Friday, June 11, 2010

Internet Information Is Inconclusive

Zacharnu Es HaDagah...

…We remember the fish that we ate in Mitzrayim free of charge… A few short weeks ago we read this passage in Parshas BeHaaloscha, just as the fish controversy was raging on the internet. Rashi quotes from the Sifrei that “free of charge” can not be literal, because it is not logical to think that the Jewish People would be given fish to eat for free when the Egyptians had just instituted that they must now secure their own straw. {What I don’t understand is that perhaps fish were so plentiful that they did not amount to a large expense. Also, the Mitzriyim must have realized that the slaves could not work if they had no food. Yet that would not prevent the Egyptians from increasing their slaves’ workload.}

The internet is changing the way Pesak is rendered. The fish controversy seems to be the first major issue where Rabbonim have used the internet to debate the issue via "internet teshuva". Poskim must now realize that their Pesak will be scrutinized by many multitudes and mistakes in lomdus/scholarship will be quickly disseminated. Additionally, we have the “global village” concept to contend with, where Poskim are now Paskening for areas outside their local sphere.

Perhaps one day our children will say “Zacharnu when it was permissible to eat fish”. Just as some of us remember when candy was eaten without a hechsher (by reading the ingredients). There was a time when fruits and vegetables were the most kosher food available. What could be possibly wrong with milk or water?

It is quite ironic to think that one day, by weddings, while everyone will be eating fish, the caterers will offer meat portions for those chashuvim that are makpid on the anisakis worm. As one fellow asked another, “What is the Heter to Assur fish”?

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