Bad News For Water Buffalos

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Rabbi Amar examines a severed water buffalo head for front teeth.

Bad news for water buffalos. Responding to a request from Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has declared water buffalo meat kosher. Matthew Wagner reports:

As required by the bible [Leviticus 11], the water buffalo has split hooves and chews its cud.

Also, Amar knew, with Amar’s and Zivotofsky’s help, that Rome’s Jewish community had an ancient tradition of buffalo eating [water buffalo milk is used to make the finest Mozzarella cheese]. He was also made aware that veteran Israeli shochets slaughtered water buffaloes here for popular consumption as late as the 1940’s. But koshering the buffalo was not so simple. The souls of millions of Jews might suffer if the chief rabbi erred. Amar was cautious – and strict.

Amar wanted to know whether water buffaloes have upper front teeth. The Talmud says animals with them may not chew their cud.…

But six months ago another piece in the water buffalo’s kosher puzzle was solved. While touring the Hula Valley, Israel’s largest grazing range for wild buffalo, Amar was presented with a water buffalo skull that lacked the incriminating teeth. This last piece of evidence seemed to clinch the decision to kosher the buffalo. But Amar wanted to cover all his bases.

The chief rabbi felt the skeleton was not good enough. He wanted a freshly slaughtered head, not a skeleton.

On Tuesday, three water buffalo heads were delivered to Amar’s office in the Chief Rabbinate. The buffalo was declared kosher.

So, let’s see. Jews in Israel ate water buffalo until they became scarce in the late 1940s. Italian Jews have been eating water buffalo cheese for thousands of years. So there is a well-established mesorah (tradition). The animal meets all kosher requirements. Yet it took years and intense lobbying to get our haredi chief rabbis to deem the water buffalo kosher. Pathetic.

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10 Comments

Filed under Haredim, Israel, Torah and Science

10 responses to “Bad News For Water Buffalos

  1. Anonymous

    Shmarya, your face is pathetic!

  2. Vladimir

    You are really grasping at straws. The only thing that your post reveals is that you apparently would like to find fault with as many bearded Jews as possible. I see nothing wrong, in a case of “efsher l’varer” such as this one, with an actual physical inspection to check and make sure that the animal in question meets the Talmudic criteria. Of course, this is only true if you believe that kashruth is more important than really good mozzarella cheese…

  3. So, let’s see: HUNDREDS of rabbis greater than Rabbi Amar permitted water buffalo and the mesorah has NEVER been lost. But Rabbi Amar needs months and months of “investigation” to see if the animal is kosher? When frum rabbis alive today remember eating it? When it is still eaten?

    And then we have copious zoology books and experts who could have answered Rabbi Amar’s question in a moment. But, of course, they were not asked or relied on.

    Instead, after months of delay, Rabbi Amar had to inspect three heads of newly-slaughter water buffalo in order to “determine” what any zoologist and dozens of rabbis already knew.

    Please.

  4. Nigritude Ultramarine

    And then we have copious zoology books and experts who could have answered Rabbi Amar’s question in a moment. But, of course, they were not asked or relied on.

    I ain’t got no book larnin’

  5. Dovid Lerner

    Shmarya, as you are certainly aware, that we require -aside from the signs given in the Torah- a kaballah for what Jewish people have eaten. (Which was the case for the water buffalo, so I don’t understand what the big fuss was about.)

    When it comes to Kashrus, sofeik D’oiraishoh L’chumrah. Are you aware that Rabbis 150 years ago had this discussion about turkey? (In fact descendants of the Shalo”h hakodoish won’t eat turkey, because he saw a problem with it).

    Would you eat grasshoppers? It says in the Torah that they are Kosher! It is a old Jewish tradition to require a kaballah on what we eat and what we don’t.

    (As far as the delay, I agree what took such a long time to “decide” that water buffalo is kosher, but this isi’nt something new.)

  6. Uzziyahu

    Anonymous and Vladimir – chabadnics I presume !
    Then u would be beyond pathetic. You would be beyond the pale.
    This rediscovery of the cow, is nothing but stupid . I used to respect R’ Amar, but after his photos taken with the “pretend jews” of Thailand – those of one night-seder-in bangkok-, and this picture of inspecting a beheaded cow to declare it a cow, he lost any goodwill I had towards him.
    This posting reminds me of a not too old article from chabad stable of publications on niqur.
    The article reported extatically the fact that a Chabad Rabbi visited Morocco, and persuaded the Rabbis of the community to stop practicing niqur since in the opinion of the matza-thru-platic-bag-followed-by-broomlets eaters, niqur is so difficult that it is not reliable.
    I regard those fanatics as descendants of the agagite of the megila.
    Here they are, celebrating the demise of thousands year old tradition. Imagine taking the original formula of the tchelet die, throwing it in the Dead Sea, so to speak.
    If they (Chabad) don’t know niqur, nobody will have niqur, if they don’t know tchelet, everybody will wear a white tzitzit.
    All this in addition to the idolatery ?! Haman was better. He did not distort anything , nor destroy (though he tried).

  7. PishPosh

    Dovid you know before “Judaism” there was Torah and avodat Hashem”. And yes Jews have had mesorah as Shmarya stated. In Italy, and in Teiman for those Grasshoppers. Are we now saying that these communities were committing aveirahs form centuries, for millenia? Their Mesorah is either Kosher or not, their is no doublethink here. Why should you wait for a psak from some guy over here, when just as credible and maybe even more credible psak was already decided ages ago by equally or more qualified Rebbeim. This is what destroys am Israel under the guise of Yiddiskeit. Division, anger, cherems.

  8. Isa

    If you want to eat water buffalo, just send the critters to Postville, and every thing coming out from there will be kosher with no questions being asked.

  9. Dovid Lerner

    PishPosh, you misunderstoud me, I was just saying that he had no mesorah. People of Italian descent have a mesorah.

    In Yoreh Deiah, there are fundmental differences between what Ashkenasim (Ram”a) and Sefardim (Beis Yosef) will do. I would’nt say that they are eating treif.

  10. Uzziyahu

    R’ David Lerner
    How about the massoret of those Sefardis in Eretz Yisrael that ate jamous a.k.a water buffalo ?
    Our (the sefardi) holocaust, is that of our massoret being wiped out deliberately.
    No Yoreh Deah or Rama problem. It’s very simple, what was unknown in the pale of settlement, is prohibited unless proven otherwise.
    In most cases such proofs will never happen. Sefardis like rabbi Ammar, are retrained / reprogramed to disqualify their very own massoret.
    That’s how, Karpas that is celery in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi and probably even aramaic, becomes parsley or even raw potato, hey why not? In the germano(judaic) dialect, Hebrew, Arabic , farsi and aramaic, don’t count.
    That’s how chazzeret that is described as chassa by R’ Obadya of Bartenura and others, becomes horseradish root. And that’s how marror described as endive by the same R’
    Obadya of Bartenura , becomes lettuce or chrain again by the alien germanic speaking rabbis of the pale of settlement.
    That’s how also chabadniks will go to the extent of travelling to Morocco (apart from selling their yiddish speaking fedora clad deity r”l) to persuade unsuspecting rabbis in Morocco, to drop the Massoret of niqur.
    They are really saying: “If we never had it -niqur- in our pravoslav societies, it does not exist”. Like the saying of the Turkish Admiral, “Malta Yok.”

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