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This is literally just something I've heard--that a knife is not supposed to be used, nor put out, for the fish course (i.e. on Shabbos). I ask people wherever I go if they've heard of this. Some say no, some suggest maybe, and of course the first person who told me thought yes, so I realize there is a very good chance that this is a small-group minhag of some sort.

According to some, the suggested technique is to pick up a piece of gefilte fish with your fork, dip it into the chrein, put it on your plate and eat it with your fork (also cutting it with the side of your fork).

A very educated rabbi whom I asked suggested that the custom, if it exists, might have something to do with the mystical symbolism of fish as tzadikim.

Has anyone heard of this? Anyone know who does it, to what extent, and on what basis? Thanks!

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    There is a chasidic Minhag practiced by some to eat the fish barehanded. It stems from when multiple utensils were not available and they were being careful to not mix fish and meat. – user6591 Nov 25 '15 at 11:06
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    @user6591 Did they also not have napkins to wipe the utensils on? (Also calling that a "Minhag" is really pushing it...) – Double AA Nov 25 '15 at 14:17
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    What occurred to me is that there is a halacha of borer, and that applies to the prohibition of using the knife (or any method) to pick the bones out of the fish. That's one reason why gefilte fish (as we have it today) was invented. To extend this idea to today's gefilte fish seems unnecessary as gefilte fish has no bones. Perhaps, this is a left-over minhag from dealing with whole fish. Maybe they prevented putting knives on the table to prevent borer? – DanF Nov 25 '15 at 14:34
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    @SAH borer applies to taking the bad part away from the good part. When you eat chicken, you're pulling the good (meat) out of the bad (the bone). – DanF Nov 26 '15 at 1:55
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    This sounds like a North America-based question. In North America cutlery sets do not come with a fish knife. In countries that are more formal (part of the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada) or Europe), getting a fish knife as part of a cutlery set is common. And in those countries it is standard practice to eat with a fish knife at the Shabbat Table. – Ask613 Nov 26 '15 at 14:08

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