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Monday, July 16, 2018

9 Days Rather Ironic, Fish Yes, Chicken No

Jewish Life is now in the midst of the "9 Days," a time of national mourning. From the 17th of the Jewish Month of Tammuz, until the 9, or more accurately the 10th, of the month of Av, we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temples and our exile from the Land of Israel.

Restrictions get more intense and end with a 25 hour fast on the 9th of Av. Restrictions during the 9 days include no parties, weddings, new clothes, listening to music, swimming for enjoyment, drinking wine and eating meat or poultry. You can eat fish.

I know that it's not the same all over the world, especially when people follow the Laws of Kashrut. Here in Israel a meat, especially poultry, meal cost less than a fish meal. Fish is very expensive here, whether buying it in the supermarket or a restaurant meal. Good cheeses also cost more. A very satisfying and pleasant meal in my favorite meat restaurant cost less than a similar fish meal in my favorite fish restaurant.

It's so ironic that the less expensive animal protein is forbidden as a sign of mourning, while the more expensive one is permitted. Eating fish is generally a treat, while chicken is an everyday, ordinary bargain menu in our house. So the halacha makes little sense to me.

My guess is that in ancient times the slaughtering of an animal or bird and the ritual preparation of their meat, plus safe storage was rather complex and not frequent. If you lived where you could easily catch fish, that was less complicated.

What do you think?

salmon and vegetables 


Mr. Cohen said...

My first guess:

When the Halachah was originally invented
[or more accurately, when the custom was originally
invented], fish was less expensive than any meat,
including chicken.

My second guess:

Fish was NOT prohibited because it was NOT offered
in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Meat WAS prohibited
because it WAS offered in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

NINE DAYS: (a NEW guest post by Mr. Cohen):


Was Daniel an Orthodox Jew?


Was Isaiah an Orthodox Jew?


Was Ezekiel an Orthodox Jew?


Was Jeremiah an Orthodox Jew?


Was Ezra an Orthodox Jew?


Was Nehemiah an Orthodox Jew?


Was Joshua an Orthodox Jew?


Refuting the Fans of Vashti:


Neshama said...

Looks tasty, Batya.
I’m not a big fan of fish, and primarily eat only white sole or halibut. Most fish is very filling, more I think than chicken. What I found myself gravitating to is Japanese rice noodles with spicy sautéed broccoli (or string beans) and mushrooms in a mildly hot sauce. These days are more like dieting, with a much decreased appetite.

Neshama said...

Mr Cohen, as far as I understand, chicken is fowl and not meat. It was only added to the prohibition much later.

Batya Medad said...

Mr. Cohen, Neshama, thanks for the input.

I remember learning that non-Ashkenazi eidot posken differently about poultry and consider it more like fish. Is this correct?

Bli neder, I hope to blog about 9 days meals on A Jewish Grandmother.

814 אורנה ניצבת said...

Fish was NOT prohibited because it was NOT offered
in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Meat WAS prohibited
because it WAS offered in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

The meat...the wine...

As for chicken...did you ever prepared a chicked from the begining, Batya??
I mean the old way, having a chicken coop, eggs, running after the chicken, make her comfortable, until she relax and then using a very very sharp knife to let her free, and be at your table, after first taking all the feathers out of her skin after putting hot water on it to let them free, then ....aah, that was the way back home...and i was a vegetarian, as you understand...
Now i am not going to desrcibe how to get the goat and sheep on our table, that was the part i fainted while observing my super cool father...and his long family tradition...we got kosher food in a land without kosher shop...
Batya, to get a fish was much more easy...i did myself! And enjoyed it!

Now Mr. Cohen is right, the KORBANOT IN BET HA MIKDASH, MEAT AND WINE...
Enjoy your fish.
Hopefully soon we will eat the roasted meat from Cohanim, must be deliecieus, they know what they are doing! and know the secret of the spices too!!!

Batya Medad said...

814 אורנה ניצבת , Thanks for the explanation.

LondonMale said...

I try to eat eggs, and Tofu and avocado at this time for my protein intake.

Anonymous said...

Think the reason chicken is not allowed but fish is, is because meat is a sign of feasting and since chicken is counted (even though it is fowl) as a meat product and can only be eaten in a meat kitchen (restaurant, or anytime we eat meat), it is therefore included with the meats that is prohibited. Fish, on the other hand, can even be eaten with milk or at a meat meal, but separately. Fish gives the proper protein, so it replaces the protein of meat. Really, quite simple to understand the reasoning.