PESACHIM 54 (7 Elul) - Dedicated in memory of Esther Miryam bas Harav Chaim Zev and her husband Harav Refael Yisrael ben Harav Moshe (Snow), whose Yahrzeits are 7 Elul and 8 Elul respectively. Sponsored by their son and daughter in law, Moshe and Rivka Snow.

QUESTION: The Beraisa lists ten things that were created during Bein ha'Shemashos of the first Erev Shabbos of Creation. Rebbi Nechemyah in the name of his father adds that fire and the mule were also created at that time.
How does Rebbi Nechemyah know that the mule was created at Bein ha'Shemashos of Erev Shabbos of Creation? RASHI (DH veha'Pered) explains that since "there is nothing new under the sun" -- "Ein Kol Chadash Tachas ha'Shamesh" (Koheles 1:9) -- it is not possible that the mule, a new entity, was created only through cross-breeding after the six days of Creation. It must have been created at the time of the Creation of the world.
This explanation is difficult to understand. There are many other objects in the world that came about through cross-breeding, such as the many types of fruits and vegetables produced by grafting. Such items were not created at the time of Creation, but came into existence at a later time. Why do they not pose a difficulty to the concept that "there is nothing new under the sun"?
(a) The YISA BERACHAH suggests that the mule is an entirely new species of animal. It is more novel than other forms of cross-breeds. All other forms of cross-breeds resemble in some way the parent entities from which they came. A mule resembles neither a horse nor a donkey. Thus, it must have been created independently at the time of Creation.
(b) Perhaps Rashi's understanding of the concept, "there is nothing new under the sun," applies only to living creatures, and not to fruits or vegetables. Since the mule is the only living creature that can be born from interspecies relations, it must have been created during Creation.
Alternatively, perhaps Rashi refers only to items that are of essential use to mankind. Of such items, only the mule is a novel creation. (M. KORNFELD)
(c) The SEFAS EMES suggests a different explanation for Rebbi Nechemyah's statement. The Gemara later says that according to Rebbi Yosi, fire and the mule were not actually created at Bein ha'Shemashos of Erev Shabbos of Creation. Rather, at that time Hash-m "thought about" creating them, but He created them only after Shabbos, when "Hash-m endowed man with Da'as similar to His, as it were, and enabled man to have the insight to create fire and to cross-breed species to create a mule." (These two acts of creation -- fire and a cross-breed -- involve original creativity. This is the meaning of "Da'as similar to Hash-m's" -- this "Da'as" refers to the ability to create.)
When Rebbi Nechemyah says that fire and the mule were created at Bein ha'Shemashos, he does not mean that the actual items were created, but rather that Hash-m decided to give man the ability to add to the world by taking what exists and manipulating it. Accordingly, his statement refers to all forms of cross-breeds, and not specifically to mules.