Shmarya, I noticed your post and the discussion on Hirhurim re: the
article by Bleich and have not had a chance to comment. Feel free
to do some research and correct/utilize my commentary below, I
unlike others, do not hold myself out to be an expert in Halacha or
Science, but I do have an opinion and very often the facts. I also
have above average ability to recognize those who do hold
themselves out to be experts, when in fact they should not,
particularly when their "facts" are wrong. I humbly believe that to
be the case here.
This is very rough and done very quickly copying and pasting some
materials to assist me. I have also emailed this to Rabbi Student …
The next day, Rabbi Student posted on the
current controversy over bugs and pre-
packaged romaine lettuce. He noted that
Rabbi J. David Bleich has pointed out that
the a Talmudic passage indicates shepherds
used to have much better eyesight than we
The fact is, and I suggest you speak to an expert on eyes, Bleich
is quoting a passage concerning shepherds being able to see further
than we can today even with glasses. That is distance vision.
Clearly neither Bleich nor Student have any idea about what they
are talking about. Clearly the editors who reviewed Bleich's
article also need a refresher course in this area of optometry.
This is an example of a poor understanding of science and in
particular eyesight. I am shocked that no one else has pointed to
the blatant error here. Clearly, bloggers along with the rest of
the Torah world have a shockingly poor education, particularly when
it comes to science.
The ability to see things in the distance is inverse to the ability
to see things close-up. When one has better distance vision they
have poorer vision close-up, when one has better vision close-up,
they have poorer distance vision. These are two different types of
defects in the lens of the human eye. The eyeball is either too
long or too narrow from front to back. It simply can't be both.
Put simply, if these shepherds could see things in the distance
better than we can today, they would have poorer close-up vision
then we have today. So actually, many of the bugs we see with our
unassisted eyes today would have not been seen by these shepherds
and certainly they could not have seen whan we see with light boxes
and magnification devices.
In other words, this whole area of bug kashrut is all absolute and
total nonsense based of mistaken understanding of sight. This is a
true example of utter ignorance becoming "halachic science" and
mistaken psak becoming the norm in the kashrut industry.
You can only see objects that are close and things far away appear
blurry. This is due to the shape of the eyeball and how far an
image has to travel to be focused on your retina.
Eyeball is too LONG from front to back and the image is focused in
front of your retina.
You can't see near objects.
Your eyeball is too NARROW from front to back and the image is
focused farther back on your retina than normal.
A nearsighted eye can only focus on close objects; nearsightedness
can be corrected by concave spherical lenses, essentially bringing
the images of far objects closer. A farsighted eye can only focus
on far objects; farsightedness can be corrected by convex spherical
lenses, essentially pushing the images of near objects away.
Clearly, these shepherds had eyeballs that were too narrow front to
back. Their distance vision was terrific, but certainly their
ability to focus on close objects would have been terrible NOT
So if they had better distance vision than we have today, we would
have better vision with regard to close objects.
So really, we don't need light boxes, magnification devices or
mashgiach t'midis for vegtables and fruits. It's all nonsense based
on ignorance NOT Torah NOT halacha.