Video: Rav Chaim Kanievsky Confirms Famous Grasshopper Story, Discusses Kashrus of Chagavim

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rav-chaim-kanievsky[Video below.] Earlier today, various kinds of grasshoppers were brought to the home of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, on Rechov Rashbam in Bnei Brak, by Rav Yitzchok Ratzabi to discuss halacha-related issues regarding grasshoppers. Amongst the issues discussed was the permissibility to eat grasshoppers and whether a mesorah can be relied upon.

At 37 seconds into the video, the questioner asks Rav Chaim about the famous story told about Rav Chaim that a grasshopper landed on his table as he was studying that inyan. Rav Chaim confirms that the story is true. He doesn’t provide the background to the story, which will share here based on information we gathered earlier in the year:

Approximately eight years ago, Rav Chaim was learning Maseches Chullin and a sugyah relating to chagovim, grasshoppers. Rav Chaim realized that he needed to see a grasshopper to better understand the Gemara – apparently he had never seen a live grasshopper before – and asked his daughter to bring him one. She tried, but reported to her father that she failed to find one. He went back to the sugyah, and lo and behold, a grasshopper came hopping through the window, landing on his Gemara. After examining it, he let it go. As he continued through the sugyah, he realized that he needed to study the hind legs a bit more, but the grasshopper was long gone. Before closing his Gemara, a second grasshopper hopped in and on to his Gemara, giving him the ability to study its hind leg in detail.

That part of the story is rather famous. But learned that the story continues. 

About ten months ago, a rov giving a shiur in Bnei Brak criticized the tales people tell about gedolim, explaining that the stories cannot all be true, and sound silly. As a case in point, he brought the maaseh of Rav Chaim and the grasshoppers, viewing it as ridiculous and leading people to the wrong conclusions regarding Rav Chaim, who, after all, learns Torah like everyone else. After the shiur, the maggid shiur went home and found his house infested with grasshoppers (in the same Bnei Brak that Rav Kanievsky’s daughter – seeking to fulfill the mitzvah of kibbud av – could not find one). He tried for three days to rid his home of the insects, but could not. Someone suggested that he go to Rav Chaim and ask for mechilah

The rov approached Rav Chaim and told him what had happened. Rav Chaim laughed, saying that he did not need his mechilah at all, as the grasshoppers could have come to anybody (after all, the window was open!), and he was certainly mochel him if he needed it. The maggid went home – and the grasshoppers were gone!

For those who have questioned whether the story is true, the video below shows Rav Chaim humbly responding that it did indeed happen.


 The rest of the video contains fascinating discussions and halachic analysis regarding the kashrus of grasshoppers.

 At minute 3:30, the questioner shows Rav Chaim that the grasshopper has four feet, to which he responded that indeed the Torah says regarding the grasshoppers, “Lenater bam al haaaretz.

At 7:16, it is mentioned to Rav Chaim that Yemenites have a siman to identify a kosher grasshopper, in that they possess a Ches shape on their stomach. Rav Chaim responded that the poskim bring this very siman that there is a Ches on the stomach.

At minute 15:21, Rav Chaim is questioned on the Teimani mesorah, saying that there is a machlokes haposkim as to whether we rely on their mesorah, but that there are indeed poskim who rely on that.

At minute 17:35, the issue of why shechitah on a grasshopper is not needed is mentioned, as is the issue of baal teshaktzu and why there is no problem of this when eating a grasshopper. Rav Chaim responds that if the Torah permits the consumption of a grasshopper, then obviously there is no issue of baal tishaktzu.

To watch the video, click below. At the beginning, Rav Chaim confirms the aforementioned grasshopper story:

 [media id=244 width=400 height=300]

 {Elisha Newscenter/Yair Alpert of Israel contributed to the report.}


  1. The only problem with the above article is a small factual error. Grasshoppers are insects and have SIX feet. I cut one up in AP biology so have first hand observation to back up the textbook. If Rav Kanievsky looked at a live one he must have noticed that it had six feet (unless he was classifying the back legs as something else) so perhaps the person who translated the video should improve his translation skills.

    This is not an aspersion on the Rav. He is indeed one of the Gedolei Hador. However, sometimes things get a little scrambled in journalistic reporting.

  2. dear anonymous, perhaps, although what you said about journalistic reporting is true,you should take into account, that the torah’s definition of these bugs are only LOOSELY translated as grasshoppers, but in actuality include a type of bug which happens to be 4 legged. P.S. i’m not trying to “shtuch” ch”v, just to point out the above.

  3. #2, your right, in the clip he only calls the 4 front “raglayim”. the 2 back ones, although in english would be legs are not considered the “raglayim”.(they r sort of different than the others).

  4. The article states that the chagav appeared “twice”, and Reb Chaim confirmed this. However, if you listen to Him he says “It appeared after I finished learning, and landed on the light fixture, and I then checked it.


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