Re: Are turkeys kosher?
Fri, 4 Jul 1997 12:44:57 -0400 (EDT)

In Torah Forum 3:46 Marsha B. Cohen writes:
<< I recall reading once that if chickens had been known in Eretz Yisroel
(the Land of Israel) before the destruction of the Bais ha-Mikdosh
(Temple), they would have been considered unclean birds and rendered treif
(unkosher). However, since they became known afterwards, they were
permitted. Can anyone provide the authoritative source for this statement? >>

Unfortunately this is very much untrue both halachically and historically.
Chickens were very well known during the Second Temple times and earlier.
The chicken is mentioned many times by sages living during the Second Temple.
Perhaps the most famous being a disagreement between the schools of Shamai
and Hillel in the first Mishna in Tractate Beitza (hebrew for egg).

Perhaps Marsha heard that *if* the chicken would *not* have been known from
antiquity we would have had to prohibit it today.

Yitzchok D. Frankel
Long Beach, NY