WILD BULL

WILD BULL (Heb. רְאֵם, reʿem or רֵים, reim), a powerful animal (Num. 23:22) whose strength is primarily in its horns (Deut. 33:17). It is parallel to the strong ox (ibid.; Isa. 34:7) but, unlike the ox, cannot be domesticated (Job 39:10–11). The animal referred to, the Bos primigenius, is called in Akkadian rimu, and was an extremely powerful animal which is depicted in many Assyrian hunting scenes. It was relentlessly hunted and, as a consequence, was entirely exterminated a few generations ago. In Arabic the name rim is given to the antelope , the Oryx leucoryx. The biblical re'em apparently applies to this animal also, as in Psalms 92:11, which refers to the yard-long horns of the antelope. Similarly, the Sifrei Deuteronomy (323) declares that "the horns of the re'em are beautiful but it is not strong." In the aggadah the re'em is depicted as an animal of fabulous size. Because of its size, Noah could not bring it into the ark and tied it to the outside (Gen. R. 31:13). To David it looked like a mountain (Mid. Ps. to 22:25). In later Midrashim the shor ha-bar ("wild ox") is reserved, like the leviathan , for the banquet arranged for the righteous in the world to come. In earlier sources, however, the reference is to the behemoth . In the halakhah there is a discussion as to whether the shor ha-bar is a kilayim with the ox (Kil. 8:6; Tosef., ibid., 1:8). R. Yose in the Mishnah (Kil. 8:6) regards it as belonging to the category of beasts (non-domesticated animals), while the sages classify it as a (domesticated) animal. The Jerusalem Talmud explains the difference, in that the latter regard it as an animal that was originally domesticated but escaped and reverted to its wild state, while the former holds that it was always wild (ibid., 8:6, 31c). R. Yose identifies it with the te'o of Deuteronomy 14:5, but it is not clear whether he means the bison or the buffalo . -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewysohn, Zool, 127ff.; Tristam, Nat. Hist, 146–50; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 9, 21. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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