Adam HaRishon / Animals / Creation / Midrash

Bereshit 1:21, Tanin & Dinosaurs

Picture: NASA
The Torah (Bereshit / Genesis) 1:21 teaches:
And G – d created the great sea – giants and every living being that creeps , with which the waters teemed after their kinds; and all winged fowl of every kind.
This happened on the fifth day of Creation.
In Shemot (Exodus – Parshat Va’eira) 7:10 the Torah teaches:
Moshe came with Aharon to Pharaoh and they did so, as G – d had commanded; Aharon cast down his staff before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a snake.
In the original Hebrew version of the Torah, the sea – giants in Bereshit 1:21 are called TANIN. In modern Hebrew the word means crocodile. 
In Hebrew, the word for snake is NACHASH but the Torah in Shemot 7:10 is not using the word NACHASH but TANIN. So, does this mean that Aharon’s staff didn’t turn into a snake but into a dinosaur or crocodile ?
When the TORAH is telling us about TANIN, the word doesn’t refer to one particular animal such as crocodile but to a whole species: To REPTILES.
Thus, Aharon’s staff turned into a snake.



On the fifth day of Creation, G – d created the fish and all other creatures living in the sea. At the same time, He created the birds.
But how were the fish created ? Was there any material or did they come into existence due to G – d’s thought ?
The Talmud Tractate Chullin 27b teaches that fish were created from water. In the course of time and various biological processes, fish came into existence from water whereas animals living on the land were created from dust. Birds, on the other hand, were created from mud.
Rashi defines MUD as a combination of water and dust (from the land). The Gemara itself provides: Rabbi Shmuel of Kaputkiyah taught
“You should know that fowl was created from mud. A material also containing water. This is why we see birds with scales on their feet; just like the scales of the fish which were definitely created from water”. 
A statements also supported by Rabbi Gamliel. (see Gemara in Talmud Chullin 27b).
Remark: The Tractate Chullin teaches about kosher animals, how they are being slaughtered and defining what makes the meat kosher after the slaughtering process. Furthermore, the Gemara in Chullin 27b explains the creation of fish, animals living on the land as well as birds and how all of them are being slaughtered in a different way. However, fish do not undergo a special slaughtering procedure. One reason for this: When cutting the fish, blood runs out on alone, thus there is no need to Schaecht the animal.
Somewhere on the Net I read an opinion that fish may even be eaten alive but I don’t know whether this statement is right or wrong. Maybe a blog reader with further knowledge is able to provide sources whether a kosher fish can be eaten alive or not.
But how do we know that fish were created from water ?
It says in Bereshit (Genesis) 1:20 – 23: “… and all the living beings that creep that came from the water according to their type, and all the flying birds, according to their type.
The ancient Midrash Pirke’i d’Rabbi Eliezer is raising the question why there are animals giving birth by laying eggs and why there are other animals whose babies are coming out of the mother’s womb.
Pirke’i d’Rabbi Eliezer states that those animals created from water multiply by laying eggs. Meaning, they are still forming something from liquid. However, those animals created from dust are using their womb in order to give birth.
Please note that in the days of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus (80 – 118 C.E.) dinosaurs were unheard of. The first skeleton of a dinosaur was discovered in England in 1676 ! Later it turned out that dinosaurs multiplied by laying eggs.
Previous Worlds
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburgh on Adam HaRishon

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