There are five factors that disqualify ritual slaughter and the fundamentals of the laws of shechitah are to guard against each of these factors: They are: shehiyah, dirasah, chaladah, hagramah, and ikur.1
What is meant by shehiyah? A person began to slaughter and lifted up his hand before he completed the slaughter and waited. Whether he did so inadvertently, intentionally, or because of forces beyond his control, [the following rules apply] if he or another person completed the slaughter. If he waited the amount of time it would take to lift up the animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it, his slaughter is not acceptable. If he waited less than this amount of time, his slaughter is acceptable.
With regard to a small domesticated animal:2, the measure of shehiyah is the amount of time it would take to lift up the animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it. With regard to a large domestic animal,3 the measure of shehiyah is the amount of time it would take to lift up the animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it.4 With regard to a fowl, the measure of shehiyah is the amount of time it would take to lift up a small animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it.5
When a person cut [the signs] for a while, waited for a while, cut for a while, waited for a while until he concluded the slaughter without waiting the measure that disqualifies an animal at any one time, but over the times he waited over the entire period would equal the measure of shehiyah, there is an unresolved doubt whether [the animal is considered] a nevelah.6
Similarly, if he waited the amount of time it takes to lift up the animal, cause it to lie down, and cut only a portion of the signs, but not to slaughter it entirely, there is an unresolved doubt whether [the animal is considered] a nevelah.
If he slaughtered the majority of one of the signs for a fowl or the majority of both signs for an animal, the slaughter is permitted even if he waited half the day and then returned and finished cutting the signs.7 For since the minimum measure for slaughter was met, it is as if he is cutting slaughtered meat.
If one cuts half or less of the windpipe and waits an extended period, he may return and complete the slaughter; [his previous acts] are of no consequence.8 If, however, he cut the majority of [an animal's] windpipe or perforated the gullet even slightly and then waited the [disqualifying] measure, [the slaughter] is unacceptable.9 [This applies] whether he returned and completed cutting where he began or slaughtered the animal entirely in a different place. [The rationale is] that when the majority of the windpipe is slit or the gullet of either an animal or a fowl is perforated even slightly, the animal is comparable to a nevelah and ritual slaughter is not effective for it, as will be explained.10
It is thus explained for you that the concept of shehiyah does not exist with regard to the windpipe of a fowl at all. For if he slit the majority of the windpipe and waited, he has already completed the slaughter of [the fowl]. When he goes back and completes it, it is as if he is cutting meat.11 If he slit less than half the windpipe and waited, he may return and [complete the] slaughter whenever he desires,12 for it is not disqualified as a nevelah unless the majority of the windpipe has been cut.
[The following rules apply when] one slaughtered a fowl and waited, but does not know whether the gullet was perforated or not.13 He should return and cut the windpipe alone in another place,14 let [the fowl] be until it dies, and then check the gullet from the inside.15 If a drop of blood was not found on it, it is apparent that it was not perforated and it is acceptable.
What is meant by chaladah?16 For example, one inserted the knife between one sign and another.17 Whether one then slits the upper sign above or cuts the lower sign below in the manner of ritual slaughter, [the slaughter] is unacceptable.
If he inserted the knife beneath the [animal's] skin and slit both the signs in the ordinary fashion, hid the knife under tangled wool, or spread a cloth over the knife and the neck18 and slaughtered under the cloth, since the knife is not openly revealed, there is an unresolved doubt whether [the animal is considered] a nevelah. Similarly, if slaughtered less than half the signs with chaladah and completed the slaughter without chaladah, there is an unresolved doubt whether [the animal is considered] a nevelah.
What is meant by dirasah?19 For example, one struck the neck with a knife as one strikes with a sword, cutting the signs at one time, without passing [the knife] back and forth or one placed the knife on the neck and pressed, cutting downward like one cuts radishes or squash until he cuts the signs, [the slaughter] is unacceptable.
What is meant by hagramah?20 This refers to one who slaughters at a high point on the windpipe21 where it is not fit to slaughter. There are two [nodes, like kernels of] wheat at the top of the windpipe, at the large ring.22 [The following rules apply if] one slaughtered in the midst of these kernels. If he left even the slightest portion of them intact above [the place of slaughter], it is acceptable, for he slaughtered from the slanting cap [of the windpipe] or lower. This is within the place that is fit for ritual slaughter. If, however, he did not leave any portion of them intact, but instead cut above them, this is considered as [being slaughtered with] hagramah and it is unacceptable.
If one slit the majority of one sign [for a fowl] or the majority of both signs [for an animal] and then completed the slaughter through dirasah or hagramah, it is acceptable, for the minimum measure was slaughtered in the proper manner.23
If at first, he slit a third [of the windpipe]24 through hagramah, and then cut two thirds in the appropriate manner, the slaughter is acceptable.25 If he cut a third in the appropriate manner, cut a third through hagramah, and then cut the last third in the appropriate manner, the slaughter is acceptable.26 If at first, he slit a third through hagramah, cut a third in the appropriate manner, and then cut a third through hagramah, the slaughter is unacceptable.27 If one cut [a portion of] an animal's throat with derisah or chaladah, it is unacceptable, whether it was the first or second third.28
What is meant by ikur? That the gullet and/or the windpipe were displaced29 and slid [from their place] before the conclusion of the slaughter. If, however, one slit an entire sign or its majority in a fowl, and then the second sign slipped, the slaughter is acceptable.30
If one of the signs was displaced and afterwards, one slit the other, the slaughter is unacceptable.31 If one slit one of the signs [of a fowl] and then discovered that the other one was displaced, but it is unknown whether it was displaced before slaughter32 or after slaughter,33 there is an unresolved question whether [the fowl] is a nevelah.
If the sign that was cut for ritual slaughter is discovered to have been displaced, [the fowl or animal]34 is acceptable, for certainly, it was displaced after the slaughter. For if it had been displaced before ritual slaughter, it would have hung loosely and it would not have been able to be slaughtered [effectively].35
When does the above apply? When [the slaughterer] did not hold the signs in his hand when he slit them. If, however, he held the signs and slaughtered, it is possible that [the signs] could have been slit [effectively even] after they were displaced.36 Therefore, if a sign is discovered to be displaced and slaughtered,37 there is an unresolved question whether [the animal or the fowl] is a nevelah.
Whenever we have used the term "unacceptable," the animal is a nevelah and if a person partakes of an olive-sized portion of it, he is liable for lashes for partaking of a nevelah. For only an acceptable slaughter as commanded by Moses our teacher of blessed memory prevents an animal from being considered a nevelah as we explained.38 Whenever there is an unresolved doubt whether slaughter [is acceptable], there is an unresolved doubt whether the animal is a nevelah.39 A person who partakes of it is liable for stripes for rebellious conduct.
When the thigh of an animal and [the meat40 of] its hollow were removed and thus it appears lacking when it crouches, it is a nevelah.41 [It is] as if half of it was cut away and it was divided into two bodies. Thus slaughter is not effective with regard to it.
Similarly, if [the animal's] backbone was broken together with the majority of the meat, its back was ripped open like a fish, the majority of the windpipe was been severed,42 or the gullet was perforated in a place fit for slaughter,43 it is considered as a nevelah while alive and slaughter will not be effective with regard to it. The same laws apply to both an animal and a fowl with regard to all these matters.
The gullet has two membranes: the external membrane is red and the inner membrane is white.44 If only one of them is perforated, [the animal] is acceptable.45 If they are both perforated even to the slightest degree in a place fit for slaughter, it is a nevelah.46 [This applies] whether it was slaughtered in the place of the perforation or in another place, slaughter will not be effective with regard to it. If they were both perforated, [even when] one [hole] does not correspond to the other, the animal is a nevelah47.
When the gullet is perforated and a scab forms which covers it, the scab is of no consequence and it is considered perforated as it was beforehand.48 If a thorn is detected standing in the gullet, there is an unresolved doubt whether the animal is a nevelah. We fear that perhaps a scab developed in the place of a perforation and it is not visible.49 If, however, a thorn is lying lengthwise50 in the gullet, we are not concerned about it, for most desert animals eat thorns continuously.51
The gullet cannot be checked from the outside, only from the inside.52 What is implied? One should turn it inside out and check it. If a drop of blood is found upon it, it can be concluded that it was perforated.
When the majority of the cavity of the windpipe53 has been severed in the place fit for slaughtering,54 [the animal] is a nevelah. This also applies if it has a hole the size of an isar.55
[The following rules apply if the windpipe of an animal] was perforated with small holes.56 If the perforations did not detract [from the flesh, they disqualify the animal if,] when they are added together, they constitute the majority [of the windpipe]. If they detract from the flesh, [they disqualify the animal if,] when they are added together, their sum is the size of an isar.57 Similarly, if a strand [of flesh] is removed from [the windpipe], it [disqualifies the animal if its area] is the size of an isar.
With regard to a fowl, [a more stringent rule applies]:58 Whenever the strip [of flesh that was removed] or the holes that detract from the flesh [are large enough so that they] could be folded so that when placed over the opening of the windpipe, it would cover the majority [of its cavity],59 it is a nevelah. If not, it is acceptable.
If the windpipe was perforated on both sides with a hole large enough for the thickness of isar60 to be inserted into it, it is a nevelah. If it is slit lengthwise, even if only the slightest portion of the place fit to slaughter [an animal] remains above and below, it is acceptable.61
When a windpipe has been perforated62 and it is not known whether it was perforated before the slaughter or afterwards,63 we perforate it again in another place and compare the two holes. If they resemble each other, it is permitted.64
We compare only [a hole in] a large ring to [a hole in] a large ring or [a hole in] a small [ring] to [a hole in] a small [ring], but not [a hole in] a small [ring] to a [a hole in] a large [ring]. For the entire windpipe is made up of a series of rings. Between each [large] ring is a small, soft ring.
The Rambam's ruling favors the opinion of Shmuel over Rav. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro explains that generally, we follow the principle that the halachah follows Rav's approach with regard to the Torah prohibitions. Nevertheless, in this instance, since there are other Sages who support Shmuel's view, the Rambam favors his opinion. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 23:2), in addition to the Rambam's view, Rav Yosef Caro quotes Rashi's position which rules much more stringently with regard to shehiyah for a fowl. The Rama states that the common custom is to disqualify any ritual slaughter involving shehiyah of the slightest time for both animals and fowl.
In addition to the Rambam's view, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 23:5) quotes the view of Rashi cited by the Tur that as long as the cutting of the signs is not completed, shehiyah can disqualify an animal. Hence, as an initial and preferred option, one should show respect for this view. The Rama rules even more stringently, stating that even after the fact, the slaughter is disqualified. For that reason, he continues, if the majority of the signs are cut, but the animal is lingering alive, rather than cut the signs further, one should hit it on its head to kill it.
Theoretically, he could also cut the windpipe in the same place and complete the slaughter in that manner. Nevertheless, our Sages advised against doing so, for in this way, it is much easier to perforate the gullet when cutting the windpipe and thus he might disqualify the slaughter unnecessarily (Kessef Mishneh). See the Turei Zahav 23:6 who offers another rationale. As mentioned above, the Rama rules that whenever one waits during the slaughter of a fowl or an animal, the slaughter is disqualified.
A parallel law - slaughtering the animal in a different place - does not apply with regard to an animal. For to slaughter the animal, he must slit the gullet and we fear that he will cut at a place where it had been perforated previously (Kessef Mishneh).
I.e., he should cut the gullet off at its top and/or bottom and turn it inside out. If he is able to find a drop of blood, he can assume that it is perforated and it is unacceptable. An external examination of the gullet is not sufficient for the surface of the gullet is red and a drop of blood will not be noticeable. Its inner surface, however, is skin-colored and the blood will be noticed (Kessef Mishneh).
Chullin 20b states that this term is derived from the word chuldah meaning "weasel," i.e., an animal that hides in the foundation of homes. Similarly, chaladah involves "hiding" the knife when slaughtering; i.e., inserting it in a way that the blade is not open to the eye. Implied is that the proper way to slaughter is for the slaughterer to hold the animal or fowl with its neck upward and to draw the knife back and forth across the neck.
In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro quotes other authorities who explain that this is referring to a situation where the person tied the cloth around the animal's neck, attached it with wax, or the like. If, however, he merely loosely spread the cloth over the animal, the slaughter is acceptable. He concludes, however, that the Rambam's opinion should be respected. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 24:8), he rules according to the other views, but states: "One should show concern for his (the Rambam's) opinion at the outset."
The Rambam speaks only with regard to the windpipe, because he defines hagramah as slaughtering the animal in an improper place. If one would slit the gullet above the proper place, the animal would become disqualified as a trefe immediately (Kessef Mishneh).
The Maggid Mishneh states that the windpipe is made up of many rings. Over the top ring, there is a flap (cap) of flesh which is slanted. (This is the area of the larynx. See also Chapter 1, Halachah 7, and notes.) At the top of this flap, there are two kernel-like buttons of flesh. As long as the slaughterer leaves some portion of these kernels intact, the slaughter is acceptable.
The Rambam derived this concept from a comparison to the laws of shehiyah mentioned in Halachah 5. The same concept applies if one slaughters more than half the signs appropriately and then completes the slaughter through chaladah. Indeed, it can be explained that the Rambam does not mention this law with regard to chaladah, because it is obvious. For in chaladah, the slaughter is essentially correct; it is only the manner in which one inserts the knife that is unacceptable (Kessef Mishneh).
As mentioned in the notes to Halachah 5, there are opinions who differ and disqualify the slaughter. Similarly, with regard to the laws at hand, there are opinions that are more stringent, except with regard to hagramah. In that instance, they accept the leniency mentioned by the Rambam. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 24:12) quotes both of the views without stating which should be followed. The Rama goes further and states that it is customary to rule stringently even with regard to hagramah, and even with regard to fowl.
The rationale for the Rambam's words has been discussed at length by the commentaries, because with regard to chaladah, in Halachah 10, he writes that there is an unresolved question whether the slaughter is disqualified, while here he appears to say that it is definitely unacceptable. The Rivosh (Responsum 187), the Kessef Mishneh, the Maggid Mishneh, and the Siftei Cohen 24:18 all offer lengthy - and somewhat forced - explanations to attempt to resolve the apparent contradiction. The core of the explanation of the Kessef Mishneh is that since the majority of the windpipe was slit in the proper place, it is not disqualified because a portion was not.
Needless to say, if one cuts the last third in either of these fashions, according to the Rambam, the slaughter is not disqualified, for it has already been completed (through slitting more than half of the sign[s] in an acceptable manner). The Rama, however, would disqualify the slaughter as stated above.
The term ikur means "uproot." The Kessef Mishneh states that, according to the Rambam, the fact that the signs have slipped from their place does not cause the animal to be deemed a trefe (see, however, Chapter 9, Halachah 21, and notes). Nevertheless, such a condition disqualifies the animal, for it is impossible for the ritual slaughter to be carried out in the proper manner.
This applies even with regard to a fowl. Although it is only necessary for one of the signs of a fowl to be cut in the appropriate manner, the other one must be fit to be slit in an appropriate manner (Kessef Mishneh).
The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 24:18) rule more stringently and maintain that it is necessary to slaughter another animal, displace its signs afterwards, and compare the two. Only if they are similar is the slaughter accepted. Moreover, the Shulchan Aruch continues stating that, at present, we are not expert at making this comparison and hence, forbid an animal whenever such a condition arises.
For the one that is not perforated is sufficient to protect the animal sufficiently for it to survive.
This leniency applies when the inner membrane is perforated due to sickness. If, however, it is perforated due to a thorn, we fear that the outer membrane may also be perforated, but that perforation cannot be detected [see Halachah 22; Rama (Yoreh De'ah 33:4)].
With regard to other organs which have two membranes, e.g., the brain and the lungs, the animal is not considered as trefe unless the holes correspond to each other. In this instance, however, the ruling is much more severe because the gullet is stretched and becomes extended. Thus even if the place of the holes do not correspond, they can match each other at times [Kessef Mishneh, Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 33:4)].
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 33:9) rules that this applies even if the thorn is lying widthwise, as long as it is not implanted in the membrane. [Indeed, some versions of the Mishneh Torah substitute widthwise for lengthwise.]
I.e., the slit goes from side to side in a manner in which the majority of the cavity is slit. The Rambam (based on Chullin 44a,b) is emphasizing that this measure disqualifies an animal even if when including the thickness of the flesh of the windpipe, the slit would not cover the majority of the windpipe.
An Italian coin, frequently used in the Talmudic era. In his commentary to the Mishnah (Mikveot 9:5), the Rambam states that an isar is the weight of four barley corns.
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 34:2) states that we are unfamiliar with the measure of an isar. Therefore, the laws applying to an animal should resemble those applying to a fowl and if the slit covers the majority of the cavity of the windpipe, it is disqualified. The Rama states that, for an animal, an isar is smaller than the majority of the cavity of the windpipe. Therefore he states that perhaps the intent of the Shulchan Aruch, is the majority of the cavity of a fowl. He cautions anyone who has a doubt to rule stringently and disqualify the animal.
In his Kessef Mishneh and his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 34:3), Rav Yosef Caro writes that as long as the flesh between the holes is not larger than the holes themselves, it is included together with them in this measure.
Our translation is based on the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh who quotes the Tur (Yoreh De'ah 34) who explains that in contrast to the previous halachah which speaks of a hole the area of an isar, this halachah is speaking about a hole through which an isar can be slipped through on its side.
It must be emphasized that the Rambam's ruling depends on the interpretation of Chullin 54a advanced by Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi. Rashi advances a different interpretation of that passage on which basis, the Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 34:5-6) quotes both opinions without stating which is favored.
The Kessef Mishneh quotes Rashi who explains that if the windpipe is slit across we rule more stringently, for the stress of breathing will extend the windpipe and cause the slit to expand. This does not apply when it is split lengthwise.
For it is apparent that the first hole was also made after the animal's death. The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 34:9) states that we are not proficient in inspecting the animal in this way and should disqualify it in all situations.
Shechitah - Chapter 4
When a Jew who does not know the five factors that disqualify ritual slaughter and the like concerning the laws of shechitah that we explained1slaughters [an animal] in private,2 it is forbidden for him and others to partake [of the animal that] he slaughtered. It is close to being considered a nevelah because of the doubt involved.3 When a person eats an olive-sized portion of its meat, he is worthy of stripes for rebellious conduct.
Even if [such a person] slaughtered [animals] properly in our presence four or five times and this slaughter which he performed in private appears to be a proper and complete the slaughter, it is forbidden to partake of it. Since he does not know the factors that can disqualify ritual slaughter, it is possible that he will cause the slaughter to be disqualified unknowingly.4 For example, he may wait, apply pressure to the animal's neck and slit it, slaughter with a blemished knife, or the like inadvertently.
[Even] when a Jew knows the laws of ritual slaughter, he should not slaughter in private as an initial and preferred option until he slaughters in the presence of a wise man many times until he is familiar and ardent.5 If, however, at the outset, he slaughtered in private, his slaughter is acceptable.6
When one knows the laws of ritual slaughter and slaughters in the presence of a wise man until he becomes familiar with ritual slaughter, he is called an expert. Any expert may slaughter in private as an initial and preferred option. Even women7 and servants8 may slaughter as an initial and preferred option.
When deaf-mute,9 an intellectually or emotionally imbalanced person, a child,10 or a drunkard whose mind became befuddled11 slaughters, their slaughter is unacceptable. Since they do not have [adequate] mental control, we fear that they blundered. Therefore if they slaughtered in the presence of a knowledgeable person and he saw that they slaughtered properly, their slaughter is acceptable.
When a person whose reputation12 has not been established among us slaughters in private, we question him. If it is discovered that he knows the fundamental principles of ritual slaughter,13 his slaughter is acceptable.14
When we saw from a distance that a Jew slaughtered [an animal] and departed and we do not know whether or not he knows the laws of ritual slaughter or not, [the animal] is permitted. Similarly, if a person tells his agent: "Go out and slaughter an animal on my behalf," and he finds a slaughtered animal, but does not know whether his agent or another person slaughtered it, [the animal] is permitted.15 [The rationale for both these laws is] that the majority of people who slaughter are expert.16
[The following rules apply when a person] loses a kid or a chicken. If he finds it slaughtered at home, it is permitted. [The rationale is that] the majority of people who slaughter are expert. If he finds it in the market place, it is forbidden; perhaps [it was slaughtered improperly and] became a nevelah and was therefore cast into the market place.17 Similarly, if he finds it on the waste dump at home, it is forbidden.18
When an expert [slaughterer] loses his power of speech, but he is [still] capable of understanding, he can hear and he is of sound mind, he may slaughter as an initial and preferred option.19 Similarly, a person who does not hear,20 may slaughter.
A blind man should not slaughter as an initial and preferred option unless others supervise him.21 If he slaughters, his slaughter is acceptable.22
When a gentile slaughters, even though he slaughters in the presence of a Jew, [using] a finely [honed] knife,23 and even if he was a minor,24 his slaughter is a nevelah. According to Scriptural Law, one is liable for lashes for partaking of it,25 as [implied by Exodus 34:15]: "[Lest] he shall call you and you shall partake of his slaughter." Since the Torah warns lest one partake of his slaughter, you can infer that his slaughter is forbidden. He cannot be compared to a Jew who does not know the laws of ritual slaughter.
[Our Sages] established a great safeguard concerning this matter, [decreeing] that even [an animal] slaughtered by a gentile who does not serve false deities26 is a nevelah.27
If a gentile began to slaughter and slit the minority of the signs and a Jew completed the slaughter or a Jew began the slaughter and a gentile completed it,28 it is invalid.29 [The rationale is that] slaughter [is considered an integral act, a single continuity] from the beginning to the end.30 If, however, a gentile slit [a portion of] an organ that does not cause the animal to be considered a nevelah, e.g., he slit half the windpipe and a Jew completed the slaughter, it is acceptable.31
A Jew who is an apostate because of his transgression of a particular transgression32 who is an expert slaughterer may slaughter as an initial and preferred option.33 A Jew of acceptable repute must check the knife and afterwards give it to this apostate to slaughter with, for it can be presumed that he will not trouble himself to check [the knife].34
If, by contrast, he was an apostate because of worship of false deities, one who violates the Sabbath in public,35 or a heretic who denies the Torah and [the prophecy of] Moses our teacher, as we explained in Hilchot Teshuvah,36 he is considered as a gentile and [an animal] he slaughters is a nevelah.
[Even though] a person is disqualified as a witness because of his violation of a Scriptural prohibition,37 he may [still] slaughter in private if he was an expert.38 For he would not leave something which is permitted and partake of something that is forbidden.39 This is a presumption that applies with regard to all Jews, even those who are wicked.
These Tzadukkim, Beotosim, 40 their disciples and all that err, following their path, who do not believe in the Oral Law - their slaughter is forbidden. If, however, they slaughtered [an animal] in our presence, it is permitted. For their slaughter is forbidden only because it is possible they blunder. Since they do not believe in the laws of ritual slaughter, we do not accept their word when they say, "We did not blunder."41
When the Jews were journeying through the desert, they were not commanded to slaughter non-sacrificial animals.42 Instead, they would cut off their heads or slaughter them and eat as the other nations do. In the desert, they were commanded that everyone who desires to slaughter an animal [in the prescribed way] should slaughter only for the sake of a peace offering, as [Leviticus 17:3-5] states: "When a man from the house of Israel will slaughter an ox... and he will not bring it to the Tent of Meeting... [it will be considered as (spilled) blood]... so that the Children of Israel will bring their sacrifices... and slaughter these sacrifices as peace-offerings." If, however, a person desired to cut an animal's head off and partake [of the animal], in the desert, this was allowed.
This mitzvah43 is not observed forever, nor in the desert alone, at the time it was permitted to kill animals [and partake of them]. There they were commanded that when they would enter Eretz Yisrael, killing animals [for food] would be forbidden and ordinary animals could only be eaten after ritual slaughter. They would be allowed to slaughter in every place except the Temple Courtyard,44 as [Deuteronomy 12:20-21] states: "When God your Lord will expand your boundaries... and you shall slaughter from your cattle and your sheep which God your Lord gave you." This is the mitzvah to be observed for generations - to slaughter and then to eat.
If, however, a wise man supervises his actions, the slaughter is acceptable, as indicated by Halachah 5. The Maggid Mishneh quotes the Rashba as ruling that such a person may slaughter in the presence of a wise man even as an initial and preferred option. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 1:3) accepts this ruling, but the Rama does not.
There is no factor that we see that would cause us to disqualify the slaughter. Nevertheless, since it is highly probable that he slaughtered the animal in a way that disqualified it and rendered it a nevelah, the animal is prohibited and placed in this category.
Moreover, even if afterwards, he is taught the laws of ritual slaughter and states that he observed them when he slaughtered the animal, the ruling is not revised. Since he did not know the laws at that time, we fear that he did not observe them (Kessef Mishneh).
This training process is still observed in the present age. Even though a person is familiar with the laws of ritual slaughter, he must first undergo apprenticeship under the guidance of a master and receive authorization to slaughter [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 1:1).
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 1:5) states that this refers to a child who does not know how to maneuver his hands for ritual slaughter. If he knows how to maneuver his hands he may be given an animal to slaughter at the outset. The Rama emphasizes that even so, the child may only slaughter in the presence of others. He may not slaughter alone. Furthermore, the Rama states that it is not customary for a person to receive authorization to slaughter until he is eighteen. The Siftei Cohen 1:25, however, rules more stringently.
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 1:8) states that one who becomes as drunk as Lot (see Genesis, ch. 19) may not slaughter. One who has not reached this stage of inebriation may slaughter at the outset. The Rama rules more stringently, stating that a person should never slaughter when drunk, for it is likely that he will disqualify the slaughter.
The Kessef Mishneh explains that when there is no alternative (see the following halachah), we rely on the principle that most of those who slaughter are knowledgeable regarding its laws. Nevertheless, in this instance, since we have the opportunity to clarify the matter, we do so.
With regard to questions of business law, we rely on the presumption that an agent will perform the mission with which he was charged. We do not, however, accept this principle with regard to questions involving the Torah's prohibitions (Hilchot Terumot 4:6). Nevertheless, even if we know for certain that the agent did not slaughter the animal, we consider it as permitted because of the reason stated by the Rambam.
And when there is no alternative we can rely on this presumption.
From the statements of the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 1:1), it appears that there is a slight difference between the present age and the Talmudic period. In the Talmudic era, most people were proficient in both the laws and practice of ritual slaughter. In the present age, this applies only to those who are occupied professionally in this field. Nevertheless, the laws remain the same, for we assume that only a person who is knowledgeable will actually slaughter animals.
We are not speaking about a waste dump in the market place. In such an instance, all opinions would agree that the animal is forbidden. Instead, we are speaking about a situation where it was found in the marketplace at large. Chullin 12b records a dispute between two Sages concerning this matter and the Rambam chooses the more stringent ruling.
For the circumstances indicate that it was discarded.
As mentioned, there is a difference of opinion in the Talmud regarding this issue. Most Rishonim follow the more lenient view and rule that if the slaughtered animal is found in an ordinary place in the marketplace or in a waste dump at home, it is permitted. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 1:4) also follows this view.
As long as he has the ability to speak, he is not considered to be intellectually underdeveloped.
Rabbenu Asher explains that such a person should not slaughter as an initial and preferred option, because there is a difficulty with his recitation of the blessing. For a person must recite a blessing in a manner that enables him to hear it and that is impossible for such an individual. Indeed, the Jerusalem Talmud (Terumot 1:6) rules that a person who is dumb should not separate terumah at the outset for that reason [Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 1:6)].
Thus a gentile's slaughter is not recognized by Scriptural Law. See, however, the following halachah.
In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam explains that the reason the animal is forbidden is that, in general, when a gentile slaughters, his intent is that the animal is an offering to his false deity, it is, however, permissible to benefit from the animal. We do not consider it as a sacrifice to idols (Chullin 13b; see Chapter 2, Halachah 2), because we assume the gentile is not really sincere in his worship, he is merely mimicking his ancestors.
Rabbeinu Asher differs and explains that the Scriptural command for ritual slaughter states: "And you shall slaughter," implying that the slaughtering must be a Jew. Hence, a gentile is inherently disqualified; his thoughts are of no consequence. See the Siftei Cohen 2:2 and the Turei Zahav 2:1 who discuss this issue.
According to the Rambam, if he does not serve false deities and knows the laws of ritual slaughter, his slaughter is acceptable according to Scriptural Law.
One might ask: If so, why is an animal slaughtered by a child a nevelah? A child is not liable for the service of false deities. The Lechem Mishneh answers that ultimately, the child will grow up and worship false deities.
As the Rambam states in Hilchot Teshuvah 3:9, there is a concept of an apostate with regard to one transgression, i.e., "a person who has made a fixed practice of willfully violating a certain transgression [to the extent that] he is accustomed to transgressing and his deeds are public knowledge... provided he does so with the intent of angering God."
Although he repeatedly violates that particular transgression, we do not assume that he will not slaughter correctly.
In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro cites Chullin 4a which states that as long as if given a choice whether to eat kosher meat or non-kosher meat, the person would choose the kosher meat - even if he would partake of the non-kosher meat if kosher meat was not available - it is permitted to partake of an animal he slaughtered. The Kessef Mishneh continues, explaining that as long as one does not transgress with the intent of angering God, one may partake of an animal he slaughtered. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 2:5), he rules that an apostate who transgresses with the intent of angering God resembles a gentile and his slaughter is inherently unacceptable.
Kin'at Eliyahu notes that there is some difficulty with the Kessef Mishneh's interpretation, because Hilchot Teshuvah specifically states that a person is deemed an apostate only when his transgression is performed with the intent of angering God.
Although we do not assume that he will definitely transgress, it is logical to presume that he will not be careful in his observance.
Although it also cites the Rambam's view, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 2:6) mentions the opinion of the Tur and others who rule that if the person is not an apostate with regard to partaking of non-kosher meat, it is not even necessary to check his knife. He may slaughter in private. If, however, he is an apostate with regard to partaking of non-kosher meat, his knife must be checked. Moreover, if he shows no concern for kashrut at all, his slaughter is not acceptable [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 2:50].
In this instance, the Rambam does not even require him to have another person observe him. Since his disregard for Jewish observance is not as severe as that of an apostate, he is allowed to slaughter on his own.
Tzadok and Beotus were two of the greatest students of Antigonus of Socho. As the Rambam states in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Avot 1:3), after they heard Antigonus teach: "Do not be as servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward," they forsook Jewish practice, saying: "Is it just that we labor without receiving a reward?"
They began splinter sects with the intent of swaying the people after them. At first, they sought to abandon Jewish practice entirely. They saw, however, the people would not accept this and so they focused their complaints on the Oral Law, arguing that although the Written Law was of Divine origin, the Oral Law was not. Their intent, however, was to deny the entire Torah.
The Rambam appears to be saying that there is no inherent difficulty with these individuals slaughtering an animal. The only question is whether or not they slaughtered correctly. Hence, when it is possible to verify that the slaughter was performed correctly, the animal is permitted. They are not placed in the same category as apostates. Kin'at Eliyahu adds that, based on the previous halachah, these Tzadukim must also be Sabbath observant.
We have already explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot1that the term trefe employed by the Torah refers to an animal that is on the verge of death. The term trefe - which literally means "torn apart" - was employed only because the Torah speaks with regard to prevalent situations, e.g., a lion or the like attacked it and wounded it, but it had not died yet.
There are other maladies which if they affect an animal will cause it to be considered trefe. They were transmitted as a halachah to Moses at Sinai. [In particular,] eight [conditions that cause an animal to be considered as] trefe were transmitted to Moses at Sinai.2 They are derusah, nekuvah, chaseirah, netulah, pesukah, keru'ah, nefulah, and sheburah.3
Although they were all transmitted as halachot to Moses at Sinai,4since only derusah is explicitly mentioned in the Torah,5 [our Sages] ruled more stringently with regard to it. Any questionable situation that arises with regard to derisah [causes the animal] to be forbidden. There are, by contrast, questionable situations that may arise with regard to the seven other conditions [that render an animal] trefe in which [the animal] is permitted as will be explained.6
Derusah refers to a situation where a lion or the like will attack an animal and assault it with its paw or a hawk, an eagle, or the like will assault a fowl.7 [The laws of] derisah apply with regard to a large domesticated animal8 or a large wild beast only when it is attacked by a lion.9 [The laws of derisah apply with regard to] a small domesticated animal10 or a small wild beast only when it is attacked by a wolf or a larger animal. [The laws of] derisah apply with regard to kids and lambs even when attacked by cats, foxes, martens,11 and the like. Needless to say, this applies with regard to fowl.12
When a hawk attacks, the laws of derisah apply even with regard to a larger fowl.13 With regard to other birds of prey the laws of derisah apply only with regard to fowl their size and not with regard to fowl which are larger than they are.14
[The laws of] derisah apply [when] a weasel attacks a fowl. [The laws of] derisah do not apply at all when a dog attacks, not when it attacks a fowl, an animal, or a beast. [The laws of] derisah apply [when] an hawk attacks kids or lambs should its claws penetrate to [the animal's] inner cavity.15
[The laws of] derisah apply only [when] the attacking animal [strikes its victim] with its forelegs. If it strikes it with its hindlegs,16 we show no concern.17 [Similarly, the laws of] derisah apply only [when the attacking animal strikes its victim] with its claw. If it bites it, we show no concern unless it penetrates to its internal cavity.18 We then check if it perforated one of the organs [that cause an animal to be considered trefe if] even the tiniest perforation was made.
[The laws of] derisah apply only [when] the attacking animal has that intent. If, however, the beast of prey fell and its claws became lodged in the other animal, [the laws of] derisah do not apply.19 [Similarly, the laws of] derisah apply only [when the attacking animal] is alive. If, however, it attacked and was killed, but its claws remained lodged in the victim and were not removed until after [the attacker's] death, we are not concerned.20
What are the laws applying to an animal that was attacked? Whenever we stated that "we show concern," the attacked animal should be slaughtered and its entire internal cavity - from its feet to its forehead - must be checked. If it is found to be flawless with regard to all the factors [that render an animal] trefe and there is no sign that it was attacked,21 it is permitted.22 If there is a sign that it was attacked, it is trefe and forbidden by Scriptural Law.
What is meant by "a sign that it was attacked"? That the flesh above the intestines turns red.23 If the flesh above the intestines decays to the extent it becomes like flesh which a doctor would scrape from a wound, we consider that flesh as if it were lacking and [rule that the animal is] trefe.24
If [the predator] attacked the "signs" [which must be cut for ritual slaughter, the animal is] trefe if they turn red.25 The slightest wound [is significant]. If even the smallest portion of them becomes red because of an attack, [the animal is] trefe.26
When there is a question whether [an animal] has been attacked or not, we do not permit it unless it is checked as one would [an animal] that had definitely been attacked.27
What is implied? When a lion enters among oxen and a claw was found in the back of one of them,28 we suspect that the lion attacked it. We do not rationalize and say: "Maybe it scratched itself on a wall."29
Similarly, if a fox or a marten enter among fowls, [the predator] is silent and they crowing, we fear that he attacked.30 If, however, the predator is roaring and they are crowing, [we assume that] they are crowing out of fear of him and his roaring. Similarly, if he cuts off the head of one of them,31 we assume his fury has subsided. Similarly, if both [the predator] and [the fowl] are silent, we do not suspect [anything]. For if he had harmed them, they would crow.32
When there is a question of whether or not a predator entered [a place where animals are kept] or we saw [an animal] enter [such a place], but were unable to see if it is one of the predators or not, we do not harbor suspicions.33
Similarly, if a fowl entered a woods or reeds and came out with its head or neck dripping blood, we do not suspect that it was attacked. Instead, we say: "Perhaps it was wounded among the trees."34
The Beit Yosef (Yoreh De'ah 29) questions the Rambam's statements, for since these other conditions are considered questions of Scriptural Law, whenever a doubt arises, we rule stringently. The Turei Zahav 29:1 explains that the severity involving derisah concerns a sefek seifkah, a condition of multiple doubt. See also the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh which offers several resolutions to this question.
As will be explained in the following halachot, the laws of derisah do not concern only the wounds to the victim's organs that the attacking animal causes. Instead, the concern is that even a superficial wound can cause the victim to die, because there is poison in the attacker's claws that will affect the victim. (Exactly, what that means in contemporary terms is difficult to understand. Some have suggested that the attacker's claws are infected with bacteria which could be considered comparable to poison. That explanation, however, cannot be easily resolved with some of the points in the subsequent halachot.)
The intent of this and the following halachah is that "the poison" of certain animals or fowl is effective in harming some and not in harming others.
If, however, it is attacked by smaller animals of prey, even a tiger, we assume that its strength will enable it to defend itself (Kessef Mishneh). The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 57:1) follows a more stringent opinion which rules that the laws of derisah apply when any predator larger than a wolf attacks a large animal.
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:3) qualifies this matter, saying that these laws do not apply when a hawk attacks a chicken. The Tur and the Rama, however, state that this applies only to large chickens, but not to smaller ones.
Compare to the following halachah. The Kessef Mishneh explains that in this halachah, the Rambam is not concerned with the question of whether the attacker perforated one of the organs whose perforation disqualifies an animal. For if so, it would not have been necessary for the Rambam to mention derisah. If such an organ was perforated, even a large animal is disqualified. Instead, the intent is whether the "poison" of the attacker is sufficient to kill the victim.
Needless to say, if it delivers a mortal wound with its hindlegs, the victim is disqualified. Here, however, we are speaking about "poisoning" an animal through derisah and that applies only when it attacks with its foreleg and with its claws [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:6)].
For it releases its "poison" only when it withdraws its claws and only when it is alive.
For this same reason, if ritual slaughter is performed on the animal that is being attacked before the attacking animal removes its claws, the slaughtered animal is permitted [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:8)].
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:18) mentions a difference of opinion among the Rabbis if such an examination can be relied upon in the present age. The Rama rules that we should be stringent, not rely on the examination, and hence, declare any animal that was attacked - or there is a question whether it was attacked - forbidden.
In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro explains that the fact that the flesh turns red indicates that the poison from the predator has penetrated the animal's flesh and will ultimately, cause the intestines to be perforated. The Kessef Mishneh questions, however, why the Rambam mentions only the intestines. Since - as mentioned in the previous halachah - it is necessary to inspect the entire body, seemingly (and indeed, the Tur rules accordingly), the same laws would apply if red marks were found on the flesh above any organ whose perforation can disqualify the animal. He explains that perhaps this is indeed the Rambam's intent and he mentions the intestines only because there are many disqualifying factors involved with them. Nevertheless, in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:16), he quotes the Rambam's wording without emendation. The Siftei Cohen 57:38) quotes the Tur's ruling.
Here too the rationale is that once the poison has begun to have an effect, it will ultimately penetrate through and perforate the entire organ. There is, however, a difference between the signs and the other organs. With regard to the other organs, as soon as the flesh above the organ is affected, the animal is considered trefe. With regard to the signs, they themselves must be affected. It is possible to explain that the signs are tougher and more resilient than the other organs. Hence, the fact that the flesh above them is affected is no proof that they will also be affected (Kessef Mishneh).
This applies even when a small portion of the windpipe becomes red. Although a perforation in the windpipe does not disqualify it unless it is the size of the majority of its cavity (Chapter 3, Halachah 23), we assume that the poison of the predator will ultimately cause such a perforation (Siftei Cohen 57:40).
As mentioned in Halachah 8. As stated in the notes to that halachah, there are authorities - and this is the custom cited by the Rama - it is customary in the present era not to rely on this examination and to regard any animal that was attacked - or even if there is a doubt whether it was attacked - as trefe.
An animal does not release its poison until the claw is removed (Halachah 7), and is this instance, it is implanted in the animal. We, nevertheless, disqualify it, for in this instance, we say that the animal released its poison when it lost its claw (Turei Zahav 57:21). Alternatively, we fear that it was also attacked with another claw and that claw was removed (Rambam LeAm).
And the claw which had been implanted in the wall became stuck in it. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:14) emphasizes that this ruling is followed even if the claw is dried out (and thus is unlikely to have come from an animal recently).
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:11) states that this applies only when we see that he did not attack any animals. If, however, we saw an attack, the fact that he and the victims were silent is not significant.
I.e., it scratched itself and caused itself a wound. We must, however, check to see that the gullet was not perforated (Radbaz). The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 57:13) states in the present age we do not rely on our inspection and therefore forbid any fowl that comes to us with a neck that is bleeding.
Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Moznaim is the publisher of the Nehardaa Shas, a new, state-of-the-art edition of the Talmud and all major commentaries in 20 volumes. Click here to purchase or email the publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just like in the case of two people who are wrestling... if one of them moves with sloth and lethargy, he will be easily defeated and felled, even if he is stronger than his fellow; so, too, in battling one's evil inclination, one can prevail over it ... only with alacrity that comes from joy and from a heart that is free and cleansed from every trace of worry and sadness...