Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Creation of Fish and Birds, Part 1


Every time when studying the Torah anew after Simchat Torah, we are shown that with every single year, we read the Torah differently. Meaning that suddenly we notice commentaries or Torah statements we have never taken into consideration before. Suddenly something is catching our attention and thought and we start asking ourselves "why we have never thought about this in all those previous years". 

There are days when we just study the Parashot quickly. Going through fast without paying too much attention to all the details and deeper thoughts. Maybe because we simply lack enough time for investigating all the details. Sometimes because we are bored by certain topics the Torah teaches. Each of us probably has his own reason and I would like to discuss a few topics we have never really given too much attention because it seemed clear to us.   

On the fifth day of Creation, G - d created the fish and all other creatures living in the sea. At the same time, He created the birds. 

But how were the fish created ? Was there any material or did they come into existence due to G - d's thought ?  

The Talmud Tractate Chullin 27b teaches that fish were created from water. In the course of time and various biological processes, fish came into existence from water whereas animals living on the land were created from dust. Birds, on the other hand, were created from mud. 

Rashi defines MUD as a combination of water and dust (from the land). The Gemara itself provides: Rabbi Shmuel of Kaputkiyah taught

"You should know that fowl was created from mud. A material also containing water. This is why we see birds with scales on their feet; just like the scales of the fish which were definetely created from water". 

A statements also supported by Rabbi Gamliel. (see Gemara in Talmud Chullin 27b). 

Remark: The Tractate Chullin teaches about kosher animals, how they are being slaughtered and defining what makes the meat kosher after the slaughtering process. Furthermore, the Gemara in Chullin 27b explains the creation of fish, animals living on the land as well as birds and how all of them are being slaughtered in a different way. However, fish do not undergo a special slaughtering procedure. One reason for this: When cutting the fish, blood runs out on alone, thus there is no need to Schaecht the animal. 

Somewhere on the Net I read an opinion that fish may even be eaten alive but I don't know whether this statement is right or wrong. Maybe a blog reader with further knowledge is able to provide sources whether a kosher fish can be eaten alive or not. 

But how do we know that fish were created from water 

It says in Bereshit (Genesis) 1:20 – 23: "... and all the living beings that creep that came from the water according to their type, and all the flying birds, according to their type. 

This first part is dealing with Torah and Talmudic statements only. In the later followin second part, I am going to quote various Mefarshim (Commentators). Afterwards I am going to write a bit about dinosaurs and why certain Rabbis prefer to deny their existence. 


Previous Worlds


  1. B'H

    "Somewhere on the Net I read an opinion that fish may even be eaten alive but I don't know whether this statement is right or wrong"

    I can tell you with a 100% certainty that eating a fish while it's alive is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN under the laws of Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim (cruelty to animals), besides the fact that it's against the law forbidding to cut a limb from a living animal (one of the Seven laws of Noach).

  2. B'H

    See the Rama on Yoreh De'ah 13:1, which clearly state that we can't eat a fish while it's alive.

  3. B"H

    This is what I thought: EVER MIN HA'CHAI, and why I had doubts about the Internet statements.