Monday, July 29, 2013

Is Rav Saadia Gaon’s “wabar” the rabbit?


B”H
Dear Readers:

This week we read Parashat Ree where the issue of the shafan is again mentioned.
As you probably know, after the publication of the book “The Enigma of the Biblical Shafan” many blogspots and comments have been published in the Jewish blogosphere.
Now I would like to concentrate only in a specific point.

In the book we have tried to demonstrate that the rabbit is compatible with all the descriptions of the shafan that have been published in the Jewish classic literature, including Ibn Janach and Rishonim.
Rav Saadia Gaon expressed his identification of the shafan very shortly. In our book this issue was elaborated on chapter 5 (d).

In the short Arabic explanation to the Pentateuch (Leviticus 11:5) attributed to Rav Saadia Gaon, who lived over one thousand years ago, [1] we find the word shafan translated to a three (وبر[2] or five (الوبر[3] letter Arabic word, which can be transliterated to “wabar (literally meaning “hair, wool or fur”) or “al-wabar” (“the hair, the wool or the fur”). [4] [5] [6]
This word (وبر) is also the modern common name in certain Arabic countries to describe the hyrax (Procavia capensis).
It is thus understandable that in the last 150 years, some Torah commentators and some researchers have claimed this source as evidence that Rav Saadia Gaon considered the hyrax, and not the rabbit, the Biblical shafan.
However, the results of our extensive research show that there is no conclusive evidence that this necessarily was Rav Saadia’s opinion, for the four reasons explained in the book.

After the book went to press, I found B"H the description of the “wabar” in Tafseer Ibn Katheer (Damascus, Syria 1301-1373) on Surah 103:1 where Ibn Katheer wrote the following two paragraphs:

"O wabar, o wabar! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing...''


"And the wabar is a small animal that resembles a cat, and the largest thing on it is its ears and its torso, while the rest of it is ugly." [7]

I think we could use this medieval source -whose description of wabar (“big ears” and "digging and burrowing") seems to match with the rabbit and not with the hyrax- as evidence that when Rav Saadia Gaon translated shafan as "al-wabar" perhaps he was speaking about the rabbit and not the hyrax.

As you remember the source of Ibn Janach -elaborated elsewhere- indicates the same.

Kol Tuv!




[1] Born in Egypt in 882; at the age of about thirty he moved to Israel and Syria, until 921, when he returned to Babylonia, where he remained until his death in 942 CE.
http://vbm-torah.org/archive/parshanut/02parshanut.htm  accessed 28/jul/13
http://archive.org/stream/saadiagaonhislif00malt/saadiagaonhislif00malt_djvu.txt accessed on 28/jul/13
[2] ערוך השלם, ד"ר חנוך יהודה קאהוט, חלק רביעי דף נ"ט ערך טפז, בהערה.
[3] פירוש רבינו סעדיה גאון ע"י יוסף קאפח מוסד הרב קוק, ירושלים, תשנ"ד על ויקרא י"א ה' ע' ק"כ
[4] http://www.angelfire.com/hi/UAECAMELS/group.html
accessed on 16/jul/06
[5] http://ummah.com/forum/printthread.php?t=61361  accessed
on 16/jul/06
[6] Stevenson Thomas B. "Domestication" of hyrax (Procavia capensis), in Yemen. J. EthnobioI. Summer 1990;10(1):23-32.
[7] See Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 30 (part 30): An-Nabaa 1 to An-NAS 6, 2nd edition, London 2009. By Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman. Page 221

112 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. What is the significance of the fact that Wabar can mean “hair, wool or fur” (and that al-wabar can mean “the hair, the wool or the fur”)? This translation would not work in context of Rav Saadia?

    2. Do you have a reference so I can look up the Ibn Katheer to which you refer? From where did you get the translation?

    3. Have you contacted any Arabic experts to confirm whether wabar meant rabbit or hyrax in and around Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime? If so, who did you contact, and what were the results of your consultations?

    4. You write "there is no conclusive evidence that this necessarily was Rav Saadia’s opinion."

    You have been studying this issue for over 35 years, and have written THE book on this issue. So I ask you, as THE authority: In light of all the evidence out there, in its totality, do you believe (a) it probably was Rav Saadya's opinion, but there is no conclusive evidence, or (b) it probably was not his opinion? If (b), can you explain,in three to five sentences, the basis for you belief?

    I thank you for your anticipated straightforward answers to the above questions as follows: Many thanks to you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. B”H
    Dear Nachum Boehm
    Thank you for your questions.

    1. Agreed, nevertheless since some animal-common-names are assigned based in evident characteristics, it is useful to know the etymology of “wabar” since it may explain why this Arabic term could have been attached to the hyrax and/or the rabbit.

    2. It was based on the source mentioned on footnote #7.

    3.
    a) I contacted by email one Arabic expert and did not answer.

    b) I verified the Arabic text of Ibn Katheer tafsir on two different versions of the book, and both have the same text.

    c) I verified that the English translation of Ibn Katheer corresponds to the Arabic text, by comparing two published English translations, by consulting with three independent non-professional native Arabic speakers, by consulting ancient Arabic doubtful words in dictionaries.

    d) The source of Ibn Janach -elaborated elsewhere- indicates that wabr meant rabbit.

    e) I consulted the following source (brought to my attention by David Ohsie):
    Edward William Lane. Arabic-English Lexicon. (London: Willams & Norgate 1863) Book I, page 2915
    Although Lane’s personal interpretation is that wabar means hyrax, nevertheless all the many descriptors found there (based in many dictionaries) are compatible with the rabbit.
    In the 4th. sub-entry the rabbit is mentioned as one of the accepted translations of Wabar.
    وبر [Wbr] A camel having much وبر [Wbr] [i. e. fur, or soft hair]; (S, M, A, Msb, K;) and in like manner, a hare or rabbit, and the like; (K;)…

    According to the latter, wabar can refer to any furry animal.

    f) Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime is the same as Ibn Katheer´s region.

    4. Although I have been studying the shafan issue for over 25 years, nevertheless I just began consulting medieval Arabic original texts in the last two years.
    Regarding my thoughts on this, in the shafan book it is written: "there is no conclusive evidence that this necessarily was Rav Saadia’s opinion."
    Now, after my recent finding of Ibn Katheers´s description of the Wabar I am more inclined to think that Saadia Gaon meant Wabar equals rabbit, but I am still unsure because his description is very short (the expanded version of his tafseer on Vayikrah has not been found yet, as far as I know).

    In conclusion, I think that at this moment (I am still consulting Arabic ancient dictionaries), Rav Saadia Gaon´s identification should not be used as a proof or as a challenge on the rabbit-hyrax debate.

    Any further question or comment is welcomed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. f) Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime is the same as Ibn Katheer´s region.

      Untrue.

      R. Saadia Gaon lived Egypt and Israel, and later in Sura and Baghdad. in the late 9th and 10th century. Ibn Katheer lived in Syria in the 14th century. Do you have evidence that Ibn Katheer lived in Israel?

      Delete
    2. The source of Ibn Janach -elaborated elsewhere- indicates that wabr meant rabbit.

      He translates Shafan as rabbit. He actually testifies that rabbit was not known as Wabr in his area. There are no hyraxes in Spain.

      Delete
  4. Will you please provide footnotes 2 and 3? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aruch HaShalem:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_48231_61.pdf


    וזה לשונו של רס"ג שם:
    "השפן: אלובר".

    ReplyDelete
  6. Okay. I will now critique your performance in this posting and your answers, and drop this conversation.

    1. I asked: "What is the significance of the fact that Wabar can mean “hair, wool or fur” (and that al-wabar can mean “the hair, the wool or the fur”)? This translation would not work in context of Rav Saadia?"

    You answered: Agreed (then some other stuff, but I stopped reading there).
    My critique: Bravo on your straightforward answer! However, your answer exposes a certain flabbiness in your writing, i.e. that you include irrelevant information.

    I asked: "2. Do you have a reference so I can look up the Ibn Katheer to which you refer? From where did you get the translation?"

    Your answer was straightforward as can be. Right on!

    I asked: "3. Have you contacted any Arabic experts to confirm whether wabar meant rabbit or hyrax in and around Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime? If so, who did you contact, and what were the results of your consultations?"

    You answered: "I contacted by email one Arabic expert and did not answer. . .” (and then lots of irrelevant stuff).

    My critique: Bravo again on your straightforwardness! However, again, your answer betrays the main weakness in your argument, which you fail to address. Just contact an Arabic expert, or many of them, and get an answer! If I recall, you recently criticized R. Slifkin for releasing his book before he had all the necessary information. Do you not see the irony in light of the fact that you have neglected to conduct some of the rudimentary research before the release of your project? (In addition to your recent belief that there was archeological evidence of rabbits in Israel during King David’s time!?)

    I asked: "4. In light of all the evidence out there, in its totality, do you believe (a) it probably was Rav Saadya's opinion, but there is no conclusive evidence, or (b) it probably was not his opinion? If (b), can you explain,in three to five sentences, the basis for you belief?"

    You answered some irrelevant stuff, then "I am more inclined to think that Saadia Gaon meant Wabar equals rabbit, but I am still unsure" and then some more irrelevant stuff. However, you failed to give reasons, as requested. Also, you revealed that although you've been studying this issue for two years, yet have not contacted any expert, or sources other than the ones listed. A very weak research attempt indeed.

    This concludes my critique of this conversation.

    Be well.



    ReplyDelete
  7. B“H
    Dear Nachum Boher

    In case you are interested in reading my responses to your last critique, please let me know.

    Meanwhile, if someone finds that my interpretation on the relevance of Ibn Katheer tafsir is wrong, let me know why (please do not simply qualify it as “irrelevant”).

    Best regards.

    ReplyDelete
  8. In the short Arabic explanation to the Pentateuch (Leviticus 11:5) attributed to Rav Saadia Gaon, who lived over one thousand years ago, [1] we find the word shafan translated to a three (وبر) [2] or five (الوبر) [3] letter Arabic word, which can be transliterated to “wabar” (meaning “hair, wool or fur”) or “al-wabar” (“the hair, the wool or the fur”). [4] [5] [6]

    Once again, you misleadingly leave out the relevant definition (the hyrax) and include two irrelevant ones:

    Classical Arabic definition of Lane:

    وَبْرٌ ذ , a pl. [or rather a coll. gen. n.] of which the sing. [or n. un.] is with ة; (S, Mgh;) or a masc. n., of which the fem. is with ة, (Lth, T, M, Msb, K,) and also a pl. [or coll. gen. n.], (M,) [The hyrax Syriacus; believed to be the animal called in Hebr. שָׁפָן ;] a certain small beast, (Lth, T, S, Mgh, Msb, K,) like the cat, (Msb, K,) or of the size of the cat, (Lth, T, M, Mgh,) or smaller than the cat, (S,) of the beasts of the desert, (M,) of a dust-colour, (Lth, T, Mgh, Msb,) or of a hue between dust-colour and white, (طَحْلَآءُ, this epithet being applied to وَبْرَةٌ, S,) or white, (TA,) having beautiful eyes, (Lth, T, Mgh,) or having eyes bordered with black, or very black eyes, (كَحْلَآءُ, Msb,) having no tail, (S, Msb,) or having a small tail, (Mgh,) [Golius says, on the authority of Dmr., “ longiore caudâ, ” which is a mistake, for it has no tail,] said to be of the weasel-kind, (Msb,) very shy, (Lth, T, Mgh,) living in low grounds, (Lth, T,) and dwelling in houses [of its own or of men], (S,) or it is confined in houses, and is taught; and it is eaten, because it feeds upon leguminous plants: (Mgh:) it is [said to be] a ruminant; [but this is not the case;] and therefore it is said in a trad., that when a man in a state of إِِحْرَام kills it, he must sacrifice a sheep or goat: (TA:) [a full and correct description of this animal is given in art. “ Shaphan ” of Dr. Kitto's “ Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature: ”] pl. وِبَارٌ (S, M, Msb, K) and وُبُورٌ and وِبَارَةٌ (M, K) and إِِبَارَةٌ, (M, TA,) with hemzeh in the place of the و. (TA.) One says, فُلَانٌ أَسْمَحُ مِنْ ?? الوَبْرِ [Such a one is more liberal than the marrow of the webr]: because the marrow of the webr comes forth easily. (IAar, T.) And فُلَانٌ أَذَمُّ مِنَ الوِبَارَةِ [Such a one is more dispraised than the webrs]. (Fr, T.) -A2- الوَبْرُ One of the days called أَيَّامُ العَجُوزِ, (S, M, K,) which are seven, falling at the end of winter: or it is called وَبْرٌ, without the article: for the Arabs say, صِنٌّ وَصِنَّبُرْ وَأَخَيُّهُمَا وَبْرْ [Sinn and Sinnabr and their little brother Webr]: but this may be for the sake of the rhyme. (M.)


    This word (وبر) is also the modern common name in certain Arabic countries to describe the hyrax (Procavia capensis).


    This is again misleading. You imply that there is no evidence of what it meant in R. Saadia Gaon's time. In fact, there is plenty of evidence. Lane references some.


    After the book went to press, I found B"H the description of the “wabar” in Tafseer Ibn Katheer (Damascus 1301-1373) on Surah 103:1 where Ibn Katheer wrote the following two paragraphs:


    B"H I have found evidence that "Elephant" refers to a hairy animal, possibly the rare "Snuffleupagus". You can see that evidence here:

    Elephant: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2012/10/elephants-on-parade.html

    Snuffleupagus: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/80/Snuffy31.jpg/220px-Snuffy31.jpg

    (In other words, finding one description through history of an animal does not prove much of anything. They didn't have the internet. Dr. Betech is practicing Arabic scholarship without knowing Arabic. He has yet to produce an Arabic expert who thinks that Wabr meant rabbit.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. B"H

    To our dear readers
    Alechem HaShalom!

    I am forced to inform you that I am not planning to answer the comments of David Ohsie, since unfortunately he has accused me elsewhere of something I am denying.

    He has refrained from substantiating his accusation or retracting it even when repeatedly requested.

    Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented.

    I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To our dear readers
      Alechem HaShalom!

      I am forced to inform you that I am not planning to answer the comments of David Ohsie, since unfortunately he has accused me elsewhere of something I am denying.

      He has refrained from substantiating his accusation or retracting it even when repeatedly requested.

      Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write


      I posted the quotes that I referenced in my descripion (not "accusation") and they were deleted from the blog. Not much else I can do. If I was mistaken in my quotations, I'll retract in all places.

      Delete
  10. David Ohsie wrote this in a previous post

    "[Posting with changes in an attempt to meet the standards of the blog]

    Just to close this up, what Dr. Betech refers to is the following:

    1) On R. Waxman's blog, he took offense at some things that R. Waxman wrote.

    2) I pointed out that he wrote much worse.

    3) Dr. Betech demanded proof:

    So just please answer the following:

    1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
    2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
    3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”


    4) I did what he asked on this blog and the comment was deleted. So it is not possible to do what Dr. Betech is asking. When I reproduce the quotes from his post immediately below this one here, the comment is deleted."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. B”H
      Dear Dany
      Thank you for your comment.

      As previously stated:

      Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      Delete
    2. Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented.

      Of course, this is ridiculous. I am not going to post shameful quotations from this blog on other blogs, statements that are so embarrasing that they are deleted when I post them here. I referenced them there without repeating them.

      If I made a mistake, I will retract on all blogs.

      Delete
    3. B"H
      David:

      You wrote:
      ...If I made a mistake, I will retract on all blogs.

      IB:
      If you made a mistake or not, has to be discussed after you substantiate your accusation on the same forum where you made the accusation.

      If for any reason you do not want to substantiate your accusation and discuss the subject, you may decide to retract your accusation explicitly in the same forum where you made the accusation.

      Any further comment on this comment thread that will ignore the above will not be addressed.

      Delete
    4. If you made a mistake or not, has to be discussed after you substantiate your accusation on the same forum where you made the accusation.

      You are falsely accusing me of making statements about things that you wrote without backing them up in the location where I made the statements. Your accusation is completely untrue. This link is an example of what I posted to precisely show you the statements that are so embarrassing to you, that you delete my comments when I quote them here:

      http://bit.ly/1avSvFj

      Here is the context (again, I posted this over on the other blog):

      The first sentence in your blog post with the word "believe" is of the form S1, S2 is a correct definition, and S3 follows from S1 and S2.

      S1: X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah
      S2: If X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah, then X is an Apikores (apostate)
      S3: X is an Apikores (apostate)

      Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin, you are asserting that he is an Apikores (apostate).

      Here is a google search to help you find what you wrote in case you have forgotten:

      http://bit.ly/1avSvFj

      Delete
    5. It was unnecessary, but to comply further with your "demands", I posted the following in R. Waxman's blog. It will appear after moderation:

      So just please answer the following:

      1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
      2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
      3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”


      For the record, in blog post Lacking in derech eretz and in knowledge

      1. IB wrote that NS is an Apikores in the following sentences (in the above mentioned link):

      http://bit.ly/18WYea7
      http://bit.ly/18WYzty

      2. IB wrote that NS is an Avaryan in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link):

      http://bit.ly/18WYE0b

      3. IB wrote that NS is a Shakran in the following sentences (in the above mentioned link):

      http://bit.ly/18WYKVF
      http://bit.ly/18WYWEm

      Hoops successfully jumped through.

      You can now safely cite your experts in Arabic who maintain that Wabr now means hyrax, but actually meant rabbit in Saadia Gaon's time.

      Delete
    6. B”H
      Dear David
      Thank you for your very late response published elsewhere.

      It is obvious why you were unwilling to try to substantiate your three accusations against me.

      I followed your five links and could not find where I wrote what you attributed to me, so please substantiate your accusations or retract them.

      All your comments will be ignored until you substantiate or retract your accusations against me.

      Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some of the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. Dr Betech, Now that we have we have cleared up the confusion regarding what I meant when I wrote “our original topic” we can now continue, or else please retract your requirement “Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented”
      I wrote:
      “Please explain:
      1) Do you agree that one should follow the halachic and hashcafic practice of the gedolim?
      2) If you agree, is this particular issue different?
      3) If this issue is different, do you have a source for this?
      4) If you disagree with my understanding of the Gedolim’s views, can you please provide examples that support your views?”
      You then wrote
      “Please provide the verbatim quotation in the referenced sources that show the opinion of the Gedolim is that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place [even when clearly requested, as is the case we were speaking about].”

      I am willing to discuss this after you
      address my questions that I asked before you asked yours

      Delete
    9. Thank you for your very late response published elsewhere.

      My response was not late. I had already responded many times; however you were apparently embarrassed by the quotations from your own blog post and so deleted my response.

      It is obvious why you were unwilling to try to substantiate your three accusations against me.

      I did not accuse you of anything. I did substantiate what I said, which why you delete the substantiation.

      I followed your five links and could not find where I wrote what you attributed to me, so please substantiate your accusations or retract them.

      Of course you always say that, so it has no meaning. I could just as well say: your book is flews because I could not find where you proved your thesis. But this would be a very unconvincing book review, just as your statement is very unconvincing.

      All your comments will be ignored until you substantiate or retract your accusations against me.

      This is your blog and you free to ignore me and even ban me if you like. However, if you are interested in forwarding your position, it behooves you to answer objections even from people you don't like.

      Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented.

      It was. Since you are so embarrassed by the exact words that you wrote, it is clear you believe this as well.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      Then why will you not take responsibility for your post full of ad hominem attacks on R. Slifkin? If you think they are accurate, then there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

      Delete
  11. Dear Dr Betech,
    Thank you for your reply.

    As previously stated:

    David Ohsie wrote this in a previous post

    "[Posting with changes in an attempt to meet the standards of the blog]

    Just to close this up, what Dr. Betech refers to is the following:

    1) On R. Waxman's blog, he took offense at some things that R. Waxman wrote.

    2) I pointed out that he wrote much worse.

    3) Dr. Betech demanded proof:

    So just please answer the following:

    1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
    2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
    3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”


    4) I did what he asked on this blog and the comment was deleted. So it is not possible to do what Dr. Betech is asking. When I reproduce the quotes from his post immediately below this one here, the comment is deleted."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. B"H
      Dear Dany
      Unfortunately David Ohsie has not substantiated or retracted his accusation in the forum where he originally made the accusation.
      After David Ohsie will do that, it will be a pleasure to continue discussing with him the appropriate subjects with the appropriate methodology.

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    2. "David Ohsie has not substantiated or retracted his accusation in the forum where he originally made the accusation"

      According to my web browser, you wrote this after my comment "Danny August 1, 2013 at 11:46 AM", however from what you write you seem to have not read it.
      I will paste it here (the blog forum can be confusing!)

      "I don’t think you mean when you write “Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented” that David has to substantiate or retract in the same place that he originally posted, as it is not the opinion of the Gedolim that one needs to retract or substantiate in the same place. Correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that this blog follows the Gedolim"

      looking forward to having the pleasure of continuing reading your dialog with David!

      Delete
    3. B”H
      Dany
      You are right; I wrote my previous comment in response to your comment before I read your additional posted comment.

      You wrote:
      … as it is not the opinion of the Gedolim that one needs to retract or substantiate in the same place…

      IB:
      Could you please provide any source?

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    4. "IB:
      Could you please provide any source?"


      1)http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=15005

      2)http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3861625,00.html

      Delete
    5. B"H
      Dear Dany

      I read the two linked articles.

      Could you please provide a source to a pesak halacha from any "Gadol" (posek) who rules that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place where he made the accusation?

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    6. I wrote:
      “…as it is not the opinion of the Gedolim that one needs to retract or substantiate in the same place”
      You wrote “would you please provide any source”
      I provided two sources that show the opinions of the gedolim.
      You then wrote
      “Could you please provide a source to a pesak halacha from any "Gadol" (posek) who rules that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place where he made the accusation?”
      Before we discuss your second question, let’s finish addressing the first. We can then move on to your next questions.
      We can’t move on to the next question yet, because you have not yet responded to the sources I provided.
      Please explain:
      1) Do you agree that one should follow the halachic and hashcafic practice of the gedolim?
      2) If you agree, is this particular issue different?
      3) If this issue is different, do you have a source for this?
      4) If you disagree with my understanding of the Gedolim’s views, can you please provide examples that support your views?
      This is not a silly discussion because I am sure you agree that David has added and can add more valuable insights regarding the Shafan debate.

      Delete
    7. B”H
      Dany

      You wrote:
      “…as it is not the opinion of the Gedolim that one needs to retract or substantiate in the same place”

      …I provided two sources that show the opinions of the gedolim…

      IB:
      Please provide the verbatim quotation in the referenced sources that show the opinion of the Gedolim is that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place [even when clearly requested, as is the case we were speaking about].

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    8. Thank you for going back to our original topic.
      I wrote regarding our original topic
      "Please explain:
      1) Do you agree that
      one should follow the
      halachic and
      hashcafic practice of
      the gedolim?
      2) If you agree, is
      this particular issue
      different?
      3) If this issue is
      different, do you
      have a source for
      this?
      4) If you disagree
      with my
      understanding of the
      Gedolim’s views, can
      you please provide
      examples that
      support your views?"

      you then wrote

      "Please provide the
      verbatim quotation in
      the referenced
      sources that show
      the opinion of the
      Gedolim is that one
      does not need to
      retract or
      substantiate in the
      same place [even
      when clearly
      requested, as is the
      case we were
      speaking about]."

      I am willing to discuss this after you
      address my questions that I asked before you asked yours.

      This is not a silly
      discussion because I
      am sure you agree
      that David has added
      and can add more
      valuable insights
      regarding the Shafan
      debate.
      discussion because I
      am sure you agree
      that David has added
      and can add more
      valuable insights
      regarding the Shafan
      debate.

      Delete
    9. B"H
      Dany

      You wrote:
      Thank you for going back to our original topic.

      IB:
      Regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some of the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    10. DR Betech, this is where we are holding regarding our origimal topic.

      "Please explain:
      1) Do you agree that
      one should follow the
      halachic and
      hashcafic practice of
      the gedolim?
      2) If you agree, is
      this particular issue
      different?
      3) If this issue is
      different, do you
      have a source for
      this?
      4) If you disagree
      with my
      understanding of the
      Gedolim’s views, can
      you please provide
      examples that
      support your views?"
      you then wrote
      "Please provide the
      verbatim quotation in
      the referenced
      sources that show
      the opinion of the
      Gedolim is that one
      does not need to
      retract or
      substantiate in the
      same place [even
      when clearly
      requested, as is the
      case we were
      speaking about]."
      I am willing to
      discuss this after
      you
      address my
      questions that I
      asked before you
      asked yours.
      This is not a silly
      discussion because I
      am sure you agree
      that David has added
      and can add more
      valuable insights
      regarding the Shafan
      debate.
      discussion because I
      am sure you agree
      that David has added
      and can add more
      valuable insights
      regarding the Shafan
      debate.

      Delete
    11. I am sorry for my formatting, I am using my cell phone

      Delete
    12. B"H
      Dany

      You wrote:
      DR Betech, this is where we are holding regarding our origimal topic...

      IB:
      No this is not our original topic.
      Please read again the post.
      If your next comment will ignore the original topic again, I am sorry but your comment will be ignored.

      Regarding the original topic of this post, I would like to know if some of the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.


      Delete
    13. I wrote “this is where we are holding regarding our origimal topic...”

      IB:
      “No this is not our original topic.”
      There seems to be a misunderstanding, I used the phrase “our original topic” to refer to your first question
      “You wrote “would you please provide any source”
      I provided two sources that show the opinions of the gedolim.
      You then wrote
      “Could you please provide a source to a pesak halacha from any "Gadol" (posek) who rules that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place where he made the accusation?”
      I wrote “Before we discuss your second question, let’s finish addressing the first. We can then move on to your next questions”
      I then started the discussion regarding your first question
      “Please explain:
      1) Do you agree that one should follow the halachic and hashcafic practice of the gedolim?
      2) If you agree, is this particular issue different?
      3) If this issue is different, do you have a source for this?
      4) If you disagree with my understanding of the Gedolim’s views, can you please provide examples that support your views?”
      You then requested “Please provide the verbatim quotation in the referenced sources that show the opinion of the Gedolim is that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place [even when clearly requested, as is the case we were speaking about”
      I thanked you for focusing back to your first question,
      And requested that regarding your request “please provide the verbatim quotation…”,
      that we first address my requests because that is the correct order of our correspondence.
      “I am willing to discuss this after you
      address my questions that I asked before you asked yours”

      I am sorry for the misunderstanding either I misused the phrase “our original topic” or there are language issues between us, as English is your 3rd language (although I am impressed with you English ability, Afrikaans is my 3rd language, and you English is much better than my Afrikaans)
      In any case I believe that our quest for truth will not be stopped by something as trivial as a language barrier.
      I hope we can carry on because I am sure you agree that David has added and can add more valuable insights regarding the Shafan debate.

      Delete
  12. I don’t think you mean when you write “Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented” that David has to substantiate or retract in the same place that he originally posted, as it is not the opinion of the Gedolim that one needs to retract or substantiate in the same place. Correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that this blog follows the Gedolim.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. DR Ostroff, someone posted here called "daas torah", and It seems that he has hacked your blog as the post disappeared, when someone normally deletes a comment it says "This comment has been removed by the author" and it cant be in spam because there was no words that would classify it as such. the only way that someone could completely remove it is if they had admin rights!
    I deleted my previous comment because it was a reply to him!
    Just letting you know, this is your field, so if you think I am wrong ignore this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shalom Aleichem Danny. We seek non-vitriolic comments of substance. Unsuitable comments will not be allowed. Thanks.

      Delete
  15. Fixing typo:

    I followed your five links and could not find where I wrote what you attributed to me, so please substantiate your accusations or retract them.

    Of course you always say that, so it has no meaning. I could just as well say: your book is flawed because I could not find where you proved your thesis. But this would be a very unconvincing book review, just as your statement is very unconvincing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

    Of course, this is a ridiculous way of approaching the problem. Rather than actually find out what people who actually understand classical Arabic say, you will rely on suggestions from a readership most likely composing 0-5 people who can even read any form of Arabic.

    However, if your are interested in pursuing this method, you already have dozens of references from Lane's book to track down. What have they told you so far?

    Here is one that I'm particularly interested in:

    صِنٌّ ذ The urine of the وَبْر [or hyrax Syriacus], (S, M, TA,) in the copies of the K erroneously said to be of camels: (TA:) it is inspissated for medicines; (M, TA;) and is very fetid. (TA.) صِنُّ الوَبْرِ is also a term applied to Small, round, flattened cakes, (أَقْرَاص,) which are brought from El-Yemen to El-Hijáz, found there in caves; having the property of dissolving tumours, applied as a plaster with honey: mentioned by the hakeem Dáwood. (TA.) -A2- Also, (M, TA,) thus, without the art., but written by Az and J with it, i. e. الصِّنُّ, as in the K, (TA,) One of the days called أَيَّامُ العَجُوزِ; (S, M, K;) said to be the first of those days. (M. [See art. عجز.])
    An Arabic-English Lexicon. London. Williams and Norgate. 1863.

    This seems to be a clear reference to Hyraceum:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyraceum

    All hyraxes live throughout most of Africa, but rock hyraxes are also found along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula up to Lebanon. As their name implies, they hang out in areas where there are boulders, rock formations, or even little nooks on sheer cliffs that provide shelter and protection. Their homes are easy to identify as hyrax abodes, as the animals’ urine crystalizes and looks like white patches on the rocks. http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/rock-hyrax

    Rock hyraxes do not dig burrows. They live in colonies of 50 or so in natural crevices of rocks or bolders. They regularly use "latrines" and in areas they inhabit, conspicuous white deposits from their urine form on rock faces. They are active in the daytime and can be seen feeding or sunning themselves near the entrances to their shelters.
    http://www.outtoafrica.nl/animals/enghyrax.html

    We also have these reference from Lane:


    مَكْءٌ ذ The hole of a fox, or of a hare, or rabbit: or, accord. to Th, the hole of the kind of lizard called ضَبّ. (L.)

    They will explain why the wabr does not appear in the list, since according to you, the wabr also lives in holes.

    خِتْلٌ ختل A place of retreat, or concealment. (K.) And Any similar place in which one listens to hear secrets [&c.]. (TA.) The form of a hare, or burrow of a rabbit. (K.)

    Again, why is burrow of a Wabr not mentioned? Please have your experts explain.

    This is aside from all the references in the Lane entry that I quoted.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nachum Boehm: 3. Have you contacted any Arabic experts to confirm whether wabar meant rabbit or hyrax in and around Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime? If so, who did you contact, and what were the results of your consultations?

    Dr. Betech:
    3.
    a) I contacted by email one Arabic expert and did not answer.

    b) I verified the Arabic text of Ibn Katheer tafsir on two different versions of the book, and both have the same text.

    c) I verified that the English translation of Ibn Katheer corresponds to the Arabic text, by comparing two published English translations, by consulting with three independent non-professional native Arabic speakers, by consulting ancient Arabic doubtful words in dictionaries.


    This answer fits the typical pattern. Nachum Boehm asks the obvious question that has been asked many times here: do any actual experts in Classical Arabic agree with Dr. Betech translation of Wabr as Rabbit. We get the following:

    1) They didn't answer his email. This is supposed to be some kind of support for Dr. Betech.

    2) He then explains how he "verified" the translations of Ibn Katheer, which was not the question.

    3) The translations of Ibn Katheer actually translate Wabr as hyrax!

    So Musaylimah thought for a while. Then he said, "Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.'' `Amr asked him, "What is it'' He replied, "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.''

    http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1086&Itemid=159#1

    ReplyDelete
  18. 3) The translations of Ibn Katheer actually translate Wabr as hyrax!

    ... "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.''

    http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1086&Itemid=159#1


    If, as you have repeatedly emphasized (most recently August 3, 2013 at 11:53 PM), "Rock hyraxes [as opposed to rabbits] do not dig burrows," and since rabbits, opposed to hyraxes, are conspicuous for their ears, what does this say for the accuracy of the translators, and the total reliance upon them, as opposed to investigating the evidence from the text's context?

    ReplyDelete
  19. 3) The translations of Ibn Katheer actually translate Wabr as hyrax!

    ... "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.''

    http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1086&Itemid=159#1

    If, as you have repeatedly emphasized (most recently August 3, 2013 at 11:53 PM), "Rock hyraxes [as opposed to rabbits] do not dig burrows," and since rabbits, opposed to hyraxes, are conspicuous for their ears, what does this say for the accuracy of the translators, and the total reliance upon them, as opposed to investigating the evidence from the text's context?


    I'm not making any claims about what this source referred to. As I demonstrated, if you cherry pick sources, you are led to believe that elephants are hairy. In my last comment, I just pointed out that the translator understood Wabr, when referring to a specific species, to refer to a hyrax.

    There are other problems understanding the context here. The original quote is intended as a parody. It is not clear that it has to sensibly refer to any animal. If it does, it is not clearly referring to a species; he could be singing of a single animal in front of him which would widen the scope to any animal (even a camel) with much fur. If it does, it is certainly not clearly matching the rabbit (is a rabbit ugly?). Maybe it is this guy?

    One would also have to decipher which author originated which quotation as there are nested quotations here and they lived in different times and places. I don't think that either author lived with hyraxes or rabbits.

    Finally, I see a slightly different translation here: "Oh, wabr! You are merely two ears and a breast and the rest of you is but a hole." http://www.thekhalids.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207:explanation-of-quranic-soorah-al-asr-the-time&catid=39:Newsletter%20Archive&Itemid=57

    These last three paragraphs are pure speculation on my part, as I don't know Arabic, nor do I have any insight into Islamic oral tradition, but neither does anyone here, which is why this approach is faulty. I'm just demonstrating the multiple uncertainties that the ignorant, such as ourselves, have.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dr. Betech's book thesis depends on a tower of assumptions; if any of them are invalid, his thesis falls apart. They include the following:

    1) Shafan = Rabbit.
    2) Maaleh Gerah = Rumination + Cecotrophy (but not the Cecotrophy of the Capybara) + ectental mastication
    3) The Common Ringtail Possum is a sheretz.
    4) Camel, Llama, Guanaco, Alpaca, and Vicuna are all referred to as the "Min" Gamal, but Rabbit and Hare are two Minim.
    5) All of the assumptions above are so obviously true that when the Torah lists the Gamal, Arnevet and Shafan as unkosher Maaleh Gerah animals, it is evidence of the divinity of the Torah, since that list could only have been divinely inspired.

    Each of these is questionable, but here we concentrate on his argument for #4: the defintion of Min.

    Dr. Betech argues for a defintion of Min, as follows:

    "[T]he discerning traits that would distinguish different 'minim' are anatomical or physiological dchanges the reproduductive system, specifically the two traits mentioned explicitly in Baba Kama 55a, i.e. either:

    1) The external or internal position of the testicles.
    2) The presence or absences of superfetation"

    Dr. Betech brings many sources, but none support his claim.

    His first 4 sources (R. Kanievsky, Rashbatz, Chatam Sofer, and Chazon Ish) all say that we can't figure out what Min means. These obviously don't support his claim and in fact contradict his approach.

    The Ran uses the Aristotelian distinction between "essence" and "accident". Differences in "accidents" can be due changes in the place and time that they are born (and perhaps he includes the usual genetic variation). The result is that all of these variant animals can be born from the same parent species. It is hard to say what distinctions would make the cut in the Ran's categories, so there is no real support here for Dr. Betech's categories. However, we can note the following: llamas and alpaca are domesticated animals, while guanaco and vicunas are not. Llamas are pack animals, while alpaca are not suitable to this task. These would most likely be considered "essential" differences in the animals. Raising Llamas and alpaca (or any of the others) in the same location will not make them similar to each other, nor can you get a llama from a camel parent. Most importantly you can interbreed some of these species through artificial insemination, but you get a sterile result. They are clearly not "born" from the same parent.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  22. R. Moshe says that the most important characteristics are those that are external and apparent as long as they are do not result from variations in place only. Thus external differences like "neck size" difference are actually stronger Min differentiators than "hidden" differences like the ones that Dr. Betech mentions, as long as they are not the result of place variation. R. Moshe defines this place variation quite clearly: he argues that since the Canary Palm has been grown in Israel and retains its differences from the Date palms of Israel, it is a different Min.

    So by R. Moshe's criteria, there is no specific preference for the criteria that Dr. Betech mentions, and in fact, external appearance is more determinative. Since the camelids vary greatly in appearance and size, and these variations remain when they are brought the same location, the camelids species should be different minim. Quantitatively, Bactrian camels weigh 10-30 times as much as Vicuna. See here for some pictures and details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelidae#Characteristics

    Finally, Dr. Betech claims that the Gemara in Bava Kamma lists "superfetetation" as a criteria for distinguishing Minim. Superfetetation is nowhere mentioned. The Gemara mentions that domestic geese will have multiple eggs fertilized by one mating, while the wild good will not. See http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/poultry/species/geese-raising/breeds-and-breeding: "Females lay fertile eggs 3 days after insemination and will continue to lay fertile eggs up until 10 days after insemination." (This refers to artificial insemination, but you can find similar information with "regular" mating). I presume the Gemara refers to the fact that "[Domestic geese] have also been strongly selected for fecundity, with females laying up to 50 eggs per year, compared to 5–12 eggs for a wild goose." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_goose.

    In conclusion, Dr. Betech's definition of Min is unsupported (and in fact contradicted) by his sources. This renders the book's central thesis unsupported.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi there. I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm following this conversation.

    To the extent Dr. Betech fails to respond to David Ohsie's observations and feedback, I will assume that Dr. Betech does not have (what Dr. Betech believes to be) an adequate response.

    I will not believe any excuse Dr. Betech may give for failing to respond to David Ohsie's comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. B"H
      Dear Nachum Boehm
      Welcome back.

      As previously explained, I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book (or the contents of this post) when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      So please, define your verifiable real identity (full name, city of residence, etc.) and define your own question, which you are ready to intellectually defend.

      Delete
    2. Dr Betech are you ignoring me to?

      Delete
    3. There is an implied accusation here. I am non-anonymous commenter and I do stand behind my comments including any retractions that I have made (e.g. my ignorant and incorrect cargo-cult posting about Aristotle and Hares). Dr. Betech has never cited an example where I failed to back up my posting.

      Nachum and others, you are free to use my postings as you see fit to further the discussion.

      Delete
  24. Dr. Betech, you don't understand. I'm not seeking a debate. I would like to know your response to David Ohsie's questions. One would think you would WANT to clear up the questions raised by David Ohsie.

    My identity is beside the point, since it the the QUESTION that are really relevant right now. (However, since you insist, you can verify my identity with one of the Ba'alei Ha'Blog, who knows me pretty well, and toward whom I am eternally grateful for sharing a quote by Michael Denton, which caused me to delve into the jaw-dropping wonders of nature.)

    If you do not respond, it will be clear that YOU do not believe that you can defend the main theses of your book, nor its conclusion.

    Therefore, if you do not respond, it will be a clear and public act of knowingly spreading falsehood in the name of Yiddishkeit and charlatanism IF you continue to sell or advertise your book. In fact, if you do not respond to David Ohsie’s comments, such failure thereby demonstrating that you do not believe you can adequately defend your book, you ought to publicly and explicitly retract and recall your book (and offer refunds) to ensure you do not spread falsehood.

    Please don't respond by asking me to phrase my own questions. I hereby adopt all of the statements, questions and comments published in this post by David Ohsie.

    Be well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. B”H
      Dear Nahum Bohem:
      Thank you for your reply, where:
      1.- You define your real identity to my satisfaction.
      2.- You have defined your questions related to this blogspot (Rav Saadia Gaon’s wabr) to my satisfaction, which I am willing B”H to address them here.
      3.- Nevertheless, it is still not clear to me if you are ready to intellectually defend your recently adopted questions when I address them, since unfortunately David Ohsie still has not substantiated or retracted from his accusations made elsewhere, so, I will continue ignoring his comments.
      Please feel free (if you want) to ask David Ohsie to send you by email whatever important information he will produce after he reads my comments directed to you, but if you are not ready to publish in your name any future reaction to my addressing of the questions -you just now have adopted- please let me know that now, since in that case, I will not address David Ohsie’s questions.
      Best regards.

      Delete
    2. I'm not going to enter into any private email conversations on this, but I will answer Dr. Betech's replies, if there is something to reply to, and then Nachum can choose to "endorse" my reply if he likes.

      All of this is quite odd, though. You strongly disagree with everything I say, but to your credit, you will give some kind of answer. On the one topic that we agree on (that you, Dr. Betech, have negative view of R. Slifkin so that you won't even address him as "R."), you pick as a reason not to answer.

      Delete
    3. I've said all I'm going to say.

      Be well.

      Delete
    4. B"H
      Dear Nachum Boehm:

      If you change your mind, please let me know.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    5. Okay. I'm back.

      I just re read your condition, to wit:

      "if you are not ready to publish in your name any future reaction to my addressing of the questions -you just now have adopted- please let me know that now, since in that case, I will not address David Ohsie’s questions."

      Initially, I was thrown off by your suggestion that I email someone privately to coach me in my reaction. As I wrote earlier, I'm not looking for a debate. I'm not even looking for a dialogue. And I'm certainly not looking to begin any new and weird dysfunctional relationships.

      All I am looking for is your response(s) to the issues raised in David Ohsie's comments.

      Therefore, as you request, I hereby undertake full responsibility for anything I have written or will write in this comment section. This undertaking shall remain in effect unless I clearly and explicitly disclaim responsibility for this undertaking. In any cases of doubt, the presumption shall be that I take full responsibility for anything that I put in the public domain.

      Delete
    6. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm
      Thank you for your comment and accepting my three suggested points.

      Let’s try B”H to concentrate -as explained- in your questions related to this blogspot (Rav Saadia Gaon’s wabr).
      And let’s go B”H one by one.

      You wrote:
      [IB] f) Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime is the same as Ibn Katheer´s region.

      [NB] Untrue.
      R. Saadia Gaon lived Egypt and Israel, and later in Sura and Baghdad. in the late 9th and 10th century. Ibn Katheer lived in Syria in the 14th century. Do you have evidence that Ibn Katheer lived in Israel?

      IB:
      If you read again my post and my comments, you will see that I have not written that “Ibn Katheer lived in Israel”, I wrote that both have a common geographical region, I meant Syria.
      Ibn Katheer lived in Syria and Rav Saadia Gaon had sojourned for many years in various parts of Palestine, Syria, and Babylonia prior to his installation in the office of Gaon, as stated in my footnote number one and the second source referred there, i.e.
      http://archive.org/stream/saadiagaonhislif00malt/saadiagaonhislif00malt_djvu.txt

      In consequence, what I wrote was not “untrue”.

      Please let me know if you found this response acceptable, or otherwise please let me know what is objectionable on it.
      Be well.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. The response is acceptable, as far it goes.

      But since neither you nor I have even rudimentary knowledge of Arabic language and culture, nor of the Koran, we don't have the tools to evaluate the strength or weakness of your argument.

      Your interpretation of an Arabic word from over 1,000 years ago is less than meaningless.

      As I said earlier, you can the get the information from an expert. Also, I understand that Lane's dictionary has the answer as well, and that it does not support your interpretation.

      Delete
    9. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Thank you for your response.

      And let’s go B”H to another point.

      IB:
      c) I verified that the English translation of Ibn Katheer corresponds to the Arabic text, …

      You wrote:
      … 3) The translations of Ibn Katheer actually translate Wabr as hyrax!

      So Musaylimah thought for a while. Then he said, "Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.'' `Amr asked him, "What is it'' He replied, "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.''
      http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1086&Itemid=159#1

      IB:
      As explained Ibn Katheer´s description of wabar (“big ears” and "digging and burrowing") seems to match with the rabbit and not with the hyrax.
      See Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 30 (part 30): An-Nabaa 1 to An-NAS 6, 2nd edition, London 2009. By Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman. Page 221

      The 20th century English translator Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman (born 1947) inserted word “hyrax” in parentheses after the word “wabr.”
      However, this identification was his own suggestion, since in the original Arabic text written by Ibn Katheer there is no such parenthetical information.
      Besides that, it is obvious that the hyrax does not match the biological features Ibn Katheer attributes to the wabr.

      In sum, Ibn Katheer´s medieval description of wabar (“big ears” and "digging and burrowing") seems to match with the rabbit and not with the hyrax.

      Please let me know if you found this response acceptable, or otherwise please let me know what is objectionable on it.
      Be well.

      Delete
    10. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm
      I received your previous response where you wrote: “This response is acceptable.”
      And then I continued with your next point and posted it.

      Meanwhile, 43 minutes later, you decided to erase your previous answer and go back again to the previous point.

      No problem.
      Lets analyze B”H your second response.

      You wrote:
      The response is acceptable, as far it goes.
      But since neither you nor I have even rudimentary knowledge of Arabic language and culture, nor of the Koran, we don't have the tools to evaluate the strength or weakness of your argument.

      IB:
      There is no benefit if I disclose my level of knowledge of Arabic language… since I am presenting a verbatim quotation of the original medieval Arabic source, then you are not relying on my knowledge of Arabic language.
      Feel free to present the verbatim quotation to any Arabic language expert to verify the published translation.

      You wrote:
      Your interpretation of an Arabic word from over 1,000 years ago is less than meaningless.

      IB:
      I am not interpreting any Arabic word; I am presenting a verbatim medieval description of the wabr which needs no interpretation.
      Just read the description and try to match it with the rabbit or the hyrax.
      There is no ambiguity which requires any interpretation.

      You wrote:
      As I said earlier, you can the get the information from an expert.

      IB:
      Excellent.
      Please let me know if my suggested translation is mistaken.

      You wrote:
      Also, I understand that Lane's dictionary has the answer as well, and that it does not support your interpretation.

      IB:
      As you probably know Lane's dictionary is a secondary and many times a tertiary source.

      Please show me even one primary source cited in any subentry in Lane's dictionary that is compatible with the hyrax and is incompatible with the rabbit.

      As you remember, I have presented a medieval primary source (Tafseer Ibn Katheer) that is compatible with the rabbit and is incompatible with hyrax.

      Delete
    11. You wrote:
      [IB] f) Rav Saadia's region during his lifetime is the same as Ibn Katheer´s region.

      [NB] Untrue.
      R. Saadia Gaon lived Egypt and Israel, and later in Sura and Baghdad. in the late 9th and 10th century. Ibn Katheer lived in Syria in the 14th century. Do you have evidence that Ibn Katheer lived in Israel?

      IB:
      If you read again my post and my comments, you will see that I have not written that “Ibn Katheer lived in Israel”, I wrote that both have a common geographical region, I meant Syria.
      Ibn Katheer lived in Syria and Rav Saadia Gaon had sojourned for many years in various parts of Palestine, Syria, and Babylonia prior to his installation in the office of Gaon, as stated in my footnote number one and the second source referred there, i.e.
      http://archive.org/stream/saadiagaonhislif00malt/saadiagaonhislif00malt_djvu.txt

      In consequence, what I wrote was not “untrue”.


      It is still untrue. Their regions have some overlap, but they are not the same in space (and certainly not in time). You cannot derive that they had the same understanding of the word Wabr, and if Ibn Katheer did not live in Israel as R. Saadia Gaon did, he may not have seen hyraxes. This is beside the fact that it is unclear from the quotation that Ibn Katheer was even the author of the statements.

      Delete
    12. IB:
      c) I verified that the English translation of Ibn Katheer corresponds to the Arabic text, …

      You wrote:
      … 3) The translations of Ibn Katheer actually translate Wabr as hyrax!

      So Musaylimah thought for a while. Then he said, "Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.'' `Amr asked him, "What is it'' He replied, "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.''
      http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1086&Itemid=159#1

      IB:
      As explained Ibn Katheer´s description of wabar (“big ears” and "digging and burrowing") seems to match with the rabbit and not with the hyrax.
      See Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 30 (part 30): An-Nabaa 1 to An-NAS 6, 2nd edition, London 2009. By Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman. Page 221

      The 20th century English translator Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman (born 1947) inserted word “hyrax” in parentheses after the word “wabr.”
      However, this identification was his own suggestion, since in the original Arabic text written by Ibn Katheer there is no such parenthetical information.
      Besides that, it is obvious that the hyrax does not match the biological features Ibn Katheer attributes to the wabr.

      In sum, Ibn Katheer´s medieval description of wabar (“big ears” and "digging and burrowing") seems to match with the rabbit and not with the hyrax.


      The point being that despite the details of this particular story, Wabr means hyrax.

      In this story, he may have been being facetious, or he not have ever seen a hyrax, or he might have been referring to some other furry creature. There are also multiple layers of authors living in different times and places. There is very little to say that he refers to a rabbit or that he was even defining Wabr. As I mentioned before, you can't define a word based on a single instance of its usage. If that would be true, then elephants are medium sized hairy creatures with feet shaped like those of dogs. You are cherry picking sources to fit your preconceived notion.

      Delete
    13. Meanwhile, 43 minutes later, you decided to erase your previous answer and go back again to the previous point.

      No problem.
      Lets analyze B”H your second response.

      You wrote:
      The response is acceptable, as far it goes.
      But since neither you nor I have even rudimentary knowledge of Arabic language and culture, nor of the Koran, we don't have the tools to evaluate the strength or weakness of your argument.

      IB:
      There is no benefit if I disclose my level of knowledge of Arabic language… since I am presenting a verbatim quotation of the original medieval Arabic source, then you are not relying on my knowledge of Arabic language.
      Feel free to present the verbatim quotation to any Arabic language expert to verify the published translation.


      This is completely wrong and shows how you can get any result that you want with your approach. You have no idea what the intended meaning of the quotation is; you certainly don't know that it means that Wabr = rabbit. You don't even know who wrote which part and where. Part of the piece is intended as parody. Where does that part start and end? You have no idea.

      This would be like someone reading an accepted translation of the Bible and concluding Jews put out the eye of someone that puts out the eye of another. After all, that's what the translation says!

      Delete
    14. I adopt the comments of David Ohsie August 7, 2013 4:32 p.m. and 4:39 p.m.

      Delete
    15. IB:
      I am not interpreting any Arabic word; I am presenting a verbatim medieval description of the wabr which needs no interpretation.
      Just read the description and try to match it with the rabbit or the hyrax.
      There is no ambiguity which requires any interpretation.


      Of course it needs interpretation. This is just silly and unprofessional.

      It also doesn't seem compatible with rabbit. Are rabbits just ears and torso and the rest ugly? I notice a tail, a head, and some legs, and they are not ugly. Maybe its a gerboa.

      And had the authors even seen a rabbit? You don't know.

      Delete
    16. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    17. Your interpretation of an Arabic word from over 1,000 years ago is less than meaningless.

      I endorse Nachum's statement! (Uh oh, maybe that means that Dr. Betech won't answer it :).

      Dr. Betech, show your evidence to someone qualified and see what they say. You seem to feel that you have discovered some new text that no one had previously considered. I find that doubtful.

      Delete
    18. I still maintain that in the absence of an expert backing your position, any interpretation that you apply is entirely without weight and worthless.

      I'm surprised that you would publish a book without having done rudimentary research.

      Delete
    19. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      You wrote:
      I adopt the comments of David Ohsie August 7, 2013 4:32 p.m. and 4:39 p.m.

      IB:
      Here is a misunderstanding; I expected you to answer by yourself as you did at:
      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 2:40 PM and at:
      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      Now you are changing strategies and redirecting the discussion to David Ohsie (of course if he substantiates or retracts his accusations will be welcomed again).

      Since you have already changed your mind many times in this comment thread, I hope you will change your mind again and then, please answer point by point what I wrote to you at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      BTW when you answer, please try to refute my ideas; there is no benefit in using unsubstantiated adjectives and sharing your unsubstantiated personal conclusions.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      My interest is especially with those who have defined their position before they begin posting, to avoid the confusion generated by frequently deleting their own comments and changing their minds recurrently.

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some the readers have any comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text, supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    20. I already responded to your request for me to opine on your speculations contained in

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM


      My responses, in my own words, are contained in


      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and

      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM



      I stated, in my own words, that your and my speculations in this area are worthless, and that I'm not going to opine whether your speculation may or may not be correct. I simply do not have enough information to form any opinion in this area, whatsoever.

      Moving on, David Ohsie raised some issues about some of your footnotes. He alleges they are misleading inasmuch as they do not support the proposition they purport to support.

      Do you have a response to this obsevation?

      Delete
    21. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      You wrote:
      I already responded to your request for me to opine on your speculations contained in
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      My responses, in my own words, are contained in
      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and
      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      IB:
      They are not.

      Please answer point by point what I wrote to you at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      Be well.

      Delete
    22. My objection is as follows:

      On a superficial level you may appear to have a valid point. That being said, I cannot judge whether you do or do not since I don't know the context of this Koranic verse. As far as I know, and I may be wrong on this, but I believe that the Koran entails multiple layers of authors and translators living in different times and places. I don't know when or where this passage was written or translated. I don't know whether the word "Wabar" appears in the original (is there an original?) or only in the translation (there must be multiple translations from different times and places?); I don't know whether the Koranic verse's poetic importance lies in the simile, and if so, whether "long ears and burrowing" are symbolic of something in Islamic culture or history. Perhaps it's referring to some generic furry animal; even if it is here referring to the rabbit, I don't know that it would have any bearing on whether Rav Saadia meant the rabbit when he wrote "Wabar" 500 years prior to this translation.

      I simply do not know whether your superficial observation carries any weight. But there are people whose obsevations do carry weight: Arabic experts! You need to ask them. If they say that you have a solid argument, then I will agree with them.

      Moving on, David Ohsie raised some issues about some of your footnotes. He alleges they are misleading inasmuch as they do not support the proposition they purport to support.

      Do you have a response to this observation?

      Delete
    23. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Thank you for your last comment, where you wrote “I don’t know” 6 times…

      Please study the issue and then answer point by point what I wrote to you at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      Be well.

      Delete
    24. Unlike you, I refuse to take a stand on matters outside of my areas of knowledge.

      As a result, I cannot fulfil your unreasonable condition, and we have therefore reached the conclusion of this conversation.

      I really tried.

      Delete
    25. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Thank you for your last comment, where you honestly acknowledge that you can not continue writing about matters outside of your areas of knowledge.

      BTW, if someone has any proof that I am writing on matters outside of my areas of knowledge, just point out to any factual inaccuracy I have written on this issue.

      I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book or the contents of this post, when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

      My interest is especially with those who have studied the issue and defined their position before they begin posting, to avoid the confusion generated by frequently deleting their own comments and changing their minds recurrently.

      Meanwhile, regarding the issue of this post, I would like to know if some of the readers have any informed comment on the weight of the two medieval primary Arabic sources I have presented in their original texts, supporting wabr equals rabbit and not hyrax.

      On the other hand, I will appreciate very much if someone could present any medieval primary Arabic source in its original text supporting wabr equals hyrax and not rabbit.

      Delete
    26. Nachum, in case it may mean something to you, I agree with your approach. Dr. Betech puts a lot of conditions onto commenters before he will "answer" a question. Your comments and questions were reasonable, IMO.

      Delete
    27. "BTW, if someone has any proof that I am writing on matters outside of my areas of knowledge, just point out to any factual inaccuracy I have written on this issue."

      Sure: Right in this post. You believe that a Koranic verse that refers to a Wabar and describes it as having long ears and digging, might mean that wabar means not hyrax, but rabbit. Therfore, you believe that this raises a question as to whether R. Saadia meant rabbit when he wrote "wabar."

      Inasmuch as you are basing your opinion on a Koranic text, you are writing on areas outside your knowledge. Otherwise, please answer the following questions:

      Do you know anything about the context of this verse, in terms of when it was first spoken/written/transcribed/translated?
      Do you know anything about the context of this verse in terms of the rest of the Koran?
      Does the Koran entail multiple layers of authors and translators living in different times and places?
      If so, did Wabar appear in the "original" text?
      When/where was this passage first written?
      When/where was it first transcribed? How many more transcriptions are there?
      How possible/likely is it that this verse has a meaning completely different from its superficial meaning, and that it's not refering to any specific animal at all? Are there any Islamic "Meforshim" who can shed light on this?
      How likely is it that the "Wabar" can refer to any generic furry animal at the time this verse was written/transcribed/translated?
      Does any of this have any bearing on whether Rav Saadia meant the rabbit when he wrote "Wabar" 500 years prior to this translation?

      To the extent you cannot cogently answer these questiond, you will demonstrate that you are writing on matters outside your areas of knowledge.

      Delete
    28. Dr. Betech, can you please explain how the rest of the description applies to a rabbit: namely, that it is only a chest, and that the rest of it is ugly? I googled around a bit about rabbits in the Koran and Islamic literature, and the few discussion I found all stated that rabbits are not mentioned in the Koran.

      I did find this thread at whyislam.org that discusses our passage from Kathir. All the translations in the thread assume hyrax as translation.

      http://forum.whyislam.org/forum_posts.asp?TID=14171&PN=9

      This Muslim site also discusses our passage, and assumes wabr=hyrax and even posts a photo of a hyrax:

      http://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/vbe/showthread.php?t=3328

      This Semitic languages journal article mentions shafan=wabr and in a footnote says wabr=rock-badger/hyrax:

      http://books.google.com/books?id=LVsKAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA98&lpg=PA98&dq=wabr+arabic&source=bl&ots=g8b-h8E19q&sig=n1xAAQuABRNBmS2k-IT4x073aTY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UQIEUqCNFfaz4APh1oHYCA&sqi=2&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=wabr%20arabic&f=false

      This Handbook to the Bible says wabr=hyrax, and also says that rabbits do not exist in Syria:

      http://books.google.com/books?id=OLUsAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA226&lpg=PA226&dq=wabr+arabic&source=bl&ots=BXP2Wo6IKl&sig=AcD6cyOHJ3mo33Bw-crS54jA9m4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UQIEUqCNFfaz4APh1oHYCA&sqi=2&ved=0CFkQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=wabr%20arabic&f=false

      It also says explicitly that shaphan cannot be rabbit, since they do not inhabit "rocks".


      This scholarly book on Jordanian inscriptions also assumes wabr=hyrax:

      http://books.google.com/books?id=4T0VAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=wabr+arabic&source=bl&ots=dWmwUlCGxf&sig=-jV-4ck5ibBXLEhONiSjYozlwj0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_wMEUoLEC8-04AOBsoEQ&ved=0CCwQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=wabr%20arabic&f=false

      Also, the Arabic word for rabbit is "Arnab, or Ernebah", clearly related to Arnevet.

      So to reiterate, all these translators (Lane, other words cited above, and all the Muslim/Arabic websites) agree that Wabar means hyrax.

      The only website that comes up that includes both "wabr" and "rabbit" is this one.

      In light of this, how can you bypass their expertise (dare I say masora?) on that Arabic word, and change it to rabbit?

      Delete
    29. This book also says wabr=hyrax. It also suggests that Spain is from root SPN=shaphan, since it was known ot the ancients as the "Land of the Rabbits". It also says: "shaphan cannot mean a rabbit an animal which never existed in Palestine or any other adjoining country until its introduction into Aleppo from Europe at a comparatively recent date...The hyrax is known in Palestine and Sinai by the name of wabr from the Arabic wabar to be hairy in allusion to the long black hairs which stand out sparingly from the creature's fur."

      http://books.google.com/books?id=j74CAAAAQAAJ&pg=RA1-PA201&lpg=RA1-PA201&dq=wabr+rabbit&source=bl&ots=XOiDWNUwzS&sig=xepAGOtzsWZkzXQRTmAwWbuBO20&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QQgEUpqOIrTK4AP3voCABA&ved=0CFQQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=wabr%20rabbit&f=false

      Delete
    30. The authority Ibn Janach was from Spain, and Spain was known as the land of the rabbits even in ancient times, as the book above writes (even a hadrianic coin shows a rabbit to represent spain), but where there were no hyraxes. So it makes perfect sense that the animal that looks somewhat like a hyrax, in that land, would take on the name of Shaphan, which is a semitic word (assuming the theory that Spain<SPN). It is no different than the Tzvi/Deer/Gazelle issue.

      Delete
    31. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Once again you have changed your mind.

      Despite your long comment you failed to point out to any factual inaccuracy I have written on this issue.
      If someone does not understand my answer, please read again my previous comment.

      Please study the issue and then answer point by point what I wrote to you at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      Delete
    32. B”H
      Dear Johnny Marko

      Welcome to this blogspot.

      Unfortunately as a consequence of past experiences, I am forced to ask you please to define your verifiable real identity (full name, city of residence, website, etc.) and define your own question/position, which you are ready to intellectually defend.

      Delete
    33. Dr. Betech:

      For some reason you decided that the only way to prove that you are "writing on matters outside of your areas of knowledge" is if I "point out to any factual inaccuracy you have written on this issue."

      However, you are incorrect. The way to prove that you are "writing on matters outside of your areas of knowledge" is if I point out the matters about which you have written, and show that they are outside of your knowledge.

      This I have done, at Nachum Boehm August 8, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      The onus is now on you to show that these matters are indeed within your knowledge, by providing answers to the questions contained in that post.

      The ball's in your court, brother.

      Delete
    34. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      Delete
    35. Dr Betech, Now that we have we have cleared up the confusion regarding what I meant when I wrote “our original topic” we can now continue, or else please retract your requirement “Of course, the substantiation or retraction has to be explicit in the same place where the accusation was presented”
      I wrote:
      “Please explain:
      1) Do you agree that one should follow the halachic and hashcafic practice of the gedolim?
      2) If you agree, is this particular issue different?
      3) If this issue is different, do you have a source for this?
      4) If you disagree with my understanding of the Gedolim’s views, can you please provide examples that support your views?”
      You then wrote
      “Please provide the verbatim quotation in the referenced sources that show the opinion of the Gedolim is that one does not need to retract or substantiate in the same place [even when clearly requested, as is the case we were speaking about].”

      I am willing to discuss this after you
      address my questions that I asked before you asked yours

      Delete
    36. Despite your long comment you failed to point out to any factual inaccuracy I have written on this issue.

      @Nachum: Dr. Betech does this sometimes. One posts a detailed explanation, and then it gets summarized as "despite your detailed explanation, I assert X", where your argument is ignored. Also the implied insult to your intelligence ("My interest is especially with those who have studied the issue and defined their position before they begin posting, to avoid the confusion generated by frequently deleting their own comments and changing their minds recurrently.") is a recurring theme.

      There are times where Dr. Betech will actually try to defend his position, especially immediately after the publication of his book, but he seems to have slipped back into his mode of demanding various hoops be jumped through before answering. You may have more luck engaging the other bloggers here. While I don't agree with R. Lampel on many items, he is capable of advancing a coherent argument and responding to what you write.

      Delete
    37. @Johnny Marko: Thank you for those sources.

      Delete
    38. Dr. Betech:

      I did not change my position. After I concluded that our discussion was at an end, due to my none compliance with preconditions you set for further discussion, you added 2 new things:


      "Dr. Isaac Betech August 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Thank you for your last comment, where you honestly acknowledge that you can not continue writing about matters outside of your areas of knowledge.

      BTW, if someone has any proof that I am writing on matters outside of my areas of knowledge, just point out to any factual inaccuracy I have written on this issue."



      (1) You mischaracterize my position. I never "honestly acknowledge" that I cannot "continue" writing anything.

      I previously took the position, and still maintain, that although you raise what may seem to the layperson such as myself what may appear, on a very superficial level, to raise a question as to whether this Koranic verse refers to a rabbit by the term "wabar", and its implications on R. Saadia, I have no way to evaluate the strength of your thesis. I am missing essential data.

      You, on the other hand, have been researching this area for 25 years, and have written THE book on this issue. Therefore, when you place into the public domain such as this blog your insights on the very issues that are covered in the book, you could at least answer some questions, which would help a layperson such as myself evaluate the strength of your position.

      Instead, you put the onus on me, to find the answers to the questions surrounding the theories that YOU put forward?!?!?!?!?

      It would be most helpful to me to evaluate your position if your provide answers to the questions put forward at:

      Nachum Boehm August 8, 2013 at 3:54 PM



      (2) You state: "BTW, if someone has any proof that I am writing on matters outside of my areas of knowledge, just point out to any factual inaccuracy I have written on this issue."

      Here, you invite further discussion on whether your thesis and analysis on the meaning of the word “wabar” written/transposed/translated in a phrase in the Koran (by the way, always translated into hyrax); and its implications on how we should translate R. Saadia's meaning of wabar, is outside your area of knowledge.

      To do this, I responded to your new invitation by raising questions about your thesis. By your answers, we can see whether you are writing on matters outside of your knowledge.

      As an additional bonus to you, your answers will greatly assist laypeople such as myself in analyzing your thesis.

      After I responded to YOUR invitation to point out evidence that you discuss matters egarding which you haven't adequate knowledge, you demand that, as a precondition to your answering these very basic questions, I must first do the research necessary to back up your thesis?!?!?!?!?!?

      Does this not seem absurd, nay, insane, to the objective person?!?!?!?

      As a precondition to further discussion, I HAVE to do the research that proves YOUR half-baked thesis?!?!?!?!?

      Which one of us has gone (temporarily, I hope) mad?

      Delete
    39. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Please study the issue and then answer point by point what I wrote to you at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      Be well.

      Delete
    40. @Nachum: Just to clarify, I don't think the passage being quoted by Dr. Betech is from the Koran but from a later 14th century Syrian work by Ibn Kathir. So there's also the issue that even if it does refer to rabbit(which is unlikely since rabbits did not exist in Syria at that time) about connecting that to Saadya who lived centuries earlier in Israel, where rabbits also did not exist (!).

      My own "research" has found that 'rabbit' is not mentioned anywhere in the Koran (On several forums I found phrases like "Although rabbits aren't mentioned in the Koran...; The word rabbit is not found in the Koran...; etc.) On the other hand every Muslim/Arabic forum in which wabar was being discussed translated it as hyrax (including the very website quoted by Dr. Betech in this post). Every publicly available scholarly work translates wabar as hyrax. But Dr. Betech wants to bypass all of that, and based on the reference to ears and burrowing in this passage, claim that wabar=rabbit, even in Saadya. And all that without consulting any experts in Arabic or Islamic literature and interpretation. He just found this random passage on the internets, and that's that.

      It's also inconsistent of Dr. Betech to rely on this unclear description ("only a chest/hole" "rest is ugly"), but ignore the much stronger (and more relevant!) descriptions in Tanach itself which describe the shaphan as living in the rocks with the ibex:

      "The high hills are for the ibex, the rocks are a hiding place for the shafanim." (Psalms 104:18)

      "The shefanim are not a strong people, but they place their home in the rock." (Proverbs 30:24, 26)

      Of course, this perfectly describes the hyrax, which lives in the rocks with the ibex.

      Delete
    41. Dr. Betech:

      You just repeated yourself 5 times, without any elaboration whatsoever, on August 8 at 11:52, 1:33, 5:29, 7:09, and 10:49. Each time, you stated "As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated" referring to your posts

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM


      On each of those five occasions, and on one previous one, I addressed your above statements in a different manner. What I got from you was no feedback, but another repetition of the statement "As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated."

      At this point, will you please explain what you specifically mean when your write:

      "Please study the issue and then answer point by point what I wrote . . ."

      What do you mean when you state "study the issue"???

      I'm trying to study the issue by asking you for some basic information? You are making a unique reading of an ancient Arabic text, to have “wabar” translated to rabbit. As cited by other commenters here, why do all the other translations translate the word as “hyrax”?

      Inasmuch as it is YOU who has put forth a unique theory, it is upon YOU to provide explanations to specific and pointed observations.

      You’re the one who wrote THE book on this. It's therefore incumbent upon YOU to provide the reviewer with your underlying assumptions!

      What is meant by your requirement that I answer "point by point"? You haven't written anything "point by point" for me to answer "point by point". You wrote two or three paragraphs, and I responded in four or five paragraphs. If you have any objection to my formatting, please be clear as to what the specific problem is.

      In short, instead of repeating yourself, will you please clearly set forth the particulars of your preconditions to entering into any dialogue about your book?


      You keep insisting that I am the one who has to go study your sources in order to validate or invalidate your thesis. But that's incorrect. Ask your co blogger JSO. The one who offers the thesis has the burden of studying, then revealing his underlying sources and assumptions.

      Are you ready to do so? Or are you done contributing to this conversation?

      Delete
    42. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      I will repeat, once again, my answer to you with some additions, hoping that this time my expanded repetition will obtain the expected answer from you.

      Please study (by yourself) the issue (of this blogspost and this comment thread on which you have commented on, or on which you have tried to present some challenges to my verbatim quotations) and then (please) answer point by point (interspersed, i.e. you have to accept or refute each of the paragraphs) I wrote to you at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      Be well.

      Delete
    43. Dr. Betech, I know you will ignore what I write using your various silly excuses and accusations, but I need to support Nachum here.

      In sum, Ibn Katheer´s medieval description of wabar (“big ears” and "digging and burrowing") seems to match with the rabbit and not with the hyrax.

      As has been pointed out, other aspects of the description don't fit Rabbit, and Ibn Katheer probably never saw a rabbit or a hyrax and Ibn Katheer might not have even written the description, and the description may have been a parody.

      As you probably know Lane's dictionary is a secondary and many times a tertiary source.

      Please show me even one primary source cited in any subentry in Lane's dictionary that is compatible with the hyrax and is incompatible with the rabbit.


      These have already been quoted, but you are not really looking for such source, so you choose to ignore them with flimsy excuses.

      But more importantly, Nachum has said what others have said: your interpretation of Wabr is very irregular. If you want to dispute Lane and every other Arabic expert that we can find, it is upon you to dispute them. You cannot understand and analyze the primary sources because you don't know Arabic, and you don't know when and where they were written or what they mean.

      It is not possible for your readers to produce Arabic primary sources because, like you, they don't know Arabic. Were this an Islamic site, your request would make much more sense, but most of us have spent time with Hebrew and Aramaic Jewish sources, and not Arabic Islamic sources.

      Delete
    44. That's fine, Dr. Betech. We'll end where we started.

      You may recall I stated from the beginning that I am not seeking a discussion, but your answers to the questions of some of your challengers and critics.

      Instead of offering anything of substance, you have come up with more excuses not to answer the challenges.

      This persistent pattern of putting up barriers to discussion betrays an awareness on your part of your inability to respond, and a tactic to avoid any discussion to lead to that conclusion.

      What's interesting is that you are continuing to market your book, and have not retracted or recalled any part of it, despite the many unanswered challenges brought by various critics. If I recall correctly, this book has the approbation of Rav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita.

      I am shocked that HaRav Belsky would give his haskama to someone with such an obvious personality defect. I'm not holding my breath waiting for R. Belsky's retraction though, if you catch my drift.

      Delete
    45. B”H
      Dear Nachum Boehm

      Although you have changed your mind again, I will answer B"H to the main points.

      You wrote:
      This persistent pattern of putting up barriers to discussion betrays an awareness on your part of your inability to respond, and a tactic to avoid any discussion to lead to that conclusion.

      IB:
      Please remember that when you agreed to take responsibility for what you wrote and will write, at:

      Nachum Boehm August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      I immediately began addressing the issues in question and in the next 4 hrs I posted 3 answers.
      Only when you changed strategies I stopped.

      But no problem, I am ready to continue under the accepted conditions (please read again all your comments before you agree again, since it is very uncomfortable to interchange ideas with someone that almost daily changes his mind).

      Please study (by yourself) the issue (of this blogspost and this comment thread on which you have commented on, or on which you have tried to present some challenges to my verbatim quotations) and then (please) answer point by point (interspersed, i.e. you have to accept or refute each of the paragraphs) I wrote to you at:

      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM and at:
      Dr. Isaac Betech August 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      As previously stated, no new issue will be analyzed with you until the previous will be directly and satisfactorily elaborated.

      You wrote:
      What's interesting is that you are continuing to market your book, and have not retracted or recalled any part of it, despite the many unanswered challenges brought by various critics. If I recall correctly, this book has the approbation of Rav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita.

      IB:
      The latter reflects that you have not followed carefully all the book reviews and comments in the Jewish blogosphere, but no further comment on this will be done since this is not the subject of this blogspot.

      HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita met with me many times and studied seriously the shafan issue during a few years before he wrote the approbation letter.
      No further comment on this will be done since this is not the subject of this blogspot.

      If someone wants a full refund for the Shafan book he bought on any Jewish bookstore or in Blurb, please let me know that he is ready to send the book to a PO Box and the bank account where he wants me to make the transference.

      You wrote:
      I am shocked that HaRav Belsky would give his haskama to someone with such an obvious personality defect. I'm not holding my breath waiting for R. Belsky's retraction though, if you catch my drift.

      IB:
      Feel free to contact any of the signers of the approbation letters and ask them to write a retraction letter.
      No further comment on this will be done since this is not the subject of this blogspot, unless you publish a verifiable written retraction.

      Be well.

      Delete
    46. But no problem, I am ready to continue under the accepted conditions (please read again all your comments before you agree again, since it is very uncomfortable to interchange ideas with someone that almost daily changes his mind).

      Dr. Betech, is that really necessary?

      Delete
  25. As mentioned above, Dr. Betech's book thesis depends on a tower of assumptions; if any of them are invalid, his thesis falls apart. Here we concentrate on his argument for #2: the definition of Maaleh Gerah.

    Dr. Betech first argues that since the Torah, Talmud and Midrash do not define clearly what Maaleh Gerah means, this gives us license to find any common characteristics among the 13 Kosher animals. This is problematic for Dr. Betech's thesis in a number of ways:

    1) If the Torah did not clearly define what Maaleh Gerah means, and this can only be defined by looking at the 13 kosher animals (and the known non-kosher animals), then the definition provides no evidence of the Torah's divinity. The definition was specified in the 21st century when the animals in question were already known.

    2) The fact that the Torah did not clearly define what the "Maaleh Gerah" means implies that the definition is something very straightforward that would be well known to the recipients, not a multi-prong definition that was discovered in the 21st century. In fact, until recently, Maaleh Gerah was always understood to mean rumination. The fact that the Torah and Talmud do not explain further is evidence that this is the definition that was understood.

    Dr. Betech then mentions that the Torah is not obligated to define Maaleh Gerah as something that "scientists would later define as rumination". This is a misstatement of history. Rumination is not a recent scientific discovery and Maaleh Gerah has been understood as rumination as far back as we can go in our Masorah.

    (Continued...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr. Betech then tries to base his definition in the Torah's language. R. Hirsch explains why Maaleh Gerah is sometimes shorted to leave out word "Maaleh" as in "V'Lo Gerah". R. Hirsch explains that Gerah refers to an "incomplete" chewing by animals lacking a full set of upper incisors, so that a pig is "Lo Gerah" since he chews with a full set of teeth. Dr. Betech then brings a quotation from Rav Hirsh: "This pressing up again into the mouth what have has merely been sawn, from the second stomach to the mouth is called: Haaleh Gerah". Dr. Betech concludes: "So we can conclude that 'maaleh' (brings up) alludes to redigestion and 'gerah' to the 'sawed up' (ground up by lateral chewing) food bolus.

      This "evidence" fails in two ways:

      1) There is nothing in R. Hirsch to equate "maaleh" with "redigestion". R. Hirsch explicitly interprets "maaleh" as it has always been interpreted: bringing up the cud from the stomach. The equation of "maaleh" to "redigestion" is nowhere to be found in R. Hirsch's commentary.

      2) R. Hirsch interprets "Gerah" as an incomplete chewing that requires a later rechewing, not an incomplete digestion. Rabbits do not rechew their cecotropes; they swallow them whole.

      Dr. Betech then tries to equate the word "Maaleh" with the lifting of the rabbits head after taking up the cecotrope from the anus before swallowing.

      First off, Dr. Betech doesn't actually prove that this happens. He mentions that the rabbit can be seen chewing after raising up its head, but the rabbit is not chewing the cecotroph which has already been swallowed whole. Dr. Betech incorrectly calls this "chewing/swallowing the cecal". It may be that the cecotrope is swallowed after raising the head, but Dr. Betech brings no evidence for this and in fact confuses the issue with an incorrect description of the consumption of the cecotrope. In addition, "In wild rabbits most of the cecotrophy occurs during daytime when rabbits are within their burrows." Thus the physical act of lifting may be different when the rabbits are in their natural habitat.

      Delete
    2. Next, Dr. Betech tries to shoehorn his novel usage into the Rishonim with little success. Some Rishonim maintain that Gerah as a derivative of "Garon" (throat), or Gargeret (esophagus). Thus, Maaleh Gerah means "Bring up the cud via the throat/esophagus". Dr. Betech separates the word "throat" from the word "bring up" and maintains that since the cecotrope *descends* via the throat a second time, the throat is mentioned. This artificial separation of 'bring up' from 'throat' is nowhere found in the Rishonim.

      Ibn Ezra: Maaleh Gerah, from the root "Throat" (Garon), and "raise up" is the verb. The meaning is clear: bring up via the throat.

      Rashbam: Maaleh Gerah - Brings up its food in/by the throat after eating it.

      Chizkuni gives the same explanation.

      Pesikta Zutrata: This is the head of the throat that raises up at the time when the food is raised from the "guts" (Mayeha).

      From the Radak, he merely brings his definition of Gerah outside the context of the pesukim. There is not evidence that Maaleh and Gerah are separated as Dr. Betech wants to claim.

      He then brings a number of Rishonim who translate Gerah as something other than Garon. What he leaves out is that they still describe Maaleh as bringing up the cud.

      Rashi says that Gerah refers to something "drawn after the mouth". While this alone is fits better with the food being "drawn up" internally from the stomach ot the mouth, it might be somewhat ambiguous. Luckily Rashi is quite clear in the prior sentence: "Brings up and vomits the food from stomach and returns it to the mouth to be chewed".

      Dr. Betech shows that the word for vomit, "Umekia", can sometimes refer to defecation. He again ignores the immediately prior word "raises up" which makes it clear that it means vomiting in this context. Also, the word here is not qualified, so the default meaning "vomit" is the correct one.

      R. Hirsch translates "Gerah" as "sawn up" (partially chewed). However, also translates Maaleh as bring up the cud from the stomach to the throat.

      Finally, there is one even larger issue involved here. According to Dr. Betech there are two different physical processes involved here: rumination and cecotrophy. None of the sources note this distinction. They all describe rumination and leave out the fact that there is some alternative phenomena which can also be termed Maaleh Gerah.

      Delete
    3. Dr. Betech finally mentions that the Gemara distingishes between animals with top front teeth and those without. Based on this distinction, he claims that the Gemara is alluding to the fact that those animals with top front teeth are "Maaleh Gerah" in different ways from the others. In addition, some Rishonim attribute the need to ruminate to the fact that the "missing" teeth of the ruminants lead to incomplete mastication and the need to remasticate.

      The fails on a number of levels:

      1) The Camel has top front teeth and ruminates.

      2) The Gemara does not mention any distinction other than the existence of the top front teeth. It doesn't indicate any difference in rumination.

      3) Dr. Betech himself claims that one of the common characteristics amount Maaleh Gerah is their efficient (not incomplete!) ectental mastication. So according to Dr. Betech, the Maaleh Gerah all chew the same way despite differences in dentition (I don't think that ectental mastication in the meaning of Maaleh Gerah, but I'm here analyzing Dr. Betech's views).

      In summary, what Dr. Betech has done is to decide which animals are mentioned in the Torah, and then tailored a definition of Maaleh Gerah to match those animals and exclude others. This defintion has no basis in scripture or tradition, and was created with fully knowledge of which animals he wished to include and exclude. Thus the definition has no priority over alternative definitions that would include different sets of animals, nor does it provide any evidence of divinity of the Torah.

      Delete
  26. David Ohsie ,wow who are you , nert clear and well written . please start your own blog

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Dynamic Weight Loss, Shalom Aleichem. Please sign in with your own name rather than with an anonymous moniker. David Ohsie has tried valiantly to defend R. Slifkin's thesis, but with a low signal to noise ratio. But he does sometimes make a good point that helps in clarifying the presentation. His reference to Lane's Arabic Lexicon, for example, was very useful for clarifying the meaning of wabr. (I believe it was David who made the first reference to the lexicon in the context of the shafan, and I thank him for the reference).

    ReplyDelete
  28. David Ohsie has tried valiantly to defend R. Slifkin's thesis

    Sadly, when shooting fish in a barrel, there is little valiance to go around. But the feeling is mutual on SNR. An agreement of sorts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, I assumed that a commenter called "DYNAMIC WEIGHT LOSS" and making a fairly generic comment was just a bot posting blog spam. If your are not a bot, please forgive me...

      Delete
    2. I am forced to issue yet another retraction and issue a note of apology and thanks to "DYNAMIC WEIGHT LOSS". Dr. Ostroff has gotten the better of me on the issue of bot recognition. As Dr. Betech points out, if you vacillate on botendtity, then how can you possible identify a Shafan with certitude. Woe is me!

      Delete
  29. "David Ohsie has tried valiantly to defend R. Slifkin's thesis"

    Correct me if I am wrong but is it not Dr Betechs book that is being defended?
    Some of David’s objections are so strong that Rabbi Coffer is reviewing Dr Betech’s book
    “Re your last two comments :

    You’ve given me some homework. I’m printing off your two comments and I will review R’ Isaac’s book over Shabbos in light of your objections. I’ll let you know what I think next week bl’n.”

    ReplyDelete
  30. B"H
    Dear Readers.
    A Guten Kvitel (Pitka Taba)!

    We have updated the shafan book and have made available to the public (on Blurb) the new version.
    The latter includes the correction of two spelling mistakes, some ambiguous words were replaced with more specific expressions, a few illustrations and bibliographical sources were added and the alphabetical indexes of subjects and Torah-sources were greatly expanded.

    The two versions available on Blurb are:
    “The enigma of the Biblical shafan”

    Hard cover (16th Elul 5773):
    http://www.blurb.com/b/4548275-the-enigma-of-the-biblical-shafan

    Soft cover (26th Tamuz 5773):
    http://www.blurb.com/b/4439717-the-enigma-of-the-biblical-shafan

    Chag Sameach!

    ReplyDelete