fascination with wildlife and has kept a wide variety of exotic pets, including iguanas and tarantulas! His studies of wildlife have led him hiking extensively in Israel, scuba diving to coral reefs in Eilat, on safari in Kenya, whale-watching in California, and behind the scenes at numerous zoological facilities worldwide.

Rabbi Slifkin's wife Avital (Tali), formerly Tali Samson, holds a master's degree from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work amd works as a community social worker for LeMaan Achai. The Slifkins live in Ramat Beit Shemesh, along with their daughter Tikvah Chavah and an assortment of iguanas, rabbits, guinea-pigs, cockatiels, parakeets, quails, and fish.

Other Books by the Author

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