Volume 56 Number 48
                    Produced: Thu Sep 25 22:22:54 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Eating fish and meat (3)
         [Dr. Josh Backon, Ben Katz, Harry Schick]
Fish vs. Meat:  Discussion Etiquette?
         [Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon]
Interesting recent (?) Gezeirah
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
LeDavid Hashem Ori WeYishi
         [S. Leiman]
LeDavid Hashem Ori WeYishi-Comments by HaRav David Bar-Hayim
Shofar question
         [Bernard Katz]
Things that are new are ossur
         [Mordechai Horowitz]


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 19:47:32 +0300
Subject: RE: Eating fish and meat

Dr. Hendel wrote

>First: If Josh's argument was taken to its logical conclusion then he
>is showing that fish and meat should not be eaten together. But their
>is no such prohibition.  We are discussing a same-fork prohibition.

If I got a dollar for every mention in the halachic literature of the
prohibition of eating or cooking fish and meat (and BTW certain poskim
extend this to fowl) together, I'd go on early retirement.

>Dr. Hendel wrote:
>So Josh's point that fish and meat can be harmful is not sufficient for
>prohibition (We have never heard of a prohibition of mixtures on food in
>the Talmud).


The sugya is in the gemara in Pesachim 76b (one line before the Mishna)
about the prohibition of eating meat with the fish "binita" [I wonder if
this is the bonita tuna]. What's intriguing is that eating this specific
type of fish with meat causes "rei'ach ra'ah [literally "bad breath"] as
well as Tzara'at (probably psoriasis). [When I see the term "rei'ach
ra'ah" I immediately think of my colleagues in gastroenterology doing
breath testing a la http://www.breathid.com ].

There is an halachic dictum "sakanta chamira m'issura" [danger to health
is treated much more severely or stringently than regular prohibitions.

There is an enormous halachic literature on the prohibition of eating/
roasting/ cooking/ fish and meat together. Early Rishonim extended the
prohibition to ALL type of fish in ALL areas of the world [TUR Orach
Chayim 177] (although there were poskim who distinguished between fish
in Bavel vs. fish in other areas; whether the prohibition was only in
roasting them together or also boiling together; whether there was a
danger with eating nonkosher fish with meat ["dag tamei ein bo sakana"
See: Tuv Taam Va'Daat Mahadura Tlitana II 10 and others]; whether this a
rare event (1:1000) See: Magen Avraham 173; whether there is Bitul
B'Shishim (nullification of [danger] in a mixture of 60:1) with regard
to fish cooked with meat.

The other intriguing factoid I found in my 3 hour search in the halachic
literature is that "binita" or similar fish are prone to SIRACHON
(getting rotten) when mixed with meat. [in other words oxidation and
presence of free radicals].

Unfortunately, I only found the psak halacha of Rav Ovadiah Yosef in
Yabia Omer I YD 7 after 3 hours of searching the halachic
literature. His psak is literally a gold mine with hundreds of
references on the subject of the prohibition of fish and meat together.

The TAZ (Yoreh Deah 116) was very stringent and quotes the Mahari Segal
(and Mahari Mintz) and Terumat haDeshen who prohibited the mixture even
if there was a 60:1 ratio.  As was the Pitchei Tshuva (YD 116).

>Rather the issue is why the same fork should not be used. My
>understanding is that the prohibition has to do with bones (which can
>cause lacerations if ingested accidentally).

The prohibition has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with fish bones.
As for using a different fork or plate: this is mentioned already in the
TUR YD 116.

In summary: in SOME instances there are certain type of fish that when
mixed with meat are prone to major oxidation [which would explain the
medical danger].  Because of the halachic dictum of "sakanta chamira
m'issura" ALL type of fish in ALL areas of the world are included in the
prohibition (even though this may be a rare event). And it's only this
rarity that SOME poskim permit a 60:1 mixture of fish and meat
roasted/cooked/eaten together.

It would be intriguing if an ichthyologist and an expert in lipid
biochemistry could jointly investigate what types of fatty acids differ
between kosher fish and nonkosher fish. That piques my curiosity. The
implications could be interesting.

I learned many years ago to "never say 'never' ". I have the humility
and lack of arrogance not to summarily dismiss halacha as being "faulty
science" as did the Conservative clergy when they abrogated this halacha
(prohibition of fish and meat).  There is a grain (or boulder [tm]) of
truth in what Chazal wrote. Careful perusal of the halachic literature
shows this to be true.

Shana Tovah

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine

From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 11:53:10 -0500
Subject: RE: Eating fish and meat

> From: Batya and Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
> I can't accept your disease, bones, etc reason for the Halacha for two
> main reasons:
>  1. Once you give "scientific" reasons, you make it possible to cancel
>     the halach once technology, medicine etc finds a cure.  That's like
>     the Jews who say that refrigeration makes kashering meat passe`.

	I believe Batya is confusing 2 issues here.  The torah prohibits
certain foods.  Whether there is or is not a scientific or philosophical
explanation is irrelevant to practice.  However, if the Rabbis made a
takana for a stated reason, based on a faulty assumption, or if the
premises of their assumption has changed (and now here's where I will
get into trouble :-)) the takana may not /should no longer apply.

Ketivah vachatimah tova to all.

From: <Learn111@...> (Harry Schick)
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 18:47:59 EDT
Subject: Re: Eating fish and meat

Interesting fish/meat theories regarding psoriasis, which in my
experience clinically is not unicausal, although this may be a piece of
the picture. I know this isn't a health discussion per se, but since the
information was included in a post--please--stop spreading information
about the danger of eating eggs and their effect on raising cholesterol.
Although the research showing high cholesterol as a negative health
indicator is flimsy at best, there should be no doubt that eating eggs
has no negative effect on cholesterol, even if you believe the hype
about high cholesterol being bad for you.


From: <leah@...> (Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon)
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 07:08:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Fish vs. Meat:  Discussion Etiquette?

> From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
> "garbage"). I would like to point out to Dr. Fiorino that I **teach**
> the seminar on Evidence based medicine at the Hebrew University Faculty
> of Medicine. I **teach** about clinical trials; I **teach** how to read
> a journal article. During the mid-1980's when Eitan was still in high
> school I was the Consulting Editor of the Journal of Pediatric
> Endocrinology, the Associate Editor of the International Journal of
> Adolescent Medicine and Health, and the Editor-in-Chief of Reviews in
> Pure and Applied Pharmacological Sciences.  I know what's good science
> and what's called "junk" science.

I know little about the topic here, but I did want to address something
that I think is very important on M.J.  It doesn't matter what your
title is or how old you are; people will judge what you say for what you
say.  We have had this discussion before, and it never ceases to amaze
me that someone will present credentials rather than a cogent argument.

Personally, I found Dr. Fiorino's comments to be persuasive, since he
used quantitative evidence and compelling logic.  I am open to finding
Dr. Backon's argument persuasive if he were to do the same.

--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 18:11:07 +0300
Subject: Interesting recent (?) Gezeirah

I just noticed a flyer put up in Jerusalem, claiming to be the decision
of "Rabbanim Hageonim," which gives the candle lighting time for Shabbat
(nothing special about that), but adds that the last time one is
permitted to leave Jerusalem before Shabbat (the text appears to imply
leaving to go to Bnei Brak, but this is not totally certain from the
text) is two hours before the candle-lighting time. That applies to
those driving by car. Those going by bus are required to leave half an
hour earlier than that at the latest.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: S. Leiman <sid.leiman@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 11:14:49 -0400
Subject: Re: LeDavid Hashem Ori WeYishi

In response to Martin Stern.s query:

Although the claim is often made that the earliest mention of the custom
of reciting Le-David Ha-Shem Ori between Rosh Hodesh Elul and the end of
Sukkot appears in the Sabbatean work, _Hemdat Yamim _(Izmir, 1731-31),
it is simply not true.

The first mention of the practice appears in R. Binyamin Beinush, _Shem
Tov Katan_ Sulzbach, 1706 (in the Berlin, 1740 edition: p. 9b). It
appears a second time in R. Zechariah of Plungian.s _Sefer Zekhirah_
Hamburg, 1709 (in the Jerusalem, 1999 edition: p. 259). Neither of these
are Sabbatean works. See the full discussion in R. Tuvia Freund_Moadim
Le-Simhah_, Jerusalem, 1998, vol. 1, pp. 63-79.

Shnayer Leiman


From: LEMKIN <lemkin@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 18:07:26 +0300
Subject: LeDavid Hashem Ori WeYishi-Comments by HaRav David Bar-Hayim

The following was written by HaRav David Bar-Hayim in response to Martin
Stern's query regarding LeDavid Hashem Ori WeYishi:

Yes, the author of Chemdat Yamim was a Shabtai, as were quite a number
of talented writers at that time. The situation then was very much
analogous to the Habad heresy of the present. In fact, even more

A section of the Tanakh does not become "pasul" because others misuse
and misinterpret it.  Whether the minhagh should be dropped because of
its origin is a moot point. Generally, reciting Tehillim is a very
positive thing (assuming the recitation comes from the heart). On the
other hand, there is clearly no obligation to continue with this
practice of reciting a given mizmor.

Furthermore, people won't drop it. I do not consider this to be a matter
of true significance; there is no Halakhic issur in the present state of
affairs (other than the general problem, which exists every day of the
year, of the improper accretion of added texts to the order of prayers
in the Beth HaKanesseth -- see Teshuvoth HaRambam no. 261 ).

We all need to learn to conserve our energies for the more important
issues. Example: the Ashkenazi order of Tephillah on RH which is totally
unreasonable, inhumane and a turn-off for many. Example: the pagan
ritual of Tashlikh (which has everything to do with appeasing the Devil
who is imagined to reside in the water). Example: the need to educate
real Rabbanim capable of dealing with these and other issues.

 Some more on Hashem Ori weYish'i:

In last Friday's HaZophe, Rav Prof. Neriah Gutel wrote an interesting
piece about this minhagh. If you check Makor Rishon or HaZofe online,
you'll find it I imagine, including a link to the full article on the
orot.ac.il website.

What I wish to add here is this: R. Gutel points out that despite the
claim that the minhagh began with the Hemdath HaYamim, the fact is that
the minhagh was mentioned in earlier sepharim, some of which appeared as
much as 30 years before the H Hayamim.

One more thing: the Gra' was opposed to saying it (in public). See
Ma'aseh Rav no. 53. The Gra's reasoning, I have no doubt, was precisely
that of the Rambam.  Either way, there is no doubt that this minhagh,
like so many others, began as the personal practices of certain
mequbalim, which by hook or by crook, were forced on the general
public. This is no way to run the Jewish world.


From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 12:25:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shofar question

What is the source of the Ashkenazic custom to hear a total of 100
blasts of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah? In other words, when and why the
addition of 40 shofar-blasts to the 30 tekiot meihoshav and the 30
tekiot m'umad during the repetition of the Musaf Amidah? I gather that
according to the Sephardic tradition, a full 101 blasts are sounded,
while the Yeminite custom is to sound a total of 41 blasts.

Bernard Katz    


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 11:00:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Things that are new are ossur

SBA wrote:
> Presumably you are trying to be funny. Not nice, when talking about the
> Rabbon shel kol Bnei Hagola.
> But just in case your truly do not get it, the Chasam Sofer is referring to
> newly invented ideas that affect our observance of Torah and Mitzvos (and
> AFAIK, both kulos and chumros.)

You mean like the newly invented idea of full time Kollel that goes
against the tradition Torah Judaism approach of making a living from

Which of course also would mean he is against the modern idea of shul
Rabbis getting salaries.

And teachers in yeshiva.  They should also all have jobs and not earn a
living from Torah.

The fact is we are required to follow the Torah teachers of our day
because the Torah recognizes each age ha different challenges and issues
and therefore will have different Torah answers.  Just because we did it
yesterday a certain way doesn't mean we do it that way.


End of Volume 56 Issue 48