[Rabbi Yair Hoffman – 5 Towns Jewish Times]
In a series of meetings with Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Karp and others, both on Tuesday and today, Thursday, Rav Elyashiv Shlita issued two rulings: He firmly reaffirmed the prohibition of consuming all fish species that have the Anisakis water nematode (worm) and he also ruled, however, that herring are permitted lechatchila.
According to both Rabbi Karp and others present, Rav Elyashiv stressed that the Anisakis is forbidden because of the clear evidence that it’s origin is clearly from outside of the flesh of the fish and are thus considered Sheretz HaMayim. Other worms that develop inside the flesh of the fish are permitted, however, and fall under the rubric of the Talmudic dispensation of “Minei Gavli” (See tractate Chullin 67b).
The permissive ruling on the herring, according to Rabbi Karp was based up, at least, two factors:
The first factor, among others, is that the Anisakis nematode is almost impossible to find and identify after the herring has been marinated. Herring are significantly different than wild salmon and other fish that are infested with Anisakis in this regard. Indeed, according to Rabbi Pappenheim of Beit Shemesh, formerly the editor of the Eida, the Eida Chareidis of Jerusalem conducted examinations yesterday with Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Karp present and could not identify any Anisakis nematodes.
A secondary factor that Rav Elyashiv took into account was something considered as a snif- an additional factor, that generally might not stand by itself. The snif he utilized in his ruling was the fact that upon each piece of herring, the presence of a forbidden Anisakis nematode constitutes a “Miut sheaino matzui” – a minority that is relatively rare.” Although Rav Elyashiv noted that with the use of dissolving chemicals in a complete herring the anisakis nematode is commonly found, the fact that it is not found without the chemical is a significant factor in permitting them. Generally speaking, this factor cannot stand alone by itself and was only relied upon in combination with other factors.
Rav Elyashiv permitted marinated (i.e. pickled) herring lechatchilah – ideally without reservation. Rav Elyyashiv’s position on other types of fish is that they are forbidden to be consumed unless inspected and any anisakis worms must be removed. This information was confirmed later by Rabbi Karp with Rav Elyashiv’s grandson as well.
Most herring is processed It is still unclear to this author what Rav Elyashiv’s position is on general herring that has not been pickled or marinated.
NOTE: For aditional articles on the “fish crisis”, please visit the YWN Kashrus Korner.