Learning Biblical Hebrew
12/14/09 at 01:53 PM 0 Comments

Jewish mythology- The Salamander

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There are many stories about mysterious monsters and creatures in Hebrew Scriptures. One of the most fascinating creatures is the Salamander.

According to the Rabbi Abuhu in the name of Raabi Eliezer , the Salamander emerges from fire and If one smears his hand or any other part of his body with its blood, the spot is proof against fire as mentioned in the Talmud Hagiga 27a:.

" תלמידי חכמים אין אור של גיהנם שולטת בהן, קל וחומר מסלמנדרא; ומה סלמנדרא שתולדת אש היא - הסך מדמה אין אור שולטת בו, תלמידי חכמים, שכל גופן אש, דכתיב 'הלוא כה דברי כאש נאם ה' - על אחת כמה וכמה"

" As to the scholars, the flame of Gehenna has no power over them. For this is shown by an a fortiori argument drawn from the salamander. As only the creature of fire, and still he that anoints himself with its blood, flame has no power over him, how much more then that the flames have no power over the scholars, whose whole body is fire, as it is written".

The Salamander cannot survive at all outside of fire. The Salamander in the Talmud is most often depicted like a typical salamander in shape, with a lizard-like form.

Rashi (in Sandrine 63a) describes the salamander as one which is produced by burning a fire in the same place for seven days, seven years or seventy years.

 Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

Hebrew    Transcription   Translation
סָלָמַנְדְּרָה   sālāmanderāh Salamander
לְטָאָה        Letā'āh            Lizard
גֵּיהִנֹּם        gêhenōm         Hell
מָרַח            mārah           Smeared
מִפְלֶצֶת        mipletset        Monster

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