The carcass of a kosher fowl that was not ritually slaughtered imparts impurity according to Scriptural Law. According to the Oral Tradition, it is taught that Leviticus 17:15: "Any soul that will partake of the carcass of a fowl or one that is tereifah - whether a native or a convert - shall launder his garments and bathe in water" is speaking only about one who partakes of the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species that is forbidden because it is a carcass or tereifah.

How is its impurity defined? It does not impart impurity when touched or when carried or when it is in one's mouth, only in one's gullet. This is implied by the phrase: "Any soul that will partake...," i.e., it imparts impurity only when it has been ingested in "the chamber of the soul." It uses the term "partake" to define that the minimum measure that imparts impurity is the measure to which the prohibition against eating applies, i.e., an olive-sized portion. Moreover, it is written: "shall launder his garments;" this teaches that one who contracts impurity from such a carcass imparts impurity to his garments until he separates himself from the object that imparted impurity to him, as we explained.

What is implied? When one swallows an olive-sized portion of the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species and touched keilim while swallowing it, they become impure and are considered a primary derivative of impurity. If he was touching a person or earthenware containers while swallowing it, he does not impart impurity to them, as we stated with regard to other primary categories of impurity. After he has ingested the meat from the fowl, he does not impart impurity to other keilim. He is like a k'li that is a primary derivative of impurity that has been separated from the substance that imparted impurity to him. For even though he must immerse himself and wait for nightfall to regain ritual purity, he does not impart impurity to keilim.


נִּבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר מְטַמָּא מִן הַתּוֹרָה. מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יז טו) "וְכָל נֶפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכַל נְבֵלָה וּטְרֵפָה בָּאֶזְרָח וּבַגֵּר וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם" אֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא בְּאוֹכֵל נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר בִּלְבַד שֶׁהוּא אָסוּר מִשּׁוּם נְבֵלָה וּטְרֵפָה. וְכֵיצַד הִיא טֻמְאָתָהּ. אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה לֹא בְּמַגָּע וְלֹא בְּמַשָּׂא וְלֹא כְּשֶׁהִיא בְּתוֹךְ הַפֶּה אֶלָּא בְּתוֹךְ בֵּית הַבְּלִיעָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְכָל נֶפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכַל" אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁהִיא בְּבֵית הַנֶּפֶשׁ. וְזֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "תֹּאכַל" לָתֵת שִׁעוּר לְטֻמְאָתָהּ כְּשִׁעוּר אֲכִילָה שֶׁהוּא כְּזַיִת. וַהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר בָּהּ "וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהַמִּתְטַמֵּא בָּהּ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדָיו עַד שֶׁיִּפְרשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. כֵּיצַד. הַבּוֹלֵעַ כְּזַיִת מִנִּבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר וְנָגַע בְּכֵלִים בִּשְׁעַת בְּלִיעָתוֹ טְמֵאִים וְנַעֲשׂוּ רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה. הָיָה נוֹגֵעַ בְּאָדָם וּבִכְלֵי חֶרֶס בִּשְׁעַת בְּלִיעָתוֹ לֹא טִמְּאָן כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּשְׁאָר אֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת. וְאַחַר שֶׁבָּלַע אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא שְׁאָר כֵּלִים שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא כִּכְלִי רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה אַחַר שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא טָעוּן טְבִילָה וְהַעֲרֵב שֶׁמֶשׁ אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא כֵּלִים:


It is not necessary for one to have the intent to consider the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species as food to impart this severe type of impurity. Instead, whenever one swallows an olive-size portion of such a carcass, it imparts impurity when in the person's gullet.

If one thought to partake of it, it imparts the impurity of foods. It is considered as a primary derivative of impurity even though it did not touch another source of impurity, nor must it be made fit to contract impurity.


אֵין נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר צְרִיכָה מַחֲשָׁבָה לְטַמֵּא טֻמְאָה זוֹ הַחֲמוּרָה אֶלָּא כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּלַע מִמֶּנָּה כְּזַיִת מִכָּל מָקוֹם הֲרֵי זוֹ מְטַמְּאָה בְּבֵית הַבְּלִיעָה. חָשַׁב עָלֶיהָ לַאֲכִילָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְטַמְּאָה טֻמְאַת אֳכָלִין וַהֲרֵי הִיא כְּאֹכֶל רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָגַע בָּהּ טֻמְאָה אַחֶרֶת וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה הֶכְשֵׁר:


The above does not apply to a red heifer and goats that are to be burned. Even though they impart impurity to those involved in offering them, if one considers partaking of them, it is necessary for them to come in contact with a source of impurity. Only then, do they contract the impurity associated with food.


פָּרָה אֲדֻמָּה וּשְׂעִירִין הַנִּשְׂרָפִים אֵינָן כֵּן. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מְטַמְּאִין הַמִּתְעַסֵּק בָּהֶן אִם חָשַׁב עֲלֵיהֶן לַאֲכִילָה צְרִיכִין שֶׁתִּגַּע בָּהֶן טֻמְאָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִטַּמְּאוּ טֻמְאַת אֳכָלִין:


When a person skewered an olive-size portion of an animal carcass with a weaving needle and inserted it into the inner organs of a woman from below or inserted it into the gullet of a colleague in a place where the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species would impart impurity, the person contracts impurity, because he or she is carrying the impurity, not because he touches it, as we explained in the beginning of this book.


כְּזַיִת מִנִּבְלַת הַבְּהֵמָה שֶׁתְּחָבוֹ בְּכוּשׁ וְהִכְנִיס לְתוֹךְ מְעִי הָאִשָּׁה מִלְּמַטָּה. אוֹ שֶׁהִכְנִיסוֹ לְתוֹךְ בְּלִיעָתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנִּבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר מְטַמְּאָה. הֲרֵי זֶה טִמְּאוֹ מִשּׁוּם נוֹשֵׂא לֹא מִשּׁוּם נוֹגֵעַ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּתְחִלַּת הַסֵּפֶר:


If a person wound an olive-sized portion of the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species in lettuce or the like and swallowed it, he is impure, even if it did not touch his throat. If he wound it with tree bast and swallowed it, he is pure.


הַכּוֹרֵךְ כְּזַיִת מִבְּשַׂר נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר בַּחֲזֶרֶת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ וּבְלָעוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָגַע בִּגְרוֹנוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא. כְּרָכוֹ בְּסִיב וּבְלָעוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


If a person swallowed an olive-sized portion of the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species and, after swallowing it, vomited it before it was digested, he does not impart impurity to his garments when it passes his throat when vomiting it. For it imparts impurity in the gullet only when it is swallowed, but not when it is vomited.


הַבּוֹלֵעַ נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר וְאַחַר שֶׁבְּלָעָהּ הֱקִיאָהּ קֹדֶם שֶׁתִּתְעַכֵּל הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים כְּשֶׁתֵּצֵא לִגְרוֹנוֹ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמְּקִיאָהּ. שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה בְּבֵית הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת בְּלִיעָה לֹא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמְּקִיאָהּ:


The following rules apply when a person swallowed part of an intestine of a kosher species of fowl, part of it was in his gullet, and part was in his mouth. If there is an olive-sized portion in his gullet at one time, he is impure. If not, he remains pure.


מְעִי שֶׁל נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר שֶׁבְּלָעוֹ מִקְצָתוֹ בְּבֵית הַבְּלִיעָה וּמִקְצָתוֹ בַּחוּץ לְתוֹךְ פִּיו אִם יֵשׁ בְּבֵית הַבְּלִיעָה כְּזַיִת הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא וְאִם לָאו טָהוֹר:


When a person swallows an entire limb that is not as large as an olive-sized portion from such a carcass, it does not impart impurity. Even if he took an entire fowl and swallowed it, if it is as large as an olive, he becomes impure. If not, he remains pure.


בָּלַע מִמֶּנָּה אֵיבָר שָׁלֵם שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ כְּזַיִת אֵינוֹ מִתְטַמֵּא. אֲפִלּוּ נָטַל צִפּוֹר וַאֲכָלָהּ אִם יֵשׁ בָּהּ כְּזַיִת נִטְמָא וְאִם לָאו טָהוֹר:


Although the thin feathers and the wooly hairs on the carcass of a fowl are considered as food and contract and impart the impurity associated with food, they are not included when reckoning an olive-sized portion of the carcass of a kosher species of fowl.

In contrast, the soft portions of the beak and the nails that are close to the flesh are considered like meat and are included in the reckoning of an olive-sized portion. The tips of the wings, the tip of the tail, and the bones, even those which are soft, are not included.


הַכְּנָפַיִם וְהַנּוֹצָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן כָּאֳכָלִים וּמִתְטַמְּאִין וּמְטַמְּאִין טֻמְאַת אֳכָלִין אֵינָן מִצְטָרְפִין בְּנִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר לִכְזַיִת. אֲבָל הַמְּקוֹמוֹת הָרַכִּים הַקְּרוֹבִים לַבָּשָׂר מִן הַחַרְטוֹם וְהַצִּפָּרְנַיִם הֲרֵי הֵן כְּבָשָׂר וּמִצְטָרְפִין לִכְזַיִת. רָאשֵׁי אֲגַפַּיִים וְרֹאשׁ הַזָּנָב וְהָעֲצָמוֹת אֲפִלּוּ הָרַכּוֹת אֵינָן מִצְטָרְפִין:


When a person partakes of the soft bones, the sinews, underdeveloped eggs while in the mother's body, or the blood of the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species or meat cut from such a fowl while it was alive, he is pure. If, however, one partook of the meat to which the underdeveloped eggs were attached, the gizzard, or the intestines of such a fowl after it died, or he liquefied the fat in fire and drank it, he is impure like one who partakes of its meat. One who drinks is like who eats. If he liquefied it in the sun and partook of it, he is pure, for he has caused it to become rancid.


הָאוֹכֵל מִנִּבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר מִן הָעֲצָמוֹת הָרַכִּין אוֹ מִן הַגִּידִין וּמִן הַשְּׁלַל שֶׁל בֵּיצִים וּמִן הַדָּם וּמִבָּשָׂר מִן הַחַי מִמֶּנּוּ טָהוֹר. אֲבָל הָאוֹכֵל מִן הָאֶשְׁכּוֹל שֶׁל בֵּיצִים וּמִן הַקֻּרְקְבָן וּמִן בְּנֵי הַמֵּעַיִם אוֹ שֶׁהִמְחָה אֶת הַחֵלֶב בְּאוּר וּגְמָעוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא כְּאוֹכֵל מִבְּשָׂרָם שֶׁהַשּׁוֹתֶה בִּכְלַל אוֹכֵל. הִמְחָהוּ בַּחַמָּה וּגְמָעוֹ טָהוֹר שֶׁהֲרֵי הִסְרִיחוֹ:


When the carcass of a fowl of a kosher species has decomposed to the extent that it is unfit to be eaten by a dog, it is pure. Similarly, if it becomes dry like a shard and would not return to its original state if left in lukewarm water for an entire day, it is pure. One who partakes of the netzel of the carcass of a fowl of a kosher species is pure.


נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר שֶׁנִּפְסְדָה מִלֶּאֱכל הַכֶּלֶב טְהוֹרָה. וְכֵן אִם יָבְשָׁה כְּחֶרֶס וְאֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לְהִשָּׁרוֹת בְּפוֹשְׁרִין מֵעֵת לְעֵת לַחְזֹר לִכְמוֹת שֶׁהָיְתָה הֲרֵי זוֹ טְהוֹרָה. וְהָאוֹכֵל נֶצֶל שֶׁל נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר:


When a fowl from a kosher species becomes tereifah, but was slaughtered in a kosher manner, the slaughter causes it to be considered pure. This applies even if it was slaughtered in the Temple Courtyard. If its head was snipped off through melikah and it was discovered to be tereifah, the melikah does not cause it to be considered as pure. Thus it can be inferred that when one slaughters a fowl from a kosher species, whether outside the Temple Courtyard or inside of it, whether the fowl is consecrated or not, it is pure. Whether one performs melikah on ordinary fowl within the Temple Courtyard or consecrated fowl outside the Temple Courtyard, they impart impurity to a person and his garments when in the gullet.


עוֹף טָהוֹר שֶׁנִּטְרַף וְנִשְׁחַט שְׁחִיטָה כְּשֵׁרָה שְׁחִיטָתוֹ מְטַהַרְתּוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ נִשְׁחַט בָּעֲזָרָה. וְאִם נִמְלַק וְנִמְצָא טְרֵפָה אֵין מְלִיקָתוֹ מְטַהֲרְתּוֹ. נִמְצֵאתָ אוֹמֵר שֶׁהַשּׁוֹחֵט עוֹף טָהוֹר בֵּין בַּחוּץ בֵּין בִּפְנִים בֵּין קָדָשִׁים בֵּין חֻלִּין הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. וְהַמּוֹלֵק חֻלִּין בִּפְנִים אוֹ שֶׁמָּלַק קָדָשִׁים בַּחוּץ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְטַמְּאִין בְּגָדִים בְּבֵית הַבְּלִיעָה:


When one performs melikah on consecrated fowl in the Temple Courtyard, if they are fit for a sacrifice and do not have disqualifying blemishes, as explained in its place, they are pure. Similarly, when a calf that has its neck broken as required by law, it is pure, for "atonement" is mentioned with regard to it, as with regard to sacrificial offerings. Similarly, if it was slaughtered after it was taken down to the wadi, even though it is forbidden to benefit from it, the slaughter prevents it from being considered as an impure carcass.


הַמּוֹלֵק קָדָשִׁים בִּפְנִים אִם הָיוּ רְאוּיִין לְקָרְבָּן וְלֹא נִמְצְאוּ בָּהֶן מוּמִין שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ טְהוֹרִין. כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ עֶגְלָה עֲרוּפָה שֶׁנֶּעֱרֶפֶת כְּהִלְכָתָהּ טְהוֹרָה "כַּפָּרָה" כְּתִיב בָּהּ כְּקָדָשִׁים. וְכֵן אִם נִשְׁחֲטָה אַחַר יְרִידָתָהּ לַנַּחַל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֲסוּרָה בַּהֲנָאָה הִצִּילָה אוֹתָהּ שְׁחִיטָתָהּ מִידֵי נְבֵלָה:


The carcass of a fowl from a non-kosher species is pure and does not impart impurity in the gullet. If one thought to partake of it and it was made fit to contract impurity, it is considered as an impure food which is a primary derivative of impurity. The thin feathers, the wooly hairs, and the soft portions of its beak and its nails are considered as its meat.


נִבְלַת הָעוֹף הַטָּמֵא טְהוֹרָה וְאֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה בְּבֵית הַבְּלִיעָה. וְאִם חָשַׁב עָלֶיהָ לַאֲכִילָה וְהֻכְשְׁרָה הֲרֵי הִיא כָּאֳכָלִין טְמֵאִין שֶׁהֵן רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה. וּכְנָפַיִם וְהַנּוֹצָה וְהַמְקוֹמוֹת הָרַכִּים מִן הַחַרְטוֹם וּמִן הַצִּפָּרְנַיִם שֶׁלָּהּ הֲרֵי הֵן כִּבְשָׂרָהּ:


When a limb is separated from a living fowl - whether from a kosher species or a non-kosher species - it is pure and does not impart impurity at all, as can be inferred from Leviticus 11:24-26: "Because of these, you will contract impurity... because of all the animals." This excludes fowl, because it does not have a hoof. According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that the verse comes solely to teach that a limb from a living domesticated or wild animal is impure.


אֶחָד הָעוֹף הַטָּהוֹר וְאֶחָד הָעוֹף הַטָּמֵא אֵיבָר מִן הַחַי הַפּוֹרֵשׁ מֵהֶם טָהוֹר וְאֵין בּוֹ טֻמְאָה כְּלָל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יא כד) "וּלְאֵלֶּה תִּטַּמָּאוּ" (ויקרא יא כו) "לְכָל הַבְּהֵמָה" לְהוֹצִיא אֶת הָעוֹף שֶׁאֵין לוֹ פַּרְסָה. וּמִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁלֹּא בָּא הַכָּתוּב אֶלָּא לְטַמֵּא אֵיבָר מִן הַחַי שֶׁל בְּהֵמָה אוֹ חַיָּה:


A limb separated from the carcass of a fowl is considered like the carcass of the fowl from which it was separated. If it was from the carcass of a kosher fowl, an olive-sized portion of it imparts severe impurity in the gullet. If one thought of partaking of it, it contracts the impurity associated with impure foods. If the carcass was from a non-kosher fowl, it contracts the impurity associated with impure foods if one thought of partaking of it and it was made fit to contract impurity. It does not impart impurity to other foods unless it is the size of an egg. This is the measure required for all foods to contract impurity, as will be explained.


אֵיבָר מִן הַמֵּת מִן הָעוֹף הֲרֵי הוּא כְּנִבְלַת הָעוֹף שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ. אִם הָיְתָה נִבְלַת עוֹף טָהוֹר מְטַמְּאָה טֻמְאָה חֲמוּרָה בְּבֵית הַבְּלִיעָה בִּכְזַיִת. וְאִם חָשַׁב עָלָיו לַאֲכִילָה מִטַּמֵּא טֻמְאַת אֳכָלִין. וְאִם הָיְתָה נִבְלַת עוֹף טָמֵא מִטַּמֵּא טֻמְאַת אֳכָלִין אִם חָשַׁב עָלָיו וְהֻכְשַׁר. וְאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא אֳכָלִין אֲחֵרִים עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בּוֹ כְּבֵיצָה כְּשִׁעוּר כָּל הָאֳכָלִין לְטַמֵּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר: