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Why is fish blood kosher?

by Rabbi Simcha Bart

  

Library » Mitzvot » Kosher » Kosher Creatures | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Question:

Why is fish blood Kosher? I thought we can't drink blood? Thanks, Ron

Answer:

In Leviticus 7:26 the Torah says that the prohibition of consuming blood only applies to animals and fowl.

Here is what Rashi - foremost Torah commentator - says on this verse:

[And you shall not eat any blood...] whether from birds or from animals Excluded [from this prohibition is] the blood of fish and locusts. - [Torath Kohanim 7:143]

We see something interseting here. There are four types of Kosher creatures: Animals, Birds, Fish and Locusts (see Are Locusts Kosher? about this). We can divide these into two categories: animals and birds, which are warm blooded creatures, and fish and locusts which are cold blooded creatures.

Those that fall into the warm blooded category, need to have both Shechitah - ritual slaughter, and draining of the blood, as opposed to the cold blooded group, which doesn't need either Shechitah, nor removal of blood1 .

It is interesting to note as well, that Shechitah does a great job in the initial removal of blood.

 

Footnotes

  • 1. Though fish do not have to go through the extensive blood draining process that animals and fowl do, there is still a Rabbinic prohibition of drinking a cup of fish blood due to appearing as though drinking a forbidden type of blood.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Kosher
Mitzvot » Kosher » About

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Kohanim
Plural form of Kohain. Priests of G-d. This title belongs to the male descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses. The primary function of the Kohain was to serve in the Holy Temple. Today the Kohain is still revered and it is his function to recite the Priestly Blessings on certain occasions.
Rashi
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
Leviticus
The third of the Five Books of Moses. This book deals with the service (of the Levite Tribe) in the Tabernacle, and contains many of the 613 commandments.