Thursday, August 25, 2011

The hyrax as ruminant

In parashat Re'eh, we read of the non-kosher animals which are non-kosher even though they are ruminants. In Devarim 14:7:

7. But you shall not eat of those that chew the cud, or of those that have the split hooves: the cloven one, the camel, the hyrax, and the hare, for they chew the cud, but do not have split hooves; they are unclean for you.ז. אַךְ אֶת זֶה לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמַּעֲלֵי הַגֵּרָה וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵי הַפַּרְסָה הַשְּׁסוּעָה אֶת הַגָּמָל וְאֶת הָאַרְנֶבֶת וְאֶת הַשָּׁפָן כִּי מַעֲלֵה גֵרָה הֵמָּה וּפַרְסָה לֹא הִפְרִיסוּ טְמֵאִים הֵם לָכֶם:

There are difficulties with the identifications of many Biblical animals, and looking at the identities provided by various Geonim and Rishonim indeed yields a lot of machlokes. The shafan is one such example. In seems that some meforshim who lived in Spain identified it as a rabbit. But Rav Saadia Gaon, who lived in closer proximity to Eretz Yisrael, and Rabbi Maryonis {=Rabbenu Yonah Ibn Janach} identified it as the hyrax. The behavior of the hyrax matches closely with descriptions of the shafan as found in Tehillim and Mishlei, while the behavior of the rabbit is not as consistent. And in the Ekhili dialect of Arabic, the hyrax is called thufun, a cognate of shafan. That is a lot of good evidence in favor of this identification.

The difficulty, though, is that the hyrax does not actually chew its cud, as far as we know. If so, what are we to make of the pasuk?

Recall that Aristotle thought that the hare was a true ruminant. He was wrong, but this demonstrates ancient belief. Presumably he (or some other ancient zoologist) saw the mouth motions of the hare (continuous chewing motions) and thought that they ruminated. The same is true for the hyrax, even though Aristotle did not specifically discuss it. There is an observed behavior of hyraxes which appears like rumination.



(Note that this might actually be merycism, which involves regurgitation, and which certain opponents of the hyrax identification have said that the hyrax does not practice. But at the very least, we can see how ancient zoologists might have thought that the hyrax was a ruminant.)

If so, there are at least three explanations of the verse, assuming we adopt hyrax as the translation of shafan:

  1. The Torah is not Divine, but reflects only mankind's flawed knowledge of nature. Moshe Rabbenu did not know that the hyrax did not ruminate, and so he encoded an error in the Torah. I include this because it is intellectually honest to do so, and to stress that we cannot exclude an interpretation which has this rather strong support just because we will end up reaching a conclusion we do not like. This option cuts off many of the objections to hyrax-shafan opponents.
    .
  2. The Torah is Divine, but it is not a science book. It is willing to accept, and work within, the mistaken assumptions of the time. This is dibra Torah kilshon benei Adam, according to some Rishonim. Maybe. Or maybe this is an extension of their conception of dibra Torah. Therefore, it is willing to call a shafan a maaleh geira even though it is not actually a ruminant.
    .
  3. Maaleh geira is a noun phrase, not a verb phrase. As Ibn Ezra writes elsewhere, there is no real present tense verb in Hebrew. Rather, the noun is co-opted for this task. Hu Shomer can mean "he is watching", or it can mean "he is a watchman". Ki Maaleh Geirah Heimah can mean "for bringing up the cud they are" or "for ruminants are they". By ruminants, one would include whatever in antiquity people considered a ruminant, even if they were wrong about the actual act of rumination. A tomato is called a vegetable because it is not so sweet in the fruit sense, and we would put it in a vegetable salad. Speaking from the perspective of a botanist, it is a fruit. A whale would be considered a dag or daga, according to the classification in ancient times of dag as a sea-creature. The Torah is saying that it is a ruminant (a noun), where the definition is that of the speech of contemporaries. This is different from a claim that it ruminates (a verb).
Now, need there be a single consistent definition for maaleh geirah? After all, it is one expression applying in the pasuk to the gamal, arneves, and shafan. I don't see this as a requirement. There need not be a consistent, single, definition of maaleh geirah, just so long as each can be described as a maaleh geirah. For instance, the gamal practices true rumination. If the rabbit and hare are to be considered maaleh geirah because they practice cecotrophy (poop-eating), then this can be said to comprise a multiple definition.

But, it turns out that we can adopt a single definition. Considering the three possibilities above:

(1) That it actually ruminates. But, the Torah was wrong about it.
(2) That ancient people, contemporary with Matan Torah all the way down to Rav Saadia Gaon, and perhaps even much later, thought, correctly or incorrectly, that it ruminates.
(3) The same as (2), more or less. It was called a maaleh geirah by ancient people.

Now, there is a midrash which possibly demonstrates that Chazal actually thought it possessed a single physical sign of Kashrut:

ויקרא רבה (וילנא) פרשה יג ה' ד"ה א"ר שמואל

את השפן זו מדי, רבנן ור' יהודה ברבי סימון, רבנן אמרי מה השפן הזה יש בו סימני טומאה וסימני טהרה, כך היתה מלכות מדי מעמדת צדיק ורשע, אמר רבי יהודה ברבי סימון דריוש האחרון בנה של אסתר היה טהור מאמו וטמא מאביו.
It has the signs of tumah and it has the signs of taharah. Great. That is what the pasuk itself says. But perhaps this can be taken to refer to physical signs. We know the sign of tumah. What of the sign of taharah?

Well, besides trying to reinterpret that midrash and the meaning of simanim, we could say that it still refers to the hyrax, and that Chazal were among the ancient people, just like Aristotle, who had incorrect zoological knowledge about hares and hyraxes. Just the other day, we saw that Chazal thought that cats and foxes deliberately inject venom into their victims via claws. And we don't then say that we must not know the chatul. Chazal believed in spontaneous generation. We don't say that we must not know what Chazal really meant when they spoke of worms and lice. Chazal spoke of snakes as having a gestational period of seven years, and a man's spine turning into a snake. We don't say that Chazal must have been talking about different creatures called adam and nachash! This works with options (1, 2, 3) above. (Note: See also here, which is the partial prompt for this post. See also a chapter from Rabbi Natan Slifkin's old book, which discusses hyraxes as shafan. And you can purchase his newly republished (and modified) book, The Camel, the Hare, and the Hyrex here. See also Rabbi Slifkin's post for today, Hyrax Day.)

There could also be other definitions of maaleh geirah which the Torah deems sufficient to classify it as a maaleh geirah. Thus, for example, in the Living Torah, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes:
hyrax
  Hyrax syriacus or Procavia capens syriacaShafan in Hebrew; chiorogryllios in Greek, (Septuagint); tafan in Arabic. The hyrax is a small mammal, around 20 inches long, living in the Negev mountains. It has short feet, covered with elastic, a flexible tail-less body, and pads. It nests in the clefts of rocks (Psalms 104:18), and lives in small groups (Proverbs 30:26). Since it has a maw like a ruminant, it is considered to 'bring up its cud.'Saadia similarly translates it into the Arabic wabr, denoting the hyrax or rock badger (cf. Malbim). Other sources translate it as a coney or jerboa.
I am not sure if by 'maw' like a ruminant he means jaw or stomach. The hyrax has both features like a ruminant. And once the Torah deems it sufficiently like a ruminant, it would say that it is maaleh geirah. Indeed, then, the midrash in Vayikra Rabba can be taken literally and as correct, that the simanim of maaleh geirah are in it.

This is just by way of illustration, that there are people who know their stuff who translate shafan as hyrax, and who have ways of explaining the pasuk.

76 comments:

Natan Slifkin said...

I have another video in which you can actually see motion in the hyrax's throat while it is chewing. So, while I was initially unsure whether it practices merycism, now I have evidence for it. In other words, it's not just that they APPEAR to be ruminating (but are actually only doing chewing motions) - they really are regurgitating food and rechewing it.

joshwaxman said...

Thanks! Wow.

While my post still makes sense, if one wanted to argue that merycism and cecotrophy of hares, rabbits and hyraxes don't count as maaleh geirah, I could now write an entirely new post, without needing to appeal to this. Indeed, maybe I shall. Is that video on YouTube? (I can write the post even without it.)

kol tuv,
Josh

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Sorry for my short answer, I am still abroad lecturing day and night...

Do you have any scientific source supporting your suggestion that the hyrax practices merycism?

In any case, merycism (practiced by the kangaroo) is not “maaleh gerah”, because nutritionally it does not resemble rumination or caecotrophy.

Mike S. said...

There is another point. Modern science has often adopted preexisting terms and given them specialized meaning. This need not obliterate the preexisting term. Thus fish can mean "sea creature" colloquially, and we can speak of shellfish (mullusca) and starfish (echinoderm) and call someone who catches lobsters (arthropod) a fisherman, even though anatomically or zoologically "fish" has a more restrictive meaning limited to vertebrates. Similarly although mass and weight have distinct meanings to a physicist, we tend to use them interchangeably colloquially, and my doctor said he "weighed" me last week, even though the balance he used really measured my mass, not my weight.

There is no reason whatsoever to expect terms in Biblical Hebrew to align completely with modern zoological terminology. Perhaps that is what you meant by explanation 3, but I don't understand why it would matter whether the phrase is a verb or noun.

joshwaxman said...

This "short answer" is a an answer only to the aside, and thus deviation from the main thrust of this post.

"Do you have any scientific source supporting your suggestion that the hyrax practices merycism?"

Video evidence will be enough to convince me. You want to make 'scientific' in that it needs to be in a peer reviewed journal? Heh. You know what the source is, since I stated it; and your question is not a question but a statement. Purported questions which are really statements (together with a homework assignment to find such a source) is something you already know I find obnoxious.

In any case, merycism (practiced by the kangaroo) is not “maaleh gerah”, because nutritionally it does not resemble rumination or caecotrophy.
Wow! I did not know that I was standing in the presence of Moshe Rabbenu! After all, he would be the one privy to the definition.

Who appointed you a PROPHET to determine what "maaleh" (bringing up) "gera" (ground, chewed food; cmp with garon, gargeret, throat) means? And that throwing up food and chewing it does NOT count, while eating poop **does** count. Nutritionally? Where does the pasuk mention nutrition? And why can't I turn around and ask you to exclude cecotrophy (eating poop) as less similar to rumination, and less covered by the literal translation, than merycism?

kol tuv,
josh

joshwaxman said...

Mike S.

thanks. the purpose of verb vs. noun is to answer the possible objection that it has to be doing something physical (like being maaleh the geira) in order to be reckoned a maaleh geira. Think of it in light of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's definition. The anatomical structure is there, but not the action, according to him.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
I would not "assign you any homework" in case you would not make any statement.
You suggested that the hyrax practices merycism, so I asked for a scientific source.
If for you a video it is enough evidence, fine, but please do not expect this to be enough in any scientific forum.

You wrote:
Who appointed you a PROPHET to determine what "maaleh" (bringing up) "gera" (ground, chewed food; cmp with garon, gargeret, throat) means?

IB:
You do not need to be a prophet for determining the common denominator of the 13 animals called maale gera, and then look in the available scientific literature and arriving to the conclusion that merycism practiced by the kangaroo is physiologically non-equivalent to classic rumination and to see that caecotrophy practiced by the rabbit is similar to rumination.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
If anatomical similarities to the digestive tract of the classical ruminants is enough for being called "maale gera" then the peccary is a kosher pig?

Harry the Hyrax said...

Dr. Betech, what does "scientific" mean? Do you mean "stated by a scientist" or "based on evidence"? If the latter, then surely video evidence should suffice. If the former, then do you mean that if a scientist says that hyraxes regurgitate their food, that will suffice for you? Would you also accept the statement of a scientist that evolution is true?

"caecotrophy practiced by the rabbit is similar to rumination."

Similar, but not the same. What is your proof that this qualifies as maale gera? Do you have scientific evidence? Do you have evidence from Chazal or the Rishonim?

David said...

To Dr. Betech: I am curious to know your case for asserting that verses in Tehillim and Mishlei are referring to the habits of the rabbit. Do you mean that rabbits lived in Biblical Israel - and if so, do you have evidence for that? And if not, then how would David know about it, and how would his listeners and readers know what he was talking about? Please provide evidence for all your claims. If for you faith is enough evidence, fine, but please do not expect this to be enough in any scientific forum.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
and Rabbi Maryonis {=Rabbenu Yonah Ibn Janach} identified it as the hyrax.

IB:
I know you like to check original ancient sources, did you read the original Ibn Janach in Arabic?
If you will do, probably you will see that Ibn Janach says exactly the opposite you said.

joshwaxman said...

"I would not "assign you any homework" in case you would not make any statement. "

My statement was not that there is peer-reviewed literature. (Though there are scientists who claimed to have seen hyraxes regurgitate food and then eat it again.)

My statement was that Rabbi Natan Slifkin has video of the throat moving as well... well, you can see his comment.

A 'normal' response would be: "Well, I don't put much stock in videos. I don't believe that there is any scientific source (which I define as X) which says it, and I favor such 'scientific' sources."

By phrasing it as a question and homework assignment, you take that assertion and you make it into an axiom, and at the same time suggest on the sly to others that I have thus not proved my case. It is reframing and shifting of the burden of proof. And I think it is an obnoxious and tricky debating tactic. Had you written something akin to the 'normal' statement above, I would not have found it obnoxious. I would still disagree with it, of course, but that is another matter.

"You do not need to be a prophet for determining the common denominator of the 13 animals called maale gera"
here is **your** homework assignment. where are these 13 animals defined unambiguously, and why do you take those definitions instead of R' Saadia Gaon's and that of Ibn Janach? For those 13, what is the definition of maaleh geirah? Is it the case that all except the hyrex / coney and the hare are true ruminants? Please elaborate.

You need to set that up more clearly before you make the following assertions for me to consider. I still don't buy it, but maybe if you could argue it more effectively, I might.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Harry

You wrote:
Dr. Betech, what does "scientific" mean? Do you mean "stated by a scientist" or "based on evidence"? If the latter, then surely video evidence should suffice. If the former, then do you mean that if a scientist says that hyraxes regurgitate their food, that will suffice for you? Would you also accept the statement of a scientist that evolution is true?

IB:
Objectively verifiable information published in a peer reviewed publication would be enough.

You wrote:
"caecotrophy practiced by the rabbit is similar to rumination."

Similar, but not the same. What is your proof that this qualifies as maale gera? Do you have scientific evidence? Do you have evidence from Chazal or the Rishonim?

IB:
This is exactly the approach presented in the book "The enigma of the biblical shafan"

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear David
This topic is approached in the above mentioned book.

joshwaxman said...

"If anatomical similarities to the digestive tract of the classical ruminants is enough for being called "maale gera" then the peccary is a kosher pig?"

My assumption is that you are asking according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. He referred to the maw, which means either the jaw or the stomach. If he meant the jaw, then no. If he meant the stomach, then perhaps. Why do you assume the piccary cannot be kosher? Maybe it is. (Practically, I would not eat it misafek.)

I know you like to check original ancient sources, did you read the original Ibn Janach in Arabic?
If you will do, probably you will see that Ibn Janach says exactly the opposite you said.

I did not but relied on secondary sources; and indeed when looking in a (Hebrew) dictionary, did not find the support. Rather than telling me that it says the opposite, why not tell me the Arabic and the translation into English? That way, I can weigh it, and might well revise my opinion. I am not wedded to Ibn Janach saying this.

Meanwhile, I wrote this whole post (above), which has been ignored!

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
Sorry for not being able to follow the protocol you suggest and for not being able to argue it more effectively.
But anyway I would love to read your answers to other points elicited.

joshwaxman said...

Objectively verifiable information published in a peer reviewed publication would be enough.

So being published is not enough; you would want to be able to verify it, by seeing video. And seeing video is not enough; you would want it peer-reviewed.

Given your seeming general attitude to scientific consensus and peer-reviewed literature (regarding evolution and age of the universe), I suspect that this high bar is being set because you want to avoid a specific outcome, of admitting that you were wrong.

joshwaxman said...

Sorry for not being able to follow the protocol you suggest and for not being able to argue it more effectively.

Nope. I don't accept your apology. And I will continue to point out your tricks as you use them. And I will continue to ask you to discuss things like a normal person would. Otherwise, I am almost forced to point your deviations from "my" "protocol", as you try to sneak in assumptions.

I asked you a question. The 13 animals are ______________. The definitions for these maaleh gera are ______________. Please fill in the blanks.

Harry the Hyrax said...

Objectively verifiable information published in a peer reviewed publication would be enough.

It was in a peer-reviewed journal, as cited in R. Slifkin's book. And it can be objectively verified via video. Do you have objectively verifiable information published in a peer reviewed publication that hyraxes do NOT do this? No. So why are you so sure that they do not?

Do you have objectively verifiable information published in a peer reviewed publication that maale gerah can refer to cecotrophy? No.
Do you have objectively verifiable information published in a peer reviewed publication that people in ancient Israel were familiar with rabbits in Spain? No.

You refer us to your book. Maybe such a claim that "you have the answers elsewhere" would suffice for you, but not for us in this forum. Here, we call it empty posturing. If you actually had the evidence and arguments, you would provide them.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:

So being published is not enough; you would want to be able to verify it, by seeing video. And seeing video is not enough; you would want it peer-reviewed.

IB:
Sorry Rab Waxman, these are not "my standadrs", they are the regular standards in scientific literature.

Observer said...

Chevra, you are completely wasting your time with Betech. As with every single post of his, and every comment thread where he pops up, he wastes people's time and he NEVER ACTUALLY SAYS ANYTHING. He NEVER answers direct questions. He NEVER discusses what he himself believes. He just challenges other peoples' positions and plays word games in order to wear people down.

Betech, if you want to prove me wrong, then answer people's direct questions to you. There are several in this thread that you have avoided.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Waxman

You wrote:
I asked you a question. The 13 animals are ______________.
The definitions for these maaleh gera are ______________.
Please fill in the blanks.

IB:
The 13 animals are the 10 kosher animals mentioned in the Torah as having the 2 signs and the 3 having one sign.

My suggested definition for the proper understanding of Leviticus 11:2-8 and Deuteronomy 14:4-8.

An animal is called “maaleh gerah” when it redigests its own partially digested meals. This process must be practiced regularly and must be nutritionally imperative (as we see with the 13 animals which the Torah called explicitly “maaleh gerah”) (“classic ruminant” or “cecotroph”).
Aside from that, it has an external feature, i.e. chews with lateral movements (ectental), (as we see with the 13 animals which the Torah called explicitly “maaleh gerah”).
Please note of the fact that both characteristics together increase the efficient utilization of available food.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Observer
You wrote:
Betech, if you want to prove me wrong, then answer people's direct questions to you. There are several in this thread that you have avoided.

IB:
Please enumerate them.

joshwaxman said...

Sorry Rab Waxman, these are not "my standadrs", they are the regular standards in scientific literature.

Because of course your concerns are purely scientific.

In the meantime, I asked you to define the 13 animals and how each is maaleh gera. (This to evaluate if you are a "prophet".) Have you done this yet?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
I know you like to check original ancient sources, did you read the original Ibn Janach in Arabic?
If you will do, probably you will see that Ibn Janach says exactly the opposite you said.

I did not but relied on secondary sources; and indeed when looking in a (Hebrew) dictionary, did not find the support.
Rather than telling me that it says the opposite, why not tell me the Arabic and the translation into English?
That way, I can weigh it, and might well revise my opinion. I am not wedded to Ibn Janach saying this.

IB:
Ibn Janach:
“And the shafan. It is the “wabr”, an animal with cat’s shape, it is not often found in the East, but it is numerous by us. Nevertheless the masses do not know it by that name, but by the name “conilio”, a Spanish name”.

Dear Rab Waxman
As you know conilio means rabbit.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
In the meantime, I asked you to define the 13 animals and how each is maaleh gera. (This to evaluate if you are a "prophet".) Have you done this yet?

IB:
Done. Please see above.

joshwaxman said...

"The 13 animals are the 10 kosher animals mentioned in the Torah as having the 2 signs and the 3 having one sign. "

I know that. And those animals are: _________________________.

An animal is called “maaleh gerah” when it redigests its own partially digested meals....

No. I meant, for each of the 13, write: ruminates, ruminates, eats poop, ruminates...

Please fill in the blanks here:
______________________.

Don't add extra features which are not described by the Torah, from which you can add your own opinion as commentary.

Harry the Hyrax said...

Why should Observer enumerate them, do you have a problem with reading comprehension? Are you incapable of reading what people wrote? I will cut-and-paste them for you, and I will add two new ones:

1) What is your proof that cecotrophy qualifies for the Scriptural term of maale gera? Do you have evidence from Chazal or the Rishonim? Sure, it might be nutritionally similar, but it's not EXACTLY the same - and it doesn't meet the definition of maaleh gerah given by any of the Rishonim, as far as I can see. So how can you be so sure that it qualifies?

2) Why are you so sure that the hyrax does NOT practice any form of regurgitation? There are people claiming that it does, along with video documentation. Do you have any evidence that it does not?

3) From David: I am curious to know your case for asserting that verses in Tehillim and Mishlei are referring to the habits of the rabbit. Do you mean that rabbits lived in Biblical Israel - and if so, do you have evidence for that? And if not, then how would David know about it, and how would his listeners and readers know what he was talking about? Do you have objectively verifiable evidence, published in peer-reviewed journals, that the Israelites were familiar with rabbits?

4) Why did the questions have to be pasted here again, when they were already written above? Why didn't you answer them originally?

5) Why, when Rabbi Waxman asked you to identify the thirteen animals, did you instead cite the pesukim where they are mentioned? Obviously he is aware of those pesukim; he wanted to know their English identities. So why didn't you answer him - yet pretend as though you had?

If you do not answer these questions directly, or if you refer us to books instead, or otherwise waste my time, then Observer will have been proven correct.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Harry
You are right, please do not waste your time.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman please explain what you wrote:
Don't add extra features which are not described by the Torah, from which you can add your own opinion as commentary.

joshwaxman said...

in other words, keep is simple. e.g.

(1) ox: ruminates
(2) sheep: ruminates
(3) goat: ruminates

carry on, please, for all 13. my guess is that your list will only deviate for two of them, the hare and the rabbit, but let us see.

joshwaxman said...

keep is simple

should read:

keep it simple

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
Your guess was correct.

joshwaxman said...

In other words, out of 13 "maaleh gera", 11 bring up the cud.

The other two are the arneves and shafan. So I ask again, why are you so sure that cecotrophy counts, to include the hare and rabbit, and that merycism does not, to include the hyrax?

Nothing in the definition of the 11 had to do specifically with nutrition. Include hyrax and merycism, and make the definition the actual bringing up of food in the throat and chewing. That fits in better with maaleh gera, on a literal level.

Then, write a book disproving arneves as hare. It must be some creature we don't know about, maybe now extinct, rather than a hare.

'Nutrition' is the result of your own deductions. So is chewing with lateral movements. But you are not Moshe Rabbeinu, to tell us. You can have your sevara; but your sevara does not trump the sevara of others, such that you can use it to 'disprove' someone else. Unless you are a navi.

joshwaxman said...

thanks, btw, about ibn janach, given his location in spain, it makes sense. no, i didn't know 'conilio'.

do you have an online accessible source of the arabic? i would like to make a post about it.

S. said...

>“And the shafan. It is the “wabr”, an animal with cat’s shape, it is not often found in the East, but it is numerous by us. Nevertheless the masses do not know it by that name, but by the name “conilio”, a Spanish name”.

>Dear Rab Waxman
As you know conilio means rabbit.

Sure, and as you know "الوبر" ("wabr") means hyrax. Of course really we need to know what these words meant in Arabic and Spanish 1000 years ago, but you only translated "conilio" and not "wabr."

S. said...

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?u=1;seq=41;view=1up;size=100;id=nnc1.cr60115300;page=root;orient=0;num=99

It's on page 740-41 of the book, the equivalent of 99 and 100 in the viewer.

joshwaxman said...

thanks.

i think i might have a nice chiddush on it...

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
Sorry for being absent for so many hours.

Yo wrote:
Nothing in the definition of the 11 had to do specifically with nutrition. I

IB:
Please specify in which definition.
Thanks

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

BH
Dear Rab Waxman
I do not have an online accessible source of the arabic.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear S
You wrote:
but you only translated "conilio" and not "wabr."

IB:
Because Ibn Janach himself translated "wbr" as rabbit.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear S
I cannot find the information you linked.
Sorry

joshwaxman said...

"Please specify in which definition."

in the definition of maaleh gera. it was:
(1) rumination
(2) rumination
(3) rumination
(4) rumination
(5) rumination
(6) rumination
(7) rumination
(8) rumination
(9) rumination
(10) rumination
(11) rumination

Your nutrition idea is formed by adding ONE new data point (12, hare, poop-eating), and forming a theory, by which you reject ONE other data point (13, hyrax, vomiting and rechewing).

joshwaxman said...

also, I think that S. has a good point.

it seems (my guess) that conilio is the cognate of cony. (see here.) but the meaning of words sometimes shift over time.

Ibn Janach himself translated "wbr" as "conilio", not as 'rabbit', since he spoke neither English nor modern Spanish.

We should also consider the other statements he makes. Thus, "an animal with cat’s shape, it is not often found in the East, but it is numerous by us."

I think that a hyrax fits *better* with cat-shaped. But that it is not often found in the East, but is numerous by us (in Spain) fits better with a rabbit. My chiddush would be that he does seem to be saying that it is a rabbit, and that this is indicative of the very shift to local animals described elsewhere. yet we still have his testimony that it was defined as wbr in Arabic.

S. said...

Dr. Betech, "Wabr" means "hyrax" in Arabic. It's like saying that ibn Janach defined Shafan as "hyrax," which he then explains is a "rabbit." At the very least we have a puzzle. You can't just dismiss the meaning of "wabr" without at least some investigation.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear S
“wabar”, meaning hair or maybe hairy. Although this word is the modern common name in certain Arabic countries to name the hyrax, nevertheless I do not find any proof that this was his intended meaning one thousand years ago.
Ibn Janach himself translated "wbr" as rabbit.

S. said...

I also find no proof that "conilio" meant "rabbit" in Spain 1000 years ago. That's what I meant by requiring investigation. I am not committed to his explaining it to mean hyrax without further investigation, and you should not be committed to his explaining it to mean rabbit without further investigation. Simply put, the precise meaning of these two terms in Spain 1000 years ago must be determined.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear S
Please note that Ibn Janach besides writing conilio (rabbit) he also wrote:
"...an animal with cat’s shape, it is not often found in the East, but it is numerous by us."
The rabbit is not often found in the East (Middle East)and it is numerous by us (Spain).
The rabbit is numerous in Spain, the hyrax is not.

joshwaxman said...

writing conilio (rabbit) he

that may well be the conclusion, but note that it is a conclusion.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
Nothing in the definition of the 11 had to do specifically with nutrition

Later you clarified:
in the definition of maaleh gera. it was:
(1) rumination...

IB:
Rumination has to do specifically with nutrition.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
writing conilio (rabbit) he

that may well be the conclusion, but note that it is a conclusion.

IB:
Sorry I do not understand

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
I think that a hyrax fits *better* with cat-shaped.

IB:
Please explain why?

You wrote:
But that it is not often found in the East,

IB:
That fits with hyrax?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
My chiddush would be that he does seem to be saying that it is a rabbit, and that this is indicative of the very shift to local animals described elsewhere.

IB:
Please explain.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
If he meant the stomach, then perhaps. Why do you assume the piccary cannot be kosher? Maybe it is. (Practically, I would not eat it misafek.)

IB:
Please explain which safek?

joshwaxman said...

"Rumination has to do specifically with nutrition"

no, that is your **theory** of **why** rumination is relevant. which you then develop into the only relevant aspect by including one other (debatable) data point.

"Sorry I do not understand"
read my comments about it again. one might conclude, given various evidence, that this is indeed what it means. but in arguing for it, don't state yet that it is the meaning. that seems akin to 'begging the question', in its formal logical sense.

"That fits with hyrax?"
no, it doesn't. read the end of my sentence. i was making this arguments in this thread before you were.

joshwaxman said...

re the chiddush, and "Please explain", please wait for my post.

"Please explain which safek?"
many people have answers or apologetics on this subject. e.g., i think r' shamshon refael hirsch said that the 'hare' is actually an extinct species we don't know. r' kaplan had his answer, and maybe this (the stomach) was it. or maybe it is just because (as is the thrust of my post, heretofore ignored) belief at the time of mattan torah was sufficient.

Do we know which, if any of the choices, is the correct answer? No.

Absent a masorah, there is no way I would eat an animal which had split hooves + whatever people happen to define as maaleh geirah. Split hooves + cecotrophy? No way. Split hooves + merycism? No way.

Apologetics, or even probably correct theories about the meaning of pesukim, is not the same as psak halacha.

BTW, who says a piccary is halachically a pig? It is an animal, which is either kosher or not kosher. I am willing to entertain the idea that it is indeed kosher. (And maybe this is the meaning of pig becoming kosher in messianic times!) But would I eat it? How could I, given the safek?

joshwaxman said...

i'll add that given any two data points, one can draw a straight line. that straight line does not indicate a **trend**.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman:
You wrote:

"Rumination has to do specifically with nutrition"

no, that is your **theory** of **why** rumination is relevant. which you then develop into the only relevant aspect by including one other (debatable) data point.

IB:
Sorry, I do not understand, do you deny that rumination is a specific way of obtaining the proper nutrition?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
Do you agree that it is evident that Ibn Janach when he translated "shafan" as "conilio" and described his geographical location was speaking about the rabbit and not the hyrax?
If not please explain.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:
i think r' shamshon refael hirsch said that the 'hare' is actually an extinct species we don't know.

IB:
Source please.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
If you speak about a "masorah", why you do not say there is a masorah that the shafan is the rabbit, there are so many rishonim and acharonim wrote that.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
You wrote:

i'll add that given any two data points, one can draw a straight line. that straight line does not indicate a **trend**.

IB:
I could not follow which of my post you are answering, sorry

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
I am very close to Mincha, Shabbat Shalom!

joshwaxman said...

Sorry, I do not understand, do you deny that rumination is a specific way of obtaining the proper nutrition?
Obviously not. And I am not sure if you are being deliberately obtuse, or if this is a tactic of reasserting your point.

"Do you agree that it..."
I've already answered that. It fits more with rabbit. It does not seem to fit hyrax. It could, of course, fit some other theoretical animal. But you are trying to force a conclusion in this thread, when I already said that I wanted to discuss it in a post.

"Source please."
This is irrelevant to the main point. I saw it referenced recently in a frumteens thread.

"If you speak about a "masorah""
I spoke about a masorah for eating a specific animal. There might well be a masorah for rabbit, alongside a competing masorah for hyrax. There is not a masorah for the **reason** though. That is sevarah.

"I could not follow which of my post you are answering"
You are taking the clear data point, rumination, and the arguable data point, poop-eating, and constructing a trend line based on the connection between the two. In other words, the tzad hashava shebahem. (Meanwhile, there are other theories one can advance for a tzad hashava; or one can create another theory based on the other arguable data point.)

this is getting wearisome. you are trying to travel in circles. and your terse 'please explain's and 'source please' are becoming grating.

and it is indeed time to close to shabbos. i'll possibly respond then.

good shabbos,
josh

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rab Waxman
Gut voch.

You wrote:

You are taking the clear data point, rumination, and the arguable data point, poop-eating, and constructing a trend line based on the connection between the two. In other words, the tzad hashava shebahem. (Meanwhile, there are other theories one can advance for a tzad hashava; or one can create another theory based on the other arguable data point.)

IB:
I did not invent the connection between rumination and caecotrophy, you can see for example the following source:

• …lagomorphs regularly reingest fecal pellets (coprophagy ). Two kinds of pellets are produced: dry and hard, and soft and moist. The latter variety, which appears to contain both vitamins and metabolic products, are eaten, in most cases directly from the anus. The nutritional effect of this practice has been compared to that of rumination among cows.
Britannica Encyclopaedia, 2001. Lagomorph, Natural history.

You wrote:
or one can create another theory based on the other arguable data point.

IB:
Please suggest any.

Natan Slifkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natan Slifkin said...

Yes, the NUTRITIONAL nature of cecotrophy is comparable to rumination. But how do you know that this is adequate? And on the other hand, the PHYSICAL nature of merycism is much MORE comparable to rumination than the physical nature of cecotrophy. Furthermore, it is precisely THIS aspect which the Torah speaks about: Maaleh - "BRINGING UP" - gerah - "THROAT-STUFF." So (A) you have no proof that nutritional similarity is adequate for the Torah's description, (B) you have no proof that physical similarity is inadequate, and (C) the pasuk itself indicates that the physical aspect rather than nutritional aspect is what counts!

(I am writing this not to convince you - you are beyond all reason. Rather, it is for the education of anyone else who might be reading this.)

Natan Slifkin said...

The amazing thing is that R. Waxman has been saying this all along. Did Betech really not understand him, or was he only pretending not to understand him?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Natan
Thank you for your kind words about my person.
Before we analyze if caecotrophy or merycism are compatible (or which of them best fits) with the "maaleh gerah" qualification, I would like to ask a more basic question, relevant to the post we are discussing, entitled "the hyrax as ruminant":

In which page of your book on the hyrax (first or second edition) you provided any scientific source supporting the claim that the hyrax practices merycism?

Thanks.

Natan Slifkin said...

That's not a more basic question. It's simply your customary way of playing games and avoiding answering challenges.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Natan
Speaking about avoiding challenges...

The question you decided not to answer in this post, was already presented to you many times, and you avoided answering it.
I will repeat it:

In which page of your book on the hyrax (first or second edition) you provided any scientific source supporting the claim that the hyrax practices merycism?

Just write a page numeber!

joshwaxman said...

From where I stand, I agree that this is indeed just Dr. Betech's customary way of playing games and avoiding answering challenges.

Meanwhile, your responses are getting increasingly ridiculous.

For instance, you just wrote:
"I did not invent the connection between rumination and caecotrophy, you can see for example the following source"

as if I was saying that you were inventing the connection, and as if that answered my point in any manner at all.

And you wrote:
Please suggest any

as if I had not already, both in the main post and in the comments above.

This whole manner of exchange reminds me of the time Weizenbaum's Eliza program purportedly passed the Turing Test.

I think it might be rather straightforward to create a Dr. Betech chatbot.

Natan Slifkin said...

Isaac, I did not answer it because (a) I don't generally engage in dialogue with you, for reasons spelled out by R. Waxman and others, (b) there is no apparent reason for the question, and most of all (c) you know exactly where in my book and blog I spell out the arguments and evidence both for and against merycism in the hyrax.

What is your reason for not responding to R. Waxman's points regarding the problems of equating cecotrophy with rumination but not merycism or other features?

I wonder: Do you think that people reading these exchanges come away with the impression that you are correct, or do you think that they agree with R. Waxman and myself that you are evasive and disingenuous? Or do you not care what they think?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Natan
Thank you for your answer.

You wrote:
...and most of all (c) you know exactly where in my book and blog I spell out the arguments and evidence both for and against merycism in the hyrax.

IB:
You are right, I could not find any scientific source in your books supporting the claim that the hyrax practices merycism.
So, if the hyrax according to the best published scientific literature is not ruminant, does not practices caecotrophy or even merycism, then there is no biological reason to call it a "maaleh gerah".
If the hyrax is not maaleh gerah, it can not be the biblical shafan.

I wonder if many of your readers and followers are aware of it, or if they arrive to conclusions just by reading the title of your book or seeing the picture that appears in the front cover.

joshwaxman said...

If any (other) readers desire a response to the above comment, I can provide it, showing just **why** I think it is too clever and disingenuous.

Meanwhile, I made what I think are some rather good points, both in the post and in the comment section, that have not been addressed.

Yeshivish said...

Am I crazy or does that video show a hyrax at least appearing to ruminate. That will already give ample reason to employ the concept of dibra Torah b'lashon bnei adom.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin