For the week ending 18 September 2010 / 9 Tishri 5771

Avodah Zarah 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The three rulings of Rabbi Yossi that earned him the reputation for lenience
  • Foods cooked by a non-Jew
  • Signs of a kosher fish
  • Reliability of the wife of a scholar
  • Jewish supervision of milking by a non-Jew
  • Buying fish parts from a non-Jew
  • The Sages and the apple wine cure
  • Statues that may have been worshipped as idols
  • Remnants of statues that have been found
  • Idols that fell apart or were abandoned
  • Finding vessels with sun or moon engraved on them
  • Forms that are forbidden to make

The Elusive Kosher Locust

  • Avoda Zara 38a

The Torah permitted the consumption of certain types of locust – the arbeh, the sal'am, the chargol and the chagav. (Vayikra 11:22)

Do such locusts require shechitah in order to be fit for consumption?

Our gemara is cited as a source for not requiring shechitah.

It is forbidden by rabbinic law to eat food cooked by a non-Jew. If a non-Jew, however, sets fire to a locust-infested field it is permitted to consume the kosher locusts which have thus been roasted. This is so because the gentile had no intention of roasting the locusts and was interested only in clearing the area of them.

On a practical level, however, Rashi mentions the difficulty we have in identifying the kosher species of locusts and only solid tradition could be relied upon. Aside from some Yemenite and Moroccan Jews who claim to have such a tradition, the practice of eating such insects has become extinct.

Even among Moroccans there was a withdrawal as a result of a warning issued by the Ohr HaChaimagainst consumption of any locusts because of the difficulty of identifying the few kosher species from the large number of non-kosher ones.

What the Sages Say

"Blessed is the Omnipresent Who put His world into the hands of guardians."

  • Rebbie (upon finding apple wine guarded for seventy years which cured his illness) - Avoda Zara 40b

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