Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  JJ
E-mail:  not available
Date:  9/23/2003 10:46:00 PM
Subject:  Insects
Message:  I think you will want to take back what you said about apikorsim denying spontaneous generation. Great poskim like the Pachad Yitzchak and others discuss the fact that now that we know that lice does not spontaneously generate, even though Chazal (mistakenly) said they did, is it still permitted to kill them on Shabbat. Some poskim rule that it is now assur! You might disagree, but these poskim had great respect for Chazal -- they just held like the Rambam that in scientfic matters they were sometimes wrong (because they relied on the then current science)
Reply:  The Chachamim talked about a type of bug or bugs that do spontaneously generate. The fact that we can prove that a specific bugs does not, is enough to prove only that bug. We still have no indication that there was anything untrue about the general concept of there being a bug or bugs that do spontaneously generate. Why is this so complicated for everyone? It's so simple! 1 + 1 = 2!
In regards to lice, I question if Kinim actually means lice. I question so much of our transalations. When we don't have a word for something, we make one up. Maybe Kinnim is not lice at all, and the real Kinim do spontaneously generate.
Here is an example.
The current accepted type of Aravot used on Succot with the Lulav is a type that grows in a bush-like style, that pretty much comes straight up from the ground to about 3-4 feet high. This they say is Arvei Nachal, Aravot of the river. If you show them a weeping willow, they'll say, "that's not Kosher."
A Kinnor, the musical instrument that King David played, is commonly transalated as a harp.
Now try to imagine King David putting his harp in the window to use it as an alarm clock, as written in the Gemara.
In Tehillim (Psalms #137) it says...
"Al Naharot Bavel....."
it's talking about the beginning of exile after the first Temple was destroyed, and the Levyim who sung & played music in the Temple were asked to perform for their captors.
Loosely transalated-
"On the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, we also cried, when we remembered Zion. On the Aravot trees in Babylon, we hung our Kinnors, because there our captors requested us to perform the songs and music that we were accustomed to perform in the Temple."
Now, try to imagine the Aravot used today, and then hang a harp on them. How did it go?
Now, try to imagine a large weeping willow, and maybe a much smaller instrument, possibly the size of a guitar or even a violin. Suddenly it begins to make sense.
The determination to refute a factual statement of our Rabbis of old, must be very well researched and thought out. It must be done only by a qualified Moreh Hora'ah, after significant research and thorough proof, not speculation.

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