Prof. Yehuda Felix z"l
I just saw that a number of weeks ago Prof. Yehuda Felix z”l passed away at the age of 83 (see here for a longer article in Hebrew). Prof. Felix was born in P0land in 1922 and moved to Israel in 1938. Felix was best known for his research and writing on the plant and animal species which are found in biblical and rabbinic literature (see here for a short article of his in English). His book which I use most is הצומח והחי במשנה, an attempt to identify different plants and animals which are found in Mishnaic literature. One of the important contributions of Felix in this book was to point out the differences between the modern meanings of certain Hebrew words and how they differed from their original meaning in the Mishnah. One of his examples is that in modern Hebrew מלפפון means cucumber while in the Mishnah it is a type of melon. His research has possible halakhic implications. He felt that the five species of grain which are found in the Mishnah (Hallah 1:1) are all different types of wheat and not as identified today through modern Hebrew as wheat, barley, buckwheat, oats and rye. This is of great halakhic importance since only something made from these five grains can become hametz on Pesah and also only matzah made from one of these five grains can fulfill a person’s obligation for eating matzah on Passover (Pesahim 2:5). יהי זכרו ברוך.