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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Shechitah - Chapter 12, Shechitah - Chapter 13, Shechitah - Chapter 14

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Shechitah - Chapter 12

1

When a person slaughters an animal and its offspring on the same day, the meat is permitted to be eaten.1 The slaughterer, however, is punished by lashes,2as [Leviticus 22:28] states: "Do not slaughter [an ox or a sheep]3 and its offspring on one day." He receives lashes only for slaughtering the second animal. Accordingly, if one person slaughtered one of such a pair and another person slaughtered the second, [the one who slaughtered the second alone] receives lashes.

א

השוחט אותו ואת בנו ביום אחד הבשר מותר באכילה והשוחט לוקה שנאמר אותו ואת בנו לא תשחטו ביום אחד, ואינו לוקה אלא על שחיטת האחרון, לפיכך אם שחט אחד משניהן ובא חבירו ושחט את השני חבירו לוקה.

2

The prohibition against slaughtering [an animal] and its offspring applies in all times and in all places, with regard to ordinary animals and sacrificial animals. [With regard to the latter category, it applies] with regard to sacrifices of which we partake and with regard to sacrifices of which we do not partake.4 Therefore if one slaughtered the first animal in the Temple courtyard and the second outside of it or the first outside the Temple courtyard and the second inside, the one who slaughtered the second animal receives lashes [for violating the prohibition against slaughtering] an animal and its offspring. [This applies] whether they were both ordinary animals,5 they were both sacrificial animals,6 or one7 was an ordinary animal and one, a sacrificial one.

ב

איסור אותו ואת בנו נוהג בכל זמן ובכל מקום בחולין ובמוקדשין, בין קדשים הנאכלין בין קדשים שאינן נאכלין, לפיכך הראשון ששחט בעזרה והשני בחוץ, או הראשון בחוץ והשני בעזרה, בין שהיו שניהן חולין או שניהן קדשים, בין שהיה אחד מהן חולין ואחד קדשים, זה ששחט אחרון לוקה משום אותו ואת בנו.

3

The prohibition against slaughtering [an animal] and its offspring applies only with regard to ritual slaughter, as the verse states: "Do not slaughter." [Implied] is that the prohibition involves the slaughter of both animals. If, however, one chopped off the head of one of them or it became a nevelah in his hand,8 it is permitted to slaughter [the other]. Similarly, if he slaughtered the first and chopped off the head of the second or it became a nevelah in his hand, he is not liable.

ג

אין איסור אותו ואת בנו נוהג אלא בשחיטה בלבד שנאמר לא תשחטו בשחיטת שניהן הוא האיסור, אבל אם נחר הראשון או נתנבל בידו מותר לשחוט, וכן אם שחט הראשון ונחר השני או נתנבל בידו פטור.

4

When a deaf-mute, an intellectually or emotionally incapable person, or a minor slaughtered the first animal privately,9 it is permitted to slaughter the second animal afterwards because their slaughter is not considered as slaughter.10

ד

חרש שוטה וקטן ששחטו בינם לבין עצמן את הראשון מותר לשחוט שני אחריהם, לפי שאין שחיטתן שחיטה (כלל).

5

When one slaughters the first animal, but a question arises whether it is a nevelah or not, it is forbidden to slaughter the second [animal].11 If one slaughters it, he is not liable for lashes.12

ה

השוחט את הראשון והרי הוא ספק נבלה אסור לשחוט השני, ואם שחטו אינו לוקה.

6

Slaughter from which it is not fit to eat is, nevertheless, considered slaughter. Therefore if the first person slaughtered an ordinary animal in the Temple courtyard,13 one which is trefe, an ox condemned to be stoned, a calf whose neck is to be broken, a red heifer, or slaughtered for the sake of a false deity,14a person who slaughters the second animal is liable. Similarly, if one slaughtered the first animal and another slaughtered the second though it is an ordinary animal in the Temple courtyard, an ox condemned to be stoned, a calf whose neck is to be broken, or a red heifer, [the second person] is liable for lashes.

ו

שחיטה שאינה ראויה לאכילה שמה שחיטה, לפיכך הראשון ששחט חולין בעזרה או טריפה או שור הנסקל ועגלה ערופה ופרה אדומה או ששחט לעכו"ם ובא האחרון ושחט את השני לוקה, וכן אם שחט הראשון את האחד ובא האחרון ושחט את השני והרי הוא חולין בעזרה או שור הנסקל או עגלה ערופה ופרה אדומה הרי זה לוקה.

7

When [the second animal] is slaughtered for the sake of a false deity,15[the slaughterer] is not liable because of [the prohibition against slaughtering] an animal and its offspring, for he is liable for capital punishment.16If, however, he was given a warning for [the prohibition against slaughtering an animal] and its offspring and was not given a warning for the worship of false deities,17 he receives lashes.18

ז

שחטו לעכו"ם פטור משום אותו ואת בנו שהרי נתחייב בנפשו, ואם התרו בו משום אותו ואת בנו ולא התרו בו משום עכו"ם לוקה.

8

The prohibition against slaughtering [an animal] and its offspring applies only with regard to a kosher domesticated animal. [This is derived from the exegesis of Leviticus, loc. cit.]:19 "Do not slaughter [an ox or a sheep] and its offspring on one day."

[This prohibition] does apply with regard to hybrid species. What is implied? When a [male] deer mates with a [female] goat and one slaughters the goat and its offspring, one is liable. When, however, a [male] goat mates with a [female] deer and one slaughters the deer and its offspring, it is forbidden to slaughter [the deer and its offspring], if one slaughters them, however, one is not liable for lashes.20 The Torah forbade slaughtering a cow21 and its offspring and not a deer and its offspring.

ח

אין איסור אותו ואת בנו נוהג אלא בבהמה טהורה בלבד שנאמר ושור או שה אותו ואת בנו לא תשחטו ביום אחד, ונוהג בכלאים, כיצד צבי שבא על העז ושחט העז ואת בנה לוקה, אבל העז שבא על הצביה אסור לשחוט אותה ואת בנה ואם שחט אינו לוקה, פרה ובנה אסרה תורה לא צביה ובנה.

9

If the offspring of this deer was female and it gave birth to offspring, one is liable for lashes should he slaughter the female offspring of this deer and its offspring [on the same day].22 Similarly, if a hybrid species is produced by mating a sheep and a goat - regardless of which is male and which is female - [the slaughterer can be held liable for] lashes for [violating the prohibition against slaughtering] an animal and its offspring.

ט

היתה בת הצביה הזאת נקבה וילדה בן ושחט את הנקבה בת הצביה ואת בנה לוקה, וכן כלאים הבא ממין כבש וממין עז בין מכבש עם העז בין מעז עם הכבשה לוקה משום אותו ואת בנו.

10

It is permitted to slaughter a pregnant animal. The fetus is considered as a limb of its mother.23 If the fetus emerged alive after the slaughter of its mother and stepped on the ground,24 one should not slaughter it on the same day. If one did, one is not liable for lashes.25

י

מותר לשחוט את המעוברת עובר ירך אמו הוא, ואם יצא העובר חי אחר שחיטה והפריס על גבי קרקע אין שוחטין אותו ביום אחד ואם שחט אינו לוקה.

11

The prohibition against slaughtering [an animal] and its offspring applies with regard to a mother, for the offspring is certainly its own. If one knows with certainty that a male fathered offspring, the two should not be slaughtered on the same day. If one slaughtered [them together, however,] he is not liable for lashes, for there is a doubt whether or not the prohibition applies with regard to males.26

יא

איסור אותו ואת בנו נוהג בנקבות שזה בנה ודאי, ואם נודע ודאי שזה הוא אביו אין שוחטין שניהן ביום אחד ואם שחט אינו לוקה, שהדבר ספק אם נוהג בזכרים או אינו נוהג.

12

When a person slaughters a cow and afterwards slaughters two of its offspring, he is liable for two sets of lashes.27 If he slaughters [several of] its offspring and then it, he is liable for [only] one set of lashes.28 If he slaughtered it, its female offspring and the offspring of its offspring, he is liable for two sets of lashes.29 If he slaughtered it, the offspring of its offspring and its female offspring, he is liable for [only] one set of lashes.30

יב

השוחט את הפרה ואחר כך שחט שני בניה לוקה שתי מלקיות, שחט את בניה ואחר כך שחט היא לוקה אחת, שחטה ואת בתה ואת בן בתה לוקה שתים, שחטה ואת בן בתה ואחר כך שחט את הבת לוקה אחת בין הוא בין אחר.

13

When two people [each] purchased an animal: one the mother and one the offspring and they brought the matter for judgment,31 the one who purchased [the animal] first is allowed to slaughter it first,32 the other one should wait until the next day. If the second purchaser slaughtered [his animal] first, he gains and the first must wait until the next day.

יג

שנים שלקחו שתי בהמות זה האם וזה הבת ובאו לדין, זה שלקח ראשון ישחוט ראשון והשני ימתין למחר, ואם קדם השני ושחט זכה וימתין הראשון עד למחר.

14

Four times a year, it is necessary for a person who sells an animal to a colleague to inform him that he already sold the mother or the daughter of the animal to another person for the sake of slaughtering it so that the latter purchaser will wait and not slaughter until the next day.33 They are: the day preceding the final holiday of Sukkot,34 the day preceding the first holiday of Pesach,35 the day preceding Shavuot,36 and the day preceding Rosh HaShanah.37

יד

בארבעה פרקים בשנה המוכר בהמה לחבירו צריך להודיעו ולומר לו כבר מכרתי אמה או בתה לאחר לשחוט כדי שימתין זה האחרון ולא ישחוט עד למחר, ואלו הן: ערב יום טוב האחרון של חג, וערב יום טוב הראשון של פסח, וערב עצרת, וערב ראש השנה.

15

When does the above apply? When he saw that the person who purchased it last was anxious to buy and it was at the end of the day, [in which instance,] it can be presumed that he will slaughter it immediately. If, however, there was ample time during the day, he is not required to inform him, for perhaps he will not slaughter until the following day.38

טו

במה דברים אמורים כשראה זה שלקח באחרונה נחפז לקנות והיה בסוף היום שחזקתו שהוא שוחט עתה, אבל אם היה ריוח ביום אינו צריך להודיעו שמא לא ישחוט אלא למחר. 44

16

When one sells the mother to a groom and the daughter to the bride, he must notify them.39 For certainly, they will slaughter them both on the same day. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

טז

והמוכר את האם לחתן והבת לכלה צריך להודיען, שודאי ביום אחד שוחטין וכל כל כיוצא בזה.

17

[With regard to the term] one day mentioned in the context of [the prohibition against slaughtering an animal] and its offspring, the day follows the night.40 what is implied? He slaughtered the first animal at the beginning of Tuesday night, he may not slaughter the other one until the beginning of Wednesday night. Similarly, if he slaughtered one at the close of Wednesday, before bein hashemashot,41 he may slaughter the other one at the beginning of Wednesday night. If he slaughtered the first during bein hashemashot Wednesday evening, he may not slaughter the second until after nightfall on Thursday.42 If he slaughtered it during the day on Thursday, he does not receive lashes.43

יז

יום אחד האמור באותו ואת בנו היום הולך אחר הלילה, כיצד הרי ששחט ראשון בתחלת ליל רביעי לא ישחוט השני עד תחלת ליל חמישי, וכן אם שחט הראשון בסוף יום רביעי קודם בין השמשות שוחט השני בתחלת ליל חמישי, שחט ראשון בין השמשות של ליל חמישי לא ישחוט השני עד ליל ששי ואם שחט ביום חמישי אינו לוקה..

Footnotes
1.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 16:3) mentions a difference of opinion concerning this matter, for some authorities forbid partaking of the meat. The Rama clarifies that the difference of opinion applies only with regard to the second animal. The first animal is permitted. Moreover, even the more stringent authorities maintain that the prohibition applies:

a) only that day, and

b) only for the transgressor himself. It is a penalty imposed upon him by the Sages and not a prohibition of Scriptural Law. See Maggid Mishneh; Turei Zahav 16:23.

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 101) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 294) include this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

See Moreh Nevuchim, Vol. III, ch. 48, that states that this prohibition was given to us to prevent cruelty. For an animal will be severely aggrieved if its offspring or its mother is slaughtered before its eyes. Note, however, Hilchot Tefilah 9:7 where the Rambam emphasizes that the Torah's mitzvot were not given to us for the sake of any particular rationale. Note, however, the conclusion of Hilchot Temurah which explains that there are two dimensions to every mitzvah: that it is God's decree and that He issued that decree for a particular rationale. (See also Halachah 3 which indicates that the prohibition is a Divine decree, not limited to that rationale.)

3.

The Torah (and the Rambam) use the masculine although the prohibition applies primarily to a mother and its offspring. See Halachah 11.

4.

For the prohibition concerns slaughter.

5.

And it is forbidden to slaughter an ordinary animal in the Temple courtyard.

6.

And thus may not be sacrificed outside the Temple courtyard.

7.

I.e., either the one that was sacrificed inside the Temple or the one sacrificed outside. The point of these statements is, as stated in Halachah 6, even though the slaughter is not befitting, within the context of this prohibition, it is considered as ritual slaughter.

8.

I.e., the slaughter was unacceptable. If, however, it was discovered that the animal was trefe, it is considered to have been slaughtered and it is forbidden to slaughter the second animal (Halachah 6, Siftei Cohen 16:18).

9.

If, however, they slaughtered under the supervision of a knowledgeable adult, their slaughter is acceptable (Chapter 4, Halachah 5). Hence, this prohibition applies. See Rama (Yoreh De'ah 16:9).

10.

Hence it is equivalent to cutting off the head of the animal and the previous halachah applies.

11.

For perhaps the animal was kosher and one would be violating the prohibition.

12.

Because there is a doubt involved.

13.

Rambam LeAm questions why this concept is mentioned. It was already stated in Halachah 2.

14.

In all these instances, it is forbidden to benefit from the slaughtered animal. (See Hilchot Nizkei Mammon 11:9; Hilchot Rotzeach 10:6, Hilchot Parah Adumah 1:7; Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 7:2.)

15.

Seemingly, the same principles stated in the previous halachah would apply in this instance. Nevertheless, in this case, there is another factor involved as the Rambam continues to explain.

16.

As befits one who sacrifices to a false deity. One is not liable for both capital punishment and lashes for the same act. Since he is liable for capital punishment, he is not held liable for lashes. (See Ketubot 33b; Chullin 81b.)

17.

I.e., when the witnesses administered the warning, they mentioned the lesser transgression and not the more severe one.

18.

For in this instance, he is not liable for the more severe punishment. There is a difference of opinion among the Sages of the Talmud concerning whether one is absolved from liability for lashes in such a situation or not and the halachah follows the opinion of Rabbi Yochanan who maintains that one is liable. See Ketubot 34b-35a, Chullin, loc. cit.

19.

See the Sifra to the verse which states that the first excludes wild beasts and fowl.

20.

See the Turei Zahav 16:11 and the Siftei Cohen 16:16 who debate the rulings of the Rashba and the Maharshal who permit one to slaughter the deer and its offspring even as an initial and preferred option.

21.

I.e., a kosher domesticated animal.

22.

Since ultimately, the ancestor of the hybrid deer was a domesticated animal, we hold the slaughterer liable (see Chullin 80a). Although in his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro quotes the opinion of the Rashba who does not hold the slaughtered liable for lashes, in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 16:8), he cites the Rambam's view. The Turei Zahav 16:12 and the Siftei Cohen 16:17 debate this issue and side with the more lenient views, questioning the Rambam's ruling in light of his position in Halachah 11.

23.

And not a separate entity for whose slaughter one is held liable.

24.

If the fetus does not step on the ground, it need not be slaughtered (Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 5:14). Hence, the prohibition against slaughtering an animal and its offspring would not apply.

25.

The Tosefta states: Since it is not required to slaughter such an animal, one is not liable for slaughtering it together with its mother.

26.

This issue was apparently a matter of uncertainty for the Rambam, for in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Chullin 5:6) he revised his interpretation several times. His final text (see Rav Kapach's version which differs from the standard published text) parallels the text here. Note, however, Bechorot 7:7 which appears to refer to this prohibition with regard to males.

27.

For he violated the prohibition twice.

28.

For he performed one forbidden act.

29.

For in this instance as well, he violated the prohibition twice.

30.

Although the same act caused two violations of the prohibition, since it was only one deed, the majority opinion in Chullin 82a only holds the person liable for set of lashes. As Rashi explains: There is one prohibition, one deed, and one warning.

31.

I.e., they both desired to slaughter their animal that day.

32.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 16:6) states that this law applies only when the two purchased the animals from the same person. If they purchased them from different individuals, neither has precedence over the other.

33.

In other situations, it is not necessary to notify him, for it is not certain that either purchaser will slaughter the animal on that day.

34.

This is the holiday of Shemini Atzeret/Simchas Torah, a day of great rejoicing. Hence it is appropriate that meat be part of the festive meals. On the first day of Sukkot, by contrast, because the people are involved in preparing a sukkah and a lulav, they do not have the energy for excessive celebration.

35.

For the Seder is a time of great rejoicing and celebration. The seventh day of Pesach, by contrast, is not considered that important a festival.

36.

Rashi explains that the animals were necessary for sacrifices to be brought for the holiday. Tosafot states that Shavuos is customarily marked by great celebration in commemoration of the Giving of the Torah.

37.

For it is customary to begin the new year with celebratory feasts.

38.

The fact that he shows repose indicates that he may be purchasing the animal for a later date. The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the person's repose is taken into consideration only when he purchases the animal on the day before the day preceding the festival. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 16:6) quotes the Raa'vad's ruling.

39.

That the other animal was also sold. This applies even if he did not sell them both on the same day [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 16:6)].

40.

I.e., it is a calendar day according to the Jewish calendar, not a day from sunrise to sunset or a 24-hour period beginning from the time one animal is slaughtered.

41.

This term literally means "between the suns." It refers to the time between the setting of the sun and the appearance of the stars. There is an unresolved doubt whether the day ends at sunset or at the appearance of the stars. Hence, the halachic status of this period of time is one of question.

42.

Lest the period until the appearance of the stars be considered as part of the previous day.

43.

For punishment may not be given in a situation where doubt exists.

44.

אבל אם היה ריוח ביום אינו צריך להודיעו. א"א מעולם לא הפליג בריוח אותו היום אלא בערב הערב /במקור רשומה הערה זו: ס"א בערב יוה"כ/ יש מי שמקדים שני ימים ושוחט ובא רבי יהודה לומר אף על פי שיש מקדימין אינו צריך להודיעו וכן מוכח בתוספתא.

Shechitah - Chapter 13

1

When a person takes a mother together with its young and slaughters it, the meat is permitted to be eaten.1 He is, however, liable for lashes for slaughtering the mother,2 as [Deuteronomy 22:6] states: "Do not take the mother together with its offspring." Similarly, if it died before he sent it away, he is liable for lashes.3 If he sent it away after he took it, he is not liable.4

א

הלוקח אם על הבנים ושחטה, הבשר מותר באכילה ולוקה על שחיטת האם שנאמר לא תקח האם על הבנים, וכן אם מתה קודם שישלחנה לוקה, ואם שלחה אחר שלקחה פטור.

2

Similarly, [with regard to] all negative commandments that can be corrected by a positive commandment,5 one is obligated to fulfill the positive commandment. If he does not fulfill it, he is liable for lashes.6

ב

וכן כל מצות לא תעשה שניתקה לעשה חייב לקיים עשה שבה ואם לא קיימו לוקה.

3

If another person comes and seizes the mother bird from his hands and sends it away or it took flight from his possession without his knowledge, he is liable for lashes. [This is implied by ibid.:7]: "You shall certainly send away [the mother]," i.e., he must send away [the mother bird] himself. [If not,] he did not fulfill the related positive commandment.7

ג

בא אחד וחטף האם מידו ושלחה או שברחה מתחת ידו שלא מדעתו לוקה שנאמר שלח תשלח עד שישלח מעצמו והרי לא קיים עשה שבה.

4

If he took a mother bird together with its young, cut off its wings so that it cannot fly and sent it away,8 he is given stripes for rebellious conduct.9 [He must] keep [the mother bird] in his possession until her wings grow back and then send her away. If [the mother] died before this or fled and was lost, he is liable for lashes, for he did not fulfill the related positive commandment.

ד

נטל אם על הבנים וקצץ אגפיה כדי שלא תעוף ושלחה מכין אותו מכת מרדות, ומשהה אותה אצלו עד שיגדלו כנפיה ומשלחה, ואם מתה קודם לזה או ברחה ואבדה לוקה שהרי לא קיים עשה שבה.

5

How must one send away the mother? He holds her by her wings and has her fly away. If he sent her away and she returned, he sent her away and she returned10 - even if this happens - four or five times, he is obligated to send her away, as [implied by the repetition of the verb in the] phrase: "You shall certainly send away."11

ה

וכיצד משלח האם אוחז בכנפיה ומפריחה, שלחה וחזרה ושלחה וחזרה אפילו ארבע וחמש פעמים חייב לשלח שנאמר שלח תשלח.

6

Although a person says "I will take the mother bird and send away the young,"12 he is obligated to send away the mother bird, as the verse states: "You shall certainly send away the mother."

ו

האומר הריני נוטל את האם ומשלח את הבנים חייב לשלח את האם שנאמר שלח תשלח את האם.

7

If he [sent away the mother,]13 took the offspring and [then] returned them to the nest and the mother came back to them, he is not obligated to send [her] away.14

It is permitted to send away the mother and then snare her again. The Torah forbade snaring only when she cannot fly away because of her offspring over which she is hovering so that they not be taken,15 as [ibid.:6] states: "And the mother is resting on the chicks." If, however, he removed her from his grasp and then snared her again, it is permitted.

ז

לקח את הבנים והחזירן לקן ואח"כ חזרה האם עליהן פטור מלשלח, שלח את האם וחזר וצד אותה הרי זה מותר, לא אסרה תורה אלא לצוד אותה והיא אינה יכולה לפרוח בשביל הבנים שהיא מרחפת עליהן שלא ילקחו שנאמר והאם רובצת על האפרוחים, אבל אם הוציאה מתחת ידו וחזר וצד אותה מותר.

8

[The mitzvah to] send away the mother bird applies only with regard to a kosher species of fowl16 that are not at hand, e.g., doves that rested in a dovecote or on a loft,17 wild fowl that nested in an orchard. [This is derived from the phrase (ibid.)]: "When you will chance upon." When, however, [fowl is] at hand, e.g., ducks, chicken, and doves that nested in a building, one is not liable to send away the mother.

ח

שלוח האם אינו נוהג אלא בעוף טהור שאינו מזומן כגון יוני שובך ועלייה ועופות שקננו בפרדס שנאמר כי יקרא, אבל המזומן כגון אווזין ותרנגולין ויונים שקננו בבית אינו חייב לשלח.

9

If the chicks could fly and thus they no longer needed their mother or [the mother was sitting on] unfertilized eggs,18 he is not obligated to send away [the mother]. If the chicks were trefot, it is comparable to unfertilized eggs and he is not liable to send away [the mother].19

ט

היו האפרוחין מפריחין שאינן צריכין לאמן או ביצים מוזרות אינו חייב לשלח, היו אפרוחין טרפות הרי אלו כביצים מוזרות ופטור מלשלח.

10

When a male fowl is resting on a nest, one is not obligated to send him away [before taking the young].20 When a non-kosher bird is resting on the nest of the eggs of a kosher fowl or a kosher fowl is resting on the eggs of a non-kosher fowl, one is not obligated to send away [the fowl that is resting].21

י

זכר שמצאו רובץ על הקן פטור מלשלח, עוף טמא רובץ על ביצי עוף טהור, או עוף טהור רובץ על ביצי עוף טמא פטור מלשלח.

11

When a [kosher fowl] was resting on kosher eggs of a different species, one should send [the bird] away. If, however, one fails to do so, one is not liable.22If the mother is trefe, he is obligated to send her away.23

יא

היתה רובצת על ביצים שאינן מינה והן טהורין הרי זה משלח, ואם לא שלח אינו לוקה, היתה האם טרפה חייב לשלחה.

12

When one slits a portion of the gullet24 [of the mother]25 before he took her, he is liable to send her away. If he did not send her away, he is not liable for lashes.26

יב

שחט מקצת סימנין בתוך הקן קודם שיקחנה חייב לשלח ואם לא שלח אינו לוקה.

13

[The following laws apply if the mother bird] was hovering [over the nest]: If her wings were touching the nest, one is obligated to send her away.27 If not, he is not obligated. If there was a cloth or feathers intervening between her wings and the nest, he must send her away. If he did not send her away, he is not liable for lashes.28

יג

היתה מעופפת, אם כנפיה נוגעות בקן חייב לשלח, ואם לאו פטור מלשלח, היתה מטלית או כנפים חוצצות בין כנפיה ובין הקן הרי זה משלח, ואם לא שלח אינו לוקה.

14

If there were two rows of eggs and [the mother bird's] wings were touching [only] the top row, [the mother bird] was sitting on unfertilized eggs, but there were good eggs below them, one female was sitting on another female, a male was sitting on the nest and the female was sitting on the male - [in all these situations,] one should not take [the mother bird with the offspring]. If he takes [her], he should send her away. But if he does not send her away, he is not liable for lashes.29

יד

היו שני סדרי ביצים וכנפיה נוגעות בסדר העליון או שהיתה רובצת על ביצים מוזרות ותחתיהן ביצים יפות או שהיתה אם על גבי אם, או שהיה הזכר על הקן והאם על הזכר הרי זה לא יקח ואם לקח ישלח ואם לא שלח אינו לוקה.

15

If [the mother bird] was sitting among the young or the eggs and was not touching them,30 one is not liable to send her away.31 Similarly, if she was at the side of the nest and her wings were touching the nest from the side, he is not obligated to send her away.

טו

היתה יושבת בין האפרוחים או בין הביצים ואינה נוגעת בהן פטור מלשלח, וכן אם היתה בצד הקן וכנפיה נוגעות בקן מצדו פטור מלשלח.

16

When [the mother bird was perched] on two branches of a tree and the nest was positioned between them, we make an evaluation. In all instances where the mother would fall on the nest if the branches were removed, one is obligated to send her away.32

טז

היתה על שני בדי אילן והקן ביניהן רואין כל שאילו ינטלו הבדין תפול על הקן חייב לשלח.

17

When the mother is resting on one chick or on one egg, one is obligated to send her away.33 When a person finds a nest floating on the water or positioned on the back of an animal, he is obligated to send the mother away. [The verse] mentions "chicks or eggs"34 and "on any tree or on the ground" [not as exclusions], but because the Torah speaks about the commonplace situations.35

יז

היתה רובצת על אפרוח אחד או על ביצה אחת חייב לשלח, המוצא קן על פני המים או על גבי בעלי חיים חייב לשלח, לא נאמר אפרוחים או ביצים ולא נאמר בכל עץ או על הארץ אלא שדיבר הכתוב בהווה.

18

It is forbidden to acquire the eggs as long as the mother is resting upon them. Therefore even if a mother bird was resting on eggs or chicks in one's loft or dovecote, they are not considered as "at hand" and his courtyard does not acquire them for him.36 Just as he cannot acquire them on behalf of others [until he sends away the mother], so, too, his courtyard cannot acquire them on his behalf.37 Therefore, he must send [her] away.38

יח

אסור לזכות בביצים כל זמן שהאם רובצת עליהן, לפיכך אפילו היתה רובצת על הביצים או על האפרוחים בעלייתו ושובכו אינן מזומנין, ולא קנה לו חצרו כשם שאינו יכול לזכות בהן לאחרים כך לא תזכה לו חצרו בהן ולפיכך חייב לשלח.

19

It is forbidden to take a mother bird together with her offspring, even to purify a person with tzara'at.39 If he took [the mother], he is obligated to send her away. If he did not, he is liable for lashes.40 [The rationale is that] a positive commandment41 does not supersede the observance of a negative commandment [that is reinforced] by a positive commandment.42 And a positive commandment does not supersede another positive commandment.43

יט

אסור ליטול אם על הבנים ואפילו לטהר בהן את המצורע שהיא מצוה, ואם לקח חייב לשלח, ואם לא שלח לוקה, שאין עשה דוחה לא תעשה ועשה, (ועשה) ולא עשה דוחה עשה.

20

[The following rule applies when] a person consecrates a wild fowl to the Temple treasury, it flies away from his hand, but he recognizes it and finds it resting on chicks or on eggs. He should take the entire [nest]44 and bring it to the Temple treasurer. [The rationale is that the mitzvah of] sending away the mother bird does not apply with regard to consecrated [fowl], as [implied by Deuteronomy 22:7]: "And you may take the offspring for yourself." These may not [be taken] for yourself.45

כ

המקדיש עוף לבדק הבית ופרח מידו והרי הוא מכירו ומצאו רובץ על האפרוחים או על הביצים לוקח הכל ומביאן לידי גזבר, שאין שילוח האם נוהג במוקדשין שנאמר ואת הבנים תקח לך ואלו אינן שלך.

21

When a fowl killed a human being, one is not obligated to send it away. [The rationale is that] one is commanded to bring it to court so that it will be judged.46

כא

עוף שהרג את הנפש פטור מלשלח מפני שהוא מצווה להביאו לבית דין לדון אותו..

Footnotes
1.

The fact that he violated a transgression in taking the mother does not cause the meat to be prohibited.

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 306) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 544) include this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

The person transgresses the prohibition when he takes the mother and the offspring. Nevertheless, as long as the mother is alive and he can correct his deed by sending her away, he is not liable for lashes. This follows the principle of lav hanitak li'asai, a prohibition that can be corrected by a positive commandment, as stated in the following halachah.

3.

For he can no longer fulfill the positive commandment.

4.

For he corrected his actions through the positive commandment. Nevertheless, at the outset, it is forbidden for him to take the mother. He must send it away first, as is the simple meaning of the Torah's commandment. See Siftei Cohen 292:11.

5.

The positive commandment to send away the mother bird is also considered as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah [Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 148); Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 545)].

See the Kessef Mishneh (to Halachah 19) which explains that Chullin 141a mentions a difference of opinion concerning this mitzvah between Rabbi Yehudah and the Sages. Rabbi Yehudah maintains - and this is the simple meaning of the verse - that the positive commandment requires one to send away the mother bird only before taking it. Thus according to his view, sending away the mother after it was taken does not fulfill a mitzvah and hence, does not correct the transgression. The Sages differ and maintain that the halachic definition of the mitzvah also includes sending away the bird after it was taken. Therefore, if one took the mother together with its young, he can correct his transgression by sending away the mother. The Rambam's decision reflects the Sages' position.

6.

See Makkot 16b which mentions a difference of opinion concerning the matter. One view maintains that as long as the person does not prevent himself from correcting the transgression through his own conduct, e.g., with regard to the matter at hand, he did not kill the mother bird, he is not lible for lashes. The other view, which as above is accepted as halachah by the Rambam, is that the person becomes liable for lashes when he violates the transgression. It is just that the punishment is suspended as long as he has the opportunity to correct the matter. Once, however, that opportunity no longer exists, even if it is not his fault - e.g., in the matter at hand, the bird dies - that punishment is meted out.

7.

And is therefore held liable for the violation of the negative commandment.

8.

I.e., he is trying to perform the mitzvah by sending the mother bird away on its feet so that he will not be held liable and yet will be able to take it again shortly afterwards. See Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 292:4).

9.

I.e., he is punished for his defiance of the spirit of the Torah's commandments even though it is possible that he will not actually be held liable for lashes.

10.

I.e., as long as the mother returns before he takes the young so that the mitzvah is still relevant (Siftei Cohen 292:8).

11.

See Bava Metzia 31a which gives several examples of how the repetition of a verb in the Torah implies that a commandment must be fulfilled even 100 times.

12.

And thus seemingly, he will be fulfilling the intent of the Torah's commandment, for he will not be taking the mother and the young together.

13.

This addition is made on the basis of Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 292:5).

14.

Once he has taken the offspring, they are considered as "at hand," and this mitzvah no longer applies as stated in the following halachah and notes (Siftei Cohen 292:10).

15.

For, as emphasized in Moreh Nevuchim, Vol. III, ch. 48, which explains that this is the motivating rationale for this mitzvah: to prevent the cruel act of taking the young in front of the mother. Note, however, Hilchot Tefilah 9:7 and the resolution of the apparent contradiction in the previous chapter.

16.

Chullin 139b derives this concept from the exegesis of the prooftext from Deuteronomy.

17.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 292:2 and commentaries) emphasizes that if the nest is within the person's property and the mother bird lifts itself up, the person automatically acquires the offspring. From that time on, they are considered as "at hand" and the mitzvah does not apply. See Halachah 18 and notes.

18.

Our translation is based on Rashi's commentary to Chullin 64b.

19.

Chullin, loc. cit., notes that the verse mentions both eggs and chicks and derives both of these concepts from an equation it establishes between the two: Just as the chicks are entities that will continue to exist, so too, the eggs must be entities that will continue to exist [in contrast to unfertilized eggs that will spoil after a certain time]. Just as the eggs require their mother, so too, the chicks must require their mother.

20.

Chullin 140a emphasizes that the verse mentions a mother, implying "and not a father."

21.

For Chullin 138b states that the verse forbids taking the bird and its offspring "for yourself." Implied is that there is no prohibition when taking it for your dogs, i.e., taking a non-kosher species which is fit only to be fed to the dogs.

22.

There is an unresolved question concerning this issue in Chullin 140b. Hence, it is forbidden to take the birds, but one is not liable for lashes because of the doubt.

23.

Even though it is forbidden to eat the mother, there is a difference between it and a fowl from a non-kosher species. A mother from a non-kosher species is excluded because the prooftext uses the term tzipor which indicates a kosher species. A bird which is trefe, though forbidden, is still a tzipor (Siftei Cohen 292:1).

24.

The literal meaning of the Rambam's words is "If he cut a portion of the signs." We have translated the Rambam's words as above because as obvious from the conclusion of his ruling, there is a doubt whether he is obligated to send away the mother bird. And with regard to the windpipe there is no doubt that he is obligated to send away the mother.

To explain: Chullin 140b questions: "Do we say that since after slitting a portion of the signs the animal will be trefe, is there a need to send it away?" Now, if a person slits less than half the windpipe, the fowl is not trefe and if he slits more than half of it, its slaughter is completed. Hence, we are forced to say that he is speaking about cutting a portion - but less than half - of the gullet. If he does not complete the slaughter, making such a slit will render the fowl trefe.

25.

The fact the Rambam uses the term sheyikachenah, "before he takes her," implies that he is speaking about the mother bird. This understanding is also acknowledged by the Tur and Rabbenu Nissim. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro questions that interpretation, noting that even if the mother bird was made trefe by slitting its gullet, it would have to be sent away as stated in the previous halachah. Therefore, he suggests amending the text of the Mishneh Torah to imply that the signs of the chicks were slit and the question is, since he is involved in the slaughter of the chicks and stopping to send away the mother would render them trefe, must he stop and send her away or not. He follows this interpretation in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 292:10).

26.

Since the Talmud does not resolve the question it raises, one cannot be held liable for lashes because of the doubt.

27.

The Torah uses the expression "resting on the nest." Chullin 40b infers that if the mother is hovering over the nest, the mitzvah does not imply. Since the verse does not use the term "sitting," however, we learn that the obligation exists even when the mother is not sitting in the nest but lingering close by in a manner that its wings are touching.

28.

This question is left unresolved by Chullin, loc. cit. Hence, the Rambam rules that one must be stringent and send away the mother, but because of the doubt, cannot be held liable for lashes if he did not.

29.

All of these situations are questions left unresolved by Chullin 140b. Hence, as above, one must be stringent and send away the mother, but because of the doubt, cannot be held liable for lashes if he did not.

30.

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro mentions a question raised by Rabbenu Nissim: Since touching the nest from the side is not sufficient as indicated by the concluding clause in the halachah, what does it matter if the mother bird touches its young from the side when it sits among them? Based on that objection, in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 292:12), he incorporates Rabbenu Nissim's understanding when quoting this law.

31.

For the Torah speaks about the mother "resting on the eggs or the chicks" and not sitting at their side.

32.

Rashi, Chullin 140b, states that this applies even if the mother's wings are not touching the nest. As long as she is resting directly above the nest, it is considered as if she was resting on it. The Siftei Cohen 292:17 quotes this point as halachah.

33.

As evident from Chullin 12:3, the Biblical command speaks about "a nest." As long as a nest contains one egg or chick, it is still considered a nest.

34.

Using a plural form.

35.

This is a general principle applying with regard to many Biblical commandments. See Yevamot 15:2, Shabbat 65a, Nedarim 48a.

36.

The Rambam is referring to a principle in Jewish business law which maintains that a person can acquire property by virtue of its presence in his domain. As the Rambam states in Hilchot Gezelah Va'Avedah 17:8-11:

A person's courtyard can acquire property for him without him being aware of it. Thus, if a lost object falls into a person's courtyard, he acquires it.

When does the above apply? When the courtyard is protected. [When, by contrast, a lost article enters a person's] field or garden [different rules apply]. If he is standing at the side of his field and says, "May my field acquire it for me," he acquires it. If, however, he is not standing there, or he is standing there but does not make such a statement [he does not acquire it.]...

The [potential for] a man [to acquire property by virtue of its presence in his] courtyard is derived, by contrast, from [the fact that] he is able to acquire an article via an agent. Just as an agent can acquire [an article] for him, so too, can he acquire [an article by virtue of its presence in his] courtyard....

[The following rules apply when a person] sees... young doves that cannot fly [in his property]: [When the following conditions are met:] he was standing at the side of his field, [the animals] were on his property, and he could catch them if he ran, he can acquire them [by virtue of their presence in] his field if he states: "May my field acquire them for me."

Thus in the case at hand, since the person cannot acquire the eggs himself until he sends away the mother, his courtyard cannot acquire them on his behalf (Chullin 141b).

37.

For as stated in the quoted portion, the potential for a person's property to acquire an article on his behalf is derived from the laws of agency.

38.

As mentioned above, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 292:2) states that if the mother bird lifted itself up, the person can acquire the chicks by virtue of their presence in his property even if he does not remove them from their nest. From that time on, they are considered as "at hand" and this mitzvah does not apply. Indeed, he can tap the nest so that the mother will rise up and then acquire the young (Kessef Mishneh).

39.

A skin condition, resembling leprosy, that is visited upon a person as retribution for speaking gossip and slander. The purification process for such a person is described in Leviticus, ch. 14, and Hilchot Tuma'at Tzara'at 11:1.

40.

As stated in Halachah 2. Even if he used the mother bird for a mitzvah, he still receives lashes for violating the transgression.

41.

The purification of the person with tzara'at.

42.

The prohibition of taking the mother which is reinforced by the mitzvah to send her away. Note the Kessef Mishneh who questions whether the two mitzvot should be placed in this category, for according to the Sages (whose opinion is accepted as halachah), the two mitzvot do not apply at the same time.

43.

I.e., once he has taken the mother bird, he is obligated to send her away and the observance of another positive commandment, e.g., the purification rite mentioned above, does not supplant it.

44.

For not only the mother, but also the offspring, belong to the Temple treasury. For the mother gave birth to them after she had been consecrated.

45.

For as above the offspring are also the property of the Temple treasury.

Significantly, although the Rambam's ruling is based on Chullin 138b, he does not quote the wording of the Talmud, but instead, explains the derivation of the ruling in a different manner. The Lechem Mishneh explains that this reflects a pattern found frequently in the Mishneh Torah: The Rambam will explain the derivation of a law differently than the Talmud if it appears to him that his derivation is simpler and more direct.

46.

See Hilchot Sanhedrin 5:2 which states that an animal that kills a human must be judged by a court of 23 judges.

Shechitah - Chapter 14

1

It is a positive commandment1 to cover the blood of a kosher wild beast or fowl2 that was slaughtered, as [Leviticus 17:13] states: "If you will snare a wild beast or a fowl that may be eaten, you shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth." Therefore, before covering it, he is obligated to recite the blessing: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the earth who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to cover the blood.

א

מצות עשה לכסות דם שחיטת חיה טהורה או עוף טהור שנאמר אשר יצוד ציד חיה או עוף אשר יאכל ושפך את דמו וכסהו בעפר, לפיכך חייב לברך קודם שיכסה בא"י אמ"ה אקב"ו על כיסוי הדם.

2

[The mitzvah] to cover the blood applies to animals that are at hand and those that are not at hand. [The verse mentions:] "If you will snare" only because it speaks about the commonplace situation. It applies with regard to ordinary animals, but not to those consecrated: whether they were consecrated [to be offered on] the altar or consecrated to the Temple treasury. If a person transgresses3 and slaughters [such an animal], he is not obligated to cover its blood.

ב

כסוי הדם נוהג במזומן ובשאינו מזומן, לא נאמר אשר יצוד אלא בהווה, ונוהג בחולין ולא במוקדשין, בין קדשי המזבח בין קדשי בדק הבית ואם עבר ושחטן אינו חייב לכסות את דמן.

3

If a person slaughters a wild beast or a fowl and afterwards, consecrates them - or consecrates the blood - he is obligated to cover the blood.4

ג

שחט חיה ועוף ואחר כך הקדישן או הקדיש את הדם חייב לכסות.

4

It is necessary to cover the blood of a hybrid that comes from the mating of an animal and a wild beast or an animal that we do not know whether to classify as a domesticated animal or a wild beast,5 but one does not recite the blessing.6 When a person slaughters for the sake of a sick person on the Sabbath, he is obligated to cover the blood after the Sabbath.7 Similarly, when a person slaughters an animal whose status is doubtful or is a hybrid on a festival, he should cover its blood after the festival.8

ד

כלאים הבא מבהמה וחיה וכן בריה שהיא ספק בהמה או חיה צריך לכסות ואינו מברך, השוחט לחולה בשבת חייב לכסות לאחר שבת וכן השוחט ספק או כלאים ביום טוב מכסה דמו לאחר יום טוב.

5

When a person slaughters many fowl and several types of wild beasts in one place, he should recite one blessing and cover the blood of all of them together at one time.9

ה

השוחט עופות ומיני חיה במקום אחד מברך ברכה אחת לכולן וכסוי אחד לכולן.

6

When blood becomes mixed with water, one is obligated to cover it if it has the appearance of blood. If not, one is not liable. If it became mixed with wine or the blood of a domesticated animal, one considers it as if they were water. If were [the wine or blood] to have been water, [the mixture] would have appeared to be blood, he is obligated to cover the entire mixture. If not, he is not obligated.

ו

דם שנתערב במים אם יש בו מראה דם חייב לכסות ואם לאו פטור, נתערב ביין או בדם בהמה רואין אותן כאילו הם מים, אם אפשר שיראה מראה הדם שחייב לכסותו כשיעור זה אילו היה מים חייב לכסות הכל ואם לאו פטור.

7

If a person covered blood and then it became revealed, he is not obligated to cover it a second time.10 If blood was covered by [dust blown] by the wind, one is not obligated to cover it.11 If it became revealed again after the wind covered it, he is obligated to cover it.12

ז

כסהו ונתגלה אינו חייב לכסותו פעם אחרת, כסתהו הרוח אינו חייב לכסות, חזר ונתגלה אחר שכסתהו הרוח חייב לכסות.

8

If there is no other blood [from the slaughter] except the blood which spurted out [while the animal was being slaughtered] and the blood on the knife,13 one is obligated to cover it.14

ח

דם הניתז ושעל הסכין אם אין שם דם אלא הוא חייב לכסות. 34

9

[The following rules apply if] one slaughters and the blood is absorbed in the ground. If a mark remains, he is obligated to cover it. If not, it is as if it was covered by the wind15 and he is not obligated to cover it.

ט

שחט ונבלע הדם בקרקע אם רישומו ניכר חייב לכסות, ואם לאו הרי זה כמי שכסתהו הרוח ופטור מלכסות.

10

The only blood that must be covered is the blood of slaughter [that produces meat] that is fit to be eaten, as [the prooftext cited] states: "that may be eaten."16 Therefore, if a person slaughters and the animal is discovered to be trefe, one slaughters ordinary [fowl or beasts] in the Temple Courtyard,17 one slaughters fowl or beasts that were condemned to be stoned to death,18 one slaughters an animal and causes it to become a nevelah, one is not obligated to cover the blood. Similarly when a deaf-mute, a mentally or emotional incompetent person or a minor slaughters in private, there is no obligation19 to cover the blood [of the animal] they slaughtered.20

י

אין חייב בכסוי אלא דם שחיטה הראויה לאכילה שנאמר אשר יאכל, לפיכך השוחט ונמצאת טרפה, או השוחט חולין בעזרה, או השוחט חיה ועוף שנגמר דינן לסקילה והשוחט ונתנבלה בידו פטור מלכסות, וכן חרש שוטה וקטן ששחטו בינן לבין עצמן פטורין מלכסות דם שחיטתן.

11

With what should [the blood] be covered? With earth,21 lime, gypsum, fine fertilizer, fine sand that need not be crushed by a potter, crushed rocks and earthen-ware, fine flax chips, fine saw dust, bricks, burnt mud,22 and sealing clay that are crushed, for all of these are types of "earth." If, however, one covered it with a utensil or with stones, it is not considered as "covered," for the verse states "with earth."

יא

במה מכסין בסיד ובגפסית בזבל דק ובחול דק שאין היוצר צריך לכותשו ובשחיקת אבנים וחרשים ובנעורת של פשתן דקה ובנסורת חרשים דקה ובלבינה וחרסית ומגופה שכתשה שכל אלו מין עפר הן, אבל אם כפה עליו כלי או כסהו באבנים אין זה כיסוי שנאמר בעפר.

12

For this reason, we do not cover [blood] with coarse fertilizer, coarse sand, flour, bran, grain fiber, or filings from metal utensils, for these are not types of "earth." There is one exception: filings of gold alone may be used to cover [blood], for they are called "dust,"23 as [Job 28:6] states: "And it possesses the dust of gold" and [Deuteronomy 9:21] speaks [of grinding the Gold Calf] "until it was thin, into dust."

יב

לפיכך אין מכסים בזבל גס וחול גס וקמח וסובין ומורסן ושחיקת כלי מתכות לפי שאין אלו מין עפר, חוץ משחיקת הזהב בלבד שמכסין בהם מפני שנקרא עפר שנאמר ועפרות זהב לו ואומר עד אשר דק לעפר.

13

We may cover [blood] with oven soot, stibium,24 powder from mills, and ashes. [This includes] ashes from trees and ashes from clothes, even ashes from meat that was burnt, for [Numbers 19:17] speaks of "the ashes of the burnt sin-offering."25 It is permitted to cover [blood] with the ashes of a city that went astray [and was therefore destroyed].26

יג

מכסין בשיחור והוא פיח הכבשן ובכוחל ובנקרת פסילים ובאפר בין אפר עצים בין אפר בגדים אפילו אפר בשר שנשרף שהרי כתוב מעפר שריפת החטאת, ומותר לכסות בעפר עיר הנדחת.

14

One who slaughters must place earth below27 and then slaughter, [pouring the blood] into [the earth]. Afterwards, he covers it with earth. He should not slaughter [and pour the blood] into a container28 and then cover it with earth.

יד

השוחט צריך ליתן עפר למטה ואחר כך ישחוט בו ואחר כך יכסה בעפר אבל לא ישחוט בכלי ויכסה בעפר.

15

The person who slaughters [the animal] should cover its blood,29 as [the above prooftext ] states: "[You shall pour out its blood and] cover it with earth."30 If he did not cover the blood and another person sees it, he is obligated to cover it, for this is an independent mitzvah and is not dependent on the slaughterer alone.31

טו

ומי ששחט הוא יכסה שנאמר וכסהו בעפר, ואם לא כסהו וראהו אחר חייב לכסות שזו מצוה בפני עצמה ואינה תלויה בשוחט לבד.

16

When a person covers the blood, he should not cover it with his feet,32 but instead with his hands, a knife, or a utensil, so that he will not treat it with disdain and regard the mitzvoth with scorn. For the mitzvot in and of themselves are not worthy of honor. Instead, [the honor is] due He, blessed be He, who commanded us to observe them and [thus] saved us from groping in darkness and thus granted us a lamp to straighten crooked paths and a light to illumine the upright ways.33 And so [Psalms 119:105] states: "Your words are a lamp to my feet and a light for my ways."

Blessed be G‑d who grants assistance.

טז

וכשמכסה לא יכסה ברגלו אלא בידו או בסכין או בכלי כדי שלא ינהוג בו מנהג בזיון ויהיו מצות בזויות עליו, שאין הכבוד לעצמן של מצות אלא למי שצוה בהן ברוך הוא והצילנו מלמשש בחשך וערך אותנו נר ליישר המעקשים ואור להורות נתיבות היושר, וכן הוא אומר נר לרגלי דבריך ואור לנתיבתי. נגמר ספר חמישי והוא ספר קדושה ומנין פרקיו שלשה וחמשים: הלכות איסורי ביאה שנים ועשרים פרקים, הלכות מאכלות אסורות שבעה עשר פרקים, הלכות שחיטה ארבעה עשר פרקים. ובכאן נשלם החלק השני, ה' במעגלי צדק ינחני..

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 147) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 187) include this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

2.

Both a wild fowl and a domesticated one. One need not, by contrast, cover the blood of a domesticated animal that was slaughtered.

3.

For it is forbidden to slaughter animals consecrated to the Temple treasury until they have been redeemed.

4.

Because when the blood was poured out, it did not have a connection to the Temple treasury, and at that time, the person became obligated to cover it.

5.

The commentaries to Chullin 83a employ this interpretation with regard to a kevi, an animal which one opinion in Chullin 80a understands as referring to an animal whose species could not be identified as a domesticated animal or a wild beast. The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 28:4) employs this concept with regard to a buffalo.

6.

We are unsure of the status of this animal and do not know whether there is an obligation to cover its blood or not. Hence, we cover it, but do not recite a blessing, lest the blessing be recited in vain.

7.

For covering it on the Sabbath would be a violation of the prohibition against performing labor.

8.

He is required to cover the animal's blood because of the doubt as stated in the first clause. Nevertheless, he may not cover it on the festival, for perhaps he is not obligated to do so, and hence, will be performing a forbidden labor on the festival for no valid reason. For this reason, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 28:3) rules that, as an initial and preferred option, one should not slaughter such an animal on a festival. See also Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 498:18) which states that even if one has earth prepared before the festival so that covering the blood will not involve the transgression of a prohibition, one should not cover it on a festival because of the impression that will be created. People might think that it was definitely determined that it is a wild beast and may therefore partake of its fat [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chullin 6:1) based on Beitzah 8b].

See also the Siftei Cohen 28:10 which states that the blood must be poured out on the ground on the festival. It cannot be saved in a utensil (because of the prohibition mentioned in Chapter 2, Halachah 5) and spilled out after the festival.

9.

I.e., it is not necessary to cover the blood immediately. Instead, one may wait until he has slaughtered all the animals he desires and then cover the blood.

10.

For he has already fulfilled the mitzvah involved.

11.

For the Torah's commandment obligates one to cover only blood that is apparent. If it is covered, there is no mitzvah involved.

12.

Since the person never covered the blood himself, it is as if it was never covered. See Pitchei Teshuvah 28:4; Magen Avraham 586:6 which discuss whether there is a definite obligation to cover the blood in such a situation or there is an unresolved question and one does so because of the doubt involved. The question of whether or not to recite a blessing in this situation depends on the clarification of this issue.

13.

Usually, a certain quantity of blood is poured out directly after the slaughter as well.

14.

According to the Rambam's interpretation of the mishnah (Chullin 6:6), if there is other blood aside from this, it is sufficient to cover that other blood. It is not necessary to cover all the blood. The Ra'avad differs and maintains that all the blood must be covered. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 28:15 follows the Rambam's view.

15.

See Halachah 7.

16.

This prooftext causes the ruling to be different from that applying to the prohibition against slaughtering an animal and its offspring on the same day. See Chullin 85a.

17.

Which are forbidden to be eaten (Chapter 2, Halachah 2).

18.

I.e., an animal or fowl that killed a human.

19.

We have used a non-literal translation, for these individuals are not obligated in the performance of any mitzvot. See Siftei Cohen 28:24 which states that we are forbidden to cover this blood.

20.

As stated in Chapter 4, Halachah 5, if these individuals slaughter privately, the slaughter is unacceptable. If, however, they slaughter in the presence of an expert and he states that they slaughtered correctly, the slaughter is acceptable and the blood must be covered.

21.

Though this term is not found in the standard printed texts. It is found in authoritative manuscripts and early printings. The version of the standard printed text can be interpreted to mean that in this halachah, the Rambam is clarifying which other substances can be considered as "earth."

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 28:23) gives the following introduction: "Any substance in which seeds will grow is called סearth'.... If [seeds] will not grow in it, but it is called סearth,' we may cover [blood] with it."

22.

This translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:1). In his commentary to 3:7, 10:2, he interprets the term as "crushed earthenware." We, however, used the former translation to avoid redundancy. Others cite the interpretation of the Aruch who explains that the term refers to a type of lime.

23.

The Hebrew term afar has both the meaning "earth" and "dust."

24.

A blue-powder uses for makeup and medicinal purposes in Talmudic times.

25.

I.e., the red heifer.

26.

See Deuteronomy ch. 13 and Hilchot Avodat Kochavim, ch. , which explain that if an entire city is led astray and worships false deities, the city is condemned, the transgressors executed, and the city burnt. With the ruling in this halachah, the Rambam is explaining that although it is forbidden to benefit from the property - and even the ashes - of such a condemned city, its ashes may be used for this purpose. The rationale is that using the ashes for the mitzvah is not considered as benefiting from them, because the mitzvoth were not given for our benefit (Chullin 89a).

27.

Moreover, this earth must be loose. One should not slaughter over a place where the earth is hard [Kessef Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 28:5)].

28.

Even if the utensil contains murky water and thus the prohibition mentioned in Chapter 2, Halachah 5, does not apply.

29.

One may, however, give another person the privilege of fulfilling the mitzvah. For that reason, there are many who ask the ritual slaughterer for the privilege of fulfilling the mitzvah of covering the blood after fulfilling the custom of kapporot. Nevertheless, one must ask the slaughterer for the privilege, one who takes it without asking is liable to pay the slaughterer a fine for "stealing" his mitzvah. See Turei Zahav 28:8.

30.

Chullin 87a states: "The one who סpours out its blood' should סcover it.'"

31.

Chullin, loc. cit., notes that the passage states: "And you shall say to the children of Israel," implying that the mitzvah is the concern of the entire people.

32.

I.e., by kicking the earth over the blood.

33.

As Bereishis Rabbah 44:1 states: "The mitzvoth were given to the Jewish people solely to refine the created beings with them." See also Moreh Nevuchim, Vol. III, ch. 26.

34.

דם הניתז ושעל גבי הסכין וכו'. א"א אלו דברי הרב ז"ל שעושה דברי רבי יהודה מפרש משום דאמר אימתי אבל אין אחרים מודים לו משום דגמרא מפרש להו דפליגי בקראי.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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