THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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CHULIN 37-40 - sponsored by Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald of Lawrence NY, in
honor of his father, David ben Aharon ha'Levy Rosenwald of blessed memory.
1) EATING THE MEAT OF A SICK ANIMAL
QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses the Shechitah of an animal that is a
"Mesukenes," an animal that is close to death due to sickness (as the
ARUCH writes, "Choleh ha'Karov l'Misah"). The Gemara discusses the source
for permitting a Mesukenes in the first place. It is clear that one is
allowed to eat the meat of a Mesukenes when there is "Pirchus" after the
Shechitah, but it is a proper practice to avoid such meat.
The Mishnah in Bechoros (41a) states that a "Zaken" (an old animal) and a
"Choleh" (a sick animal), may not be offered as Korbanos, but they are
permitted for ordinary use, even if there is no "Pirchus" after the
Shechitah. Why is a Choleh different from a Mesukenes?
ANSWER: The CHASAM SOFER points out that the Gemara in Bechoros (41a)
teaches that two separate verses are necessary to teach that a Zaken and a
Choleh may not be offered as Korbanos. If the Torah would have excluded
only a Choleh, then we would have thought that a Zaken may be offered,
because "it is the normal manner" for animals to age. If the Torah would
have excluded only a Zaken, then we would have thought that a Choleh may
be offered, because "it tends to recuperate." We see from the Gemara there
that the Choleh mentioned in the Mishnah is an animal that has a curable
illness. This is consistent with the principle that "Rov Cholim l'Chayim"
-- most sick people (or animals) will survive.
A Mesukenes, in contrast, is an animal that is close to death. The
majority of animals that are Mesukenes will die. Hence, a Mesukenes has
neither of the two reasons to permit it as expressed in Bechoros; it will
not recuperate, nor is it the ordinary state of an animal.
Is there any reason to be stringent and avoid eating the meat of a sick
animal, as it is proper to avoid eating the meat of a Mesukenes?
1. The TEVU'OS SHOR (end of #17) proves that there is no need to be
stringent. The Gemara here (37b) derives that a Mesukenes is permitted to
eat from the fact that Yechezkel ha'Navi proclaimed that "I never ate
Neveilah and Tereifah" (Yechezkel 4:14). It is obvious that Yechezkel was
referring to something that the Halachah permits and that other people
eat, since, otherwise, Yechezkel would not have asserted his virtue by
saying that he was stringent not to eat such things. The Gemara says that
he must have been referring to a Mesukenes. We see from his statement that
a Mesukenes is permitted to eat, except that it is Midas Chasidus to be
If a Choleh is permitted to eat, but it is Midas Chasidus to be stringent,
then what is the Gemara's proof from Yechezkel that a Mesukenes is
permitted? Perhaps Yechezkel was referring to a Choleh! It must be that
there is no Midas Chasidus to refrain from eating the meat of a Choleh.
2. The CHASAM SOFER argues with the proof of the Tevu'os Shor. He says
that even if a Choleh should not be eaten because of Midas Chasidus,
Yechezkel could not have been referring to a Choleh. Yechezkel refers to
the meat that he did not eat as "Neveilah and Tereifah." Since a Choleh is
an animal that will probably recover and live, it cannot be called a
Neveilah or Tereifah. Only a Mesukenes -- an animal that will probably die
-- can be called a Neveilah or Tereifah, since it is on the verge of
becoming one. Therefore, we have no proof that a Choleh is permitted even
according to Midas Chasidus.
2) HALACHAH: EATING THE MEAT OF A "MESUKNES"
OPINIONS: The Gemara derives that a Mesukenes is permitted to eat from the
fact that Yechezkel ha'Navi proclaimed that "I never ate Neveilah and
Tereifah" (Yechezkel 4:14). It is obvious that Yechezkel was referring to
something that the Halachah permits and that other people eat, since,
otherwise, Yechezkel would not have asserted his virtue by saying that he
was stringent not to eat such things. The Gemara says that he must have
been referring to a Mesukenes. We see from his statement that a Mesukenes
is permitted to eat (when there is "Pirchus," as the Mishnah (37a)
teaches), except that it is Midas Chasidus to be stringent.
3) YECHEZKEL'S "PIGUL"
What is the Halachah in practice?
(a) The RAMBAN (DH she'Lo) quotes the GE'ONIM who rule that it is
permitted to slaughter, and eat the meat of, a Mesukenes that belongs to a
Jew, but not a Mesukenes that belongs to a Nochri. The Ramban explains
that their reasoning is that since refraining from eating a Mesukenes is
only a Midas Chasidus, we avoid acting with a Midas Chasidus when doing so
will cause a Jew to suffer a loss (as no one will buy his animal). Since a
Nochri will suffer no loss if we do not buy his Mesukenes animal and it
dies (since Nochrim may eat Neveilah), we are not permitted to eat his
Mesukenes and we must abide by Midas Chasidus.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 17:3) writes that "Gedolei ha'Chachamim"
would not eat the meat of a Mesukenes, even when there was "Pirchus" after
t he Shechitah, but not because it is prohibited, but rather because it is
praiseworthy conduct (as demonstrated by Yechezkel). The SHACH there adds
that it is proper to be stringent only when doing so causes no loss to a
Jew (as the Ramban writes). (Z. Wainstein)
(b) The ME'IRI quotes other opinions that maintain that we should not eat
meat of a Mesukenes at all, out of concern that it is a Tereifah. The
Me'iri himself argues and maintains that this is an unnecessary
QUESTION: Yechezkel ha'Navi proclaimed that "I never ate Neveilah and
Tereifah; Pigul meat never entered my mouth" (Yechezkel 4:14). As the
Gemara explains, it is obvious that Yechezkel was referring to something
that the Halachah permits and that other people eat, since, otherwise,
Yechezkel would not have asserted his virtue by saying that he was
stringent not to eat such things. The Gemara says that when he says that
he never ate Pigul, he must have been referring to meat of an animal that
was brought to a Chacham to rule whether or not it was permitted or not.
Even if the Chacham permitted it, Yechezkel refrained from such meat out
of Midas Chasidus.
Why, though, did Yechezkel refer to such meat specifically as "Pigul"?
ANSWER: The MAHARSHA explains that meat of Pigul and meat that was subject
to the ruling of a Chacham have one important element in common: they both
become unfit by nothing more than a thought. The prohibition of Pigul
occurs when a Kohen has an improper thought while performing the Avodah of
a Korban. Yechezkel was stringent not to eat meat of an animal that was
brought to a Chacham for a ruling, because at the moment that the doubt
about the animal arose, there was a *thought* that the animal was
The CHASAM SOFER adds that when the Chacham considered in his mind the
possibility that the animal was prohibited, his thought actually made an
impression on the meat. That invalidating thought remains on the meat even
after the Chacham declares it to be Kosher. It is a Midas Chasidus to
avoid even this type of Pigul.
Based on this understanding, the Chasam Sofer explains the Midrash
(Devarim Rabah 5:6) that states that the six prohibitions mentioned in the
beginning of Parshas Shoftim were written on the six steps of the throne
of Shlomo ha'Melech. Most of these prohibitions deal with matters relevant
to judges. The prohibition of "Do not plant an Asheirah tree... near the
Mizbe'ach" (Devarim 16:21) also refers to judges, as the Gemara (Sanhedrin
7b) derives from that verse that one who appoints an unworthy judge is
considered to have planted an Asheirah tree next to the Mizbe'ach (see
Insights to Sanhedrin 7:4).
Why, though, was the prohibition of "Do not slaughter to Hashem... any bad
thing" (Devarim 17:1) written on Shlomo's throne? In what way is that
prohibition related to a judge?
The Chasam Sofer explains that "Kol Davar Ra" refers to any bad word or
thought, as RASHI explains there, based on the Sifri. In its simple sense,
this is an admonition against having a thought of Pigul when offering a
Korban. This, though, still seems to have nothing to do with Shlomo
ha'Melech's role as chief judge of the people.
However, as we see in the Gemara here, a "bad thought" can also refer to
the initial consideration that a Chacham had when ruling on the
permissibility of a certain matter. By first thinking that the object was
prohibited, the Chacham had a "bad thought" about the object, making an
impression upon it such that people who conduct themselves with Midas
Chasidus should refrain from it. Accordingly, it is appropriate that this
prohibition was written on the throne of Shlomo ha'Melech; it reminded him
not to affect an object negatively when ruling on it by having a thought
that it is prohibited. (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)