Eating Fish

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  • This topic contains 21 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Redleg 4 months ago.
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  • #1769018

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Do you keep tabs on your fish intake to protect yourself from over-consuming mercury?

    Thank you in advance

    #1769072

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    No

    #1769077

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Many of the fish with high levels of mercury are not eaten by yidden ( marlin, shark, swordfish etc) . Various species of tuna as well as pike and carp do have higher levels of mercury but you would have to eat a lot of sushi every other day to be concerned. Women should also be careful during pregnancy. A yid would be more at risk from the sugar in Ungarishe Gefilte Fish than mercury.

    #1769167

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Its not so clear Swordfish isnt Kosher, Rav Shechter says it IS kosher

    #1769269

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    If a new species of fish is found in contemporary times, is there a specialized rabbi who comes (or is consulted with) to determine if this new fish species is kosher?

    #1769287

    funnybone
    Participant

    Why do you care?

    #1769305

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Funnybone: Which post are you responding to?

    If you’re responding to the OP, I’m wondering…

    1) If I need to chill

    2) If someone choosing not to eat fish at an event might be doing so to minimize weekly/overall mercury intake

    3) What other people do without creating a scientific study

    4) How other people navigate their eating behaviors and choices

    5) Just because one question can lead to a question relating to halacha or another Torah-related topic. So, I’m letting curiosity take me to a question that I would have otherwise not thought to ask (e.g. please see the post about determining the kosher status new fish species).

    6) If you also care

    #1769312

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    ZD: FRom the crc website

    Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) does not seem to have scales when one looks at a sample. Some say that it has scales that are embedded to such an extent that it is impossible to remove them without making a hole. Others say that it has kosher scales on parts of its body which fall off during its development. Still others claim that it may have some kosher scales even at the time of harvest.

    The Orthodox Union traditionally treats swordfish as non-kosher. (See Sh’ailos and Teshuvos Tzitz Eliezer 9:40 who discusses a statement made by the Knesses HaGedolah about “cherev hadag” and explains why we cannot use the statement to permit swordfish.)

    If R’ Schechter as you assert says it is kosher why then does the OU treat it as non kosher?

    #1769472

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Rav Schacter is not the final Arbiter at the OU, He personally thinks its kosher (See Dvrei Harv 192) He says he heard it from Rav Solevichik

    #1769473

    Amil Zola
    Participant

    Why be so picky about the mercury, when most Jews are eating farmed tilapia that are fed the refuse from swine slaughter houses in China and Indonesia?

    #1769475

    funnybone
    Participant

    1. You need to chill.
    2. Who cares?
    3. Who cares?
    4. Who cares?
    5. Hmmm…that’s interesting. You ask questions to get off topics.
    6. I care. I would ask, is there any research regarding Mercury in fish? Answer: yes, do some research.

    #1769479

    Grey matter
    Participant

    Who is rabbi Shechter? Do you mean Rabbi (Hershel) Shachter (with an a)?

    #1769478

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    R’ Schechter is entitled to his opinion, as are other rabbonim at the OU etc. I think the majority hold that swordfish should not be eaten but certainly their are dissenting views. As new species of ANY animal, fish, fowl etc are “discovered”, there will be a need for rabbonim with expertise in applying the criteria set forth in Torah as interpreted over millenniums by chazal. Ultimately, thats why we rely upon our own rav/posek for guidance (since presumably they track the views of other rabbonim with specialized expertise in these areas).

    #1769492

    yehudayona
    Participant

    My understanding of OU kashrus policy is that there is no one posek whose opinion is paramount. Rav Belsky Z”TL held that NYC water did not need to be filtered, but the OU decided that it did. Perhaps it’s only when the foremost posek is maikel that he’s overridden.

    #1769511

    Heckter Chalavim
    Participant

    If Rabbi Hershel Shechter believes for certain that swordfish is kosher, he should video himself cooking it and then eating it and put the video up on YWN or YouTube. He should not keep it as his unpracticed opinion. Honestly, a rabbi that supports Ora demonstrations against husbands and distant relatives of husbands, absent any knowledge behind the circumstances surrounding the marital and custody disputes of the husbands, is surely one that we can all trust relating to the kashrus status of a universally accepted treif swordfish. Wouldn’t we all agree?

    #1769546

    Heckter Chalavim
    Participant

    In response to yehudayona: Rabbi Belsky held that NYC water did not need to be filtered, because he believed the bugs were kosher; actually he believed they were not bugs at all just baby swordfish. We should not forget Rav Belsky’s stringent psak regarding the chailev found by Rabbi Stern on beef liver purchased from Meal Mart, which is chalila an issur karrus. Rabbi Belsky at that time so bravely said “so what, mistakes happen”. Rabbi Belsky was truly a gadol with yiras shumayim like no other.

    #1769559

    rational
    Participant

    Swordfish were eaten by Jews in the Mediterranean countries for over 350 years. In the early 1900s they were also eaten in the U.S. In the early 1950s a prominent U.S. Rabbi paskened they were forbidden, and much controversy ensued.
    Partly because the Conservative movement approved the fish, the Orthodox vehemently opposed it. This psak l’chumra was never accepted in Israel, yet as time passed fewer restaurants and stores were willing to sell it, and one cannot find it here anymore. Its scarcity contributes to the general feeling that it is tzu pas nisht. However, one can find yesteryear poskim who approved it.

    In answer to LightBrite’s question, yes, there are a few well-known and some not well-known experts on this subject. When a company or individual wants to market a new fish or four-legged animal, the question goes to the experts at the OU, the Edah Chareidis, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel and Orthodox academic authorities to discuss the issue. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they do not. The aim is to achieve a consensus opinion one way or the other, cooperation which is good for klal yisrael.

    All of the information above can easily be found online. I have access to one of the experts on these issues, so I have heard much of it from him.

    I suggest avoiding attacking Rav Hershel Schachter, one of the truly great Torah scholars and poskim of our generation. It reflects very poorly on the attacker and displays great ignorance. When asked a question in learning or psak, Rav Schachter answers with full intellectual honesty. OU public policy and corporate considerations will not enter a personal discussion with him, and anyway, are governed by different rules.

    #1769635

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “If Rabbi Hershel Shechter believes for certain that swordfish is kosher, he should video himself cooking it and then eating it”
    Why? Is that how halacha works?

    “Wouldn’t we all agree?”
    Absolutely!

    Of course , the Agudas Harabanim allowed swordfish too
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=12060&st=&pgnum=18

    The history of swordfish is actually quite fascinating, the opposition was largely driven by Rabbi Tendler, who wrote a teshuva in the Jewish Observer April 1968 that really turned things around , it baecame a dividing line between Orthodox and Conservative when the two were more similar several decades ago

    #1770271

    rational: I am not sure which poster is “attacking” Rabbi Schachter.

    #1770313

    rational
    Participant

    Read the thread again, it’s easy to spot

    #1770473

    baynonim
    Participant

    I eat fish every day.

    #1770467

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Thank YOU Rational!!! 🙂

    #1770470

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Set aside the pros/cons of swordfish, it should be noted that Rav Shacheter is not some “liberal” REITS rav who is machmir on everything, He is a well respected talmid chochom and posek whose views are widely respected across the spectrum of orthodox yidden.

    #1770501

    Milhouse
    Participant

    1. The OU permits Blue Marlin.

    2. Because of the machlokes between R Belsky and R Shachter, the OU did not decide that NYC water needs to be filtered. Instead it published a fact sheet describing the metzius and the halachic considerations, and advised everyone to show it to their rov and ask for a psak. In restaurants under its supervision it requires filtering, but only as a matter of practical policy, not as a psak halacha.

    3. The level of mercury that the FDA and EPA say you have to worry about is ridiculously low. There is no evidence whatsoever that any harm can result, even to pregnant women and their babies, from eating normal amounts of fish. The only known cases of mercury poisoning from fish happened in two bays in Japan, in the 1950s and ’60s, where mercury was being dumped into the water right in the fishing ground. Once it was realized that this is dangerous the practice stopped. The mercury level in the ocean, or in any fishing ground, is not nearly enough to cause any damage, even in pregnancy, unless you eat ridiculous amounts. I suppose if you live on nothing but fish, you might have cause for concern.

    #1770550

    Yankelle
    Participant
    #1770831

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The swordfish in the Jewish Press article above is kosher but not practical because the whole fish is too expensive and a piece is not recognizable and would not fit in the fridge.

    #1771146

    Redleg
    Participant

    Juvenile swordfish do have scales which they lose as they grow into adulthood.

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