Shemot – Small Fish Revisited
When the Jewish people were in Egypt Pharaoh decreed that the men are not allowed to sleep at home. This was in order to prevent husband and wife from being together. He had hoped to control the population growth of the Jewish people. How did the righteous Jewish women get around this decree?
Rabbi Shimon Bar Chalafta says that they would take a bucket to the Nile. The women would fill the bucket with water and fish. The women would sell half the fish and buy wine. They heated the water from the bucket. Later these righteous women would bring the fish, water and wine to their husbands who were slaving in the fields.
In the field the wives would bathe and massage the husband with the water, eat the fish and drink the wine. In order to further improve this situation she would pull out her mirror and would look at herself and would say “I am prettier than you” while the husband would look at himself and say, “I am prettier than you.”
They would then seduce each other. This is how the Jewish people multiplied. Indeed, due to this Mitzvah the Jewish people merited the riches of Egypt. (Based on two Midrashim Tanchuma Pekudey 9 and Sotah 11b)
Although we might not necessarily learn history from Midrashim we can certainly understand the importance of small fish to a person’s diet.
One who regularly eats small fish will not suffer from intestinal illnesses. Not only that but small fish fortify, aggrandize and make the whole body healthy. (Brachot 40a)
Small fish refers to fish in the herring families, sardines and anchovies. It is very healthy according to many different sources including, the medical establishment, alternative medicine and folklore.
Small fish is known to be beneficial for the heart, to cure vision problems, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, many skin conditions, and depression. Due to the Omega 3, calcium and Protein small fish are very healthy for pregnant woman as well as for the development of their baby’s brains.