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She'ar Avot haTum'ah - Chapter 2

She'ar Avot haTum'ah - Chapter 2

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Halacha 1

When a non-kosher domesticated animal or wild animal was slaughtered, it does not impart the impurity of a carcass as long as it is in its death-throes unless its head is cut off. Instead, it is considered as impure food. If it is killed by being stabbed in the throat and it is in its death throes, as long as it makes convulsive movements, it is not even considered as impure food.

A limb that is separated from an animal that is making convulsive movements is forbidden to a Noachide, as if it were separated from a living animal. And meat that is separated from it is considered as having been separated from a living animal. Similarly, when a kosher animal is slaughtered in an unacceptable manner and it is still making convulsive movements or one of its signs or the majority of one was slit, it is not considered impure at all until it dies.

If one divides an animal in half or one removes its thigh and its inner cavity, it is considered as a carcass and it imparts impurity when carried and when touched, even though it shows signs of life. Similarly, if it was ripped apart from its back or its back bone was broken and the majority of the meat around it severed, it is considered as a carcass in all contexts.

Halacha 2

When the fetus of an animal dies within its womb and a shepherd inserts his hand and touches it - whether it is a non-kosher species or a kosher species - the shepherd who touches it is considered pure until he removes the stillborn animal from the womb.

Halacha 3

Meat that is separated from a domesticated or wild animal - whether from a kosher species or a non-kosher species - in their lifetime is ritually pure and does not impart impurity as a carcass does. When, however, an entire limb is separated from a living animal, it does impart impurity as a carcass does. This applies to a limb from a living animal itself or from a fetus in its womb.

There is no minimum measure to the size of a limb. Even if it is the size of a barley-corn or smaller, it imparts impurity provided it was intact as when it came into being with flesh, sinews, and bones. It must have enough flesh to regenerate and return to a state of wholeness. If the limb did not have enough flesh to return to a state of wholeness or the bone was lacking, it is pure.

Halacha 4

A kidney, the tongue, the lips, and like - even though they are organs and will not regenerate - are considered as meat in this context, because they do not have bones, they.

Halacha 5

The flesh or a limb of a domesticated or wild animal that could not regain its vitality and reconnect with the remainder of the body does not impart impurity as a carcass does as long as the animal is alive. Instead, they are considered as like other edible substances. If they were made fit to contract impurity, they can contract impurity while attached to the animal.

If the animal was slaughtered, the slaughter causes the flesh or the limb that had been maimed to be considered fit to contract impurity, but they do not impart impurity as a carcass does. For the slaughter of the animal does not cause them to be considered as if they were separated from the animal during its lifetime. If, by contrast, the animal died, the flesh that was hanging loosely from it during its lifetime must be made fit to contract ritual impurity and a limb that had been hanging loosely imparts impurity as a limb from a living animal and not as a limb from a carcass.

What is the difference between a limb from a living animal and a limb from a carcass? Meat that was cut from a limb separated from a living animal is pure, while meat cut from a carcass imparts impurity when touched or carried if an olive-sized portion is present. The same measure applies in both instances.

Halacha 6

When an animal that was tereifah was slaughtered in a proper manner, even though it is forbidden to be eaten, it is pure. Similarly, when a person slaughters an animal and discovers a dead fetus, the slaughter of its mother purifies it from imparting the impurity associated with a carcass.

If one discovers a fetus that is in its eighth month and is alive, it is considered as a tereifah. Even if it is slaughtered after it was deemed tereifah, the slaughter does not prevent it from imparting the impurity associated with a carcass. The rationale is that there is no concept of ritual slaughter for an animal of this type.

Based on this logic, when the offspring of an animal was not kept for seven full days before it was slaughtered, the slaughter does not prevent it from imparting the impurity associated with a carcass, because such an animal is considered like a non-viable offspring.

Halacha 7

As explained, when a person slaughters an animal and finds a living fetus that has been carried for nine months, ritual slaughter is not required before it steps on the ground, because the slaughter of its mother causes it to be considered as pure. Nevertheless, if its mother becomes impure before the fetus was removed, the fetus does not contract impurity. If the slaughter of its mother was not performed successfully and the mother became considered as a carcass, the living fetus remains pure. The rationale is that a living being does not contract impurity at all, not the impurity associated with foods, nor the impurity associated with a carcass, even though it is considered as one of the limbs of the mother. If it dies before it steps on the ground, it is pure, because the slaughter of its mother causes it to be deemed pure.

Halacha 8

When an animal that is tereifah was slaughtered, even though its meat is pure according to Scriptural Law, if meat from a sacrificial animal touches it, the sacrificial meat contracts impurity according to Rabbinic Law. This is an added stringency applied with regard to consecrated foods.

Halacha 9

The following laws apply when an animal had difficulty birthing its offspring. If, after the fetus stuck out its foot and it was cut off, the mother was then slaughtered, the limb that was cut off is considered as if it was from a carcass, but the remainder of the meat of the fetus is pure.

If the mother was slaughtered and then the limb was cut off, the limb is considered as the meat of a tereifah animal that was slaughtered. The remainder of the meat of the fetus is considered as meat that touched a tereifah animal that was slaughtered which imparts impurity to consecrated foods, but not to terumah.

If the fetus stuck out its foot between the slaughter of one sign and the other and it was cut off, the slitting of the second sign is joined to the slitting of the first to purify the limb from imparting impurity as a carcass does.

Halacha 10

When a non-Jew slaughters an animal, it is considered as a carcass and imparts impurity when carried. This applies even when a Jew is supervising him and even if he slaughtered it properly with an acceptable knife. Whether the slaughterer is a gentile, a Samaritan, or a resident alien, his slaughter causes the animal to be considered as a carcass.

According to my estimation, this is also a Rabbinical decree, for the impurity imparted by false deities and objects offered to them is a Rabbinical decree, as will be explained. And it is because of their worship of false deities that the Samaritans were distanced and their slaughter forbidden. If you will ask: According to Scriptural Law, it is forbidden to partake of an animal which they slaughtered? In resolution, it can be said that not everything that is forbidden to be eaten imparts impurity. For an animal that is tereifah, but which was slaughtered properly, is forbidden to be eaten, but is ritually pure. It is impossible to obligate a person for karet for such impurity for entering the Temple or for partaking of sacrificial foods unless one can clearly prove his assertion that he contracted impurity.

Halacha 11

When a person touches or carries the thigh bone of a dead animal, he is pure. The rationale is that any portion of an animal's carcass that does not impart impurity when touched, does not impart impurity when carried. If, however, it was perforated to the slightest degree, one who touches it or carries it contracts impurity.

When does the above apply? When the marrow in it rattles, for, in that state, it would not regenerate flesh were the animal to be alive. If, however, it is in its natural place and it has sufficient marrow that it could regenerate flesh on the outside of the bone, it imparts impurity when touched or carried like other limbs. We have already explained that a thigh-bone is closed on all sides.

Halacha 12

When a person thought of perforating a thigh bone, but had not done so as of yet, one who touches it contracts impurity of a doubtful status. For there is an unresolved question whether the fact that he has not perforated the bone as of yet is considered as not having carried out a significant deed or not.

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