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Shechitah - Chapter 5

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Shechitah - Chapter 5

1

We have already explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot1 that the term trefe employed by the Torah refers to an animal that is on the verge of death. The term trefe - which literally means "torn apart" - was employed only because the Torah speaks with regard to prevalent situations, e.g., a lion or the like attacked it and wounded it, but it had not died yet.

א

כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת אִסּוּרֵי מַאֲכָלוֹת שֶׁהַטְּרֵפָה הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה הִיא הַנּוֹטָה לָמוּת. וְלֹא נֶאֱמַר (שמות כב ל) "טְרֵפָה" אֶלָּא שֶׁדִּבֵּר הַכָּתוּב בָּהוֹוֶה כְּגוֹן שֶׁטְּרָפָהּ אֲרִי וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ וּשְׁבָרָהּ וַעֲדַיִן לֹא מֵתָה:

2

There are other maladies which if they affect an animal will cause it to be considered trefe. They were transmitted as a halachah to Moses at Sinai. [In particular,] eight [conditions that cause an animal to be considered as] trefe were transmitted to Moses at Sinai.2 They are derusah, nekuvah, chaseirah, netulah, pesukah, keru'ah, nefulah, and sheburah.3

ב

וְיֵשׁ שָׁם חֳלָאִים אֲחֵרִים אִם יֶאֶרְעוּ לָהּ תֵּחָשֵׁב טְרֵפָה וְהֵן הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי. וּשְׁמוֹנָה מִינֵי טְרֵפוֹת נֶאֶמְרוּ לוֹ לְמשֶׁה בְּסִינַי וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. דְּרוּסָה. נְקוּבָה. חֲסֵרָה. נְטוּלָה. פְּסוּקָה. קְרוּעָה. נְפוּלָה. וּשְׁבוּרָה:

3

Although they were all transmitted as halachot to Moses at Sinai,4 since only derusah is explicitly mentioned in the Torah,5 [our Sages] ruled more stringently with regard to it. Any questionable situation that arises with regard to derisah [causes the animal] to be forbidden. There are, by contrast, questionable situations that may arise with regard to the seven other conditions [that render an animal] trefe in which [the animal] is permitted as will be explained.6

ג

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכֻּלָּן הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי הֵן. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין לְךָ בְּפֵרוּשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא דְּרוּסָה הֶחְמִירוּ בָּהּ. וְכָל סָפֵק שֶׁיִּסְתַּפֵּק בִּדְרוּסָה אָסוּר. וּשְׁאָר שִׁבְעָה מִינֵי טְרֵפוֹת יֵשׁ בָּהֶן סְפֵקִין מֻתָּרִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

4

Derusah refers to a situation where a lion or the like will attack an animal and assault it with its paw or a hawk, an eagle, or the like will assault a fowl.7 [The laws of] derisah apply with regard to a large domesticated animal8 or a large wild beast only when it is attacked by a lion.9 [The laws of derisah apply with regard to] a small domesticated animal10 or a small wild beast only when it is attacked by a wolf or a larger animal. [The laws of] derisah apply with regard to kids and lambs even when attacked by cats, foxes, martens,11 and the like. Needless to say, this applies with regard to fowl.12

ד

הַדְּרוּסָה הוּא שֶׁיִּטְרֹף הָאֲרִי וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ הַבְּהֵמָה וְיִדְרֹס עָלֶיהָ בְּיָדוֹ. אוֹ יִדְרֹס הַנֵּץ וְהַנֶּשֶׁר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן עַל הָעוֹף. וְאֵין דְּרִיסָה בִּבְהֵמָה גַּסָּה וּבְחַיָּה גַּסָּה אֶלָּא לַאֲרִי בִּלְבַד. וּבִבְהֵמָה דַּקָּה מִן הַזְּאֵב וּלְמַעְלָה. וּבִגְדָיִים וּטְלָאִים אֲפִלּוּ חָתוּל וְשׁוּעָל וּנְמִיָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן יֵשׁ לָהֶן דְּרִיסָה וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן בְּעוֹפוֹת:

5

When a hawk attacks, the laws of derisah apply even with regard to a larger fowl.13 With regard to other birds of prey the laws of derisah apply only with regard to fowl their size and not with regard to fowl which are larger than they are.14

ה

וְהַנֵּץ יֵשׁ לוֹ דְּרִיסָה וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּעוֹף גָּדוֹל מִמֶּנּוּ. אֲבָל שְׁאָר עוֹפוֹת הַדּוֹרְסִים יֵשׁ לָהֶן דְּרִיסָה בְּעוֹף שֶׁכְּמוֹתָן. וְאֵין לָהֶן דְּרִיסָה בְּעוֹף שֶׁהוּא גָּדוֹל מֵהֶן:

6

[The laws of] derisah apply [when] a weasel attacks a fowl. [The laws of] derisah do not apply at all when a dog attacks, not when it attacks a fowl, an animal, or a beast. [The laws of] derisah apply [when] a hawk attacks kids or lambs should its claws penetrate to [the animal's] inner cavity.15

ו

וְיֵשׁ לְחֻלְדָּה דְּרִיסָה בְּעוֹפוֹת. וְכֶלֶב אֵין לוֹ דְּרִיסָה כָּל עִקָּר לֹא בְּעוֹף וְלֹא בִּבְהֵמָה וְחַיָּה. וְהַנֵּץ יֵשׁ לוֹ דְּרִיסָה בִּגְדָיִים וּטְלָאִים וְהוּא שֶׁיִּקֹּב בְּצִפָּרְנָיו לְבֵית הֶחָלָל:

7

[The laws of] derisah apply only [when] the attacking animal [strikes its victim] with its forelegs. If it strikes it with its hindlegs,16 we show no concern.17 [Similarly, the laws of] derisah apply only [when the attacking animal strikes its victim] with its claw. If it bites it, we show no concern unless it penetrates to its internal cavity.18 We then check if it perforated one of the organs [that cause an animal to be considered trefe if] even the tiniest perforation was made.

[The laws of] derisah apply only [when] the attacking animal has that intent. If, however, the beast of prey fell and its claws became lodged in the other animal, [the laws of] derisah do not apply.19 [Similarly, the laws of] derisah apply only [when the attacking animal] is alive. If, however, it attacked and was killed, but its claws remained lodged in the victim and were not removed until after [the attacker's] death, we are not concerned.20

ז

אֵין דְּרִיסָה אֶלָּא בְּיַד הַטּוֹרֵף אֲבָל בְּרַגְלָיו אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ. וְאֵין דְּרִיסָה אֶלָּא בְּצִפֹּרֶן אֲבָל בְּשֵׁן אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִקַּב עַד בֵּית הֶחָלָל בּוֹדְקִין שֶׁמָּא נִקַּב אֶחָד מִן הָאֵיבָרִים שֶׁנִּטְרֶפֶת בִּנְקִיבָתָן. וְאֵין דְּרִיסָה אֶלָּא בְּכַוָּנַת הַטּוֹרֵף. אֲבָל אִם נָפַל הַדּוֹרֵס וְנִשְׁתַּקְּעוּ צִפָּרְנָיו בַּנִּטְרַף אֵין זוֹ דְּרִיסָה. וְאֵין דְּרִיסָה אֶלָּא מֵחַיִּים. אֲבָל אִם דָּרַס וְנֶהֱרַג וַעֲדַיִן יָדוֹ בַּדְּרוּסָה וְלֹא שָׁמַט צִפָּרְנָיו מִמֶּנָּה אֶלָּא אַחַר מוֹתוֹ אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ:

8

What are the laws applying to an animal that was attacked? Whenever we stated that "we show concern," the attacked animal should be slaughtered and its entire internal cavity - from its feet to its forehead - must be checked. If it is found to be flawless with regard to all the factors [that render an animal] trefe and there is no sign that it was attacked,21 it is permitted.22 If there is a sign that it was attacked, it is trefe and forbidden by Scriptural Law.

ח

וְכֵיצַד דִּין הַדְּרוּסָה. כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שׁוֹחֲטִין אֶת הַנִּטְרָף וּבוֹדְקִין כָּל הֶחָלָל שֶׁלּוֹ מִכַּף הַיָּרֵךְ עַד הַקָּדְקֹד. אִם נִמְצֵאת כֻּלָּהּ שְׁלֵמָה מִכָּל מִינֵי טְרֵפוֹת וְלֹא נִמְצָא בָּהּ רשֶׁם הַדְּרִיסָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת. וְאִם נִמְצָא בָּהּ רשֶׁם הַדְּרִיסָה הֲרֵי זוֹ טְרֵפָה וַאֲסוּרָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה:

9

What is meant by "a sign that it was attacked"? That the flesh above the intestines turns red.23 If the flesh above the intestines decays to the extent it becomes like flesh which a doctor would scrape from a wound, we consider that flesh as if it were lacking and [rule that the animal is] trefe.24

ט

אֵי זֶה הוּא רשֶׁם הַדְּרִיסָה. שֶׁיַּאְדִּים הַבָּשָׂר כְּנֶגֶד בְּנֵי מֵעַיִם. וְאִם נִמֹּק הַבָּשָׂר כְּנֶגֶד בְּנֵי מֵעַיִם עַד שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה כְּבָשָׂר שֶׁהָרוֹפֵא גּוֹרְרוֹ מִן הַחַבּוּרָה רוֹאִין אוֹתוֹ הַבָּשָׂר כְּאִלּוּ חָסֵר וּטְרֵפָה:

10

If [the predator] attacked the "signs" [which must be cut for ritual slaughter, the animal is] trefe if they turn red.25 The slightest wound [is significant]. If even the smallest portion of them becomes red because of an attack, [the animal is] trefe.26

י

וְאִם דָּרַס בַּסִּימָנִין מִשֶּׁיַּאֲדִימוּ טְרֵפָה וּדְרִיסָתָן בְּמַשֶּׁהוּ כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶאֱדִים בָּהֶן כָּל שֶׁהוּא מֵחֲמַת דְּרִיסָה טְרֵפָה:

11

When there is a question whether [an animal] has been attacked or not, we do not permit it unless it is checked as one would [an animal] that had definitely been attacked.27

What is implied? When a lion enters among oxen and a claw was found in the back of one of them,28 we suspect that the lion attacked it. We do not rationalize and say: "Maybe it scratched itself on a wall."29

Similarly, if a fox or a marten enters among fowls, [the predator] is silent and they crowing, we fear that he attacked.30 If, however, the predator is roaring and they are crowing, [we assume that] they are crowing out of fear of him and his roaring. Similarly, if he cuts off the head of one of them,31 we assume his fury has subsided. Similarly, if both [the predator] and [the fowl] are silent, we do not suspect [anything]. For if he had harmed them, they would crow.32

יא

סְפֵק דְּרוּסָה אֲסוּרָה עַד שֶׁתִּבָּדֵק כִּדְרוּסָה וַדָּאִית. כֵּיצַד. אֲרִי שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְבֵין שְׁוָרִים וְנִמְצָא צִפֹּרֶן בְּגַבּוֹ שֶׁל אֶחָד מֵהֶן חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא אֲרִי דְּרָסוֹ. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים שֶׁמָּא בַּכֹּתֶל נִתְחַכֵּךְ. וְכֵן שׁוּעָל אוֹ נְמִיָּה שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְבֵין הָעוֹפוֹת וְהוּא שׁוֹתֵק וְהֵן מְקַרְקְרִין חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא דָּרַס. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הוּא נוֹהֵם וְהֵם מְקַרְקְרִין מִיִּרְאָתוֹ וּמִנְּהִימָתוֹ הֵן מְקַרְקְרִין. וְכֵן אִם קָטַע רֹאשׁ אֶחָד מֵהֶן הִנֵּה נָח רָגְזוֹ. וְכֵן אִם שָׁתַק הוּא וְהֵם אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁאִלּוּ הִזִּיק הָיוּ מְקַרְקְרִין:

12

When there is a question of whether or not a predator entered [a place where animals are kept] or we saw [an animal] enter [such a place], but were unable to see if it is one of the predators or not, we do not harbor suspicions.33

Similarly, if a fowl entered a woods or reeds and came out with its head or neck dripping blood, we do not suspect that it was attacked. Instead, we say: "Perhaps it was wounded among the trees."34

יב

סָפֵק שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְכָאן טוֹרֵף אוֹ לֹא נִכְנַס. אוֹ שֶׁרָאִינוּ וְלֹא נוֹדַע אִם זֶה מִן הַטּוֹרְפִין אוֹ אֵינוֹ מִן הַטּוֹרְפִין אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין. וְכֵן עוֹף שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְבֵין הָעֵצִים אוֹ לְבֵין הַקָּנִים וְיָצָא וְרֹאשׁוֹ מְנַטֵּף דָּם אוֹ צַוָּארוֹ אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ שֶׁמָּא נִטְרַף אֶלָּא אוֹמְרִים שֶׁמָּא בָּעֵצִים נִזַּק:

Footnotes
1.

Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 4:8-9.

2.

All the 70 conditions the Rambam mentions in Chapter 10 are included in these eight general categories.

3.

These terms are defined in this and the following chapters.

4.

And thus all are judged with the severity appropriate for questions of Scriptural Law.

5.

Exodus 22:30 speaks of "meat torn apart in the field."

6.

The Beit Yosef (Yoreh De'ah 29) questions the Rambam's statements, for since these other conditions are considered questions of Scriptural Law, whenever a doubt arises, we rule stringently. The Turei Zahav 29:1 explains that the severity involving derisah concerns a sefek seifkah, a condition of multiple doubt. See also the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh which offers several resolutions to this question.

7.

As will be explained in the following halachot, the laws of derisah do not concern only the wounds to the victim's organs that the attacking animal causes. Instead, the concern is that even a superficial wound can cause the victim to die, because there is poison in the attacker's claws that will affect the victim. (Exactly, what that means in contemporary terms is difficult to understand. Some have suggested that the attacker's claws are infected with bacteria which could be considered comparable to poison. That explanation, however, cannot be easily resolved with some of the points in the subsequent halachot.)

The intent of this and the following halachah is that "the poison" of certain animals or fowl is effective in harming some and not in harming others.

8.

An ox.

9.

If, however, it is attacked by smaller animals of prey, even a tiger, we assume that its strength will enable it to defend itself (Kessef Mishneh). The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 57:1) follows a more stringent opinion which rules that the laws of derisah apply when any predator larger than a wolf attacks a large animal.

10.

A sheep or a goat.

11.

We have quoted the definition of this term given by Rashi. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bava Batra 2:5), the Rambam defines the term in Arabic as alnamas, a small predator.

12.

See Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:5) which discusses the question whether leniency can be granted when a cat enters a chicken coop.

13.

For it can harm fowl larger than itself.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:3) qualifies this matter, saying that these laws do not apply when a hawk attacks a chicken. The Tur and the Rama, however, state that this applies only to large chickens, but not to smaller ones.

14.

Here also, the Tur and the Rama (loc. cit.) add a further point, stating that the laws of derisah apply with regard to a falcon regardless of the size of the bird it attacks.

15.

Compare to the following halachah. The Kessef Mishneh explains that in this halachah, the Rambam is not concerned with the question of whether the attacker perforated one of the organs whose perforation disqualifies an animal. For if so, it would not have been necessary for the Rambam to mention derisah. If such an organ was perforated, even a large animal is disqualified. Instead, the intent is whether the "poison" of the attacker is sufficient to kill the victim.

16.

This refers to a beast. The laws of derisah apply, by contrast, when a fowl attacks with its feet (Turei Zahav 57:10; Siftei Cohen 57:19).

17.

Needless to say, if it delivers a mortal wound with its hindlegs, the victim is disqualified. Here, however, we are speaking about "poisoning" an animal through derisah and that applies only when it attacks with its foreleg and with its claws [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:6)].

18.

With regard to this and wounding with its legs, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) states, "they are no different than a thorn," i.e., there is no question of "poison."

19.

For then it will not release its poison.

20.

For it releases its "poison" only when it withdraws its claws and only when it is alive.

For this same reason, if ritual slaughter is performed on the animal that is being attacked before the attacking animal removes its claws, the slaughtered animal is permitted [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:8)].

21.

As explained in the following halachah.

22.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:18) mentions a difference of opinion among the Rabbis if such an examination can be relied upon in the present age. The Rama rules that we should be stringent, not rely on the examination, and hence, declare any animal that was attacked - or there is a question whether it was attacked - forbidden.

23.

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro explains that the fact that the flesh turns red indicates that the poison from the predator has penetrated the animal's flesh and will ultimately, cause the intestines to be perforated. The Kessef Mishneh questions, however, why the Rambam mentions only the intestines. Since - as mentioned in the previous halachah - it is necessary to inspect the entire body, seemingly (and indeed, the Tur rules accordingly), the same laws would apply if red marks were found on the flesh above any organ whose perforation can disqualify the animal. He explains that perhaps this is indeed the Rambam's intent and he mentions the intestines only because there are many disqualifying factors involved with them. Nevertheless, in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:16), he quotes the Rambam's wording without emendation. The Siftei Cohen 57:38) quotes the Tur's ruling.

24.

Here also we assume that the poison will ultimately cause the organ below the flesh to become perforated (Kessef Mishneh).

25.

Here too the rationale is that once the poison has begun to have an effect, it will ultimately penetrate through and perforate the entire organ. There is, however, a difference between the signs and the other organs. With regard to the other organs, as soon as the flesh above the organ is affected, the animal is considered trefe. With regard to the signs, they themselves must be affected. It is possible to explain that the signs are tougher and more resilient than the other organs. Hence, the fact that the flesh above them is affected is no proof that they will also be affected (Kessef Mishneh).

26.

This applies even when a small portion of the windpipe becomes red. Although a perforation in the windpipe does not disqualify it unless it is the size of the majority of its cavity (Chapter 3, Halachah 23), we assume that the poison of the predator will ultimately cause such a perforation (Siftei Cohen 57:40).

27.

As mentioned in Halachah 8. As stated in the notes to that halachah, there are authorities - and this is the custom cited by the Rama - it is customary in the present era not to rely on this examination and to regard any animal that was attacked - or even if there is a doubt whether it was attacked - as trefe.

28.

An animal does not release its poison until the claw is removed (Halachah 7), and is this instance, it is implanted in the animal. We, nevertheless, disqualify it, for in this instance, we say that the animal released its poison when it lost its claw (Turei Zahav 57:21). Alternatively, we fear that it was also attacked with another claw and that claw was removed (Rambam LeAm).

29.

And the claw which had been implanted in the wall became stuck in it. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:14) emphasizes that this ruling is followed even if the claw is dried out (and thus is unlikely to have come from an animal recently).

30.

And that is why they are clamoring.

31.

The Rama 57:9 states that this applies when we do not see that he attacked others. If, however, we see that he attacked others, we do not assume that his rage subsided.

32.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 57:11) states that this applies only when we see that he did not attack any animals. If, however, we saw an attack, the fact that he and the victims were silent is not significant.

33.

For there is a multiple doubt involved. Perhaps the predator entered and perhaps it did not. Even if it entered, perhaps it wounded the animal and perhaps it did not (see Chullin 53b).

34.

I.e., it scratched itself and caused itself a wound. We must, however, check to see that the gullet was not perforated (Radbaz). The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 57:13) states in the present age we do not rely on our inspection and therefore forbid any fowl that comes to us with a neck that is bleeding.

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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 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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