For Those Who Celebrate Pesach -- A "Gefilte Fish Story"
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 97 14:29:03 -0700
Subject: For Those Who Celebrate Pesach -- A "Gefilte Fish Story"
Forwarded-by: Eric Steese <email@example.com>
Attribution eliminated due to extreme shyness. -e-
GELFILTE FISH STORY by LAWRENCE SHERRY
Many times I have been upset by people who seem to think that gefilte fish
is some kind of mixture you make in the kitchen rather than one of Hashem's
creatures. This has led me to explain exactly what a gefilte fish is. So
once again, here goes.
Each year as soon as the frost on the Great Gefilte Lakes (located Upstate
New York somewhere in the Catskill Mountains) is thin enough to break the
surface, Frum fishermen set out to "catch" gefilte fish. Now unlike your
normal fish, gefilte fish can not be caught with a rod and a reel or your
standard bait. The art of catching gefilte fish was handed down for
hundreds, maybe thousands of years. For all I know Moses used to go gefilte
fish catching. I'm sure that the Great Rambam (Maimonides) when he wasn't
busy playing doctor, spent his leisure time G/F fishing. Enough already,
you say, so how is it done? Well you go up to the edge of lake with some
Matzoh. Now this is very important!! It has to be Shmurah Matzoh or the
fish will not be attracted. You stand at the edge of the lake and whistle
and say "here boy, here boy." The fish just can't resist the smell of the
Matzoh. They come in mass to the edge of the lake where they jump into the
jars and are bottled on the spot.
Again you must remember that there are two kinds of gefilte fish. The
strong and the weak. The weak are your standard fish which are in a loose
"broth" (it is actually the lake water). Now the strong are special. They
seem to be in a "jell." These fish are actually imported from the Middle
East where they are caught in the Dead Sea. They have to be strong to be
able to swim through that "jell."
Last year a well meaning gentleman tried to correct me by stating, "Reb,
shouldn't they be saying `Here Boychic!' I didn't have the heart to tell
him, Boychic is a Yiddish word and gefilte fish don't understand Yiddish!
Only Hebrew and surprisingly, English! There has been a big debate as to
whether to use the Hebrew or English in the US. With a big break from
tradition, shockingly the English is accepted by almost all G/F fishermen.
Some still insist on using the Hebrew and consider the use of "Here Boy" as
Reform and not Halachicly acceptable. However the Congress of Rabbis (who
have to be present at the lakes when the fish are bottled) uniformly accept
The time of the catch is very important! The fish can not be caught before
Purim is over or the fish are considered Chametz! Besides the fish know
when Pesach is coming and will not respond to the Matzoh before the proper
I am still a little bothered by which end of the fish is the head and which
the tail (not to mention that I am not sure where their eyes are). This is
a small price to pay the luxury of eating this delicacy.
Have you ever had the baby G/F? Oy, they are so cute that I feel a little
guilty eating them! Have a great Pesach and hope that the Matzoh doesn't
affect you like Pepto Bismol or worse yet, prunes!
Shalom, Reb Sherry
© 1997 Peter Langston