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MOLE:

Traditional rendering of the Hebrew "ḥaparparah" (Isa. ii. 20). Some give "mole" as the translation also of "ḥoled" (Lev. xi. 29), which is, however, generally assumed to mean Weasel. "Tinshemet," which the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Targum take for some kind of mole, is commonly admitted to mean either a lizard (Lev. xi. 3) or some kind of bird (ib. verse 18).

The mole proper (Talpa) does not occur in Palestine. The animal which would answer the description of Isa. ii. 20 is the mole-rat (Spalax typhlus), which is common about ruins, loose débris, and stone-heaps, and which in external appearance resembles the mole.

The Talmud has for the mole the terms "tinshemet" (Ḥul. 63a) and "ishut" (Kelim xxi. 3; comp. Targ. to Lev. xi. 30). The mole is described as having no eyes (comp. Aristotle, "History of Animals," iv. 8, 2, and Pliny, "Historia Naturalis," xi. 37, 52)and as being destructive to grain and plants (M. Ḳ. 6b). In Ber. 57b (comp. Tos. to M. Ḳ. 6b) , which Rashi explains by "talpa," is mentioned alongside of the bat and weasel, whose appearance in dreams is a bad omen.

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 120;
  • Lewysohn, Z. T, p. 101.
E. G. H. I. M. C.
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