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Shemini

  
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 11:28
 11:29
 11:30
 11:31
11:28 [Furthermore], one who lifts its carcass must immerse [even] his clothing and then remain unclean until evening. They are unclean to you [in this respect].
Vehanose et-nivlatam yechabes begadav vetame ad-ha'arev tme'im hemah lachem.
11:29 These are the smaller animals that breed on land which are unclean to you: the weasel, the mouse, the ferret,
Vezeh lachem hatame basherets hashorets al-ha'arets hacholed veha'achbar vehatsav leminehu.
11:30 the hedgehog, the chameleon, the lizard, the snail, and the mole.
Veha'anakah vehakoach vehaleta'ah vehachomet vehatinshamet.
11:31 These are the small animals that are unclean to you; whoever touches them when they are dead shall remain unclean until evening.
Eleh hatme'im lachem bechol-hasharets kol-hanogea bahem bemotam yitma ad-ha'arev.



Commentary:

in this respect
  (Rashi).

smaller animals
  (Rashi on Genesis 1:20). Or, 'creeping things' (Ramban on Genesis 1:20). See next note this line 'Leviticus 11:29'. The Talmud notes that all these animals have usable hides (Shabbath 107a).

breed
  (Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Ezra on Genesis 1:20). Or, 'creep' (Targum).

weasel
  Choled in Hebrew; galei in Greek (Septuagint); mustela in Latin (Vulgate), Old French (Rashi; Chizzkuni) and Old Spanish (Radak, Sherashim); belette in French (Chizzkuni). This is a predatory animal (Chullin 52b). Some sources identify it as a martin or an ermine (Arukh, s.v. glaksinin).

Other sources, however, indicate that the choled or chuldah (cf. Targum) is a rat (Pesachim 1:2, Tosefoth Yom Tov ad loc.) khadar in Arabic (Ramban ad loc.). Still others translate it as mole or mole-rat (Arukh), khelad in Arabic (Saadia; Ibn Janach). The Talmud also notes that the chulda bores under ground and undermines houses (Bava Kama 80a; Bava Bathra 19b; Chullin 20b). Targum Yonathan translates choled as kirkushta, which means a field mouse (Mossef LeArukh).

mouse
  Akhbar in Hebrew; mus in Greek. Some sources appear to include also the rat (Chizzkuni; MeAm Lo'ez). In Arabic, the word denotes the jerboa.

ferret
  Tzav in Hebrew; huron in Spanish (Ralbag); faruita in Old French (Chizzkuni; cf. Rashi). This is an animal closely related to the grison, graisant in Old Spanish (Radak, Sherashim). We have preferred this translation, since it groups all the mammals together.

The Septuagint translates tzav as krokodelos chersaios, literally, 'land crocodile.' This follows Talmudic sources that liken it to a salamander or snake (Sifra 6:5; Chullin 127a), related to another large lizard, the chardon (Targum Yonathan; Yerushalmi, Berakhoth 8:6). This is identified with the chab in Arabic (Saadia; Ibn Janach), the dab lizard (Uromastix aegyptius). Others identify it with the thorntail lizard (Uromastix spinipes).

Other sources identify the tzav with the toad (Rashi), kröte in German (Hirsch), or the tortoise (MeAm Lo'ez).

hedgehog
  Anakah in Hebrew; yala in Aramaic (Targum; Bava Bathra 4a); herison in French (Rashi; Chizzkuni), erizo in Spanish (Ralbag). Others apparently identify it with the beaver (Radak, Sherashim). The Septuagint translates it as mugale, a mole, shrew mouse or field mouse.

Other sources, however, translate it as gecko, warel in Arabic (Saadia). The gecko is a reptile of the order of lacertilia, up to 5' long, with a soft speckled hide (cf. Chullin 9:2). Anakah denotes groaning, and the gecko makes a groaning sound.

chameleon
  Ko'ach in Hebrew; chamaileon in Greek (Septuagint). Other sources simply identify it as a lizard (Radak, quoting Rashi), possibly a poisonous one (Ralbag).

Other sources translate it into Arabic as charon (Saadia; Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim); see note on tzav. This is said to be the monitor or monitor lizard (Varanus griseus), the largest reptile in the Holy Land, growing as long as 4 feet. Living on the coast, the Negev, and Arabah, it eats rodents and reptiles. Due to a transposition, it is possible that this is the 'land crocodile' mentioned in the Septuagint.

lizard
  Leta'ah in Hebrew; leisarda in Old French (Rashi); or 'a small lizard,' legartisa (Toledoth Yitzchak), or legramosa in Spanish (Radak, Sherashim; cf. Ralbag; Chizzkuni). The Talmud notes that its tail moves when cut off (Oholoth 1:6) and then it is paralyzed by heat but revived with water (Pesachim 88b). It is probably a member of the family lacertidae, of which four species live in the Holy Land.

In Arabic, it is translated as echaya (Saadia), the white lizard, or abretz (Ibn Janach; Rambam on Oholoth 1:7), the great gecko. The Septuagint translates it as chalaboties, from chala, a rock or claw, and hence the rock lizard or clawed lizard.

snail
  Chomet in Hebrew; limicon or limsa in Old French (Rashi; Chizzkuni; Radak, Sherashim; cf. Chaggigah 11a; Ikkarim 3:1. However, see Bertenoro on Shabbath 14:1).

Other sources, however, translate chomet as lizard, saura in Greek; lacerta in Latin. In Arabic it is rendered as charba (Saadia; Ibn Janach), most probably the skink. The skink is a lizard with small legs, of the family scincidae, of which there are four varieties in the Holy Land.

mole
  Tinshemeth in Hebrew; talpa in Latin and Old French (Rashi; Chizzkuni; Ralbag; Radak, Sherashim). The Targum, too, translates it as ashuth which is a mole (cf. Moed Katan 6a).

Other sources translate it as salamander (Targum Yonathan). In Arabic it is rendered as sambratz (Saadia), sam abratz (Ibn Janach), or darbutz (Ralbag), a large-headed lizard that burrows underground, probably a type of gecko.

shall remain unclean...
  After immersion in a mikvah.





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