Worms In Fish: Rabbi Kuber Responds to Rabbi Scher’s Rebuttal


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The ongoing controversy regarding the Halachic Shaila of “worms in fish” continues. Two weeks ago, YWN posted an article by Rabbi Mordechai Kuber explaining why it is Mutar to eat the fish with worms. Yesterday, YWN posted an article by Rabbi Chaim Scher, an expert in the field who refuted Rabbi Kuber’s article. Today we present a (final) response by Rabbi Kuber:

I thank Rabbi Scher for his extensive comments about my article. He is both articulate and very passionate about this topic. Substantive debate is most essential in arriving at the truth, especially when discussing such an involved and relevant topic, and I welcome all such deliberation.

I will be sending Rabbi Scher a private response to his rebuttal. I feel that a public response is inappropriate, for it will only further confuse an already confused readership. I am also afraid that my public response would engender a public rebuttal in kind, and this most important discussion could devolve into an endless cycle of rebuttals and responses, which would neither clarify nor glorify the topic or the Torah.

Chazal teach that Torah is best discussed in the Beis Hamedrash, and not in other venues. I value the sophistication and interest of this site’s readers, and I realize that the intellectually inquisitive will be disappointed that I am not sharing my response with them. I also realize that there are some who will wonder whether my response will adequately address the points that Rabbi Scher has raised. I apologize to both groups. But in order to increase HaShem’s glory, I must refrain. By necessity, I will leave the reader to decide between my article, by which I still stand, and its rebuttal.  And in the same manner as I received reward for sharing my thoughts, may I receive reward for withholding them.

Mordechai Kuber

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. “Chazal teach that Torah is best discussed in the Beis Hamedrash, and not in other venues.”
    Just out of curiosity, where did Rabbi Kuber’s article appear fist?

  2. I find it most amusing and ironic how the Olam so strongly stresses that the Gedolaim in Erets Yisroel prohibit eating the fish with worms. How come they don’t come out just as strong regarding the violation of shaving ones beard. There is NO Gadol, today, in Erets Yisroel who permits shaving. There is NO Teshuva to be found from Reb Moshe Feinstein ZT”L that he permitted shaving. The Chofets Chaim in Likutai Halachas on Mesaches Makos, clearly, writes that it is absolutely FORBIDDEN to shave with a shaver.

    The truth must be told, once and for all!

  3. Let us stop worrying about what is being said in Israel, have the Israeli olem listen to the US rabbinim in how to deal with ‘at risk’ situations, vandalism, hooligans, and those who are bringing down kavod shamayim on a 24/7 basis.

    Beards, head coverings that are not custom shtiels, learning secular subjects, sitting on trains and buses with and next to females, eateries that do not have sitting areas, going to work in the city with ‘nonjews’ (oh no!!), & perhaps living next door to someone who displays an Israeli flag — AIN’T our issues!!!!!!

  4. Ironic: You made the same irrelevant point when commenting on the other article, so I’ll copy my response from there as well:
    It is common knowledge that R’ Moshe was matir certain shavers. Whether or not there is a written teshuvoh is irrelevant.
    If you wish to be machmir, that’s great; every two hairs is an issur d’oraisoh according to most poskim, but don’t deny an obvious truth, that R’ Moshe was matir.
    You write: “The truth must be spoken once and for all!” So until now, were all just spewing a bunch of lies?

  5. Reply to #2. You are probably not aware that there were talmidim of the ARI Zatzal that went clean shaven. Also, I don’t think there are any Gedolim that would allow you to be on the Internet unless your being on this website is related to your parnossah.

  6. Daas Yochid:

    The question begs; why in all of the thousands of Tshuvas from Reb Moshe ZT”L there is no Tshuva permitting shaving? You know the answer just as well as I do. And you also know that you will NEVER find any great Posek who will write Mefurash that it’s permissible. You admittedly state that Reb Moshe was Matir only certain shavers. In that case, who today has the backbone to pasken which shavers are permissible by Reb Moshe’s criteria’s? We’re talking about very serious Isurai D’oirasis – just as, if not more, serious then the worms in the fish.

    “The truth must be spoken once and for all” simply means that we should stop focusing on worms in fish in which there are clearly poskem who write that it’s permissible and start focusing on a more series violation instead of turning a blind eye from it.

    pomona yid:
    You missed my point. There are defiantly other ways to be clean shaven without using a shaver. Your other point about being on the internet doesn’t really warrant an answer – especially when you’re talking about Yeshiva World. However, suffice it to say, that we’re discussing very serious D’oiraisa transgressions; not some irrelevant hashkafa. Did I perhaps hit a raw nerve by you? I believe so.

  7. Kudos to R Kuber!
    I read yesterdays article by R Scher and was very disturbed by the utter lack of respect for his colleage, using phrases such as “R Kubers brazen contention..” and generally taking a halachik dialogue to a level of (percieved) personal attack!
    This is not the derech of someone whose motivation is k’vod Shomayim… (in my humble opinion.. and I hope and am sure that this is not R’ Schers intent, however the perception is the point… and that was quite clear from his article)
    R Kubers decision to not further engage in a public forum is commendable, and indicative of where his motivation is..
    Hane’elovom V’ainom ohlvim…
    I would add to R’ Kubers inspiring closing thought, that in all probability you will get MORE reward for withholding for the reasons you did…

  8. In many aspects the only global Torah forum that all Yidden can access is via the internet. I think there is a lack of courage here.

  9. It is unfortunate that this Halachik issue has become so very politicized.
    We hear some people pushing strongly for an Issur on these fish out of respect for Maran Rav Eliyashiv and Maran Rav Wosner. Is this the Derech of Torah and halacha?

    Rabbonim who are permitting these fish, are getting tremendous amount of phone calls urging them to withdraw their Heter out of respect and Kavod for Maranan V’Rabbonon.
    This is happening in the New York area, Toronto, London and Eretz Yisroel.
    In paricular, in London and all of England, where Harav Padwa, z”l (Rav of London and Kedassia) was clearly Matir these fish and the worms found in their flesh, as well as Harav Falk of Gateshead, (world renowned Halachik expert on Kashrus and insects etc.)and it has been a place where the Heter has been established and instituted by all the Charedi Kashrus organizations, there is tremendous pressure to come out with an Issur, out of respect to Harav Elyashiv.
    Alas, This could become a shmeful situation.

  10. Ari D:
    “R Kubers decision to not further engage in a public forum is commendable, and indicative of where his motivation is..”
    His decision was based on not having a good rebuttal. If he really believed that “Chazal teach that Torah is best discussed in the Beis Hamedrash, and not in other venues.”, he never would have posted his piece on the internet to begin with! Instead of answering his critics, he sues one website for posting a rebuttal, and on this site, refuses to answer publicly.
    Go ask R’ Moshe’s sons or his talmidim if he was matir shaving. One rov who was close to R’ Moshe told me about a specific shaver which he showed him, and R’ Moshe liked it even better than the original type that he was matir. I personally don’t shave, but many people I know do, and their rabbonim are matir shavers based on how they cut, and the sharpness of the blades. It is known that Rav Blumenkrantz Z”L had a list of shavers which R’ Moshe would have been matir, and Rav Heineman advises on the topic as well. R’ Dovid allows only lift and cut if the blades are removed. You can call R’ Dovid and ask him yourself. Or, if you want, you can continue your lies.

  11. Daas Yochid:

    Amazing! In other words your’e saying that for future generations we’re going to rely on a kabala on which shavers Reb Moshe was matir without one Posek putting it in writing. That’s absolutely shocking when you compare it to the issue of worms in fish where many Poskem have clearly said and written that it’s not a problem.

    I too have heard that Reb Moshe was matir, but again, how do we rely on a kabala of which shavers are permissible or not, especially in light of the fact that the Chofets Chaim in Likutai Halachas, aka the Mishna Berura, clearly wrote that using a shaver is absolutely forbidden – and that’s in writing! You think in his days shavers were as sharp or as sophisticated as the ones made today? My point is that shaving with a shaver is a serious a problem – and a severe issur Hatorah – more serious then the worms in fish, yet you continue perpetuating the huge lie out there, that it’s not even an issue to be considered for discussion because we have some “kabala” that “certain shavers Reb Moshe was Matir”. Furthermore, let’s be honest about this for a brief minute; can you honestly say that all the frum people out there who use a shaver ask shailos before they use them? You know just as well as I do, that most probably 80-90% – aside from a few yeshiva Bochurim – don’t ask at all! So where is the outcry? The same outcry for the worms in fish? Where is it? You have no answer!

  12. I do have an answer, actually.
    Firstly, much of torah sheba’alpeh is based on a kabala. This should be self evident.
    I never disputed the point that most poskim assur shaving. If you had read my post instead of just lashing out from anger, you would have seen this. So if there’s a huge lie here, it’s coming from you, not me.
    I personally agree that it’s better not to risk an issur d’oraiso. And if you are concerned about those who use shavers without asking a shailo, you are 100% correct. But don’t question the veracity of R’ Moshe heter, which comes from eidim nemonim, just because you don’t like it. That is m’galeh ponim l’torah shelo k’halocho.
    Can I suggest that we open a new topic on shaving, instead of annoying those who want to discuss fish worms?
    We Torah yidden believe in being nizhor in all issurim, not just hashchosas hazoken. If so many hours, weeks, and months have been spent on this issue by the rabbonim and poskim, who, if they so desired, could have spent this time discussing shavers, I think people have a right to discuss it on it’s own without digressing to your pet peeve. Thanks.

    Moderators Note: Start your own thread about shaving in the YWN Cofee Room: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/

  13. I, for one, would think twice about being mevaze Gedolei Torah because you don’t like or agree with their psak.
    As far as shavers go, I have b’kabbalah from my rebbe that Rav Hutner said that those who wanted to assur shavers had an agenda to assur any removal of beards, he said shavers were mutar.

  14. I don’t believe that the tone of Rabbi Sher’s article was unwarranted. Rabbi Kuber implied that the ziknei talmidei chachomim of the dor were fooled by those who assur. Certainly such an egregious statement requires a strong response, and any tone of mockery falls under the rubric of leitzanusa d’avoda zara.