Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
24th of Av, 5770
Besides shellfish (shrimps, oysters, lobsters, etc) what other ‘popular’ fish are non Kosher and why?
Examples of non-kosher fish:
Catfish – it lacks scales entirely. Interesting for the kosher consumer to note, catfish (not Kosher!) is reported to have a similar taste to the increasingly popular tilapia (kosher!) Catfish and tilapia fillets look almost identical, though catfish is notably cheaper. It is therefore quite possible that an unscrupulous fish retailer might switch the two!
Basa or Tra (also called “China sole”) – (family Pangasiidae) are currently the subject of both nomenclature debates and antidumping litigation. Vietnamese importers were marketing them as catfish, to which they are nearly identical. Whether they are in fact catfish or not, they are not kosher.
Examples of NON-Kosher fish with ‘scales’
Swordfish has scales but they are embedded to such an extent that it is impossible to remove them without making a hole or that its scales would fall off during its development, rendering swordfish as non-kosher.
Sturgeon definitely has scales, but it is not kosher. Its scales are classified as “ganoid”, which means that they are covered with ganoin (similar in texture to fingernails) and cannot be removed without tearing the skin.
Burbot has cycloid scales (one of the types often referred to as “always kosher” ) yet because they are embedded, this fish is not kosher.
Sand lances may have tiny scales, but since they are not visible, this fish is not kosher.
Adapted from www.kashrut.org and www.ou.org
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
23rd day of Av, 5770
We can’t pray to an angel, and not even to ask from an angel to carry our prayer to God.
Three times a day, every day, we express our belief that: “Ki Atta Shomea’ Tefillat Kol Pe…” “YOU listen to everyone’s prayer… “. YOU, directly, without any intermediaries.
While other religions might consider ‘a grave’ (keber) as a sacred place of worship, our Rabbis warned against praying in a cemetery, next to a grave -- except for saying Kaddish and Hashkaba -- lest one be carried out by an impulse to address a loved one or a deceased Rabbi in his prayers, instead of praying directly to God Almighty. This is why one should avoid praying next to a grave, like other religions do.
Even in me'arat hamakhpela, in Chebron, where the Synagogues are close to the graves of our ancestors, one is warned not to address our prayers, God forbid, to our ancestors but only the God of our ancestors.
Part of being Jewish is the strong belief that haShem is ‘directly’ responsible for our fate. He forbade us to use intermediaries of any sort and commanded us to address and worship Him alone (Va’abadtem Et Hashem Elokekhem… ). Addressing another entity-intermediary --regardless of how important this intermediary might be--would be a great offense to His name.
Maimonides formulated this rule as the 5th of the 13 principles of our faith: “… it is only proper to pray to God. One may not pray to anyone or anything else”