Is there an issue of Tzeida (trapping) with regard to fish?
As mentioned in the
previous sheet, trapping an animal on Shabbos is prohibited. It was also mentioned that
hunted species are biblically prohibited to trap and non-hunted species are rabbinically
Fish fall into the
first category and are biblically prohibited to trap, this is because they are hunted for
food or as pets for household fish tanks.
this apply to fish in a fish tank as well?
Notwithstanding the muktze
issue, it depends on the size of the tank. A fish in the sea or a lake is subject to the
fundamental prohibition because in its present state it is totally free. A fish in a small
fish tank would not be subject at all to the prohibition of trapping being that it is
already trapped. This of course is relative to the size of the fish and the size of the
A small fish in a
large tank might be categorized as totally free or semi free it depending on the tank
size. If it is semi free it would involve an issur drabanan.
a big fish is about to devour the smaller fish, is one permitted to remove the small fish
from the tank?
The answer to this
question is comprised of two separate issues. The first being Tzeida
trapping. If it is difficult to fish out the fish it is a sign that they are not totally
in ones control and the prohibition of trapping is applicable. If easy to fish then
it is probably called trapped and this issur would not apply.
The second issue is muktze.
All animals are considered muktze and therefore removing the fish would not be
possible because of muktze. One could argue that maybe when Tsaar
Baalei Chayim is involved it should be permitted. The answer is that true, muktze
might be waived when Tsaar Baalei Chayim is involved as we will soon
see, however HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl learns that
natural phenomena are not classified as Tsaar Baalei Chayim.
Accordingly there is
no Mitzvah of Tsaar Baalei Chayim to save a mouse from a cat.
Therefore one would not be permitted to incorporate the mitzvah of Tsaar
Baalei Chayim to save the small fish.
A Rav should be
consulted whether it is permitted to ask a non-Jew to transfer the fish.
If a fish dived out of the tank, is one permitted to return it on account
of Tsaar Baalei Chayim?
In other words, is
one permitted to handle muktze for the sake of Tsaar Baalei Chayim?
The answer is that we find conflicting opinions in the matter.
The Magen Avraham
learns (based on the Rambam) that muktze is not waived in place of Tsaar
Baalei Chayim and in this case it would be forbidden to lift the fish back into
the water. The Elya Raba disagrees with the MA and based
on other Rishonim learns that one may handle muktze when Tsaar
Baalei Chayim is involved. He explains the Rambam saying that the Rambam
only prohibited handling muktze when other options are available.
The Chazon Ish also
permits handling muktze to prevent Tsaar Baalei Chayim but the Shulchan
only permitted it when a great loss might incur.
The Mishna Berura
brought down both opinions and concluded that one may definitely make use of a non-Jew in
such a case.
Therefore, if your
fish dives out of the tank make sure that you have a non-Jew on hand.
a bee (the honey maker) is disturbing me in my succah am I permitted to trap it?
teaches us that one is permitted to kill non-poisonous snakes and scorpions in order to
save oneself from their painful bite and sting. However, says the Mishna Berura, this
is only true of species whose nature it is to cause harm and whose bite is painful, but
insects whose bites are not so painful may not be killed (or trapped) and
one should chase them away.
Although a bee sting
is more painful than a flea or mosquito bite, yet it does not automatically sting people.
On the other hand there are people who are allergic to bee stings and being stung by a bee
poses a life-threatening situation.
Therefore, in normal circumstances
one should remain calm and not start up with the bee and avoid trapping it. Rav Eliyahu
Falk shlita presents a solution by the way of putting some honey in a teaspoon and
alluring the bee out of the succah.