Recently Natan Slifkin announced the publication of the 2nd edition of his book on the hyrax = the biblical shafan.
In that new book, as well as in the previous one, I could not find any biological reason that justifies calling the hyrax “maaleh
If the hyrax is a “non-ruminant, non-cecotroph, non-merycist species” how could the Torah call the hyrax “maaleh
So the obvious alternative is to say that the hyrax is not the biblical shafan.
Indeed, Natan Slifkin already made a partial concession in his blogspot on 18 Jul 11 when he wrote:
“The hyrax is not as perfect a candidate for the shafan as many would like…”
An interesting coincidence, the timing of Natan Slifkin’s publication of his new book with the moment I received B”H 3 significant letters:
1. An approbation letter to the new book "The enigma of the Biblical shafan" from HaRav Amitai Ben David shlit"a, author of the famous book "Sichat Chulin" on Masechet Chulin, where he acknowledges that the biblical shafan is not the hyrax.
2. An approbation letter from HaRav Yisrael Meir Levinger Shlit"a, author of the famous book "Maor LeMasechet Chulin", where he acknowledges that the biblical shafan is not the hyrax.
3. An approbation letter from HaRav HaGaon Rav Yisroel Belsky Shlit"a, Rosh Yeshivat Torah Vadaat and one of the chief experts for the Orthodox Union, where he acknowledges that the biblical shafan is not the hyrax.
Please remember that Natan Slifkin stated in his first edition, page102 that
“…the shafan is the hyrax. This is also the preferred conclusion of the contemporary Torah scholars who have published works specializing in animals of the Torah, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Levinger and Rabbi Amitai Ben-David…”.
The same statement appears in the second edition pages 90-91.
But now, after these two “contemporary Torah scholars who have published works specializing in animals of the Torah” have read and studied the arguments why the hyrax cannot be the biblical shafan, they acknowledged.
As HaRav HaGaon Rav Belsky שליט"א wrote in his approbation letter, I also hope B”H that many more will reevaluate this issue and arrive at the same conclusion.
P. S. You can find a copy of the above mentioned letters in the following links.
www.tovnet.org/shafan/ShafanHaskamaRavYisroelBelsky19Tamuz5771.jpg www.tovnet.org/shafan/ShafanHaskamaRavYisraelMeirLevinger18Tamuz5771.pdf www.tovnet.org/shafan/ShafanHaskamaRavAmitaiBenDavid16Tamuz5771.pdf