Bible-and-Science Professor Yehuda Felix, 83

Prof. Yehuda Felix of Jerusalem, who devoted his life to research of the world of botany and zoology in the Bible, passed away on Dec. 2 at the age of 83.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:21

Prof. Felix, 83 at his death, was among the founders of the Land of Israel Studies Department at Bar Ilan University, and headed it for many years. He authored some 20 books and dozens of articles; his last work was a new edition of Tractate Maasrot of the Jerusalem Talmud, published this year. Among his works was the classic, "Flora and Fauna in the Mishna."

Prof. Felix immigrated to the Holy Land in 1939 at the age of 17, and lived for several years in the religious Kibbutz Sdei Eliyahu in the Jordan Valley. After graduating from Hebrew University, he lectured in Bar Ilan, and frequently in Yeshiva and Harvard Universities as well.

His papers and writings combined research in Torah and science. A representative paper of his dealt with a puzzling incident in the past week's Torah portion, in which the Patriarch Jacob mysteriously arranged for the birth of a surprisingly large number of speckled sheep. Prof. Felix explained Jacob's success based on the Mendelian genetics principles of dominant and recessive genes. His theory is that Jacob treated the early-mating sheep and the late-maters differently [see Gen. 30, 41-42, and Rashi], in accordance with the discovery some decades ago of the fact that such behavior reveals the sheep's white/speckled genotype. (The article was published in Hebrew in Techumin Vol. 3, published by the Tzomet Institute.)



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