Did You Know?
By Rabbi Fabian Werbin
Careful reading of the Torah is important to avoid making big mistakes. One of these mistakes is the belief that Adam named all the animals in one day.
Many people say he couldn’t name every animal in the world in just one day. They are right!!! Because the Torah doesn’t say Adam named all the animals. It says he named three groups — the ‘livestock’ (Hebrew behemah), the ‘birds of the air’ (Hebrew oph hashamayim) and all the ‘beasts of the field’ (Hebrew chayyat hassadeh). Adam could have accomplished this task for the following reasons:
- Because Adam did not have to go out and round up or track any of these animals. Genesis 2:19 clearly states that G-d brought the animals to Adam.
- There is no sign that Adam named the fishes, or any other marine organisms, nor any of the insects, beetles or arachnids. In fact, of the two million known species, 98% are invertebrates, which include a variety of animals, from sponges, worms and jellyfish to mollusks and insects. The remaining 2% are vertebrates and number approximately 40,000 species. This number is further reduced when the 25,000 marine vertebrates and 4,000 amphibians are discounted, since they clearly do not fit into any of the categories of animals listed in Genesis 2:20.
From these reasons we can learn that Adam could have named the animals the Torah mentions in one day. What is also clear is that Adam did not name all the animals. I would like to reinforce this idea.
There’s a popular belief about a very particular animal. When people from the West explored a new land, they were amazed to see a unique animal with incredibly huge feet and a long tail. The animal moved everywhere by jumping only. The explorers asked the native people what they called this kind of animal.
The native people replied with the words Kan Ghu Ru (“I don’t understand” in the native language) meaning that they did not understand what the Western people said. Instead, the Westerners thought those words were the name of the animal and starting calling it Kan Ghu Ru. The name was slightly distorted to Kangaroo shortly afterward. This is another proof that Adam could not have named “all” the animals.