Maseches Chullin 27b that fish do not need shechita but they do need asifa (gathering). Does that mean that it is assur to eat a fish underwater (it's dead -to exclude bal tishaktzu problem) without taking it out of water?

Is the gathering davka that one must take it out of water (meaning the gathering is the shechita) or it is just stating the norm for catching fish and there is no "shechita" concept by fish?


1 Answer 1


The Kesef Mishna (Shechita 1:3) writes:

וא"ת סוף סוף נימא דבעו אסיפה בעודם חיים. וי"ל שאילו היה אפשר לומר כן אה"נ אבל כיון דא"א לאכלם בלא אסיפה שאפילו קלטן בפיו ולא אספם בידו מ"מ בעת שהם בפיו נאספים הם אם כן אינו דבר מיוחד דמזהר עליה קרא
And if you want to say that in the end of the day we should say that it requires gathering while it is alive, one can answer the following: If it were possible to say such a thing then we would, but it is impossible to eat them without gathering. Even if one grabs them in one's mouth and didn't gather them with one's hands nevertheless while they are in one's mouth they are gathered. Therefore it isn't a distinct thing that the Torah would prohibit. (my translation)

There is more to say on the matter and you can find an extensive treatment in R Yerucham Fishel Perlow's commentary to Saadya Gaon's Sefer HaMitzvot, volume 3, Milu'im #8.

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    Rav Saadia Gaon holds that dead fish are assur
    – sam
    Apr 28, 2015 at 17:21
  • This doesn't answer the question of whether 'gathering' means 'taking out of water' specifically.
    – bondonk
    Apr 28, 2015 at 20:42
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    @Bondok It does. The only way to get the fish into his mouth without using his hands is to stick his face in the water. Once it is in his mouth says the kesef mishna, it is ne'esaf, he does not say once he brings it out of the water in his mouth, but rather once It's in his mouth. And we know the kesef mishna understands the difference between being in the water and coming out of the water from his famous words about Tevila:)
    – user6591
    Apr 28, 2015 at 21:46
  • We are supposed to catch it then check it has fins and scales before eating?
    – CashCow
    Apr 29, 2015 at 14:21
  • @shmuel Brin , was just noting the taos sofer,Rav Saadia is quoted as saying a dead fish found in water is assur,but it's the opposite he held eating them alive is assur but dead one can
    – sam
    Apr 29, 2015 at 15:59

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