SUMMER 2019 The Summer of Torah, Hesed, and Charity

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Can it be the shamir worm that was used for building the Bet Hamikdash ?

Researchers have discovered a new type of shipworm in the Philippines that eats rock instead of wood. Thick, white and worm-like in appearance, the new species live in freshwater, unlike their wood-eating counterparts, which live on dry land. Although these creatures were first discovered in 2006, scientists did not begin studying them in detail until last year.

The research team has now found that the
rock-eating shipworms are vastly different from wood-eating worms, in that the latter have hundreds of invisible sharp teeth that cover their shells, while the rock-eating shipworms only have a few dozen teeth, each of which is one millimeter in size.

For many, the discovery of a rock-eating work immediately brought to mind the shamirworm, which, according to Jewish tradition, was used to cut the stones needed for building the Bet Hamikdash.

Rabbi Zamir Cohen, founder of the Hidabrut organization, was asked about this amazingdiscovery. Below is his response:

This worm is indeed interesting and remarkable, though it does not seem to be the shamir worm.

Our sages tell us (in Masechet Sotah) that the shamir was tiny, the size of a kernel of barley, and this worm is much larger.

In addition, the Talmud’s formulation indicates that the worm pierced and cut the stone by means of radiation that emanated from it, and not in any other way.
The Talmud says the following regarding the precious stones in the garments of the High Priest, on which the names of the twelve tribes were inscribed: “These stones are not engraved with a chisel, but are rather written on with ink, and then exposed to the shamir worm from the outside, causing them to break apart by themselves, like a fig that splits open in the summer...”

The phrase “exposing them to the shamir worm from the outside” proves that there was only external radiation, without direct contact between the worm and the stone (as I discuss at length in the first part of my series of books, The Coming Revolution).

And, what’s more, the Talmud explicitly states: “When the Temple was destroyed, the
shamir vanished.”

Nevertheless, from this discovery we can at least strengthen our belief (for those whose belief needs strengthening…) to the notion that a worm can cut hard rock, a fact that seemed very peculiar until this finding.