Volume 41 Number 85
                 Produced: Sat Jan 17 23:21:42 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fish, Meat, and Milk (8)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, Shimon Lebowitz, Gershon Dubin, Zev Sero,
Kenneth G Miller, Batya Medad, Michael Kahn, "Benschar, Tal
Learning Aggadah from Halachah (3)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, Shimon Lebowitz, Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom]
sock/sandals while davenning
         [Irwin Weiss]
         [Carl Singer]


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 10:25:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Fish, Meat, and Milk

In MJ 41:78, Douglas Moran <dougom@...> asked:

> As I was chomping on my fish the other day, I was wondering: why
> is dairy okay with fish?  Or to put it another way, my imperfect
> understanding of halacha is that dairy is forbidden with poultry
> --even though poultry doesn't lactate--because of the fence-
> around-the-fence desire to avoid having dairy with anything that 
> is meat-like.

Your understanding is correct. Poultry is similar to mammalian meat in
several ways (they both have to be slaughtered and drained of blood in
the same way; they're both sold at butcher shops), so the Sages feared
that "poultry with dairy" is too easily confused with "kosher mammalian
meat with dairy." Fish wasn't included because it's so dissimilar to
either of these that there's no potential confusion.

(That said, there are halachic opinions that discourage eating fish with
milk because of health considerations. There have been some discussions
about this on Mail-Jewish in the past; see MJ 18:72 and 34:18 for source

Kol tuv,

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 23:45:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Fish, Meat, and Milk

Some Sepharadim (and I think I may have also heard it about some
Hassidim) will not eat fish with milk.  I know my Sepharadi daughter and
son-in-law won't.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 18:08:32 -0500
Subject: Fish, Meat, and Milk

Gezeros/fences are made with an eye to the similarity between the fence
and the "fenced-in".  Here, poultry, despite the fact that it does not
lactate, is similar to animals that do in requiring shechita, albeit of
only one "siman".  Fish OTOH since they do not require shechita at all,
do not require this fence.


From: Zev Sero <zev@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 23:41:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Fish, Meat, and Milk

First of all, it's by no means 100% clear that poultry and milk is only
a Rabbinic fence.  Many Rishonim hold that way, but Tosefot holds that
it is a Torah prohibition.

However, your question is premised on the majority opinion, that the
prohibition is a fence to prevent confusion with meat.  According to
this opinion, poultry is easily confused with meat, because it requires
shechita, it is subject to being treifa if defects are found in the
organs, and its blood is forbidden so it also requires salting.
Therefore if we permit it to be eaten with milk, people will get
confused and end up eating meat with milk too.  Fish, OTOH, can be
killed in any way (or eaten alive, if it were not disgusting), are
kosher no matter how diseased they are (so long as they are not
dangerous or disgusting), and their blood is also permitted (subject to
our old friend Morris Oyin).

From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 08:47:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Fish, Meat, and Milk

In MJ 41:78, Douglas Moran asked why the prohibition against cooking
milk with meat-of-lactating-animals was extended to poultry, but was not
extended to fish, which would have been a very simple rule, covering all
animals of all kinds. Why was the law extended only part-way?

The answer (not sure where I saw this, sorry) is that the factor which
distinguishes poultry from fish is that poultry must be killed in
accordance with specific halachos, but fish can be killed in any manner.
>From this perspective -- which focuses on halacha, rather than biology
-- the typical person views poultry as meat, but fish as pareve.

I had a similar question for a very long time, but I think the above
paragraph answers it: The original Torah prohibition was not against
cooking milk with the meat of *lactating* animals, but with a subset of
that group, namely *domesticated* lactating animals. (Artscroll's "The
Laws of Kashrus", pg 185) Thus, cooking milk with meat of a cow, goat,
or sheep is a Torah violation, but with meat of a deer would be only a
rabbinic violation.

So the question I had was: If the rabbis want to extend this law to
prevent accidents, the logical thing would be to extend it to all
milk-producing animals. Deer and cows are very similar, and someone
might confuse the meat of one with the meat of the other, but who would
confuse cow meat with chicken meat? But the answer I suggested above
might answer this: The typical Jew might indeed get confused over the
biology involved, and might not be aware of what animals produce milk
and which do not, but we can presume that the typical G-d-fearing,
Torah-loving Jew *would* know which animals require shechita and which
do not, so the rabbis extended this law to all animals which require

Akiva Miller

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 21:31:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Fish, Meat, and Milk

According to some poskim, mostly if not exclusively Eidot Mizrach, fish
and dairy are forbidden, like Ashkenazim forbid fish and fleishig
together, though the same Eidot Mizrach don't have the same psak for
fish and fleishig.  When "The Bagel House," opened, one of the first
bagel places in Jerusalem, The rabanut rav didn't want to approve its
hechshar, because of the bagels served with cream cheese and lox.


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 19:06:07 -0500
Subject: RE: Fish, Meat, and Milk

While bagels and lox is about as Jewish as it gets (smile) I think some
sfardim have a minhag not to eat fish with dairy and that the issue is
discussed in the bais Yosef. The issue however, is grounded in
considering dairy and fish dangerous to eat, akin to meat and fish. It
is not that we are gozer (decree) not to eat fish and dairy because we
are afraid you might come to eat meat and dairy.

To: <mail-jewish@...>
From: "Benschar, Tal S." <tbenschar@...>
Subject: Fish, Meat, and Milk

The short answer as to why fish and milk is not forbidden is that Chazal
did not institute that as a prohibition, while they did for poultry and
milk, which is forbidden rabbinnically.  Poultry has a number of
similarities to meat which fish does not have -- both require shechita
(ritual slaughter) and both require removal of the blood either through
broiling or salting, neither of which are true of fish.
Parenthetically, kosher locusts, for those who still eat them, are also
pareve like fish, and, like fish require neither shechita nor removal of

I also note in passing that many Sephardim avoid combinations of milk
and fish, based on a Beis Yoseph who states it is unhealthy.  (Just as
Askenazim do for meat and fish.) 


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 11:02:15 -0800 (PST)
Subject: RE: Learning Aggadah from Halachah

In MJ 41:78, Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> writes:

> But there are the exceptions [to the rule that halachah can't be
> derived from aggadata] and I wish someone would explain them. My
> favorite is the Aggadtah in beracoth: "The angels asked God about
> the contradiction (a) God does not show favoritism (b) May God
> show favoritisim to you (Priestly blessing). God responded: Should
> I not show favoritisim to the Jews--I commanded them to bless me
> after eating and begin satisfied and they bench after eating only
> an olive size!"
> From this we learn the law that there is a Biblical obligation to
> bench after eating an olive size of bread.

Actually, that aggadata would seem to indicate that this obligation is a
Rabbinic enactment; and Rashi states this explicitly earlier on that
same page (s.v. Shiura). Although it is true that Beur Halachah (section
184, s.v. BeKazayit) discusses this at some length and cites various
authorities who hold that this obligation is indeed Biblical.

In this particular case, the rule about bentching for an olive-size
piece of bread is stated elsewhere in the Gemara in a halachic context
(Berachot 45a and 49b, R' Meir's opinion), so we don't have to rely
solely on aggadata to establish this halachah. And in fact, this
aggadata itself mentions both opinions ("they bentch after just the
volume of olive or of an egg") without deciding between them, so it
clearly can't serve as the basis for the halachah anyway. Had it
mentioned only one of them, it's likely true that the rule about not
deriving halachah from aggadata would indeed apply, and so we wouldn't
say solely on that basis that the halachah follows that opinion.

Perhaps we can go further and formulate a general rule: we allow
aggadata to influence halachah only where it's making a matter-of-fact
statement about what's being done in real life (as is true in our
case). This would make it similar to the rule according to which we
can't derive Torah law from Nach ("divrei Torah midivrei kabbalah lo
yalfinan"), yet we derive laws such as kinyan chalifin (Bava Metzia 47b)
and the details of plain vs. bound documents (Bava Batra 160a-b) from
Nach (Ruth 4:7 and Jeremiah 32:11, respectively) - because those verses
describe what was being done rather than what _should be_ done.

Kol tuv,

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 23:53:27 +0200
Subject: RE: Learning Aggadah from Halachah

>  From this we learn the law that there is a Biblical obligation to bench
> after eating an olive size of bread.

I believe this is in fact not the case, but that the Torah obligation to
bentch, based on "ve'achalta ve'savata uveirachta" (you shall eat, be
satisfied, and bless) is only if you have actually eaten to satiation. I
remember learning (sorry I don't have a source handy) that the
requirement to bentch after a kezayit (an olive's worth) is de-Rabanan
(rabbinically ordained).

The aggada you quoted would then be a nice "asmachta" (basis), but not a
binding Torah law.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp

From: Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom <rebyitz@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 09:23:35 -0800
Subject: RE: Learning Aggadah from Halachah

>From: <nzion@...>
> "I'm really not sure where the last sentence "From this we learn the law
> that there is a Biblical obligation to bench after eating an olive size
> of bread" came from. A) There is no biblical obligation to bentch unless
> one is satiated, bentching after eating an olive size is a rabbinical
> obligation. B) The halacha is not based on the story. The story teaches
> us Hashem's special treatment of the Jewish people because they accepted
> upon themselves extra requirements. This is not the source for the extra
> requirement. In other words in this case the aggdah is reflecting upon
> an already existing custom and not vice versa."

See the RABD's critique on R. Zerahyah haLevi at RIF Berakhot 12a, s.v.
Ba'aya. Both premises suggested by the contributor are rejected. He
rules that even a Ka-Zayit (less than satiating amount) obligates one to
say Birkat haMazon mid'Oraita, and he suggests that the other opinion -
that less than satiating is d'Rabanan, is somehow associated in R.
Avira's d'rashah about the angels.

Yitzchak Etshalom


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 08:38:49 -0500
Subject: sock/sandals while davenning

In reviewing this week's Parsha, Shemot, I see that Moshe, at the
"burning bush" was told by Hashem to remove his sandals.  The text says,
because he was on holy ground. (Admat Kodesh).  So, IF Moshe could speak
with Hashem without sandals, shouldn't we be permitted to daven with

Irwin E. Weiss, Esq.
Suite 307, 920 Providence Rd, Baltimore, MD 21286
410-821-5435 ext. 111, fax: 410-821-8060


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 07:43:56 -0500
Subject: Tuxedos

> On the issue of appropriate dress for the Shaliyach Tzibbur, or the
> congregation in general, I heard that once there was a "Modern Orthodox"
> congregation in Baltimore where on Erev Yom Kippur some men had the
> custom of wearing tuxedos.  Since tuxedos are quite formal, but also
> very uncomfortable, I always felt that this was consistent with
> "Veinesem es nafshoseychem" (You should afflict your souls).  (Excuse
> the poor transliteration).

Go to the Spanish Portuguese synagogue in Manhattan on Shabbos or Yom
Tov and you'll see top hats, donned l'kovod Shabbos.  As a tailor's son,
I'll claim that a well made / properly fitting tux is no less
comfortable than a suit.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 41 Issue 85