What does it take for customers to see their fish alive? In the weeks leading up to Pesach, fish stores set up tanks so customers who are makpid can purchase their still-swimming fish straight out of the water. While some customers are makpid that they themselves see the fish alive, others only want to know that the fish store has seen them alive. These fish are supplied by a group of Chinese fishmongers who own a pool in Brooklyn that is filled with live fish. (Since fresh fish, and raw fish, are popular choices in Chinese cuisine, these fishmongers have plenty of interested consumers, including restaurants that also prefer extra-fresh fish.) In the weeks leading up to Pesach, these fishmongers service the Yiddishe community and transport live carp in tank-filled trucks to local fish stores. These transportable tanks are oxygenated and keep the fish alive and healthy until they reach their destination. Incidentally, this is why live carp is so expensive. This door-to-door service costs a hefty sum...
The Bnei Yissaschar on Fish The Bnei Yissaschar writes (Maamarei Chodesh Sivan, maamar 5) that some neshamos are m’gilgul in beef and others in fish. Tzaddikim, says the Bnei Yissaschar, who are m’gilgul for only small transgressions, are m’gilgul in fish so that they need not undergo shechitah, which is a less preferred death than a quick tap on the head. On the topic of fish, the Bnei Yissaschar also writes (Maamarei Shabbos, maamar 1) that one of the reasons we eat fish on Shabbos is to reap the benefits of a triple bracha. Which triple bracha is this? Hashem bentched two of his creations during Sheishes Yemei Bereishis: The first was the fish on Thursday, and the second was man, on Friday. When Shabbos came, the pasuk says that Hashem bentched the Shabbos as well, which means that this was the third bracha in a row. This is the reason that when fish gets eaten by a Yid on Shabbos, the act brings down the combination of three successive brachos.
The ability to transport the fish is actually the reason many eat specifically carp on Pesach. Carp can stay alive long enough to be transferred from tank to tank (in contrast to other varieties of fish that cannot stay alive out of water for more
Pool in Brooklyn containing live fish
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than a few moments), and this is the reason it turns out to be the fish of choice for consumers who are makpid that their fish be alive at the time of purchase. These fishmongers can also supply salmon for those who specifical-
Fishmongers delivering live fish
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