the frog who thought he was a croccadile

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the frog who thought he was a croccadile

Postby aries » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:05 am

Someone once suggested that the Zfardaya (frog), the second plague, was a croccadile. He based this on the Rashi in Shemini that the TZav (feurat-small toad) is like a Zfardaya and Rashi in the Talmud translates TZav as croccadil. This however is sillier than it sounds. The word croccadil in the printed talmud is an Italian copier's attempt of the French word, boteril which is in every written manuscript. Boteril is a little toad as Bota is a toad.
And that is how we get Botox, the toxin from the skin of a toad or bota or buta.
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Re: the frog who thought he was a croccadile

Postby Kira » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:16 pm

I heard about this idea on Pesach, but with a different etymology - that Zefadea means Tzipor-Deah, a smart bird, referring to the birds that perch on top of crocodiles.

-Kira
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Re: the frog who thought he was a croccadile

Postby martinbrody » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:31 pm

Crocodiles did figure prominently in Egyptian mythology, as one of their 3 most feared animals, along with a hippopotamus and a lion. Indeed, this trinity became one in the monster, Ammut.
Ammut would devour a deceased if his heart was weighed and found to be heavy! What would cause it to be heavy? Causing harm by his deeds, wasting the offerings to the Temple and delivering evil reports about others!

Plenty to ponder, isn't there?

Best,
Martin B
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the flea who thought he was a lion

Postby aries » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:46 am

The flea who thought he was a lion.

In the Hagadas I grew up with, in the pictures of the ten plagues, the plague of Aruv is pictured as fleas or flies. Now no biblical commentator says anything other than Aruv is a mixture of wild animals like lions, tigers and bears. However, for some obscure reason the Septigent translates it as fleas (the flies of the dog) and this became the basis for other translations. The pictures were apparently drawn by a person who was familiar only with the Christitian English translation.
The Torah Shlamah suggests that it may be based on an old midrash which say that Aruv was Lions, bears, wolves, misquitos and flies.

It is interesting that none of the plagues are directed against the croccadille which was the symbol of Egypt (Yermiayahu calls Pharoah the great croccadille). Perhaps the narrative of the staff turning into a croccadile covered it.
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Re: the frog who thought he was a croccadile

Postby Saronic » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:12 pm

I always thought Crocodiles were considered keepers of the river Nile, the Egyptians' main source of sustenance/trade/everything.

So then turning their habitat into blood would undermine their 'power.'
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Re: the frog who thought he was a croccadile

Postby aries » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:06 am

A good suggestion. However, I think the plague was against the Nile River itself, the ultimate source of life in Egypt.

At Zepori in the Gallil, there is a huge mosaic of the Egyptian priests measuring the height of the Nile. Did anyone come up with an explanation of why anyone would want such a mosaic.
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Re: the frog who thought he was a croccadile

Postby Kira » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:03 pm

In Yehezkel, the Haftora for Parshat VaEra, Pharaoh is called "the giant crocodile"

-Kira
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