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Ski Mask

Talking Fish

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I'm drunmk ånd thought this was intresting. we'll see how I feel tommorow:

 

Fact or fishy? Talking carp hooks New York

 

COREY KILGANNON

NEW YORK TIMES

 

NEW SQUARE, N.Y.—And so it came to pass that a talking carp, shouting in Hebrew, shattered the calm of the New Square Fish Market and created what many here are calling a miracle.

 

Of course, others are calling it a Purim trick, a loopy tale worthy of Isaac Bashevis Singer or just a whopping fish story concocted by a couple of meshugenehs, or crazy people.

 

Whatever one calls it, the tale of the talking fish has spread in recent weeks throughout this tight-knit community, populated by about 7,000 members of the Skver sect of Hasidim, and throughout the Hasidic world, inspiring heated debate, talmudic discussions and derisive jokes.

 

The story goes that a nine-kilogram carp about to be slaughtered and made into gefilte fish for Sabbath dinner began speaking in Hebrew, shouting apocalyptic warnings and claiming to be the troubled soul of a revered community elder who recently died.

 

Many people here believe it was God revealing Himself that day to two fish cutters in the New Square Fish Market, Zalmen Rosen, 57, a Hasid with 11 children, and his co-worker Luis Nivelo, a 30-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant.

 

Some people say the story is as credible as the Bible's account of the burning bush. Others compare it to a UFO sighting. But the story rapidly spread around the world from this town about 50 kilometres northwest of Manhattan, first through word of mouth, then through the Jewish press. The two men say they have each received hundreds of phone calls from Jews all over the world.

 

"Ah, enough already about the fish," Rosen said on Thursday at the shop, as he skinned a large carp. "I wish I never said anything about it. I'm getting so many calls every day, I've stopped answering. Israel, London, Miami, Brooklyn. They all want to hear about the talking fish."

 

Here then is the story, according to the two men, the only witnesses. Rosen, whose family owns the store, and Nivelo, who has worked at the shop for seven years, say that on Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. they were carving up carp. Nivelo, who is not Jewish, lifted a live carp out of a box of iced-down fish and was about to club it in the head with a rubber hammer.

 

But the fish began speaking in Hebrew, according to the two men. Nivelo does not understand Hebrew, but the shock of a fish speaking any language, he said, forced him against the wall and down to the slimy wooden packing crates that cover the floor.

 

He looked around to see if the voice had come from the slop sink, the other room or the shop's cat. Then he ran into the front of the store screaming, "The fish is talking!" and pulled Rosen away from the phone.

 

"I screamed, `It's the devil! The devil is here!'" he recalled. "But Zalmen said to me, `You crazy, you a meshugeneh.'"

 

But Rosen said that when he approached the fish he heard it uttering warnings and commands in Hebrew.

 

"It said `Tzaruch shemirah' and `Hasof bah,'" he said, "which essentially means that everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is near."

 

The fish ordered Rosen to pray and to study the Torah and identified itself as the soul of a local Hasidic man who died last year. The man often bought carp at the shop for the Sabbath meals of poorer village residents.

 

Rosen panicked and tried to kill the fish with a machete-size knife. But the fish bucked so wildly Rosen wound up cutting his own thumb and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The fish flopped off the counter and back into the carp box and was butchered by Nivelo and sold.

 

The story has been told and retold, and many Jews believe the talking fish was a rare shimmer of God's spirit. Some call it a warning about the dangers of the impending war in Iraq.

 

"Two men do not dream the same dream," said Abraham Spitz, a New Square resident who stopped by the store last week. "It is very rare that God reminds people he exists in this modern world. But when he does, you cannot ignore it."

 

Others consider it as fictional as Tony Soprano's talking-fish dream in an episode of the television series The Sopranos.

 

"Listen to what I'm telling you: Only children take this seriously," said Rabbi C. Meyer of the New Square Beth Din of Kashrus, which administers kosher-food rules. "This is like a UFO story. I don't care if it is the talk of the town."

 

Whether hoax or historic event, it jibes with the belief of some Hasidic sects that righteous people can be reincarnated as fish.

 

Some community members are calling the two men an enlightened pair chosen to receive the message. Others have said Nivelo may have been selected because he is not Jewish.

 

"This is one of those historical times when God reveals himself for a reason," said Matisyahu Wolfberg, a lawyer. "It has sent spiritual shock waves throughout the Jewish community worldwide and will be talked about throughout the ages."

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Anyone remember that movie Rude Awakening, with the talking fish?

It even toked up a bit.

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