Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Did Adam HaRishon name the T-Rex?

This was from my son about two years back, when he was three years old. He was being read a book about dinosaurs. He asked how humans related to them, and was told my his grandmother that they lived and then became extinct millions of years ago, before humans were around.

He was troubled by this, because, as he explained, his teachers had told him that Adam had named all the animals, which included dinosaurs.

{This based on Brayshis 2:

יט וַיִּצֶר ה' אֱלֹהִים מִן-הָאֲדָמָה, כָּל-חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וְאֵת כָּל-עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַיָּבֵא אֶל-הָאָדָם, לִרְאוֹת מַה-יִּקְרָא-לוֹ; וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא-לוֹ הָאָדָם נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, הוּא שְׁמוֹ.19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof.
כ וַיִּקְרָא הָאָדָם שֵׁמוֹת, לְכָל-הַבְּהֵמָה וּלְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּלְכֹל, חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה; וּלְאָדָם, לֹא-מָצָא עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ.20 And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him.

I don't know if his teachers had told him specifically that this included dinosaurs -- perhaps in response to a question -- or whether he had made this deduction himself.

After a minute or though of thought, he came up with a solution: "I know! Maybe the pasuk doesn't say that Adam named the dinosaurs, but it is only a midrash which says that!"

A guess the apple doesn't fall that far from the Etz HaDaas.



BrooklynWolf said...

Wow! If your son knew, at age three, the distinction between mikra and midrash, then he's quite bright!

The Wolf

joshwaxman said...

thanks! he is, in ways that would astound. check out the next post (just posted) for a nice example.

we'd actually already begun learning Shnayim Mikra on Friday nights, which involves (for us as least) me reading to him the pesukim in English, as well as an occasional expansion / explanation where i think it is required, or where he asks for clarification. and those explanations were drawn from various meforshim, as well as from midrashim, though i took care to distinguish between the Biblical text and the commentary.


Anonymous said...

"and was told my his grandmother that they lived and then became extinct millions of years ago, before humans were around"

Also, the people that wrote the Torah didn't know about dinosaurs or when they lived.

Devorah said...

Just wait until he's about 6 and starts to re-write your blog for you.

Yosef Greenberg said...

Yeah Josh, wow!

You should watch out for an ayin hora! ;)

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

stegosaurus... i approve ;-)


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