Rav Wosner: A New Kind Of Buffalo, Can You Eat It?


wosnerRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner was asked (Shevet HaLevi 10:114:1) about an animal eaten in America that seems to be from the Buffalo family and clearly has the required Simanei Kashrus but it is unclear whether it qualifies as a beheima or chaya and has no Mesora. May you eat it?This question revolves around a Shach and Pri Megadim. There are differences in halacha with regard to eating the fat of an animal, whether it is a Chaya or Beheima. The Shach says that when there is a question whether an animal is a beheima or Chaya we should not rely on the Simanim without a mesora.

The Pri Megadim holds that even according to the Shach the chumra of mesora only applies to the question of whether you treat it like a chaya or beheima but in any event you can be assur the fat like a beheima and eat it without any mesora since the simanei kashrus are very clear. Only by birds do we require mesora and not rely on simanim.

However the Chazon Ish says that the Shach is to be taken literally and one may not eat any animal even if it clearly qualifies as kosher without a mesora. He bases this on Chochmas Adam and says that this was the minhag in Lithuania.

Rav Vosner says that adding all this up, in America there is no problem to eat this new kind of Buffalo since a) the minhag of mesora was only in Lithuania, b) the Pri Megadim holds the Shach didn’t require a mesora only for birds, c) this new Buffalo is close to the Buffalo family that has a mesora.

{Revach.net/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. The American bison (what we call buffalo) has only one related species, the European bison which, oddly, is native to Poland and Lithuania. I find it difficult to believe that 18th century Polish and Lithuanian poskim were not familiar with this animal or, at least, aware of it’s existance. Halachically, I would think that it has the same status as the koy (kvi) mentioned in gemarah, I.E. chelev assur, needs kisuy.