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!