THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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CHULIN 64 - sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Shalom Kelman of Baltimore,
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1) HALACHAH: FISH EGGS
OPINIONS: The Beraisa states that a sign that an egg comes from a Kosher
bird is that one end is round and the other end is pointed. If both ends are
round or both are pointed, then that is a sign that the egg comes from a
non-Kosher bird and is prohibited. The Beraisa earlier (63b) teaches that
the same way in which we verify whether or not eggs are Kosher, we also
verify whether or not fish eggs are Kosher.
The Halachah regarding fish eggs is recorded in the SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 83:8)
who writes that if both ends are the same, the egg is certainly not Kosher.
If one end is pointy and one is round, then the buyer must ask the Jewish
seller about the origin of the eggs. If he says that he personally took them
from a Kosher fish, then he is believed. If he simply says that they are
Kosher, then he is not believed unless he is known to be very trustworthy in
areas of Kashrus.
The Shulchan Aruch adds that the common practice, though, is different. In
practice, a person is allowed to buy *red* fish eggs, even from Nochrim, in
any form, while *black* fish eggs are not eaten at all.
What is the basis for this practice? Do we follow this practice as the
(a) The source for the custom is the words of the BEIS YOSEF himself. The
Beis Yosef explains that it appears that the earlier generations must have
held that the only reason why we require the seller to attest that he took
the fish eggs out of the fish himself is to permit even certain black fish
eggs. In the earlier generations, they must have known that there simply are
no types of non-Kosher, *red* fish eggs. In order to determine that one did
not make a mistake among the variations of black eggs, they prohibited
consumption of all black fish eggs. The Beis Yosef comments that even though
he heard that there indeed is a non-Kosher fish that lays red fish eggs,
upon being salted they turn black. Therefore, the rule is that no red fish
egg in the world can be non-Kosher if it remains red after being salted. The
SHULCHAN GAVO'AH (YD 83:23) upholds the ruling of the Beis Yosef.
(b) The SHACH (YD 83:27) quotes the ISUR V'HETER who says that "we can no
longer rely on the signs for fish eggs, as we are no longer experts." The
Shach explains that it is clear that the Isur v'Heter is ruling not to rely
on the Shulchan Aruch's practice regarding external signs. While the
Shulchan Aruch writes that everything depends on color, the Isur v'Heter is
saying that we follow the original Halachah, which depends on the
believability of the seller. The PRI MEGADIM in SIFSEI DA'AS concurs with
the Shach's understanding of the Isur v'Heter, but he says that it is
possible that we remain with the Shulchan Aruch's practice never to eat
black fish eggs.
The DARCHEI TESHUVAH (83:80) quotes many Acharonim, including the PRI
CHADASH, YA'AVETZ, and the CHOCHMAS ADAM who rule that one should not rely
on the custom of the Shulchan Aruch, but one should buy fish eggs based only
on the believability of the Jewish seller. The ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN (YD 83:50)
notes that many Acharonim objected strongly to the lenient practice of the
Shulchan Aruch, and he agrees that this is a strange leniency. He explains
that had his custom been clearly transmitted to us from the Ge'onim, then we
could have relied on such a leniency. However, it is impossible to rely on a
lenient custom that developed with no clear Halachic source, especially a
custom that involves a Torah prohibition. He concludes that, therefore, no
one eats fish eggs that have come from afar, whether they are red or black.
2) THE SOURCE FOR THE PROHIBITION AGAINST EATING AN EGG OF A NON-KOSHER BIRD
QUESTION: Chizkiyah teaches that the source that eggs of a non-Kosher bird
are prohibited is the verse, "v'Es Bas ha'Ya'anah" (Vayikra 11:16). By
referring to the bird as the "*Bas* ha'Ya'anah," the Torah is alluding to
its egg and teaching that its egg is also prohibited.
Why, though, do we need a special source to teach that the egg of a
non-Kosher bird is prohibited? There is a general principle that "Kol
ha'Yotzei Min ha'Tamei Tamei" -- anything that comes from a non-Kosher
animal is also not Kosher, such as milk that comes from a non-Kosher animal
(Bechoros 7b). This principle should prohibit eating an egg of a non-Kosher
(a) TOSFOS (64a, DH she'Im Rikmah v'Achlah) suggests the following answer.
Even though eggs that come from a Kosher bird should be prohibited as Ever
Min ha'Chai since they emerged from a living animal, the Torah nevertheless
permits them. When the Torah teaches the Mitzvah of Shilu'ach ha'Ken, it
shows that eggs are not prohibited as Ever Min ha'Chai. We might have
thought that just as the Torah excludes eggs from the prohibition of Ever
Min ha'Chai, it also excludes them from all other prohibitions, such as "Kol
ha'Yotzei Min ha'Tamei Tamei," and thus even the eggs of non-Kosher birds
should be permissible. For this reason we need a new source to teach that
the eggs of non-Kosher birds are prohibited.
(b) The RAMBAN and RE'AH answer that even though the eggs of a non-Kosher
bird indeed would be prohibited because of the general principle of "Kol
ha'Yotzei Min ha'Tamei Tamei," a new source is necessary to teach that one
who eats such an egg is punished with Malkus. (Z. Wainstein)