I understand that the ila mite of grapes, the peh worm of figs, and the heh of pomegranates could be physically dangerous to one who accidentally eats fruit contaminated with them.
But in what way are the mekak that attacks scrolls and the techach of silk
dangerous? Surely no one eats scrolls or silk.
- Charles Stein
Granted, no one eats scrolls or silk, but it is possible for a person to eat the scroll-worm or silk-worm without eating scrolls or silk. For instance, the Gemara may be telling us that eating such a creature is dangerous in order to teach us to wash our hands before eating, after handling scrolls and silk.
Thanks for your suggestion. I hope the NY Times Food Editor is not Jewish!