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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Shechitah - Chapter 9, Shechitah - Chapter 10, Shechitah - Chapter 11

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Shechitah - Chapter 9

1

What is meant by the term pesukah?1 If the skin that covers the marrow2 of the spinal cord is severed, [the animal] is trefe. [This applies] provided the majority of the circumference [of the skin] is severed. If, however, the skin is split lengthwise or perforated, [the animal] is permitted. Similarly, if the backbone was broken, but the spinal cord was not split or the marrow within the cord was crushed and it would wobble, [the animal] is permitted because its skin is still intact.

2

If the marrow decomposes and it can be poured like water or like molten wax to the extent that the spinal cord cannot stand when it is lifted up, [the animal] is trefe. If [the reason] it cannot stand is because of its weight, [the animal's] status is doubtful.3

3

To where does the spinal cord extend? It begins behind the two glands at the beginning of the neck and extends until the second divider.4 Thus nothing remains after it except the third divider which is close to the beginning of the tail.

4

There are three dividers. They are three bones that cleave to each other below the vertebrae of the backbone. The spinal cord of a fowl extend to in between the wings.5 Below these places, we are not concerned with the cord that extends there, even if its skin was severed or its marrow decays.6

5

What is meant by the term keru'ah?7 [This concerns] the flesh which covers the majority of [the animal's] belly. If it is ripped open, the belly will [fall] out. If this flesh is ripped open, [the animal] is trefe. [This applies] even if the tear did not reach the belly itself to the extent that it is seen. Instead, since the majority of the thickness of this flesh was ripped open8 or removed, [the animal] is trefe.

What is the measure of the tear? It must be a handbreadth long. If the animal was small and the majority of the length9 of the flesh covering the belly was torn, it is trefe even though the tear is not a handbreadth long. For the majority [of its length] was torn.

6

[The following rules apply if] a circular or oblong portion of this flesh was cut.10 If it was larger than a sela,11 i.e., large enough to fit tightly three date seeds next to each other, [the animal] is trefe. For when this size cut will be extended, it will be a handbreadth in length.12

7

When the skin of an animal was removed from it entirely - whether it was torn off by hand or [decomposed due to] sickness - the animal is trefe. This is called geludah. If a [portion of] skin as wide as a sela remained on the entire backbone, one as wide as a sela remained on the navel, and one as wide as a sela remained on the tips of the limbs, [the animal] is permitted.13

If [a portion] as wide as a sela was removed from the entire backbone, from the navel, or from the tips of the limbs, but the remainder of the skin remained intact, there is a doubt [concerning the ruling].14 It appears to me that we permit [the animal].15

8

What is meant by the term nefulah?16 When an animal fell from a high place - at least ten handbreadths high17 - and one of its organs was crushed, it is trefe.

To what extent must it be crushed? It must be smashed and become ailing because of the fall to the extent that its form and appearance have been destroyed. Even though [the organ] is not perforated, cracked, or broken, [the animal] is trefe. Similarly, if one struck it with a stone or a staff and crushed one of its organs, it is trefe.18

To which organs are we referring? To those in the body's inner cavity.19

9

If an animal walks after falling from a roof, we do not suspect [that it became trefe].20 If it stood, but did not walk, we harbor such suspicions.21 If it jumped [from the roof] on its own [initiative], we do not harbor suspicions.22 If [a person] left his animal on the roof and found it on the ground, we do not suspect that it fell.23

10

When bulls butt each other, we do not harbor suspicions.24 If one falls to the ground, we do harbor suspicions.25 Similarly, [if we see] an animal dragging its feet, we do not suspect that its organs were crushed or that its backbone was severed.26

11

When thieves steal lambs and throw them outside the corral, we do not suspect that their organs were crushed, because they throw them only with the intent that they will not be broken.27 If they returned them and threw them back to the corral because of fear,28 we suspect that they [may have become trefe].29 If they returned them out of a desire to repent, we do not harbor suspicions about [the lambs], because [the thieves] have the intent of returning them intact and therefore they will be careful when throwing them back.

12

When an ox was forced to lie down for slaughter, we do not suspect [that its internal organs were crushed]. [This applies] even if it fell considerably to the extent that it made a great noise30 when it was fell. [The rationale is that] it implants its hooves into it and strengthens itself until it falls to the ground.31

13

If one struck an animal on its head and the blow extended toward its tail or [one hit it] on its tail and the blow extended toward its head - even if one struck it on the entire backbone - we do not suspect [that it became trefe]. If the staff had bulges at different points, we harbor suspicions [concerning the animal].32 If the head of the staff reached a portion of the backbone,33 we harbor suspicions. Similarly, we harbor suspicions if he struck the animal across the breadth of the backbone.34

14

When a fowl is knocked against a firm article,35 e.g., a heap of grain, a mound of almonds, or the like, we suspect that its organs may have been crushed. If, by contrast, it is knocked against something soft, e.g., a folded garment, straw,36, ashes, or the like, we do not harbor such suspicions.

15

[The following rules apply when a fowl's] wings became stuck with glue37 when it was being captured and it received a blow. If only one wing became stuck, we do not suspect [that it became trefe].38 If both of its wings became stuck and it receive a blow on its body, we harbor suspicions.39

16

[The following rules apply if] it is knocked against water.40 If it swam for its full height upriver, against the current, we do not suspect [that it became trefe].41 If, however, it swims downriver, with the current, we harbor suspicions, for perhaps the water is carrying it.42 If it advances toward straw or hay that is floating on the river, it is swimming on its own power and we do not harbor suspicions.

17

In all situations where we said: "We do not harbor suspicions," it is permitted to slaughter [the animal] immediately and it is not necessary to check whether an organ was crushed. In all situations where we said: "We harbor suspicions," if one slaughters the animal, one must check its entire internal category from the head to the hind-thigh.43 If any of the factors that render an animal trefe mentioned above were discovered or one of the inner organs was crushed to the extent that its form was destroyed, [the animal] is trefe. Even if one of the organs whose removal does not render the animal trefe,44 e.g., the spleen or the kidneys, is crushed, [the animal] is trefe. [There is] an exception, the uterus; if it is crushed, the animal is permitted.

18

[The gullet and the windpipe] do not require examination in these situations, for a fall will not crush them.

19

When an animal fell from a roof and did not stand [afterwards],45 it is forbidden to slaughter it until one waits an entire day.46 If one slaughtered it during this time, it is trefe. When one slaughters it after a day has passed, an examination is required, as we explained.47

20

Similarly, if a person treaded on a fowl48 with his feet, an animal trampled it, or it was crushed against a wall and it is in its death throes, we leave it alive for a day. Afterwards, we slaughter it and examine it,49 as we stated.

21

When the majority of [the windpipe and the gullet were separated50 and] hang loosely, [the animal] is trefe. [This applies] even if [this condition occurs] due to reasons other than a fall.51 Similarly, if they became folded over,52 [the animal is unacceptable,] because they are no longer fit for ritual slaughter.53 If, by contrast, [even though] the majority54 of the throat55 was set loose from the jaw-bone, [the animal] is permitted, for the throat area is not fit for ritual slaughter, as we explained.56

Footnotes
1.

Pesukah is also one of the eight categories of trefot mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 2. The term literally means "severed."

2.

We are using this term to translate the Hebrew term moach. It is a loose term that means the material inside a bone. Chullin 45b states that this marrow is no of significance with regard to the category of pesukah. Therefore the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 32:1) rules that if the skin is severed, even if the marrow is entirely intact, the animal is trefe.

3.

And hence, forbidden. This ruling is granted because this question is left unresolved by Chullin 45b. The Kessef Mishneh quotes Rashi who explains that this is speaking about a situation where the spine has become thick and heavy, but has not become soft inside. The question is whether this state results from sickness or not.

4.

See the following halachah for a definition of this term.

5.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 32:5) interprets this as meaning the place where the wings are attached to the body. The Rama follows the opinion of Tosafot who state that the term refers to the place where the wings lie on the body, a point somewhat lower on the fowl's back.

6.

For these portions are not fundamental for the body's functioning.

7.

Keru'ah is also one of the eight categories of trefot mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 2. The term literally means "ripped apart."

8.

I.e., but some flesh remained. The animal is deemed trefe, because in such a condition, ultimately, the entire flesh will tear open.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that many others authorities interpret Chullin 50b, the Rambam's source, as implying that if the cut extends over the majority of the animal's belly, the animal is trefe. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro quotes the Rashba as explaining that the Rambam does not accept this approach because if so, there would be no difference between the categories of pesukah and keru'ah. The Rashba himself does not require such a distinction and instead, maintains that these categories overlap. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 48:3), he quotes the Rambam's view. The Turei Zahav 48:5 and the Siftei Cohen 48:4 mention the other positions.

9.

The dissenting perspectives also maintain that the same ruling applies with regard to the majority of the breadth of the belly (Siftei Cohen 48:6).

10.

The previous halachah was speaking about a slit where the flesh was not necessarily cut away. This halachah speaks about a situation where a portion of flesh was removed (Kessef Mishneh).

11.

A coin of the Talmudic era with a diameter that is a third of a handbreadth, i.e., 2.6 cm. According to Shiurei Torah.

12.

I.e., a sela is a little more than a third of a handbreadth. Hence the circumference of the cut is a handbreadth.

13.

Chullin 55b mentions a tradition that maintains that if an animal's entire skin is removed except for a portion the size of a sela, the animal is acceptable. [For from this portion, the entire skin will be regenerated (Rashi).] The Talmud continues mentioning three views, concerning where the skin must remain. Since the matter remains unresolved and we do not know which of these views should be followed, the Rambam rules that all of the different views must be respected and a portion of skin the size of a sela must remain in each place (Kessef Mishneh).

(Significantly, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Chullin 3:2), the Rambam mentions only the view that requires skin on the backbone and not the other opinions.)

14.

This question is left unresolved by Chullin, loc. cit. Hence there is a doubt concerning the ruling.

15.

Many authorities question the Rambam's ruling. Seemingly, if the question was left unresolved by the Talmud, on what basis does the Rambam permit it?

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro offers two explanations for the Rambam's ruling:

a) As the Rambam states in Chapter 5, Halachah 3, since all the categories of trefot aside from a derusah are not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, we rule leniently concerning doubts.

b) Since the skin was removed from only one of three places mentioned, there is a multiple doubt (sefek s'feikah) involved. Perhaps the place from which the skin was removed was in fact not the vital area (for the halachah could follow one of the other views). Even if it was the vital area, perhaps the fact that the skin on the remainder of the body is intact is enough for the animal to be permitted.

In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 59:1), Rav Yosef Caro quotes the Rambam's ruling. The Siftei Cohen 59:2 mentions the opinions that differ with the Rambam. The Rama adds that if the skin is removed from all three places, the animal is trefe.

16.

Nefulah is also one of the eight categories of trefot mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 2. The term literally means "one which fell."

17.

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro quotes Chullin 50b which states that this refers to a height of four handbreadths above the ground, for there are six handbreadths from the bottom of an animal's belly until the ground. He also cites this view in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 58:1).

Moreover, in both those sources, Rav Yosef Caro also quotes views that state that this law applies only when the animal fell on its own or knew that it was being pushed by others. If, however, it was pushed suddenly by others, it is considered trefe even if it fell from a lesser height.

18.

In this instance, the distance of ten handbreadths is not significant. Instead, if it was thrown with enough force to cause mortal damage, it can cause the animal to be rendered trefe.

19.

Therefore all of those organs must be inspected (Chullin 51a). The Ra'avad states that every organ that would render the animal trefe if crushed must be inspected.

The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 58:6) writes that in the present era, we are not knowledgeable with regard to conducting these examinations and an animal that falls should be permitted only if it walks, as stated in the next halachah.

20.

Walking is adequate proof that the animal was not injured by the fall to the extent that it would no longer survive. Since it walks, we assume that it is healthy and do not require an internal examination, as stated in Halachah 17. The Kessef Mishneh emphasizes that this applies only when the animal stood up on its own and then walk. If it was lifted up by others, we harbor suspicions. Similarly, he quotes authorities who maintain that it must walk in an ordinary manner. If it limps as it proceeds, an inspection is required. See Rama (Yoreh De'ah 58:6).

In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 58:5), Rav Yosef Caro quotes the opinion of the Rashba who writes that even if an obvious change was seen in its organs, as long as it was able to stand and walk, we do not suspect that it has become trefe.

21.

And require an inspection.

22.

For we assume that it prepared itself and jumped in a manner that would not cause injury. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 58:11) states that this applies even if the animal is not able to walk afterwards.

23.

We assume that it jumped intentionally, as explained above.

24.

We do not assume that their inner organs were crushed, because this is ordinary behavior.

25.

Chullin 51a states that we harbor suspicions, not because of the butting, but because the animal fell and we fear that it was injured by the fall.

26.

I.e., if we do not know that it fell.

27.

Otherwise, the stolen animal will not be of any benefit to them.

28.

I.e., the fear of being caught.

29.

For the thieves will not show any care for the animal while throwing it back into the corral.

30.

Rashi (Chullin, loc. cit.) interprets this as meaning that the ox bellowed, but this does not appear to be the Rambam's understanding.

31.

I.e., it is aware that they are trying to push it to the ground and it fights against them, thus lessening the impact of its fall. The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 58:10) writes that if the ox's feet are tied when it is pushed to the ground, we do suspect that it may have become trefe. For when its feet are tied, it cannot control its fall.

32.

For the blows dealt by the bulges will be far more severe. Hence the backbone must be inspected to see that it is intact. See Turei Zahav 32:4.

33.

In the previous clauses, the head of the staff did not carry with the brunt of the blow, because the lower portion of the staff struck the animal's body first. Here we are speaking about a situation where the first and primary focus of the blow is delivered to the backbone by the top of the staff. This is a far more dangerous situation.

34.

For the entire blow is focused on one point of the spinal cord.

35.

Or conversely, if a firm article like a stone falls upon it [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 58:2)].

36.

I.e., a mound of loose straw. Straw that has been bundled, by contrast, is considered as a firm article (Chullin 51b).

37.

One of the techniques with which hunters would trap wild fowl would be to set traps for them which would glue their wings to boards or other articles that prevented them from flying.

38.

For by flapping the other wing, it will slow its fall and lessen the impact.

39.

For there is nothing to soften the blow.

40.

It was snared and fell unto a river.

41.

For this exertion indicates that the animal is fundamentally healthy. It is equivalent to - or exceeds - the walking mentioned in Halachah 9.

42.

In a still body of water that has no current, any swimming is a sign of health (see Siftei Cohen 58:10).

43.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 58:3) quotes the Rambam's ruling. As mentioned above, the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 58:6) states that in the present age, we are not knowledgeable with regard to conducting these examinations and an animal is permitted only if it walks after falling or receiving a blow.

44.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that there is an unresolved doubt with regard to the ruling in this instance. As mentioned, the Shulchan Aruch follows the Rambam's position.

The Kessef Mishneh explains the Rambam's ruling as follows: Since Chullin 51a states that if the uterus is crushed, it is not significant, we conclude that the crushing of all other internal organs is significant. Otherwise, it would not be necessary to single out the uterus. Moreover, he explains that crushing an organ can be more painful and more injurious to an animal than removing it.

45.

I.e., if it stands - even if it does not walk - it can be slaughtered immediately and deemed acceptable through an examination, as above.

46.

For sometimes the effects of a fall are not immediately evident. It is possible that an animal would be inspected and no difficulty found, but in truth, the effects of the fall would be enough to kill it. To reduce the possibility of such an occurrence, Chullin 51b requires waiting an entire day before slaughtering the animal. See Kessef Mishneh.

47.

See Halachah 17.

48.

Chullin 56a describes such a situation with regard to an animal. The Rambam speaks of a fowl instead, for this is a more commonplace possibility.

49.

Lest its organs have been crushed.

50.

This addition is made on the basis of the Kessef Mishneh and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 33:10).

51.

Nevertheless, the Rambam mentions this condition here in connection with an animal that has fallen, because this is the most frequent situation in which this condition will occur.

52.

They came loose from the place where they are attached within the throat area. See Chapter 3, Halachah 14, and Chapter 8, Halachah 23.

53.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the Rambam rules that the animal is unacceptable, not because it would die because of this condition, but because it is impossible to slaughter it correctly.

54.

If, however, the entire throat became loose from the jaw, the animal is trefe. For the gullet and the windpipe themselves, however, must remain taut and this is impossible if the entire throat has become loose (Kessef Mishneh).

55.

I.e., the area referred to by the halachic term "the entrance to the gullet."

56.

Chapter 1, Halachah 6.

Shechitah - Chapter 10

1

What is meant by the term sheburah?1 That the majority of [an animal's] ribs are broken. An animal has eleven ribs2 on either side of its body. If six were broken on one side and six on the other, or eleven were broken on one side and one on the other, [the animal] is trefe. [This applies] provided it is the half that faces the backbone3 and not the half that faces the chest.

2

When six [ribs] were broken on either side, [the animal] is trefe [only] when they are large ribs that have marrow. If not, even though they represent the majority of the animal's ribs and they were broken facing the backbone, [the animal] is permitted.

Similarly, if the majority of the ribs were uprooted, [the animal] is trefe. [Moreover,] if even one rib is uprooted together with half of the vertebra in which it is lodged, it is trefe. Similarly, if even one vertebra was uprooted from the backbone, it is trefe, even if was a vertebra that is below the flanks where there are no ribs.

3

[The following rules apply when] the thigh of an animal has slipped from its place and has left its socket. If its sinews, i.e., the peg-like projections from the bones of the socket which extend toward the bone that enters the socket4 and holds it have degenerated, [the animal] is trefe.5 If they have not degenerated, it is permitted.6

4

Similarly, with regard to a fowl, if its hip is dislocated,7 it is trefe. If its wing is dislocated from its socket, we fear that it perforated the lung.8 Therefore we conduct an examination.9 Afterwards, it may be eaten. When the foreleg of an animal is dislocated from its socket, it is permitted. We do not harbor any suspicions.10

5

When a portion of the skull of a domesticated animal or wild beast the size of a sela11 was removed, [the animal] is trefe even though the membrane was not perforated. If a skull was perforated by a number of small holes that [detract from the skull's] substance, they are all added together [to see if their combined size equals] a sela.

6

Similarly, if the majority of the height12 and the majority of the circumference of a skull was crushed, [the animal] is trefe, even though its membrane is intact and it is not lacking any substance. If the majority of its height was crushed, but the majority of its circumference was intact or the majority of its circumference was crushed, but the majority of its height was intact, there is an unresolved doubt whether [the animal] is trefe or not.13 It appears to me that we forbid it.14

7

When the bones of the skull of a water fowl, e.g., a goose, is perforated,15 [the fowl] is trefe even though the membrane has not been perforated. [The rationale is that] the membrane is soft.16

[The following procedure should be adhered to when] a weasel struck17 a land fowl on the head or it was struck by a stone or a piece of wood. One places his hand next to the hole and applies pressure or he inserts his hand into the fowl's mouth and applies pressure upward. If [the fowl's] brain emerged from the hole, it can be concluded that the membrane has been perforated and it is trefe. If not, it is permitted.18

8

When an animal's blood pressure causes it to choke,19 it was affected by a black gall bladder secretion20 or a white gall bladder secretion,21 it ate a poison which kills animals, or drank fowl water, it is permitted.22 If it ate a poison that could kill a human or it was bitten by a snake or the like, it is permitted with regard to the laws of trefe, but it is forbidden because of the mortal danger [partaking of it could cause].23

9

Thus the total number of conditions that cause a domesticated animal or a wild beast to be deemed trefe when singled out are seventy. They are: 1) an animal that has been attacked;24

2) the perforation of the entrance to the gullet;25

3) the perforation of the membrane of the brain;26

4) the degeneration of the brain itself;27

5) the perforation of the heart itself to its cavities;28

6) the perforation of the arteries leading from the heart;29

7) the perforation of the gall-bladder;30

8) the perforation of the arteries of the liver;31

9) the perforation of the maw;32

10) the perforation of the stomach;33

11) the perforation of the abdomen;34

12) the perforation of the gut;35

13) the perforation of the digestive organs;36

14) the digestive organs protruded outside the animal's body and became overturned;37

15) the perforation of the thick portion of the spleen;38

16) a lack of a gall-bladder;39

17) being born with two gall-bladders;40

18) a lack of a maw;

19) being born with two maws;

20) a lack of a stomach;

21) being born with two stomachs;

22) a lack of an abdomen

23) being born with abdomens;

24) a lack of a gut;

25) being born with two guts;

26) a lack of one of the digestive organs;

27) being born with an extra digestive organ;

28) the perforation of the lung;41

29) the perforation of the windpipe in a place where it is not fit for ritual slaughter;42

30) the perforation of the bronchioles of the lungs, even if it is covered by another one;43

31) a portion of the lungs has become closed;44

32) the degeneration of one of the bronchioles of the lungs;45

33) the discovery of putrid fluid in the lungs;46

34) the discovery of putrid liquid in the lungs;47

35) the discovery of murky liquid in [the lungs] even if it has not become putrid;48

36)the degeneration of the lung;49

37) a change in the lung's appearance;50

38) the reversal of the gullet's appearance;51

39) a lack of one of the required number of lobes of the lung;52

40) a change in the order of the lobes;53

41) the addition of a lobe on the back [of the lung];54

42) the attachment of one lobe to another out of the ordinary order;55

43) the discovery of a lung without division into lobes:56

44) the lack of a portion of the lung;57

45) a portion of the body of the lung is dried out;58

46) the discovery of the lung in an inflated state;59

47) a lung became shriveled because of fear of humans;60

48) the lack of a hindleg; whether from birth or because it was cut off;61

49) the possession of an extra leg;62

50) the removal of the junction of the sinews;63

51) the removal of the liver;64

52) the removal of the upper jaw-bone;65

53) a kidney that became extremely undersized;66

54) a kidney that has become afflicted;67

55) the discovery of fluid in the kidney;68

56) the discovery of murky liquid in the kidney, even if it is not putrid;69

57) the discovery of putrid liquid in the kidney;70

58) the severance of the spinal cord;71

59) the softening and degeneration of the spinal cord;72

60) the ripping open of the majority of the flesh that covers the belly;73

61) the removal of [an animal's] skin;74

62) the crushing of [an animal's] organs due to a fall;75

63) the slippage of the gullet and windpipe;76

64) the breaking of the majority of [the animal's] ribs;77

65) the uprooting of the majority of the ribs;78

66) the uprooting of one rib together with its vertebra;79

67) the uprooting of one vertebra; 80

68) the slippage of the thigh from its socket;81

69) the lack of a portion of the skull the size of a sela;82

70) the crushing and smashing of the majority of the skull;83

10

These seventy conditions of infirmity which cause a domesticated animal or a wild beast to be forbidden as a trefe were each explained together with all the particular laws. All of the possible parallels that can be found with regard to a fowl in the organs that are common to an animal and a fowl are the same with regard to an animal and a fowl. The only exceptions are the conditions that render an animal trefe in the kidneys, the spleen, and the lobes of the lung. For a fowl does not have a division of lobes like an animal does. If there is such a division, there is no fixed number. The spleen of a fowl is round like a grape and is not the same shape as that of an animal.84 [The conditions of infirmity] concerning the kidneys and the spleen [that render] an animal trefe were not mentioned in order to find parallels with regard to a fowl. Therefore no set measure was given concerning a fowl with regard to a kidney whose size was reduced. Similar concepts apply in other analogous situations.85

11

There are two conditions that render a fowl trefe in addition to those that render an animal [trefe] despite the fact that [an animal] also possesses these organs. They are: a) a fowl whose digestive organs have changed color because of [exposure to] fire;86

b) a water fowl whose skull bone has been perforated.87

12

One should not add to these conditions that render an animal trefe at all.88 For any condition that occurs with regard to a domesticated animal, wild beast, or fowl aside from those listed by the Sages of the early generations and which were agreed upon by the courts of Israel can possibly live. [This applies] even if it is known to us according to medical wisdom that ultimately it will not live.89

13

Similarly, with regard to those [conditions] which [our Sages] listed as [causing an animal to be] deemed trefe even though it appears from the medical knowledge we possess that some of them will not kill and it is possible for the animal to live - we follow only what the Torah says,90 as [Deuteronomy 17:11] states: "According to the Torah in which they will instruct you."91

14

Whenever a butcher is knowledgeable about these [conditions that cause an animal to be deemed] trefe and he has established a reputation for observance, he may slaughter [animals], inspect them himself, and sell them without any suspicion. [The rationale is the word of] one witness is accepted with regard to the Torah's prohibition whether his testimony will lead to benefit for him or not.

We already explained92 that we do not purchase meat from a butcher who slaughters and inspects [the animal] himself in the Diaspora or [even] in Eretz Yisrael in the present age unless he established a reputation as an expert. If he sold an animal that was trefe, we place him under a ban of ostracism and remove him from his position.93 He cannot reestablish his credibility until he goes to a place where his identity is not recognized and he returns a lost article that is very valuable or [slaughters an animal] for himself and declares it trefe even though it involves a significant loss.

Footnotes
1.

Sheburah is also one of the eight categories of trefot mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 2. The term literally means "broken."

2.

An animal also has several smaller ribs, but they're being broken does not impair the animal's functioning.

3.

I.e., the portion close to the backbone. If the ribs are broken there, the animal's functioning can be impaired. If they are broken closer to the chest, the impairment will be less severe.

4.

Speaking in analogy, the Rambam refers to this as "the male" bone.

5.

The Ra'avad states that if the thigh is dislocated from its upper socket, the animal is trefe even if the sinews have not degenerated. According to the Ra'avad, the law stated by the Rambam applies when the thigh is dislocated from its lower socket. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 55:2) follows the Rambam's perspective. The Rama mentions that there are opinions that maintain that in the present age, we are not knowledgeable with regard to the determination of whether the sinews have degenerated and we should rule an animal trefe whenever its thigh has dislocated. He advises following these views whenever there is not a significant loss involved.

6.

Similarly, even if they have degenerated, but the bone has not slipped out of its socket, the animal is permitted. As long as the bone is in its socket, we assume that the sinews will regenerate [Maggid Mishneh; Rama (Yoreh De'ah 55:2)].

7.

And the sinews have degenerated (Kessef Mishneh).

8.

I.e., the dislocation of the wing is not sufficient to render the fowl trefe in its own right. Nevertheless, we fear that perhaps it perforated the lung and hence require an examination.

9.

And inflate the lung [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 53:3)].

10.

For the shoulder socket is substantial and will prevent the arm bone from perforating the lung (Kessef Mishneh). The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 52:1) quotes views that rule that an animal is trefe if its arm is broken close to its body and there are signs of internal bleeding.

11.

As mentioned above, a sela is one third of a handbreadth wide. Thus its diameter is 2.6 cm according to Shiurei Torah and 3.2 cm according to Chazon Ish.

12.

I.e., the majority of the portion of the skull from the eyes up (Rashi, Chullin 52b).

13.

This question is left unresolved by Chullin, loc. cit.

14.

The Kessef Mishneh clarifies why it is necessary for the Rambam to make this statement, seemingly, it is obvious. Whenever there is an unresolved question concerning a Torah prohibition, we rule stringently. He explains that it is possible to interpret the Talmud's question is implying that in one circumstance, when the majority of the skull's height alone is crushed or the majority of its circumference alone is crushed, the animal is kosher, but we are unsure of which one. Therefore the Rambam must clarify that because of the doubt, both situations are forbidden.

15.

Even the smallest perforation can render the fowl trefe (Kessef Mishneh).

16.

If it is not protected by the skull, it will most likely be perforated in the near future (Rashi, Chullin 56a).

17.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that we are speaking about a situation where the weasel bit the fowl on the skull. If it struck it with its paws, the fowl is trefe, because it is a derusah, as stated in Chapter 5, Halachah 6.

18.

According to the Rambam, both of these procedures are equally effective (Kessef Mishneh). The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 30:2) writes that in the present age, we are not knowledgeable with regard to this process of examination and should rule that a fowl is trefe whenever its skull is perforated.

19.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's translation of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chullin 3:5).

20.

Here also our translation follows the above source. Rav Kapach draws support for his interpretation from Psalms 74:1.

21.

Which when is not released according to the proper measure causes the animal to become very heavy and to have difficulty moving (ibid.). It must be emphasized that other commentaries offer different interpretations of all three of these conditions.

22.

In this context, the commentaries have cited Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 4:11: "When an animal is sick because it is weakened and is on the verge of death, it is permitted, because it did not suffer a wound in any one of the limbs and organs that will cause it to die. For the Torah forbade only those situations resembling an animal mortally wounded by a preying wild beast. In that situation, the animal wounded it with a blow that caused it to die."

23.

For the poison or the venom could kill the person who partakes of the animal's meat. See Hilchot Rotzeach UShemirat Nefesh 12:1. 24. The Kessef Mishneh explains the basis for the Rambam's reckoning: Whenever a condition that causes an animal to be deemed trefe is mentioned explicitly by the Talmud, it is considered as being in a separate category even though it is a derivative of another category. For example, the degeneration of the bronchioles is considered a separate category even though it is a derivative of the category of the perforation of the bronchioles.

24.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 4 ff.

25.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 2.

26.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 3.

27.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 4.

28.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 5.

29.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 4.

30.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 6.

31.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 8.

32.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 10.

33.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 11.

34.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 10.

35.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 10.

36.

See Chapter 6, Halachot 13-14.

37.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 15.

38.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 19.

39.

This - and the instances mentioned in situations 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 - are derived from the principle stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 20, that whenever the perforation of an organ causes an animal to be deemed trefe, the animal is also deemed trefe if that organ is lacking.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam's mentions a lack of only those organs that an animal could exist for a brief time without. If, however, it is impossible for an animal to exist at all without these organs, e.g., the brain and the heart, it is improper to call the animal trefe. Instead a more severe term is appropriate.

40.

This - and the instances mentioned in situations 19, 21, 23, 25, and 27 - are derived from the principle stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 20, that whenever an animal to be deemed trefe if organ is lacking, the animal is also deemed trefe if it possesses two of that organ.

41.

See Chapter 7, Halachot 1-2.

42.

This - and the instances mentioned in situations 19, 21, 23, 25, and 27 - are derived from the principle stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 20, that whenever an animal to be deemed trefe if organ is lacking, the animal is also deemed trefe if it possesses two of that organ.

43.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 3.

44.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 6.

45.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 9.

46.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 10.

47.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 9.

48.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 9.

49.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 12.

50.

See Chapter 7, Halachot 15-19.

51.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 21.

52.

See Chapter 8, Halachot 1-2.

53.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 3.

54.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 4.

55.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 5.

56.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 7.

57.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 5.

58.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 5.

59.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 8.

60.

See Chapter 8, Halachot 9-10.

61.

See Chapter 8, Halachot 11-12.

62.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 11.

63.

See Chapter 8, Halachot 13, 15-18.

64.

See Chapter 8, Halachot 21-22.

65.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 23.

66.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 26.

67.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 23.

68.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 23.

69.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 23.

70.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 23.

71.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 1.

72.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 2.

73.

See Chapter 9, Halachot 5-6.

74.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 7.

75.

See Chapter 9, Halachot 8-9.

76.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 21.

77.

Halachah 1 of the present chapter.

78.

Halachah 2 of the present chapter.

79.

Halachah 1 of the present chapter.

80.

Halachah 1 of the present chapter.

81.

Halachah 3 of the present chapter.

82.

Halachah 5 of the present chapter.

83.

Halachah 5 of the present chapter.

84.

Therefore the distinction between its thick and thin end that applies with regard to an animal does not apply with regard to a fowl. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 43:6) rules that a perforation of the spleen does not render a fowl trefe. The Siftei Cohen 43:10, however, quotes opinions that rule that a perforation does render it trefe.

85.

I.e., other factors concerning a kidney which render an animal trefe, as mentioned in Chapter 8, Halachah 26. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 44:10) states bluntly: "There are no factors involving the kidneys of a fowl that render it trefe."

86.

See Chapter 7, Halachot 20-21. An animal will not be affected in this way, because his ribs will protect him and the skin of his digestive organs are stronger than that of a fowl. The Ra'avad differs and states that if an animal is subjected to heat and it burns its internal organs to this degree, it will surely die immediately. Therefore, our Sages did not mention it as a trefe. The Kessef Mishneh notes that there are two other conditions that render a fowl trefe. They involve perforations in the stomachs. Since parallel - albeit not identical - conditions apply with regard to an animal, the Rambam does not list them as separate categories.

87.

See Halachah 7 of this chapter. This stringency applies only to a water fowl, because its membrane is very soft.

88.

Chullin 54a makes this statement, implying that in the Talmudic era, these rulings were already established.

89.

Kin'at Eliyahu cites Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh 17:24 which states:

Nevertheless, since these concepts can be proven in an unshakable manner, leaving no room for question, the identity of the author, be he a prophet or a gentile, is of no concern. For when the rationale of a matter has been revealed and has proven truth..., we do not rely on [the personal authority of] the individual who made the statement... but on the proofs he presented.

From that perspective, it would appear that the empirical evidence with which science presents us should be followed. Nevertheless, in this source, the Rambam is very adamant in following the Rabbinic perspective. See Chapter 8, Halachah 25, as a clear example.

90.

The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 57:18) states that even if the animal survives for over a year, it is still deemed trefe and it is forbidden to partake of it.

91.

Kin'at Eliyahu cites Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh 17:24 which states:

Nevertheless, since these concepts can be proven in an unshakable manner, leaving no room for question, the identity of the author, be he a prophet or a gentile, is of no concern. For when the rationale of a matter has been revealed and has proven truth..., we do not rely on [the personal authority of] the individual who made the statement... but on the proofs he presented.

From that perspective, it would appear that the empirical evidence with which science presents us should be followed. Nevertheless, in this source, the Rambam is very adamant in following the Rabbinic perspective. See Chapter 8, Halachah 25, as a clear example.

92.

Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 8:7-9.

93.

The Maggid Mishneh writes that although he is not permitted to sell meat on his own, he is permitted to sell under the supervision of a trustworthy expert.

The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 2:2) rules leniently concerning this manner and allows such a person to continue slaughtering in certain situations. The Siftei Cohen 2:11 questions this leniency.

Shechitah - Chapter 11

1

[The following principles apply] whenever a situation arises that creates a doubt that an animal or fowl should be deemed trefe because of one of the above conditions - e.g., an animal that fell and did not walk, it was attacked by a wild beast and we do not know whether the flesh near the intestines turned red or not, its skull was crushed and we do not know if the majority of the skull was crushed or not, or other similar circumstances: If the animal was male and it remained alive for twelve months, we operate on the assumption that it is intact like all other animals. If it was female, [we wait] until it gives birth.1

With regard to a fowl: If it is male, [we wait] twelve months. If it is female, [we wait] until it lays all the eggs that it is carrying, spawns a new load, and lays them.

2

During this course of time, it is forbidden to sell an animal concerning which doubt has arisen whether it is a trefe to a gentile lest he sell it to a Jew.2

3

We operate under the presumption that all domesticated animals, wild beasts, or fowl are healthy3 and we do not suspect that they possess conditions that would render them trefe. Therefore when they are slaughtered in the proper manner, they do not require an examination to see whether they possess a condition that would render them trefe. Instead, we operate under the presumption that they are permitted unless a situation arises that arouses suspicion.4 Afterwards, we inspect it with regard to that condition alone.

4

What is implied? For example if the wing of a fowl is displaced, we check the lung to see if it was perforated.5 If an animal fell, we check it to see if its organs were crushed.6 If the skull was crushed, we check the membrane of the brain to see if it was perforated.7 If it was struck by a thorn or shot by an arrow, a javelin, or the like and it entered its inner cavity, our suspicions are aroused and we require an inspection of the entire inner cavity lest it have perforated one of the organs whose perforation renders an animal trefe. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

5

Therefore when there are growths on a lung or sirchos upon it - i.e., strands or adhesions - hanging from it to the ribcage, the heart, or the diaphragm, we suspect that it was perforated and require an inspection.8 Similarly, if a swelling was found that contained fluid, we fear that a bronchiole below it was perforated and [the lung] must be inspected.9

6

[Following the logic] of this law, [the following rules] would apply if it was discovered that sirchos like strands were hanging from the lung, whether they extended from the body of the lung to the ribcage or to the heart or to the diaphragm. We cut the sirchah, take out the lung, and [place it] in lukewarm water, and blow it up.10 If it is discovered to be perforated,11 [the animal] is trefe. If the water does not bubble, it is intact, without any perforations, and [the animal] is permitted. For [the sirchah] was not at the place of a perforation12 or perhaps only the outer membrane [of the lung] was perforated. Nevertheless, I never saw anyone who ruled in this manner, nor did I hear of a place that follows such practice.13

7

Even though this is what appears [to be the ruling] from the words of the Sages of the Gemara, the widespread custom among the Jewish people is as follows: When a domesticated animal or a wild beast is slaughtered, we tear open the diaphragm and check the lung in its place.14 If a sirchah is not discovered hanging between the one of the lobes and the flesh where it lies, whether on the flesh that is between the ribs or the flesh on the breastbone,15 or a sirchah was found, extending from one lobe to the other in order,16 or from the body of the lung to the lobe which is next to it,17 we permit [the animal].18

8

If a strand is discovered leading from the lung to any place which it is extended, even if it is thin as a hair, we forbid [the animal].19

9

Similarly, if there was a strand extending from the lung to the heart, the diaphragm, the protective covering of the heart, or the rose,20 we forbid [the animal]. [This applies] whether the strand came from the body of the lung or whether it came from a lobe and [applies regardless of its size], even if it was a hairsbreadth.21

Similarly, when the rose is attached to its pocket or a strand extends from it to its pocket, we forbid it. And when a strand extends from lobe to lobe in improper order, we forbid [the animal].22

10

There are places where the custom is that if a sirchah is from the lobe to the flesh and the bones of the ribs and the sirchah is attached to both of them, they forbid it.23 My father and teacher is from those who forbid it. I, by contrast, am one of those who permit it.24 In a small number of places, they permit it even when it is attached to the bone alone, and I forbid it.25

11

There are places where a lung is [always] blown up to see whether or not it is perforated. In most places, however, it is not blown up, because there is no factor that raised a suspicion [concerning it]. In Spain and in the West, we never blew up a lung unless there was a factor that caused suspicion.26

12

All of these factors27 are not dictated by law, but rather are a result of custom, as we explained.28 I never heard of anyone who had a fowl's lung inspected unless a factor that raised suspicions arose.29

13

If, [after] a person slaughtered an animal and cut open its belly, a dog or a gentile came, took the lung, and departed before [the slaughterer] checked the lung, [the animal] is permitted. We do not say that perhaps it was perforated or perhaps it was attached [to the bone], for we do not presume that [an animal] was forbidden.30 Instead, we operate under the presumption that the animal is kosher unless we know what factor caused it to become trefe. Just like we do not suspect that the membrane of the brain was perforated, the backbone [was severed], or the like, we do not raise suspicions over a lung that has been lost. There are no customs regarding such a situation, because customs are not instituted with regard to factors that are not commonplace.

14

If a gentile or a Jew comes and takes out a lung before the lung was inspected, but the lung [still] exists, we blow it up.31 [This applies] even if we do not know whether there were growths or not, because of the widespread custom.

15

There are places who rule that we forbid [an animal] if there are sirchot hanging from the lung, even if they are not attached to the chest or to another place. This practice causes great loss and the forfeit of Jewish money. This was never the custom in France or in Spain and it was never heard in the West. It is not proper to follow this custom. Instead, all that is necessary is to blow up [the lung]. If it is discovered to be intact without a perforation, [the animal] is permitted.32

Footnotes
1.

I.e., if it gives birth successfully, that is a sign that it is intact. There is no need for an inspection or waiting twelve months. Even the Rama who maintains that in the present age, we are not knowledgeable with regard to inspections will consider an animal acceptable if it lives this amount of time (Yoreh De'ah 57:18).

2.

Without informing him of the doubt involved.

The Rama quotes the Sha'arei Dura who writes that if a condition that renders an animal trefe is obvious, we permit its sale to a gentile. For a Jew who seeks to purchase it will immediately become aware of the difficulty.

The Rama also mentions the ruling of the Terumat HaDeshen that if there is merely a question of whether an animal is trefe, it may be sold to a gentile. The Siftei Cohen 57:51 accepts this leniency only with regard to an animal regarding which there is a question whether or not it was attacked, but not with regard to other conditions.

3.

Chullin 11b explains that this is based on the principle that we follow the majority. Since most animals are healthy we assume that this is an animal's condition unless there is reason to suspect otherwise. Note, however, Halachah 7.

4.

Based on Chullin 51a, the Kessef Mishneh goes further and states that even if the animal possesses a condition that is somewhat problematic, if we can find a commonplace explanation for it that will not render an animal trefe and the factor that will render it trefe is uncommon, we do not require an examination.

5.

See Chapter 10, Halachah 4.

6.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 17.

7.

See Chapter 10, Halachah 7.

8.

I.e., the strands and similarly, the other conditions the Rambam proceeds to mention, are abnormal factors that lead us to the supposition that there was a perforation in the lung. See Chapter 7, Halachot 5-11 that mention several situations of this nature.

9.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that even if the swelling is an indication that the bronchiole has been perforated, that does not disqualify the animal, for it is possible that it is sealed by flesh. The Radbaz explains that the Rambam would also accept that ruling and one of the points that one must inspect is whether there is flesh under the swelling or not.

10.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 8. As mentioned in the notes to that halachah, there is a difference of opinion among the Rishonim concerning this issue.

The Ra'avad also mentions that the Rambam's ruling here appears to contradict his ruling in Chapter 7, Halachah 5. For there, the Rambam differentiates between whether or not there is a bruise on the chest, and there he does not speak of inspecting the lung in warm water. In a lengthy discussion in his gloss to Chapter 7, the Kessef Mishneh explains that there is no contradiction between the two rulings.

11.

I.e., if the water bubbles.

12.

There is a difference of opinion among the halachic authorities if this situation is possible or not.

13.

I.e., as the Rambam proceeds to explain in the following halachah, the common custom is more stringent.

14.

See the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 39:1) which states that we must check the lungs for sirchot and concludes: "Whoever breaks ranks and eats without checking [the lung] should be bitten by a snake."

15.

For as stated in Chapter 7, Halachot 3-4, even a perforation found in this place does not render the animal trefe.

16.

For as stated in Chapter 8, Halachah 5, an adhesion of such a type does not render the animal trefe.

17.

See the notes to Halachah 9. Depending on the version of that text, the Rambam's ruling concerning this matter may be questioned.

18.

The Rama 39:18 writes that it is common custom in the Ashkenazic community to rule that all sirchot in the lung cause an animal to be deemed forbidden except those extending from a lobe to the lobe next to it or those from the body of the lung to the lobe next to it. He does, however, permit leniency if it is possible to rub out the sirchah and then examine it to see that there is no perforation.

19.

I.e., except to the lobe that is near it (Radbaz).

20.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 1, which explains that this is a tiny lobe found on the right side of the lung.

21.

For we fear that it will cause a perforation in the lung. See the gloss of the Radbaz to Halachah 6.

22.

The text of the Mishneh Torah which the Ra'avad had seemed to apply that even a strand extending from the body of the lung to the lobe is unacceptable. The Ra'avad therefore protests and maintains it is acceptable. The Migdal Oz states that he also saw texts of the Mishneh Torah with this version, but that the authoritative manuscripts do not follow that reading. This is also the position of the Kessef Mishneh.

23.

If the sirchah is attached to the flesh alone, it does not cause an animal to be considered trefe (see Chapter 7, Halachah 4). Here, however, it is attached to both the flesh and the bone and that creates the problem.

24.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 39:18) cites the Rambam's position.

Parenthetically, the commentaries have questioned the Rambam's statements here from the standpoint of kibud av, "honoring one's father." Seemingly, after mentioning his father, he should have stated - as he himself rules in Hilchot Mamrim 6:5 - "May he be remembered for the life of the world to come." Also, that same source (Halachah 3) forbids "offering an opinion that outweighs [that of his father]."

25.

The Ra'avad follows the more lenient view. Here also the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) cites the Rambam's position.

26.

The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 39:1) mentions both the custom of blowing up the lung in all cases and the Rambam's position that it is not necessary to blow up all lungs. He concludes that the Rambam's position should be given primacy.

27.

I.e., the stringencies forbidding an animal because of certain sirchot and requiring the lungs to be blown up.

28.

Halachot 6 and 7.

29.

At present, there are certain Rabbinic authorities who require that the lungs of a chicken be inspected, because in the present age, since chickens are raised in a manner very different from their natural circumstances, it is common for there to be difficulties with regard to their lungs.

30.

If there is no evidence that a factor existed that caused the animal to become trefe, we do not assume that one existed. Even according to the custom that requires an animal to be checked, we are assuming only the possibility that it might have a disqualifying factor. If there is no way to check it, we assume that the animal is kosher.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that since disqualifying factors involving the lung are common, if a lung was not inspected, we cannot consider the animal as kosher. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 39:2) quotes the Rambam's view. The Rama mentions the position of the Ra'avad and states that the Rambam's position may be followed only when there is a possibility of severe financial loss.

31.

Normally, we would not blow up a lung unless there was a factor that aroused suspicion. Nevertheless, in this instance, since we did not see it in its natural situation - and the possibility exists that there were such factors there - we require an examination. The Turei Zahav 39:2 states that, according to our custom [see Rama (Yoreh De'ah 39:4)] that we do not rely on an examination in a situation where there is a clearly problematic situation, we do not rely on an examination in this instance as well.

32.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 39:8) rules that such an animal is permitted without the lung being inspected. The Turei Zahav 39:12 states that an examination must be conducted to see whether the lung is perforated or not.

This represents the difference between glatt meat and meat that is not glatt. Glatt means "smooth," i.e., i.e., there are no sirchot, adhesions, or growths, extending from the animal's lungs. Thus there is no need to inspect it. When meat is not glatt, there were sirchot and/or the like extending from the lungs. They were inspected and no perforation was discovered. Hence, the meat is kosher. Nevertheless, there are many who follow the stringency of not partaking of it.

(It must be emphasized that, at present, glatt is sometimes used as a general term to connote a higher level of punctilious observance of the details of kashrus in general without specifically referring to questions concerning the lungs.)

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