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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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In the Biblical account of creation the "creeping things" are divided into the "moving" creatures of the sea (Genesis 1:20 ) and "everything that creepeth upon the ground" (Genesis 1:25 ). As a group parallel to the "beasts" and the "fowls of the air" they are indicated by the word "remes" in Genesis 6:7 and elsewhere.

The Talmud uses, for the amphibia and small animals, the generic terms "reḥ esh" (moving things), "shereẓ " (creeping things), and "sheḳ eẓ " (things which arouse disgust Ḥ ul. 10a, 126b Nid. 21a). But small mammals also, as the weasel, mouse, hedgehog, and mole, are sometimes comprised under the word "shereẓ " (comp. Shab. 107a et seq. ). Maimonides ("Yad," Ma' akalot Asurot, ii., § § 12 et seq. ) makes the following distinction: "Shereẓ ha-mayim" are creatures not belonging to the fish tribe, but yet living in the water (leeches, seals, etc.) "romes ' al ha-areẓ " are the parasitic organisms which arise from the decomposition of foreign substances (intestinal worms, dung-beetles, etc.) while "shoreẓ ' al ha-areẓ " are the creatures produced by the "generatio propagativa." All reptiles are poisonous, but only the snake is deadly (' Ab. Zarah 31b). A characteristic common to all creeping things is that the white and the yolk in their eggs are not separated (Ḥ ul. 64a). See also Abomination Creeping Things .

Bibliography : Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 245 Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds , pp. 4,218.E. G. H. I. M. C.

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Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Reptiles'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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