Ask The Rabbi

Bunny Bugs

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Arnevet (Rabbit), Chews its Cud?

Steven Stone from West Bloomfield, Michigan wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

How can the Torah say that the rabbit chews its cud (Leviticus 11:5-6) when science knows that it does not?


Dear Steven Stone,

The Torah says that we should not eat "the arnevet, for it chews its cud but its hoof is not split." Most commentaries translate arnevet not as rabbit but as either coney, rock badger or hyrax, all of which do in fact chew their cud. Some point out that the rabbit is auto-coprophagous, which can be seen as a form of cud-chewing, where the cud "ferments" externally.

Sources:

  • Living Torah by Aryeh Kaplan
  • Encyclopedia Hamikrah, Arnevet


 
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