Playing the Odds

I’m not a betting man but I know something about “The Odds”.
For example, if I had to pick a number between one and ten, the odds against picking the right number is ten to one. One number out of five thousand, the odds are five thousand to one.
 
Two out of five thousand? The odds are exponentially higher.
 
Three out of five thousand? I begin to lose count.
 
Four out of five thousand and the odds are off the chart.
 
In other words, if someone told me that they could guess right four times out of four from a field of five thousand items, I would say they’re either crazy, a genius or very lucky.
 
Three thousand years ago, three-quarters of the globe remained unexplored. Nobody knew what existed in Australia, in South America, in the northernmost regions of Alaska or in the wilds of Africa.
Yet, the bible goes out of its way to state that there is only one specie of mammal, anywhere in the world, that has a split hoof but doesn’t chew its cud. And the Bible names it – it’s called the pig.
 
And lo and behold, the Bible is right.
 
Okay. Easy stuff. One out of five thousand mammals and it “guessed” right.
 
Then it names three other animals and says that these are the only ones in the world that DO chew their cud but DON’T have split hooves.
 
And lo and behold, it gets it right again.
 
Maybe it’s a fix. A setup. Maybe the One who wrote those lines also created all of the animals of the world so there’s nothing special about the prediction. He already knew!
 
Hmmmm.

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Comments icon YOUR THOUGHTS? [26]
Comments icon November 27, 2012

YOUR THOUGHTS

By D. Brody on November 28, 2012 -- 12:26am

Max,
Always amazing to hear/read your words of Torah.
Thank you from Vancouver,

By Jake on December 1, 2012 -- 3:16pm

The fact that people still deny the divinity of Torah is astounding to me, the proof is right there, certain things in the Torah and the rest of the Tanakh are clearly unknowable to all things that are not G-d, these radical assumptions about animals, that are clarified by the existence of animals that people didn’t even know existed at the time the Torah was given. And the fact that scaled fish, which are the only Kosher sea food, are not harmful to ones health, while other, non-scaled fish are harmful.

By yaakov on December 3, 2012 -- 9:34pm

Where does the bible say this?

By Guest on December 8, 2012 -- 1:31am

Can you let us know how the sample distribution,whether there are any leading questions, and how the survey was done. I read somewhere that only 5% in US do not believe in some form of deity.The figure seem so far apart. Someone’s got to be playing games.

Also may we also know the background and qualifications of the writer and the person who designed the survey? That will let us have some idea when we evulate it’s trustworthiness and the writer’s intentions. I enjoy reading surveys and always like to dig deeper when the subject interest me.

By Robert Bauer on December 10, 2012 -- 3:51pm

three thousand years ago the tribes who inhabited Australia knew what was in Australia, the tribes who inhabited Africa know what was in Africa and the peoples who traveled across the Bering Straits and inhabited the lands of NA knew what was there.  The tribes of Central Europe and the Middle East had not yet become dissatisfied with the good thing G-d gave them and gone exploring for people to conquer, plunder and kill.  As I reflect on those tribes, they may have been mostly Christian. 
Needing to the establish the veracity of “the Bibile” is a slippery slope not attempted even in “the Bible”.

By Manuel on December 11, 2012 -- 12:37pm

Twice in the Torah (Leviticus 11:5-6 and Deuteronomy 14:7) the hare and the hyrax [Hebrew: shafan and arnevet] are described as chewing their cud. This is simply wrong – neither the hare nor the hyrax chew their cud, and this fact is well established in zoological research. Such a faulty knowledge of nature by the author (or authors) of the Torah leaves no possibility for believing in the Divine authorship of this book.

By elemir on December 13, 2012 -- 5:02am

you are of course joking.

would you kindly name me the 3 animals that chew their cud but do not have split hooves that you claim is mentioned in the Torah?

i bet the ones you name do NOT chew their cud.

By Rachel on December 16, 2012 -- 7:35pm

With all due respect, there were a lot of people living in “the wilds of Africa 3000 years ago. There were people there who knew what existed.

By Robert A Lew on December 21, 2012 -- 11:43pm

Excellent fact.

By Afeni D. Moses on December 22, 2012 -- 3:54pm

Wht exactly is Max trying to point out? I don’t seem to understand. Succinct explanation please!

By janette on December 23, 2012 -- 3:06pm

So who was David referring to in Psalm 22? and Psalm 140?

If there is no prophet since Malachi, why dont the jews slaughter animals at the temple every year to atone for their sins?

We believe Jesus is our atoning sacrifice for life, HIS blood was HOLY, so we don’t have to do those rituals anymore. You boast in the Law yet I haven’t seen one Jew follow the law in the Torah.

By Garcon on December 24, 2012 -- 9:45am

WOW

By Mamzer HaKodesh on December 25, 2012 -- 8:51am

Grrr….as a non-white Jew, I really object to the euro-centric slant of much Jewish literature and commentary online. Three thousand years ago, people DID know what the world of the Americas offered, what Australia was like, and what animals inhabited Africa. They just weren’t white people. The human story doesn’t begin with white european history - and furthermore, it is not the litmus test or basic viewpoint of the Jewish people - Just a reminder.

By Ron Caplan on December 25, 2012 -- 11:05pm

This is very over-simplified.  If one reads Rabbi Slifkin’s book “The Camel, the Hare, and the Hyrax” one sees that this is not a clear-cut approach.  The Torah makes NO claim that these are the ONLY animals, although the Talmud does seem to imply that is the case.  Small, over-simplified snippets like this can lead one down a bad path of felling like they have been hoodwinked, when in fact there is much truth in this area. 
At the very least, a footnote with a link to details would be good for those seeking the truth of the Torah.

By Mr. Garvey on January 3, 2013 -- 4:09am

When you state “Three thousand years ago ... [n]obody knew what existed in Australia, in South America, in the northernmost regions of Alaska or in the wilds of Africa,” are you forgetting about the people that lived there at the time? I’m sure some of them were aware of what existed.

By Mike on January 22, 2013 -- 3:20am

you have amazing words of wisdom.Thank you,

By Well.. on January 31, 2013 -- 4:47am

This is interesting, but not quite convincing. The bible could have said that the tiger is the fastest land animal on earth as well and get it right. Would that be surprising? However, I surely do agree the the bible is and will always be amazing and mysterious at the same time.

By Ariel Shalem on February 14, 2013 -- 7:01am

Im not so sure that a “arnevet” chews it cud…check out the science on that.

By Julia on February 20, 2013 -- 6:25am

So what are the 3 other animals?

By Sid on March 11, 2013 -- 11:08pm

Agreed, love this.

By Lasher on March 17, 2013 -- 8:36pm

I had no idea Jews had cloven hooves.

By Larry on May 13, 2013 -- 1:22pm

What are the mammals that chew cud but do not have split hooves?  Is there really only three?

By Anon on July 17, 2013 -- 5:55am

You must be joking of course.

1) It was based on observation of all the animals known when the torah was written. Then thru extrapolation it was generalized. It was therefore more likely to be true than false.

2) Instead of the above article implying the divine origin of torah it may actually disprove it !
Per Torah four animals as being ritually impure (check wikipedia)
  The camel, for chewing the cud without its hooves being divided.
  The hyrax, for chewing the cud without having cloven hooves.(The Hebrew term for this animal - שפן shaphan - has been translated by older English versions of the bible as coney; the existence of the hyrax wasn’t known to early English translators. The coney was an exclusively European animal, not present in Canaan, while the shaphan was described by the Book of Proverbs as living on rocks like the hyrax, but unlike the coney.)
  The hare, for chewing the cud without having cloven hooves.
  The pig, for having cloven hooves without chewing the cud.
Camels are actually both even-toed ungulates and ruminants, although their feet aren’t hooves at all, instead being two toes with a pad. Similarly, although the bible portrays them as ruminants, the hyrax, hare, and coney, are all coprophages, and do not ruminate and lack a rumen.

By anon on July 17, 2013 -- 5:57am

I doubt you will publish my comment.

You must be joking of course.

1) It was based on observation of all the animals known then. Then thru extrapolation it was generalized. It was therefore more likely to be true than false.

2) Instead of the article implying the divine origin of torah it may actually disprove it !
Per Torah four animals as being ritually impure (check wikipedia)
  The camel, for chewing the cud without its hooves being divided.
  The hyrax, for chewing the cud without having cloven hooves.(The Hebrew term for this animal - שפן shaphan - has been translated by older English versions of the bible as coney; the existence of the hyrax wasn’t known to early English translators. The coney was an exclusively European animal, not present in Canaan, while the shaphan was described by the Book of Proverbs as living on rocks like the hyrax, but unlike the coney.)
  The hare, for chewing the cud without having cloven hooves.
  The pig, for having cloven hooves without chewing the cud.
Camels are actually both even-toed ungulates and ruminants, although their feet aren’t hooves at all, instead being two toes with a pad. Similarly, although the bible portrays them as ruminants, the hyrax, hare, and coney, are all coprophages, and do not ruminate and lack a rumen.

By divine on April 14, 2015 -- 5:29pm

THE REASON FOR IT IS THE WORLD IS PROGRAMMED BY RELIGION AND IF THE JEWS PRAY TO JESUS THEY WILL CONTACT GOD. GOD HAS BEEN FAR AWAY BECAUSE OF THE NEGATIVE HALF JEWISH REVERSED LAWS NOT TO REACH GOD ONLY FIRST ORIGINAL JEWISH RELIGION WITH JESUS ALL JEWISH PROPHETS CONNECTION MADE FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH. SUNDAY IS THE 7TH DAY OF THE WEEK TRUE SABBATH

By Jan on August 4, 2015 -- 8:11pm

I think Natan Slifkin might disagree.  If you can’t get his, checkout this link   www. rationalistjudaism. com /2011/03/camel-hare-and-hyrax.html

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