Sunday, March 24, 2019

Another New Camel Species!

Recently, I discussed the evolution of a new species of camel, Camelus ArtScrollus Blackhoofus, which appears in the Stone Chumash and the Schottenstein Talmud. Someone directed me towards the extremely useful Stone Tanach, in which yet another novel species of camel appears. I'd like to name this one Camelus ArtScrollus Cartoonus. Just take a look at this:


The donkey hoof is great, and so is the sheep hoof. But what on earth is that cartoonish camel foot on the right? (Actually, if you google "cartoon camel," the illustrations are a lot more accurate!)

Aside from the cartoonish nature of it, it's not even remotely zoologically accurate. The illustration depicts a hoof that is partially split, but that's not what a camel has. Camels do not have any kind of hoof - instead, a camel has a foot, partially divided into two toes at the front, each bearing a nail:



So here again we have a mistaken conception of what a camel's foot looks like. And it's for the same reasons as the other fabrication. First, there is a mistaken translation of the passuk (due to the lack of realization that there are two different approaches to translating mafris parsah, and according to neither does it mean "split hoof"). Second, there is a lack of effort to actually look at the physical reality and see if the illustration makes any sense.

Interestingly, if you look at Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah, the translation and commentary is vastly superior:
Among mammals, you may eat [any one] that has true hooves that are cloven and that brings up its cud. However, among the cud-chewing, hoofed animals, these are the ones that you may not eat: The camel shall be unclean to you although it brings up its cud, since it does not have a true hoof.
true hooves (Saadia; Rashbam; Ibn Ezra; Ibn Janach; Ralbag). Maphreseth parsah in Hebrew. Or, 'that has cloven hooves' (Targum; Rashi; Radak, Sherashim). 
does not have a true hoof The hooves of the camel are so reduced that they are like claws, and the padded soles support most of the weight. Some, however, understand the padded sole to be the 'hoof' here, and translate it, 'does not have a cloven hoof' (Rashi).
Rabbi Kaplan notes that the camel does not have a true hoof at all. I'd argue that correspondingly, it's more correct, according to Rashi's approach, to translate parsah as "foot" or "sole" rather than "hoof."

The truth is, it doesn't actually matter terribly much if someone has the wrong idea as to why a camel is not kosher. But if you're going to the effort of producing illustrations to explicate the passuk, what's the point of giving illustrations that are hopelessly mistaken?

Meanwhile, if you'd like to get a real-life understanding of the topics of kashrut and the shemonah sheratzim that appear in this week's parashah, sign up for Shemini - Live From The Biblical Museum of Natural History!

 

19 comments:

  1. You still haven't addressed the fact that the Torah clearly describes an essential aspect of the hoove being kosher is having what the Torah states clearly ספר דברים - פרק י״ד - פסוק ו׳:
    {ו} וְכָל־בְּהֵמָ֞ה מַפְרֶ֣סֶת פַּרְסָ֗ה וְשֹׁסַ֤עַת שֶׁ֙סַע֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י פְרָס֔וֹת מַעֲלַ֥ת גֵּרָ֖ה בַּבְּהֵמָ֑ה אֹתָ֖הּ תֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃

    These are the words "שְׁתֵּ֣י פְרָס֔וֹת" "two toed" which is why a camel qualifies in the category of:


    ספר דברים - פרק י״ד - פסוק ז׳:
    {ז} אַ֣ךְ אֶת־זֶ֞ה לֹ֤א תֹֽאכְלוּ֙ מִמַּֽעֲלֵ֣י הַגֵּרָ֔ה וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵ֥י הַפַּרְסָ֖ה ׃

    The camel is clearly "וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵ֥י הַפַּרְסָ֖ה" as well it also fits the requirement of the two toes. Forget how science equates or differentiates between hooves and ungulates - the Torah however clearly sees them as being related and qualified as
    "וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵ֥י הַפַּרְסָ֖ה"

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    1. You're simply choosing to make up your own interpretation of what these words mean and ignoring the approach of all the Rishonim. The camel is NOT mafris parsah. That passuk means "these you cannot eat from those which bring up the cud (i.e. the camel hare hyrax) and which have hooves/ split feet (i.e. the pig)."

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    2. Recall the Daas Zekanim m'baalei Hatosofos who clearly understand the possuk as I'm saying - the question he asks is why doesn't it say that camel is not Kosher because it's not shosaas shesa. Obviously he feels it's mafreses parsah.

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    3. First of all, even if you were correct, that would mean that you have a single authority who learns the passuk that way - hardly a proof that the passuk *must* mean that. Second, you're not even correct. Daas Zekenim is simply asking a question on Rashi.

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    4. However you want to interpret the passuk, if you do it in a way that let's you draw camel's feet like that, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that your interpretation is wrong, not matter which Rishonim said it. Interpretations of pessukim that are in manifest contradiction to what we see in the world are just wrong interpretations. (As Sa'adia Gaon pointed out long ago.)

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    5. @MO

      Firstly, the daat zekenim does not comment on Devarim 14:6 or 14:7. Furthermore, RNS said you mistranslated 14:7 (not 14:6), which is the verse that says "but from these you may not eat...". The parallel verse in Vayikra is 11:4, which also has no comment from the daat zekenim. The actual verse that Daat Zekenim comments on is Vayikra 11:3. So there you go "flippantly" quoting early commentaries with the wrong source, and showing them complete disrespect. You should be ashamed.

      Now for the actual comment of the Daat Zekenim on Vayikra 11:3:
      כל מפרסת פרסה ושוסעת שסע. פרש"י למעוטי גמל שפרסותיו סדוק' מלמעלה ומלמטה הם מחוברות וצ"ע דא"כ היה לו למעט גמל מדין שסועה ולכתוב ושסע איננו שוסע:

      RNS is absolutely correct in that the DZ on this verse is merely questioning Rashi's interpretation.


      The perfect example of "flippant disregarding of Amorayim and Rishonim" is you. Not only do you misquote the location of their comments, you completely misunderstand them and then desperately attempt to cover up your own wrongdoings by saying that it was the rishonim who said them and that we are disrespecting them.
      The only people that are being disregarded here are those who make moronic statements and who simply have a backwards understanding of the Rishonim, Torah, and the entirety of Judaism. If you want to be part of that group, then Hashem yirachem.

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  2. I thought it was funny when I saw that as a kid.

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  3. and now you're a fully grown ram. Ha ha

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  4. MO: You still haven't addressed the fact that the Torah clearly describes an essential aspect of the hoove being kosher is having what the Torah states clearly ספר דברים - פרק י״ד - פסוק ו׳:
    {ו} וְכָל־בְּהֵמָ֞ה מַפְרֶ֣סֶת פַּרְסָ֗ה וְשֹׁסַ֤עַת שֶׁ֙סַע֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י פְרָס֔וֹת מַעֲלַ֥ת גֵּרָ֖ה בַּבְּהֵמָ֑ה אֹתָ֖הּ תֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃
    These are the words "שְׁתֵּ֣י פְרָס֔וֹת" "two toed" which is why a camel qualifies in the category of:

    LL: What the Torah is saying by Shtei Ferasos, means that the hooves need to be split (SS) into TWO separate hooves. Nothing is said about "two toes". Pretend that there is a lamed before the word shtei.

    MO:
    ספר דברים - פרק י״ד - פסוק ז׳:
    {ז} אַ֣ךְ אֶת־זֶ֞ה לֹ֤א תֹֽאכְלוּ֙ מִמַּֽעֲלֵ֣י הַגֵּרָ֔ה וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵ֥י הַפַּרְסָ֖ה ׃
    LL:
    The Torah in pasuk daled is saying (that of the 3 Simanim, MP, SS and MG;) you may NOT eat the Gamal, because although it is MG, it is is not MP (hooved). (pasuk heh) And the Shafan is MG, but not MP (hooved) so you may not eat it. (pasuk vav) And the Arneves is MG, but not MP, so you may not eat it. The Torah needn't discuss SS, as there is no point in saying you don't have a split hoof if you don't have a hoof in the first place. Lastly, pasuk 7 says that the Chazir is MP (hooved) and the hooves are split (SS) but you can't eat it because it is not MG.

    MO: -The camel is clearly "וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵ֥י הַפַּרְסָ֖ה"
    LL: NO. The Torah says that the Gamal is NOT Mafris Parsa - UParsa Ainena Mafris
    MO: as well it also fits the requirement of the two toes. Forget how science equates or differentiates between hooves and ungulates - the Torah however clearly sees them as being related and qualified as "וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵ֥י הַפַּרְסָ֖ה"
    LL: NO. The Torah says by each one (Gamal, Shafan, Arneves) that they are NOT MP
    MO: Recall the Daas Zekanim m'baalei Hatosofos who clearly understand the possuk as I'm saying - the question he asks is why doesn't it say that camel is not Kosher because it's not shosaas shesa. Obviously he feels it's mafreses parsah.
    LL: The Daas Zekanim's question is only relevant if you learn like Rashi, but if you learn like RSG, Rashbam and company, this question disappears. How can DZ understand the Gamal to be MP when the TORAH clearly says that it ISN'T????

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  5. This understanding is from Targum Onkelos as quoted in Rashi - you can't get a closer interpretation of the Torah than his. The flippant disregarding of Amorayim and Rishonim is astounding. If your world veiw doesn't fit with their's then I would suspect your world veiw. We aren't discussing scientific facts here rather Biblical interpretation which is the domain of Rishonim......

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    1. The nature of Judaism, even the charedi worldview, is to disregard certain points that either don't fit the narrative one wishes to make or aren't supported by most authorities. Do you follow the opinion of every amora, rishon, and acharon who ever wrote about the Torah?

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    2. The Sifri learns like RSG and countless rishonim. The one here who is flippantly discounting all these rishonim is you.

      And btw, Rashi disagrees with Onkelos many times. How can he dismiss this close interpretation of Torah????

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    3. No one is saying that Rashi's explanation is bad. You are the one who dismisses every other explanation which happens to disagree with you, and then declare we are all wrong just because you don't favor them.

      And Biblical interpretation is in the domain of every Jew. That's what my version of Pirkei Avos says, anyway.

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    4. For someone who thinks he knows a lot, you sure don't know your history. Onkelos was not in the times of the Amoraim. Also, you are not modern orthodox so please stop pretending to be. That's sheker.

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  6. " A charming old tale, whose origins are lost in time, speaks of a heated debate among scholars debating the number of teeth in a horse's mouth. After many days and nights of arguing, a novel solution is propounded: head to the nearest stable and count! The outrageous proposal is met with frowns and disgust, and the scholars are doomed to continue the debate forever more."

    (From Rashbam the Talmudist, Reconsidered, by David Farkas, available on Seforim Blog.)

    Point is, there is a long tradition of scholars not really knowing the physical reality of the items they debate. Here are a few examples from my own notes to Shas, and there are more:

    Bechoros 21b ("וצריך להראותו לחכם. חכם מנא ידע? אמר רב פפא רועה חכם")

    Chulin 63b (סג: א"ר יצחק עוף טהור נאכל במסורת נאמן הצייד לומר עוף זה טהור מסר לי רבי א"ר יוחנן והוא שבקי בהן ובשמותיהן בעי ר' זירא רבו חכם או רבו צייד ת"ש דא"ר יוחנן והוא שבקי בהן ובשמותיהן אי אמרת בשלמא רבו צייד שפיר אלא אי אמרת רבו חכם בשלמא שמייהו גמיר להו אלא אינהו מי ידע להו אלא לאו ש"מ רבו צייד ש"מ)

    Tosfos to Shevuous 14b (וא"ת תיפוק ליה דידע בבית רבו כשלמד דצב מטמא וי"ל בשלא למד אלא ראה שהעולם נזהרים ולא ידע באיזה א"נ למד ולא הבין בין צב לצפרדע מעולם)

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    1. Ironically, it was the Rashbam who posited the (false) realia of of the trachea to the left of the esophagus to explain a textual difficulty in the Gemara around danger of leaning in the wrong direction on Pesach, something that continues to infect the halacha until this day.

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  7. כב וַיְצַ֣ו פַּרְעֹ֔ה לְכָל־עַמּ֖וֹ לֵאמֹ֑ר כָּל־הַבֵּ֣ן הַיִּלּ֗וֹד הַיְאֹ֨רָה֙ תַּשְׁלִיכֻ֔הוּ וְכָל־הַבַּ֖ת תְּחַיּֽוּן:

    Rashi quotes Medrash Rabba, Tanchuma and Sota 12A that the Egyptian babies were included in the decree. But Onkelos says this decree was for Jewish babies only. According to MO, it is a big Chutzpah on part of the Medrash, Gemara etc. to argue on the interpretation of Onkelos...

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  8. New peshat:

    Gamal: Camel
    Shafan: Camelus ArtScrollus Blackhoofus
    Arneves Camelus ArtScrollus Cartoonus

    Perhaps someone can write a book (Artscroll) about it.

    :-)

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  9. I googled "cartoon camel" as you suggested and surprisingly large number were drawn with hooves.

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