Science in the Torah

Knowledge of fish and marine creatures in the torah

Familiarity With All Kinds of Fish and Marine Creatures in the World!!

The signs of fish permitted to be eaten are explained in the Written Torah:

“You may eat these of all that are in the waters: you may eat all those that have fins and scales.” (Deut. 14:9)

The Oral Law (Mishna Nida 6:9) adds:

“Whatever has scales also has fins. But there are those that have fins which do not have scales.”

The Giver of the Torah is here declaring and revealing another law of nature which He created: every fish, or any other water creature, that has scales, inevitably will have fins. But fins do not necessarily come with scales.

This means that if we are in a fish store somewhere in the world and we see pieces of a fish which are unidentifiable, but we see that the fish’s skin is covered with scales, the law is that we can eat that fish! Even though a fish requires two signs of purity, and we have no way of knowing if this fish had fins when it was whole, but since we see it has scales, it is clear to us that it must have had fins — as the Author of the Torah testifies. However, if a fish has fins, it is no proof that it had scales.

Let’s think about this. Even in our times, after we have discovered and researched hundreds of thousands of unknown species of fish and other water creatures, would any marine biologist, including the most famous, dare to say this sentence:

“Whatever has scales also has fins. But there are those that have fins which do not have scales.”

Would anyone dare to say this?!

The Oral Law which was written down 2000 years ago, proudly declared this sentence which the sages had received — together with the rest of the Oral Law — from the sages before them going back to our Teacher Moses, who received it from the One Who created the universe.

It is not surprising, therefore, that all the fish and other water creatures — including those that were discovered in the past, and those that have been discovered up to recent times — all of them, without exception, are proof of this law of nature.

Is there anyone who could confidently know this, besides the Creator of the universe?

Adapted from “Journey to the Truth 2” by Rabbi Zamir Cohen

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