Friday, July 5, 2019

Zimbabwe and Botswana


I'm currently leading the Torah-in-Motion 2019 African adventure, so I thought I'd share some photos. These are from the Zimbabwe and Botswana segment:


The Great Baobab Tree in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls 


This is how I know that crocodiles are big enough to eat buffalo


If the food was a little higher, would he jump to get at it?

Magnificent!

23 comments:

  1. Even an innocent picture of an elephant turns into a veiled snipe at chazal/tosafos regarding kinyan. Natan, you never fail to demonstrate how hopelessly one track minded you are. Perhaps a most adept description of your hate for chachamim would be "like the bite of a donkey". Clearly a pathological obsession.

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    1. Oy. It wasn't a snipe at Chazal/Tosafos. It was a joke about people like you.

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    2. Actually, I am with Richard on this one. I also read it as mocking Tosafot, who suggest that an elephant can jump.

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    3. I second that. I have no issue with any of rabbi Slifkin's approaches but his obsession and bitterness is seen in every post on this blog, after which he lawyers his way out of it. Seriously slifkin, let it go...

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    4. Good grief, Yehoshua. For the life of me, I can't understand why you would think that I am mocking Tosafos. What's to mock? It was perfectly reasonable for Tosafos to say that elephants can jump. The only people to be mocked are those who think that there's something wrong with saying that elephants can't jump.

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    5. If an elephant were on a platform, most probably it could jump off. As to mocking tosafot, looks like they are right about this one.

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    6. R' Natan, I know you well enough that I am certain you do not mean to mock Tos. And I also get it that saying someone made an honest mistake isn't an attack on that person. However, no matter how justified a mistake is, there is typically still some element of embarrassment when someone points out that you erred - at least that's my feeling. So when there's a to'eles to pointing out mistakes, go ahead and do it in a respectful manner. If there's no to'eles, then it can come off as disrespectful for accentuating someone's mistakes for no good reason.

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    7. "If an elephant were on a platform, most probably it could jump off."

      No, it couldn't. It would break all its legs and die.

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    8. You were gratuitously calling to mind an incorrect statement made by Tosafos, using that error as a source of humor.

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    9. I never quite understood the problem with questioning תוספות here to begin with. This isn't like the other threads as to whether חז״ל are ever wrong. The גמרא clearly states that הגבה can be achieved through חבילי זמורות. That premise is not questioned, but the interpretation of that phrase is indeed under dispute. This is not a case of אלו ואלו: the פשט of רש״י precludes that of (רבינו תם and) רב משולם and vice versa. The גמרא has a very clear example in mind. If תוספות is right רש״י must be wrong - why can תוספות question רש״י by saying it’s illogical to use vines as an example when wood would be more straightforward but suddenly everyone goes up in arms if we were to take a פני יהושוע-like defense of רש״י and say תוספות is illogical because elephants can’t jump.

      @Yehudah - the פשט can't be like you say because תוספות's whole point against רש״י is that there is no platform - the elephant is lured by the vines.

      @Richard - I don't see this post as a snipe; it reads more like a cute המבין יבין moment.

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    10. https://youtu.be/XRabJlCk_hQ

      Just watch this. Especially Number 3 out of 5

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    11. Fozzie - 4 was most surprising!

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    12. Maybe jumping means "standing" on it's hind legs?

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    13. @Setting the record straight

      No.

      Rabbi Shimon maintains large animals are acquired through hagba’ah (lifting), to which the Gemara questions how this could be achieved with an elephant, which no human can lift. A few solutions are offered, but I think the Gemara cycles through them because in many ways, they are alternatives to performing traditional hagba’ah (though they obviate other concerns of transferring property in a seller’s domain, as noted at the end of my comment here) rather than variations of hagba’ah.

      The final solution suggested is the source of this discussion – using bundles of vines. Rashi suggests this means building up a platform of vines on which the elephant may stand, thereby placing it at an elevation of three tephachim from the ground – i.e., lifted, or hagba’ah. Tosaphot do not like this approach because (a) 3 tephachim are not required, as 1 would be sufficient and (b) it’d be more logical for the Gemara to suggest a stone or a substance harder than vines, which is more suited to bear the weight of an elephant.

      Accordingly, Tosaphot suggests that the elephant is lured by vine bundles (an observed preferred food of elephants, per Shabbat 128a) placed up high by the acquirer, thereby compelling the elephant to jump entirely off the ground to grab them, which effectively is a hagba’ah. At a minimum, Tosaphot would have said “omed al raglav” or some variation if the suggestion were as you surmise, but its language is pretty clear: “it lifts itself from the ground” (see Rashba who clearly indicates that this should be understood as the elephant is fully off the ground).

      Moreover, a subtext to the Gemara’s discussion is the location of the animal. If one is in the seller’s domain, then even if the elephant jumps, the airspace of the seller’s domain is part of that domain and consequently, the elephant never left it and does not transfer, which is a common objection some commentaries have with Tosaphot's interpretation.

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  2. beautiful pictures
    I've heard the night sky is awesome in these regions of the world because there is almost zero artificial lights polluting it. Would you be able to share that too ?
    -SquallGreg

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    1. It is awesome, but I can't capture it on my camera!

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    2. Anyway it was a good respectful article. It passed (American) charedi rabbi Leff's hechsher. I am impressed.
      Do you have a critique of it?

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    3. If you want to get a sense of the night sky, see https://youtu.be/e-GYrbecb88. Granted, this is from the American Southwest, but same idea. Awesome - the true meaning of nora - is quite an apt word.

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  3. beautiful

    Where are these tours advertised?

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    1. Oh my. A little out of my budget. Looks like a fabulous tour though.

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  4. Kudus to you R. Nosson (pun intended)July 8, 2019 at 5:47 PM

    Yasher koach R. Nosson!

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  5. Elephants don't jump. And why bother - since they simply knock down the tree. Elephants are crucial to the wildlife as they modify the environment that benefits all. ACJA

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