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Locust Focus

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Fish, Eating Live

Impoverished wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

With the 17-year locusts in the news, a question has popped up, the answer to which has always eluded me. I've always heard and read in the Bible that locusts are "clean." But it's never been explained HOW TO EAT A LIVE LOCUST! Are the legs, head, and/or wings removed first, or is nothing wasted? And as for the "pickled locust," is there a recipe? Signed: Impoverished.


Dear Impoverished,

I hope you're not so impoverished that you have no bread and you need to eat locusts!

Although some types of locusts are kosher, we no longer eat them because we have lost the tradition for how to distinguish which ones are kosher and which ones aren't. Yemenite Jews do still have this tradition, and therefore they can eat them. They don't eat them live, however, as this would transgress "don't be disgusting," just as we don't eat live fish.

    Sources:
  • Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 13:1
  • Leviticus 11:43


 
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