Re: Are turkeys kosher?

Daniel Eidensohn (
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 07:15:29 -0700 (Eli Turkel)wrote:
<<In a previous submission I took it for granted that one cannot rely on the
tradition of other communities and that it is not the same as testimony. In
particular I have heard in the name of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein that an
Ashkenazi cannot eat locusts based on the Yemenite traditions. >>

Yitzchok Frankel has responded that Rav Dovid Feinstein disagreed and said
that one can accept the testimony of another Jew that a specific item is
kosher therefore that would include grasshoppers.

Yitzchak Frankel continues:
<<bIt would be interesting if other readers have heard rabbinic opinions about
this issue. I assume that it is not more popular since there is no major
push to eat grasshoppers. However, this issue might also have applications
to other areas.>>

In fact Eli Turkel was correct in his original assumption. I just spoke to
Rav Moshe Sternbuch and he said that the Yemenite mesora is not considered
reliable because of their lack of major rabbonim and isolation from the
rest of the Jewish people. Therefore, while theoretically one can rely on
another's mesora - not in this case.

I question therefore whether Rav Dovid Feinstein was quoted in proper
context. Was he asked a theoretical question concerning the nature of
mesora or was he asked a question of whether in fact I can eat a
grasshopper based on the Yeminite tradition? As I have pointed out in a
previous posting, his father (Igros Moshe Y.D. I #34 page 52.) has an
extensive discussion of factors which prevent the mechanical utilization of
another community's tradition.

I have talked to Rav Dovid Feinstein about other issues in which he clearly
stated that there is a difference between a psak for actual activity and
theoretical halacha. Unless the context of Reb Dovid's statement is
provided - the quote is useless. Is he in fact disagreeing with Rav
Sternbuch's unqualified prohibition of relying on Yeminite tradition or was
he agreeing that theoretically it is possible to rely on another's
tradition even for eating grasshoppers?

In communications on the internet, it is critical to provide proper
context. Given the wide range of background of the readers - we must not
take any factor for granted. It is also important to check statements
prior to posting them. Thousands of people are being left with false
information on many issues because the poster assumed that someone else
will correct the errors. Many times the correction is not made.

Daniel Eidensohn