Monday, September 17, 2007

A Letter from Ninveh


וימן ה' דג גדול לבלוע את יונה. ויהי יונה במעי הדג שלשה ימים ושלשה לילות ויתפלל יונה אל ה' אלהיו ממעי הדגה
יונה ב: 2-3

1. And Hashem appointed a huge fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
2. And Jonah prayed to Hashem, his G-d, from the belly of the fish.

Book of Yonah, Chapter 2: 1-2

Dr. Danny Kerem
Department of Marine Biology
University of Haifa.

Dear Dr. Kerem,

Recently, a person showed up in our city. It would be an understatement to say he was "weird". Normally, we wouldn't bother wasting your time at all, unless we thought there was a glimmer of a possibility, remote as it may be, that this person is bringing to us the word of G-d -- as the implications could be far reaching.

The strangest part of the story from this person named, "Yonah" is that he was swallowed by a large fish, and lived in the fish's belly till he was spat up onto the shore. In order to dispel this fallacy, so we could get on with our lives, we pose this question to you:

Can a fish swallow a person and then spit him out without harm?

Please send us your answer, ASAP!

Sincerely,

The Ninveh Council of the Wise.
City Gate
Ninveh -- The Big City

In one of Yediot Achronot's better column's (almost reminiscent of a story the Maggid of Bergenfield might write) the Ninveh City Council's wise men write via time and space to Dr. Danny Kerem, a marine biologist at the University of Haifa -- is the story of a whale swallowing Yonah scientifically feasible?

Rather than spit out a typical skeptic or secular answer, "There's no such thing," Dr. Kerem's reply (and column) progressively asks and answers each point along the way. Was it a fish or a whale? Do such large creatures visit the Mediterranean Sea? Can a person survive in the stomach of a large fish? All the while quoting an impressive list of verses from the Tanach (Bible), including, "Today, mankind has learned to harness the electricity mention by the prophet Yechezkel, we can travel by vehicles over land and sea, even underneath the waters, where we can observe sea creatures..."

Due to lack of time, I won't translate the his whole reply to the City of Ninveh (it's all here in Hebrew), but he does think that it's possible that Yonah was swallowed by a large fish, and was stuck in it's throat till he was spat onto shore...and it may have seemed like 3 days to Yonah...even if it was less.

I have no clue if Dr. Kerem is a believing Jew or not, but he did end his letter as follows:

My advice: Don't wait two more days till the city gets destroyed -- put on sack cloth and repent now, with a personal example set by the king. -- and hope that G-d will reverse His decision.




Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

6 comments:

Scraps said...

That's awesome. I'll have to read the whole thing when I have time. :)

Jack's Shack said...

I vote for whale. Not that anyone is asking...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jack: I'm surprised you didn't vote for waffles.

Scraps: Yes, I thought it was rather awesome as well.

mevaseretzion said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Do us a public service. Translate it.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

anon 7:15...It takes time...time...time...

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