How would one classify other rodets that have skins like hedgehogs & porcupines i.e. beavers squirrels etc.
Mordechai Rothstein, Manalapan
In Kilayim 8:5 the Mishnah calls the hedgehog a Chayah.
If we hold that the hedgehog is a Chayah, then we run into a difficulty.
The hedgehog is one of the Shmoneh Shratzim as described below, and the Shmoneh Shratzim differ from a Chayah, among other things, in the nature and Shiur of their Tumah as specified in the cited Kilayim Mishnah.
Nevertheless, the reply of the Kollel could still be valid, by substituting the porcupine, for example, for the hedgehog. The porcupine does not seem to be considered one of the Shmoneh Shratzim and could therefore be called a Chayah.
The hedgehog is one of the Shmoneh Shratzim:
Rashi to Vayikra 11:29 translates ve'ha'Anakah as HIRITZO"N, and according to the Unabridged Webster 'herisson' is a synonym for hedgehog. In fact Rav Y. Gukovitzki in his Targum HaLa'az translates HIRITZO"N (entry # 2179, p. 140) as 'hedgehog'.
For a lengthy discussion of this subject, please see the Ben Aryeh to Shabbos 54b (printed in the Vilna Shas among the Chidushim in the back of the tractate p. 54a).
You are correct. I meant porcupine (Kipod).
Thank you for the interesting sources regarding the hedgehog.
The hedgehog is probably a British animal. I'm not sure that it lives in the Middle East at all. The porcupine does live in Israel. If memory serves me correctly though Rav Aryeh Kaplan, z"l, subjects almost every one of the shemone sheratzim to machloket. He quotes various meforshim who identify each of them as different animals. The only one which it seems that we're sure of is that the achbar is the mouse. Some appear to be mistranslated in Modern Hebrew. The chulda is usually called the weasel. Dr. Yehuda Felix, I believe, calls it the rat which makes a lot of sense. The shulchan aruch talks about a chulda that drags chometz from house to house. Weasels are rarely found in anyone's house. Rats, however, are ubiquitous, and are found wherever people live.
The other question to consider is whether the name apply to the entire genus. If we say that the l'taa is the lizard, for instance, does tumas sheretz apply to every type of lizard or was the Torah speaking about a specific type of lizard?
Kesivah V'chasimah tova,