GUEST POST: Rabbinic Reasoning and Bugs In Vegetables – “It’s all nonsense based on ignorance NOT Torah NOT halacha”

By JewishWhistleBlower



Shmarya, I noticed your post and the discussion on Hirhurim re: the

article by Bleich and have not had a chance to comment. Feel free

to do some research and correct/utilize my commentary below, I

unlike others, do not hold myself out to be an expert in Halacha or

Science, but I do have an opinion and very often the facts. I also

have above average ability to recognize those who do hold

themselves out to be experts, when in fact they should not,

particularly when their “facts” are wrong. I humbly believe that to

be the case here.

This is very rough and done very quickly copying and pasting some

materials to assist me. I have also emailed this to Rabbi Student …

[Shmarya wrote:]

The next day, Rabbi Student posted on the

current controversy over bugs and pre-

packaged romaine lettuce. He noted that

Rabbi J. David Bleich has pointed out that

the a Talmudic passage indicates shepherds

used to have much better eyesight than we

now have.

The fact is, and I suggest you speak to an expert on eyes, Bleich

is quoting a passage concerning shepherds being able to see further

than we can today even with glasses. That is distance vision.

Clearly neither Bleich nor Student have any idea about what they

are talking about. Clearly the editors who reviewed Bleich’s

article also need a refresher course in this area of optometry.

This is an example of a poor understanding of science and in

particular eyesight. I am shocked that no one else has pointed to

the blatant error here. Clearly, bloggers along with the rest of

the Torah world have a shockingly poor education, particularly when

it comes to science.

The ability to see things in the distance is inverse to the ability

to see things close-up. When one has better distance vision they

have poorer vision close-up, when one has better vision close-up,

they have poorer distance vision. These are two different types of

defects in the lens of the human eye. The eyeball is either too

long or too narrow from front to back. It simply can’t be both.

Put simply, if these shepherds could see things in the distance

better than we can today, they would have poorer close-up vision

then we have today. So actually, many of the bugs we see with our

unassisted eyes today would have not been seen by these shepherds

and certainly they could not have seen whan we see with light boxes

and magnification devices.

In other words, this whole area of bug kashrut is all absolute and

total nonsense based of mistaken understanding of sight. This is a

true example of utter ignorance becoming “halachic science” and

mistaken psak becoming the norm in the kashrut industry.

1) Myopia/Near-sightedness

You can only see objects that are close and things far away appear

blurry. This is due to the shape of the eyeball and how far an

image has to travel to be focused on your retina.

Eyeball is too LONG from front to back and the image is focused in

front of your retina.

2) Far-sighted

You can’t see near objects.

Your eyeball is too NARROW from front to back and the image is

focused farther back on your retina than normal.

A nearsighted eye can only focus on close objects; nearsightedness

can be corrected by concave spherical lenses, essentially bringing

the images of far objects closer. A farsighted eye can only focus

on far objects; farsightedness can be corrected by convex spherical

lenses, essentially pushing the images of near objects away.

Clearly, these shepherds had eyeballs that were too narrow front to

back. Their distance vision was terrific, but certainly their

ability to focus on close objects would have been terrible NOT

better.

So if they had better distance vision than we have today, we would

have better vision with regard to close objects.

So really, we don’t need light boxes, magnification devices or

mashgiach t’midis for vegtables and fruits. It’s all nonsense based

on ignorance NOT Torah NOT halacha.

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20 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Guest Posts, Haredim, Kosher Business?, Modern Orthodoxy

20 responses to “GUEST POST: Rabbinic Reasoning and Bugs In Vegetables – “It’s all nonsense based on ignorance NOT Torah NOT halacha”

  1. PishPosh

    Now were talking. Growing up I was taught that penultimate “Darchaya Darkei Noam” The Torah does expect fancy tricks and gimmicks. If your washing vegetables and you have washed them well, as really who want a gnat on his tongue, and upon completion your eyesight told you that not a bug was to be found, then fress away. When the hell did those Perushim the Talmud makes fun of take over???

    I thought I saw some weird stuff develop over the years starting with this elitist Glatt nonesense and then the shailah over rolls and mezonot, that stupid pinky pointing at the Torah during Hagba, and the Hubble telescope they would use to look for bugs.

  2. Neo-Conservaguy

    We follow a regime of soaking greens in water with a splash of vinegar, followed by a couple of changes of water. Let’s face it, the produce is often covered with dirt or sand even when it’s been pre-washed in production, and we have found slugs and spiders. However, a rational approach to washing produce certainly doesn’t have to include a light table.

    How can it be that we honor the traditions passed down from our parents in so many other things Jewish, but some now feel their parents de facto ate treif every day of their lives? Pure Chutspah.

  3. Mad Scientist

    Ignorance as science??
    Look I don’t know anything about the halachik question regarding bugs,however the ‘scientist’ who ‘explained’ what far-sighted means is an ignoramus.He wants people to understand that if you are far-sighted you can see Better than average people at a distance but need glasses from close up to read.This is rubbish.There are different types of farsightedness.One is an ability to see at the NORMAL range at a distance (farsighted does NOT mean you see BETTER than average)but need glasses for close, this is typical of people above forty who had 20/20 vision but reading has become difficult.Another sort of far sightedness means you CANNOT SEE WELL IN THE DISTANCE EITHER!!!Additionally, the ability to see a further distance, for example a 20/10 eyesight is NOT inverse to the ability to see from close! So if the sheperds could see further than todays eyes it does not mean that their eyesight from close was worse than ours.
    Try getting your facts right next time.
    N.B Obviously just because you are nearsighted it does NOT mean you see small objects better than somebody who has normal vision

  4. To Mad Scientist:

    >A nearsighted eye can only focus on close
    >objects; nearsightedness
    >can be corrected by concave spherical
    >lenses, essentially bringing
    >the images of far objects closer. A
    >farsighted eye can only focus
    >on far objects; farsightedness can be
    >corrected by convex spherical
    >lenses, essentially pushing the images of
    >near objects away.

  5. Both Rabbi Bleich and Rabbi Student, who quoted Bleich, have represented that our modern methods of checking vegtables for bugs are in part based on Bleich’s evaluation that since a Talmudic passage indicates shepherds used to have much better distance vision than we
    now have, then obviously they also had better vision close-up, so our visual checks are insufficient.

    This evaluation is simply false. Better distance vision does not equal better close-up vision. There is no basis or logic behind this.

    Can anyone argue otherwise? I’d love to hear your “science” based argument.

  6. rebeljew

    JWB

    You refer only to adjustments of the eye to normal “astigmatism”. there are many other condidtions that regular effect eyesight, and they do not correlate any better to your inverse relationship than they do to R. Blech’s direct relationship.

  7. mad scientist

    Whistle Blower,
    Before you get shrill with me, I don’t have a position on the bug problem lacking the halachik knowledge.I was just pointing out that the following statement that you made is false ”The ability to see things in the distance is inverse to the ability
    to see things close-up. When one has better distance vision they
    have poorer vision close-up, when one has better vision close-up,
    they have poorer distance vision”
    IT IS NOT AN INVERSE RELATIONSHIP!The fact that one sees better from a distance than the normal range does not mean that one does not see as well from close.Be a man and admit your mistake.
    Now to the basic issue:I think what Rabbi Bleich was trying to say was that it COULD be that since we find that sheperds had superior vision from a distance it COULD also be that they saw better from up close, since it is NOT an inverse relationship.You are however right that it does not need to follow through that if one does see better from a distance that they”ll see better from up close

  8. >farsightedness can be
    >corrected by convex spherical
    >lenses, essentially pushing
    >the images of near objects away

  9. Anonymous

    Why can’t whistle blower ever make sense?
    Is your statement that you made ”’The ability to see things in the distance is inverse to the ability
    to see things close-up. When one has better distance vision they
    have poorer vision close-up, when one has better vision close-up,
    they have poorer distance vision”
    TRUE OR FALSE? it’s false and you are a boring, shrill whistle

  10. Anonymous

    This is the guy who commits hit and run
    character assasination on Rabbis and
    Jewish leaders.

    Now he’s an expert on halacha?

    What a joke!

  11. Unfortunately, my detractors don’t seem to have the vocabulary or intellectual capability of actually explainig a position, otherwise we could have an interesting discussion.

    Clearly, like me or not, I have correctly observed that Rabbi Bleich and Rabbi Student’s analysis in this situation is wrong, clearly wrong.

  12. Anonymous

    The only eyesight problem is your myopia.

    You simply can not admit that you have
    no knowledge, right, or basis to engage
    in a discussion of psak.

    It was obvious on your old blog that you
    couldn’t read Hebew in the original.

    Pray tell, where did you learn Hilchos
    Tolayim?

    You’re just an am ha’aretz with a big mouth.

  13. Anonymous

    Whistle,
    Would you answer the question already?
    Is the following statement true or false:”’The ability to see things in the distance is inverse to the ability
    to see things close-up. When one has better distance vision they
    have poorer vision close-up, when one has better vision close-up,
    they have poorer distance vision”
    I will remind you that YOU made the comment .

  14. Re-read my postings including the one at August 25, 2006 at 12:46 PM.

  15. Neo-Conservaguy

    Speaking of eyesight, how is it that the frum patrol can so “clearly” miss the forest for the trees in this discussion? People – Jews – have always unknowingly eaten bugs. BUGS. TREIF, DISGUSTING BUGS. Not deliberately, not it happened just the same. No one had light tables, and most rational Jews never cared. Now, why could that be? Hint: if you have to go looking for the answer in some obscure one-liner from the past, you’ve missed the forest for the trees.

  16. >People – Jews – have always unknowingly
    >eaten bugs. BUGS. TREIF, DISGUSTING BUGS.
    >Not deliberately, not it happened just the
    >same.

    1) Bugs aren’t treif. Only animals and birds can be treif.

    2) “unknowingly” = without intention, without knowledge, which would mean you have done nothing wrong.

    3) “Jews – have always unknowingly eaten bugs.”
    – Are they really bugs halachically, if you can’t see them and don’t know they are there?

    If for thousands of years, no one had the ability to detect these things (superior close vision, artificial light devices, magnification devices), why are they a problem now?

    >No one had light tables, and most rational
    >Jews never cared. Now, why could that be?

    Good observation.

    So far we’ve eliminated the only source for our ancestors having the ability to see things close up better than we can with our regular eyesight as a clear misunderstanding by Rabbis Bleich and Student, so there is no basis for using magnifying devices or artificial light-boxes.

    So what basis is there for any of this nonsense?

    Any takers?

  17. Another anon

    WhatI’d like to now is how did they know if the shepherds had better distance vision? I mean did they have optometrists back then? How did they measure it? And why would they measure it if they didn’t have glasses back then? And better distance vision than who, exactly? When did it change, and why did it change? And are they referring to the mean, the median, the average, or what. And by how many standard deviations?

  18. Anonymous

    Shmarya, you lowered the bar by letting this guy post his drivel here.

    He has entire conversations with himself
    proving he is correct.

    He lives in his own world.

  19. Neo-Conservaguy

    I was using “treif” in the vernacular usage, as in “not kosher”. It’s incorrect Hebrew, but commonly used anyway.

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