Sunday, July 28, 2019

Daredevil

Late last night I came in to the museum to check on things. I went to look over the exhibit of the Shemonah Sheratzim - the small creatures listed in the Bible as transmitting ritual impurity when dead, with which there are various views as to their identities, and we maintain live exhibits of each of the possibilities. Much to my dismay, I saw that one of the enclosures was open and its occupant had escaped! 

The absentee exhibit was a blind mole-rat, a truly extraordinary creature lacking eyes, which we had named Daredevil. I started looking around the museum, using the technique of thinking like the escaped animal, and of where it would want to go. As Isaiah 2:19-21 makes clear, mole-rats like to hide in confined places. So I started pulling things away from the wall, to see if Daredevil would be hiding behind them. And it wasn't that long until I found him! 

Foolishly being unprepared, I didn't have anything to grab him with. It would not be a good idea to pick him up, seeing as he possesses immensely powerful teeth designed for chiselling through hard earth. There was a large plastic food-scooper next to me, so I quickly placed it on top of him. Unsurprisingly, he simply pushed it up and started to emerge from under it. I pushed the scooper back down, grabbed a nearby container of food, and put it on top of the scooper, to weigh it down while I went to find some way of getting him back to his enclosure. Hearing a noise behind me, I turned to see that Daredevil, possessing a strength that I did not him to possess, had arched his back and knocked off the food container. 
 
Again I put the scoop over him, and held it down while I looked around frantically for something within arm's reach. I need something flat to slide under the scoop, so that I could pick it up and securely transport him. The only thing nearby was a slim sefer, a book of Torah scholarship, that I had left lying around. It was the perfect size, shape and firmness to slide under the scoop. But it would be sacrilegious to use a sefer to capture a sheretz! How could I use a holy book to catch the epitome of ritual impurity?!
 
Then I realized what the sefer was.
 
"Shemonah Sheratzim - A Study of the Identities of the Eight Creeping Creatures," by Zohar Amar!

It would be an honor for that work, for it to be used not only for the research and development of the contents of the exhibit, but even for the physical re-acquisition of one of the creatures themselves!

Daredevil is now securely back in his enclosure.

23 comments:

  1. Two-headed rhinoJuly 28, 2019 at 9:27 AM

    I suppose that now we need to determine if this story is likely and you're telling the truth or if you just made it up to see who is gullible.

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    Replies
    1. Melt some lead, it will show you that I'm telling the truth!

      Delete
  2. great story - perhaps you should offer 'a night at the biblical museum' sleep ins...

    but er 'he possesses immensely powerful teeth designed for chiselling through hard earth' - doesn't evolution exclude design?

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    Replies
    1. No, it explains how the laws of nature can produce design with processes that have no notion of intention.

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    2. Explains *away* is more ike it.

      Delete
  3. Don't moles use their feet to dig with, not their teeth?

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  4. On the topic of biting, I was taught that loshon horah is like the bite of a snake, since the snake derives no benefit from the biting, the same with loshon horah the teller receives no benefit. Question, doesn't the snake benefit by poisoning its prey with it's bite enabling it to eat it?

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    Replies
    1. Not all snakes have poison.

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    2. Non-venomous snakes don't bite at all - they just use their teeth to hold onto their prey.

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    3. It's talking about when snakes bite people. The snake doesn't eat the person.

      Delete
    4. Moshe Levi, troll at largeJuly 29, 2019 at 6:15 PM

      It's talking about a נחש, not a snake.

      Delete
  5. Cool! Don't naked mole rats do badly with light? Do you have Daredevil in a darkened enclosure? Or does the light actually not bother them because they don't have eyes...

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  6. I didn't expect the Rav to be a Marvel fan!

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  7. Yep, according to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toARdZKs-IE they dig with their paws.

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  8. Hmmm,
    The subterranean mole rat has vestigial eyes, which although useless for vision, has limited utility to distinguish light from dark.
    It appears an evolutionary mechanism is at work here.
    Rav Slifkin, are you sure you want to display an animal to your Chareidi patrons that evidences treif evolution?

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    Replies
    1. No need to worry. Just change "evolution" to "HKBH designed it specifically (to fit its environment and function)" and you're golden!

      Note: this is not even intended to be condescending.

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    2. Sounds more like devolution than evolution, and I don't think that many chareidi people would have a problem with that. Losing eyes is not the same as changing species.

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  9. As the Platonic idea is 'holier' than its manifestation, a sefer about Shratzim is holier than them, such that you could run by what you did with a Rav.

    Best, chaim

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  10. I agree with Chaim. Very shvacher heter!

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  11. At first I thought RS intended NAKED mole rat, but avoided the adjective because of modesty. So now I see the Israeli mole rats are modest, having fur. ACJA

    ReplyDelete

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