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Fish heads, fish heads, Hebrew-talking fish heads...
March 16, 2003 11:40 AM   Subscribe

"According to two fish-cutters at the New Square Fish Market, the carp was about to be slaughtered and made into gefilte fish for Sabbath dinner when it suddenly began shouting apocalyptic warnings in Hebrew."
posted by solistrato (41 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The animated carp commanded Rosen to pray and study the Torah. Rosen tried to kill the fish but injured himself.

Clearly we're dealing with a couple of real geniuses here.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2003

recipe for gefilte fish
posted by matteo at 12:02 PM on March 16, 2003

I think 'Shouting Carp' would be a good name for a band.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:03 PM on March 16, 2003

How to Hack Your Big Mouth Billy Bass to Shout Apocalyptic Warnings in Hebrew
posted by Stan Chin at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2003

I'm having trouble believing the story after hearing the outcome:

"It was finally butchered by Nivelo and sold."

"Sir? The talking fish fillets? Are they fresh?"
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2003

I'm really sorry, but this self-link is necessary and somewhat O/T, but it DOES involve a's not about a carp -- rather it's about a cod, and the heartwarming tale of a fisherman with a heart of gold.
posted by davidmsc at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2003

did the fish start singing?

don't worry, be happy...
posted by triv at 12:08 PM on March 16, 2003

with hindsight...

stan chin did the same joke far better, only 3 mins quicker. i bow to your genius!
posted by triv at 12:09 PM on March 16, 2003

God selects a piscine mouthpiece to voice his warnings of apocalypse and goes for.... 'carp'? Oh no, ironic trickster god, run for the hills!
posted by klaatu at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2003

In the interests of balance and fair play, I present the fish that testifies for the prophet.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:34 PM on March 16, 2003

Ever catch a Dogfish? Nasty things that make a barking sound. Any large fish is capable of producing some very odd and disturbing sounds.
posted by effer27 at 12:35 PM on March 16, 2003

"Knife goes in, guts come out. Knife goes in, guts come out."

"Spare my life, and I shall grant you three AAAUGHHH"

"Knife goes in, guts come out."
posted by kevspace at 12:45 PM on March 16, 2003

Dammit Stan, you beat me to it!
posted by Scoo at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2003

I understand that God speaks thru burning bushes. Anytime I start bushes on fire, I don't here voices so I guess Gods got nothing to say to me.

But I'm awaiting the talking burning bush.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2003

A truly spiritual experience:

posted by the fire you left me at 1:05 PM on March 16, 2003

"Everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is near."

Well, no shit: it doesn't take a talking fish possessed by the divine spirit to figure that out.
posted by muckster at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2003

Boy what are the chances that the person who'd end up catching the fish would understand Hebrew..
posted by Space Coyote at 1:13 PM on March 16, 2003

I'm waiting for fishfucker to weigh in on this issue...
posted by davidmsc at 1:17 PM on March 16, 2003

Nivelo's line at the end about not "believing in any of this Jewish stuff" --- errr, he does not believe in Jesus?
posted by nathan_teske at 1:26 PM on March 16, 2003

Space Coyote - exactly! That proves it's a miracle.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:35 PM on March 16, 2003

"Everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is near." Funny, the translation I heard was: "Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated." Then again, who expects a carp's jokes to be original? ;-P
posted by mischief at 1:55 PM on March 16, 2003

Nothing new under the sun. There's a strong connection between fish and religion, expecially christian. As you can see in this really cool picture

There's a fish drawn in the sun under the WOW picture. It's a fish. In ancient greek, fish = ictus. Take it letter by letter and it becomes:
I = Iesus
c = Cristus
t = theos (God)
u = uios (Son)
s = soter (Saint)

or Jesus Christ, the Saint Son of God. So the fish isn't but a symbol that refers to Jesus.
posted by elpapacito at 2:01 PM on March 16, 2003

loaves and fishes. my sandwich was mumbling some shit about salvation, redemption and justification just before i stuffed that yammering loaf into my slobbering maw.
posted by quonsar at 2:04 PM on March 16, 2003

I'm sorry, Mr. Geshtetener, we don't want tunas with good taste, we want tunas that taste good!
posted by zaelic at 2:04 PM on March 16, 2003

and what i wouldn't give to see bush burn.
posted by quonsar at 2:04 PM on March 16, 2003

I think the story broke last week in the Forward, although the NY Times (reg required) did a nice job with it.

But seriously, I deal with a lot of Hasids and this seems only mildly strange. These guys don't just keep every Jewish commandment in the book, they live Kabalah every day of their lives, and I mean the real stuff, not the stuff Madonna gets tattooed about. If you are on the outside of a culture a lot of what goes on inside is going to appear very, very weird. If you are interested in Hasidic thought, the Breslov Center has a nice flash presentation about the Baal Shem Tov. No talking fish, though.

Interesting that this comes from the Skverer Hasidim, whose lore abounds in food-based spirituality. I found this: Too much concern for the welfare of animals is unseemly from a Hasidic point of view... a Skverer Hasid points out that by eating a cow and performing mitsves, a Jew raises the cow to a higher level of being"
posted by zaelic at 2:06 PM on March 16, 2003

I don't care about the rest of you, but I would do whatever a talking fish commanded me to do, even if it involved a killing. What judge could convict someone doing the bidding of a fish capable of speech? Think about it.
posted by sharksandwich at 2:59 PM on March 16, 2003

careful sharksandwich, remember the singing and dancing frog from the Loony Toons cartoon? Those talking animals will stab you in the back the first chance they get.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:13 PM on March 16, 2003

zaelic, thanks—I was hoping someone would provide some Hasidic perspective. If anyone's interested in the actual words of the carp, I did some investigation on my blog and came up with this: ha-sof ba means 'the end (sof) is coming.' Shemirah is a noun meaning 'guard(ing), watch(ing), observance'; tzaruch is probably a mistake for tzarich, and tzarich shmira would mean 'protection (guardianship, vigilance) is needed' in colloquial Modern Hebrew. The official Languagehat interpretation, therefore, is "Vigilance is needed; the end is coming."
posted by languagehat at 3:20 PM on March 16, 2003

Maybe it's the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh come back to save us all
posted by jonmc at 3:31 PM on March 16, 2003

As per languagehat's translation, the carp said essentially "Somebody save me; I'm going to die" (tzarich shmira; ha-sof ba = protection is needed; the end is coming). I don't understand why people immediately jump to the conclusion that this is some sort of prophecy; read it more like a soliloquy.

To die, - to sleep -
To sleep! perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub.

posted by eddydamascene at 4:09 PM on March 16, 2003

"Somebody save me; I'm going to die"

Yes, after thousands of years of trying, one non-human animal finally masters enough of a human language to cross that incalculable barrier, and communicate its sentience, and its knowledge of death, to a human in hopes of avoiding being killed - and it still winds up dead anyway! Heartbreaking.

In other words, looks like kevspace pretty much nailed it.
posted by soyjoy at 8:11 PM on March 16, 2003

If you are on the outside of a culture a lot of what goes on inside is going to appear very, very weird.

While I realize the Hasids are ankle-deep in numerological analysis of the Torah and have a different perspective than most, I submit that a fish speaking Hebrew claiming to be the soul of a revered elder is weird anywhere.
posted by solistrato at 8:51 PM on March 16, 2003

Shades of "Pi" (the movie).........

I must admit, I've eaten (quite unplanned, too) delicious sushi dinners two nights in a row: during which my wife told me that the "baby party" we were supposed to go to next weekend involved, in hebraic ritual terms, the "buying-back of the first-born Jewish male son from the Cohanes" (who were the dominant Hebrew priestly caste - with a straight-line lineage to Moses himself). My wife is a "Cohane", so I asked if her friend with the new baby was supposed to give my wife, as a Cohane representative, some money (it would help pay for the Sushi dinners). She said no.

Regardless, folks - listen to the hebrew-spouting carp, for fish may rot, but they never lie (unless they lie and rot). "The end is near...Atone!" (carp and humans alike)
posted by troutfishing at 9:51 PM on March 16, 2003

Slithy_Tove -- I think 'Shouting Carp' would be a good name for a band.

I think 'Shitting Crap' would be a more appropriate name for a band [and this story].

This story smells awful funny.
posted by DBAPaul at 3:19 AM on March 17, 2003

s = soter (Saint)

well, "Savior" is a more precise translation
posted by matteo at 6:41 AM on March 17, 2003

Not only live fish are speaking. This story from Israel features a talking jar of gefilte fish.
posted by SealWyf at 7:38 AM on March 17, 2003

This is great, though! I mean, this sort of stuff usually only gets a mention in the Fortean Times. Now even the mainstream media is covering supremely weird stuff. I think it speaks well of us.
posted by solistrato at 7:46 AM on March 17, 2003

The squash are getting into the act, too.
posted by Vidiot at 4:22 AM on March 18, 2003

Jar-ed Gefilte fish is only for the truly desperate; it defames the real thing.

I grew up near New Square, NY: the marginally Jewish side of Monsey. You can get some very good Gefilte fish fresh, or frozen in the local Pathmark or ShopRite.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:40 AM on March 18, 2003

(fresh in the fish shops, not surpermarkets)
posted by ParisParamus at 4:44 AM on March 18, 2003

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