Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Anywhere along the neck is fine

Is the giraffe a kosher animal? There is a millennia-old commentary from Rav Saadia Gaon that identifies the zemer, an animal pronounced kosher in Deuteronomy 14:5, as the giraffe. Others, however, dispute this identification.
There is also an exciting theory regarding the tachash, the creature whose skin was used to decorate the Mishkan (Tabernacle). According to certain traditions, the tachash was large, kosher, non-domesticated, possessed beautiful skin, and, most intriguingly of all, “it possessed a single horn in the center of its forehead.” Many had presumed that this described a unicorn. But other sources indicated that this single horn in its forehead was in addition to two other horns on the back of its head. This description would match the reticulated giraffe, which has three horns. The giraffe is also large, non-domesticated, and possesses beautiful skin, and is indeed kosher.
The giraffe has all the signs of a kosher animal. It possesses fully split hooves, and it chews the cud. There is a popular myth that although giraffes are kosher, we don't know where to slaughter them. This is simply false; anywhere along the neck is fine.
Can we eat giraffes today? There is an opinion in Jewish law ...MORE>>>

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