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A Visit to Ein Gedi
Here is an email that I received from a rabbi in Jerusalem, with regard to my earlier post regarding the hyrax:
Just wanted you to know that we're rooting for you, or more accurately, for the Emes. It was disturbing to see that intelligent people today, and among them chashuv rabbanim, would entertain the possibility that the shafan is not the hyrax. It can only be clear proof that none of them have ever visited Ein Gedi in the early morning. Our family loves to get to Ein Gedi at opening time when the crowds haven't yet arrived, just to spend time sitting with the ibex and hyraxes (see attached photo), basking in the beauty of Hashem's world and saying the Pirkei Tehilim in which Dovid ha'Melech expressed that beauty. The hyrax is such an integral part of Eretz Yisrael (I've photographed them in the Negev and at Rosh Hanikra) that I wonder what Tanach calls the hyrax if it isn't the shafan.
And if the shafan is the rabbit, then what am I supposed to tell my children when we are hiking in the Negev and we see the ibex and the hyrax among the rocks and they spontaneously yell out, "Harim ha'gevohim la'yeelim, selaim machseh la'shfanim!" -- "Sorry, kids, you got it wrong. The shafan is a rabbit"? (N.S. - And at least his kids have heard of rabbits. What would the average Jew in Biblical Israel have thought?)
I also wonder if Isaac Betech also believes that the size of a k'Zayis is eight olives.
In relation to this, note that the Bronx Zoo displays ibex and hyrax in the same enclosure, to replicate how they are commonly found together in the wild.