The Biblical Museum of Natural History: Bigger, Better, and Not To Be Missed

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9 Responses

  1. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi, Letting a python wrap around you proves that you are not much of a rationalist. 🙂

  2. Shades of Gray says:

    “The interactions with the greatest social impact may be the Dati Leumi presenters in front of Chassidic listeners”

    R. Slifkin wrote a post about this, “Some Of My Best Visitors Are Chassidim”, in December 2015, excerpted below:

    All the guides agree that, as much as everyone loves the museum, there is no other group which appreciates everything as much as the chassidim.

    Chassidim are so utterly fascinated by absolutely everything in the museum! Even something as simply as a baby tortoise is a source of endless delight. They want to blow every single shofar in our vast collection. They stare mesmerized into the faces of the taxidermied animals. They want to touch and hold every single egg and skull and hoof. They are thrilled to touch all of our live animals – not only the super-exotic ones, but even common species. And as for the snakes, symbol of evil in the Torah – they can’t get enough of them!

    The reason for this is very simple – Israeli chassidim have never seen anything like this before… They’ve never seen National Geographic (unlike the litvishe charedim, who have seen mehadrin versions of National Geographic documentaries on DVDs)….

    These are people with whom I have so little in common… and yet we can have a really enjoyable conversation about animals and Torah. During one tour for a local cheder, the rebbe noticed me standing at the back. He figured out that I’m the person who created the museum, and he came over to talk to me. He said, “If you made this place, you must have a really interesting life-story! Perhaps you’d like to share it with our talmidim?” I smiled and politely declined, as I murmured to myself, “Let’s not go there!”

  3. Bob Miller says:

    It would be a real coup if they caught and caged the original snake. Evidence suggests it’s still up and about.

    • dr. bill says:

      Bob, that would be great. Perhaps the snake can shed some light on the controversy over what the “apple” really was.

      • Bob Miller says:

        Would you trust the answer?

      • dr. bill says:

        bob, after some thouht, I would not. I am not at the madraigah of Shlomo or even Bilaam who could converse with animals. It is hard enough for me to converse with a number of humans who are krummer than a pretzel. 🙂

  4. Raymond says:

    This is perhaps only tangentially related, but I am currently reading an absolutely fascinating and very short book on the ideas of Rav Kook. Going into all that would definitely be off topic, but I bring it up because the book talks briefly about the tremendous commitment that the Torah itself makes to environmentalism. This is a subject that I have rarely encountered in any Torah Book. In fact, i can think of only one other instance, a book by Rabbi Aryeh Carmel written many years ago called Masterplan. I have also heard that Israel is the only country on Earth that typically has a net positive growth in its numbers of trees from year to year. Now I wonder if that is more than a coincidence. Well, in any case, I am not in any way advocating some kind of radical environmentalism here. I simply love parks, national or otherwise, and have long thought that there can simply never be enough trees in our world. There is nothing bad about trees, and everything good about them, so it is gratifying to know that such a sentiment may have a solid basis in our Torah.

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