July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David, a”h, and Meirah Chayah Nechamah Berachah, a”h, bas Reb David Mordechai, shlit”a.

This week we learned Chullin 11. These are some highlights.

Can a shochet slaughter and not check the lungs?

Our Gemara discusses the concept of relying on rov, majority. The Gemara proposes that the source of this law might be the olah sacrifice. When an olah sacrifice is brought it is to be cut up into segments, netachim. The Torah specifies that we are not to cut up the segments further. If so, how can one be sure that his olah is not a treifah? Perhaps there is a hole in the membrane around the brain and the person cannot check for; then he would be cutting up an olah netach. The Gemara proposes that the reason an olah can be offered is that we rely on the majority. Since most animals are not treifot, and most animals do not have a hole in the membrane around the brain, the person bringing the olah is allowed to assume that the animal is not a triefah. The Gemara ultimately rejects this proof, but the Gemara does seem to say that if you would rely on a majority there would be no need to check an animal to make sure it is not a triefah for you could rely on the majority, and the majority of animals are not treifot.

Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei’ah 39:1) rules that there is no need to check for treifot except for the lungs. Anyone who eats without checking the lungs deserves to be bitten by a snake. Apparently, biblically we can rely on the rov. Since most animals are whole, healthy, and not a treifah, one can assume that the animal he is slaughtering is also whole, healthy and not a treifah and there is no need to check the slaughtered animal to ensure that it is not a treifah. Based on this logic, there should have been no obligation to check the lungs, However, the later sages enacted that there is a need to check the lungs to make sure that the animal is not a treifah. According to some authorities (Mordechai Chullin Chapter 3 Siman 619 in the name of Rabbeinu Baruch, Meiri Chullin 9a), this enactment was first made in the times of the Geonim, and in the times of the Talmud the shochtim would not check the animals at all to see if they might be treifot. However, Ramban and Rashba (Chullin 9a) both prove that already in the times of the Talmud the sages had enacted the obligation to check the lungs and not to rely merely on majority to permit an animal that was slaughtered.

Poskim deal with a chilling halachic question that revolves around this issue. A religious shochet was offered a job to shecht in a country where many of the Jews were ignorant on the condition that he not check the lungs of the slaughtered animals. The owner of the flock wanted his animals to be slaughtered by a Jew with peiyot and a thick beard but he refused to allow the animals to be checked and for the treifot to be discarded. The shochet now faced a dilemma. Should he accept the position for in this way he would at least enable the people to get meat that was properly slaughtered, or should he refuse the position for were he to take the job he would end up violating the Rabbinic mandate to check the lungs of an animal that gets slaughtered. Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (Shu”t Har Tzvi Yoreh Dei’ah Siman 19) instructed the shochet to take the job and not to check the animals at all. Sometimes halacha tells a person, chatei bishvil sheyizkeh chaveircha, sin so that your friend will gain a merit. The halacha tells us to perform acts of sin to give others a merit; in this instance our shochet is not performing an act of sin—he is merely sitting and neglecting to fulfill the positive mandate of checking the lungs. Furthermore, the obligation to check animals is not on the shochet. The obligation is on the one consuming the meat, the eater is to check the lungs before he eats from the animal. In this scenario, the people in the place were ignorant and they would certainly eat meat that was not checked. If the shochet would not take the job, they were likely to receive meat that was not slaughtered properly at all. The shochet was therefore told to take the job, slaughter, and then rely on the biblical law that most animals are not treifot and the people would merit to eat meat that was biblically kosher. (Me’orot Daf Hayomi)

By Rabbi Zev Reichman


Rabbi Zev Reichman teaches Daf Yomi in his shul, East Hill Synagogue.

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