Did anyone posek that penguins are (non)kosher?

Well, the same question might be regarding the swans.

The Sonchino edition Talmud Bavli, Chullin 62B says:

"R. Huna said: Bunia is permitted parwa is forbidden"

And in the footnotes:

"The penguin and the sea mew respectively."

How do they know that bunia is the penguin indeed? (Did our sages even saw penguins?)

  • Art Scroll does not attempt to translate or identify the two birds. It just shows the transliteration. Sep 7, 2016 at 22:45
  • Even Professor Jastrow's dictionary didn't attempt to translate those two! (A species of bird.) I don't know how Soncino got it.
    – Shalom
    Sep 8, 2016 at 12:31
  • 1
    Excellent post on the topic rationalistjudaism.com/2020/05/are-penguins-kosher.html
    – Double AA
    May 21, 2020 at 21:25
  • Is the egg single point or symmetric Jun 5, 2023 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


From here

Regarding birds, the situation is much more complex. The Torah lists twenty-four species that are non-kosher. All others are acceptable. Thus, in theory, if a person knew the precise identity of all twenty-four listed birds, all others are acceptable. Today we no longer know what those birds are. This is the reason that both Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and Artscroll chose to transliterate rather than attempt to translate the names of the birds in their Torah translations. Because of this, for close to one thousand years, the overriding principle is “Tradition!” The only birds that are treated as kosher are those for which a reliable tradition exists that in the previous generation it was treated as kosher.

  • Just building on the point of tradition. When jews first immigrated to America, there was a huge controversy on the kosher status of Turkey, as it wasn't known about before, there was no tradition regarding its status. There are a select few even today that still do not eat turkey for that reason
    – Mennyg
    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:54
  • @Mennyg that is correct. Rabbi Belsky had a targum word in nach that he believed referred to a turkey which he believed was good enough for mesora purposes. Also fwiw I've looked in the tuv tam vidas which i think people point to as the first to say turkey's don't have mesora and he didn't seem to me to be talking about turkeys.
    – user6591
    Sep 8, 2016 at 12:09
  • Descendents of the Shalah Hakadosh do not eat turkey.
    – The Targum
    Jun 5, 2023 at 3:21

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