Natan Slifkin (NS) after acknowledging his surprise by the publication of the new letters supporting the identification of the biblical shafan as the rabbit and not the hyrax, he presents a few points.
You can see more details on this on a previous post: Hyrax out of favor
Let’s try B”H to analyze briefly some of his points.
An extensive elaboration appears in the book “The enigma of the Biblical shafan”.
1. NS acknowledges that many Spanish Rishonim identify the Biblical shafan as the rabbit.
2. NS claims that when Rav Saadiah Gaon translated shafan as the “wbr”, he intended the hyrax; but as written in the book, after our extensive research we can say that there is no conclusive evidence that this was Rab Saadia’s necessary opinion, because of the 4 points explained there.
3. NS wrote: “rabbits do not live anywhere near Eretz Yisrael…”
The relevance of his statement is questionable, but nevertheless it would be convenient if the facts are checked again.
4. NS wrote: “The only rabbits which hide under rocks are the African rock hares, which only live in Southern Africa, and are in any case so similar in appearance to the hares of
Again, facts should be checked.
Regarding the “separate min” we explained it in the book with many Torah sources and many science sources why they are considered to different minim.
5. NS wrote: “…if one is going to consider the hyrax as a sheretz, then kal v’chomer that the rabbit, which is much smaller…”
In which page in NS’s book (first or second edition) did he write what is his definition of “sheretz” and the sources on what he based his definition?
6. NS: wrote: “…In fact, the hyrax appears to be more of a maaleh gerah than the hare.”
In which page in NS’s book (first or second edition) did he write what is his definition of “maaleh gerah” and the sources on what he based his definition?
As far as you do not define a category, you cannot include or exclude any animal.
Meanwhile, if you have not read the original letters, you can find them in the following links.
www.tovnet.org/shafan/ShafanHaskamaRavYisroelBelsky19Tamuz5771.jpg www.tovnet.org/shafan/ShafanHaskamaRavYisraelMeirLevinger18Tamuz5771.pdf www.tovnet.org/shafan/ShafanHaskamaRavAmitaiBenDavid16Tamuz5771.pdf