Letter from Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch to R. Yissachar Dov (Bernard) Illowy regarding the kashrut of barbary ducks (Muscovy ducks).


Letter from Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch – Halachic Responsum on the Kashrut of Ducks in the United States – Frankfurt am Main, 1862


Letter handwritten and signed by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, rabbi of the Orthodox community in Frankfurt, founder and leader of the Orthodox communities in Germany. Frankfurt am Main, 1862. Hebrew.

Halachic responsum sent to the United States, regarding the kashrut of the barbary duck. The letter was sent to R. Yissachar Dov (Bernard) Illowy, rabbi of Congregation Shaarei Chesed in New Orleans (Louisiana, southern United States), in response to his query about the kashrut of barbary ducks (Muscovy ducks), for which there is no tradition, and whose eggs are typical of non-kosher birds.

In this letter, R. Samson Raphael Hirsh concurs with R. Illowy's opinion that the fact the duck is eaten by the local Jewish community is not sufficient to render the duck kosher by tradition, and that for lack of early, reliable tradition regarding the bird, it shouldn't be eaten, especially since its eggs are round, which is a sign of an egg laid by a non-kosher bird. The letter concludes with blessings that R. Illowy should be successful in reinstating Torah observance, and with the full signature of R. Samson Raphael Hirsh.

The present letter was published (with minor errors) in Milchamot Elokim (Berlin, 1914, p. 165) and quoted in the essay by R. Naftali Yechiel Weinberger, VehaOf Yirev BaAretz

Offered in Kedem, 10.17.23 Auction.

(Yeshurun, vol. XIV, Nissan 2004, p. 923).

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