THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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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) AN ANIMAL SLAUGHTERED TO A MOUNTAIN
(a) The Mishnah (39b) states that if one slaughters an animal "for the
mountains," the Shechitah is invalid. The Gemara infers from the Mishnah
that although the Shechitah is invalid and the animal may not be eaten, the
animal is *not* considered "Zivchei Mesim" (Tehilim 106:28) and is not Asur
b'Hana'ah as Tikroves Avodah Zarah. The Gemara questions this from a Beraisa
which states that an animal slaughtered "for the mountains" *is* considered
"Zivchei Mesim." Abaye answers that the Mishnah is referring to a case in
which the person said that he was slaughtering the animal for "the
mountain," while the Beraisa is referring to a case in which the person said
that he was slaughtering it for
"the angel of the mountain." Since the mountain itself cannot become
forbidden as Avodah Zarah, one who slaughters an animal for the mountain is
not considered to be slaughtering to an Avodah Zarah.
If one who slaughters an animal to a mountain is not considered to be
slaughtering to Avodah Zarah, then why is the animal prohibited to eat?
(a) RASHI (DH d'Amar) answers that the animal is prohibited to eat because
of a Gezeirah. Since it looks as though he is slaughtering the animal for
Avodah Zarah, the Rabanan prohibited the animal, so that one not mistakenly
think that an animal that is slaughtered to a real Avodah Zarah is
(b) The RAN explains that in the case of the Mishnah here, the Shochet did
not have intention to serve Avodah Zarah at all. He intended to slaughter
the animal to the mountain for the sake of healing a sick person, or for
witchcraft. Since he did not accept upon himself the mountain as a god, he
is not considered an idolater (even though he believes that the mountain has
powers of healing), and his animal is not forbidden as "Zivchei Mesim."
However, since his act appears like an act of Shechitah for Avodah Zarah,
the Rabanan prohibited the animal from being eaten. They did not make it
Asur b'Hana'ah, since even Nochrim do not usually slaughter animals to
The Ran continues and says that when the Beraisa says that an animal
slaughtered to the "angel of the mountain" is Asur as "Zivchei Mesim," it is
also referring to one who did *not* accept upon himself the "angel of the
mountain" as a god. Nevertheless, the animal becomes Asur b'Hana'ah because
the Shochet's act in this case is very similar to one who slaughters for
Avodah Zarah. Since it is common for Nochrim to slaughter animals to the
"angel of the mountain," the Rabanan decreed that the animal becomes Asur as
"Zivchei Mesim." The Ran cites the RAMBAM (Hilchos Shechitah 2:14) who
understands the Gemara in this way as well.
The Ran explains why he does not learn the Gemara as Rashi does. According
to Rashi, who explains that the Shochet indeed had intention to serve the
mountain as a god, the animal should be considered "Zivchei Mesim" (even
mid'Oraisa), even though the mountain itself does not have the status of an
Avodah Zarah. Therefore, it must be that the Shochet did not slaughter the
animal to the mountain for the sake of serving the mountain, but rather for
the sake of Refu'ah.
(c) TOSFOS (DH Ha d'Amar) explains that the Mishnah is referring to a case
in which the person indeed slaughters the animal with intention to serve the
mountain as a god, and he will be Chayav Misah for his act. The SHITAH
MEKUBETZES understands that Tosfos is answering Rashi's question regarding
why the animal is prohibited to eat if it is not considered to have been
slaughtered for Avodah Zarah. Since the person slaughtered it with a
Machshavah of Avodah Zarah, this Machshavah is enough to prohibit the animal
from being eaten. The animal does not become "Zivchei Mesim," though,
because the mountain is not actually an Avodah Zarah, and thus the animal is
not a Tikroves Avodah Zarah.
Why does the Machshavah of Avodah Zarah cause the animal to become
prohibited from being eaten, if it does not cause the animal to become Asur
as Tikroves Avodah Zarah?
Perhaps we may explain based on the words of the TIFERES YAKOV (39a). He
writes that there are two ways to explain how an animal becomes Asur when
slaughtered with a Machshavah of Avodah Zarah. The first way is that the
Machshavah makes the animal into a *Tikroves Avodah Zarah*, an object that
is offered as a sacrifice to an idol. When it is offered to an idol, the
animal becomes "Zivchei Mesim" (Tehilim 106:28), which is Asur b'Hana'ah.
The second way in which Chulin becomes Pasul through a Machshavah of Avodah
Zarah is that the Machshavah *invalidates the Shechitah*, leaving an animal
that was not slaughtered properly. While the Heter of Shechitah does not
take effect to permit the animal, there is no actual Isur of Avodah Zarah
that takes effect on the animal. Consequently, it is forbidden to eat the
animal, but it is permitted to derive benefit from the animal. (See Insights
to Chulin 39:1.) This explains why the person's Machshavah to serve the
mountain by slaughtering the animal to it is able to prohibit the animal
from being eaten, but it does not make the animal Asur b'Hana'ah as Tikroves
Avodah Zarah. (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)
2) CUTTING THE TWO "SIMANIM" OF AN ANIMAL FOR THE SAKE OF IDOLATRY
QUESTION: Rav Huna (40a) says that if an idolater cuts even one Siman of
one's animal, the animal becomes prohibited. Rav Nachman challenges Rav
Huna's ruling from the Beraisa that states that one who inadvertently
slaughters a Korban Chatas on Shabbos outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash for the
sake of Avodah Zarah is obligated to bring three Korbenos Chatas (one for
his inadvertent desecration of Shabbos, one for slaughtering a Korban
outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, and one for slaughtering an animal for
Avodah Zarah). According to Rav Huna, he should not be Chayav for Shechutei
Chutz, because at the time that he cut one Siman for the sake of Avodah
Zarah, the animal becomes Asur and when he completes the Shechitah, he is
not considered to be slaughtering a Korban outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash.
It is considered as though "he is merely cutting earth" ("Mechatech b'Afar
Hu"). This implies that the Shechitah is not a valid Shechitah at all; the
cutting of the second Siman does not accomplish a Shechitah.
However, this seems to contradict the Mishnah later (81b) that says that
when one slaughters an animal to Avodah Zarah and, afterwards, on the same
day, slaughters that animal's offspring, he transgresses the Isur of
slaughtering an animal and its offspring on one day (Vayikra 22:28). If,
however, the Shechitah of the mother is not considered Shechitah (since,
after cutting one Siman for Avodah Zarah, the animal is considered like
"earth"), then why is the person Chayav for transgressing the Isur of
slaughtering the mother and its child on the same day? It must be that the
first act *is* considered a Shechitah!
In addition, TOSFOS in Bava Kama (71b, DH Isurei Hana'ah) proves from the
Gemara there that slaughtering an animal to Avodah Zarah is considered a
Shechitah. The Gemara there discusses the obligation of a thief to pay back
"Arba'ah v'Chamishah" when he slaughters the animal to Avodah Zarah. The
Gemara says that he should not be Chayav, because the animal becomes
forbidden as soon as he begins the Shechitah. Since the animal becomes Asur
b'Hana'ah, it is no longer considered to be the property of the original
owner. When the thief completes the Shechitah, "it is not the animal of the
original owner" that he has slaughtered. It is clear from that Gemara that
the act of cutting the two Simanim of the animal is considered an act of
Shechitah, for otherwise the Gemara would have said that the reason the
thief is not Chayav is because he did not do an act of Shechitah! (REBBI
(a) RASHI (DH Mechatech) writes that "since it has become forbidden because
of idolatry, its status of Kodshim has left it, and it becomes an animal of
idolatry, and it is [nothing more than] ordinary earth." The TIFERES YAKOV
says that Rashi maintains that the slaughter of the animal *is* considered
Shechitah, as he infers from the fact that Rashi does not say that there is
no Shechitah at all. Rashi says only that since the animal is Tikroves
Avodah Zarah, it is no longer Kodshim, and since it is no longer Kodshim it
cannot be Shechutei Chutz.
In the case of the Gemara later (81b) involving the Isur of "Oso v'Es Beno,"
as well as the case in Bava Kama (71b) involving the thief who slaughtered
the animal for Avodah Zarah, the animal was not a Korban, and thus the Isur
of Avodah Zarah does not do anything to it. Therefore, the Gemara later says
that one is Chayav for "Oso v'Es Beno," and the Gemara in Bava Kama needs to
say that the reason why the thief does not pay Arba'ah v'Chamishah is
because the animal he slaughtered no longer belongs to the owner. Only in
the case of the Gemara here, in which the Chiyuv is for slaughtering Kodshim
outside of the Azarah, can we ask that it is no longer considered Kodshim
because of the Isur of Avodah Zarah and he should not be Chayav for
(b) TOSFOS in Bava Kama (ibid.) explains that the Gemara here means that as
soon as the Shechitah begins, the animal becomes disqualified from being
offered as a Korban, and thus the person who slaughters it should not be
Chayav for transgressing the prohibition of Shechutei Chutz. In order to be
Chayav for Shechutei Chutz, the animal that is slaughtered must be fit to be
brought into the Beis ha'Mikdash as a Korban. Here, even before the
Shechitah was finished, the animal was no longer fit to be brought into the
Beis ha'Mikdash. Nevertheless, the cutting of the second Siman does effect a
Shechitah (and the Gemara's comparison to "cutting earth" is not literal).
(c) REBBI AKIVA EIGER suggests a different answer. In the case of the Gemara
here, the person is Chayav a Chatas for desecrating Shabbos by performing
the Melachah of Shechitah. RASHI (40a, DH Shalosh) explains that the act of
Shechitah is not considered a destructive act ("Mekalkel"), because by
killing the animal he enables it to be eaten by a Nochri.
Rebbi Akiva Eiger was asked a question regarding this point by the Rav of
Kalish. The Halachah is that Shechitah permits an animal to a Jew even
though the animal is still quivering. However, an animal must stop moving
entirely in order to be permitted to a Nochri. Nevertheless, an animal that
became permitted to a Jew also becomes permitted to a Nochri, because of the
logic that something cannot be permitted to a Jew while prohibited to a
Nochri. Accordingly, when the Shechitah does *not* permit the animal to a
Jew (such as when the Shechitah was done on Shabbos), the animal should
remain prohibited to a Nochri until it stops moving entirely. However,
RABEINU TAM (cited by TOSFOS in Shabbos 106a, DH Chutz m'Chovel) explains
that the reason why Shechitah is not considered an act of Mekalkel on
Shabbos is because the productive element of the act occurs at the same time
as the destructive element. However, in the case of our Gemara, the
productive element (becoming permitted to a Nochri) occurs *after* the
destructive element of the act! Why, then, is the person Chayav for
slaughtering the animal on Shabbos? His act should be considered Mekalkel
according to Rabeinu Tam!
Rebbi Akiva Eiger answers that Rabeinu Tam's statement was said only
according to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah, who maintains that one who is
"Mekalkel b'Chaburah" is Patur. Rebbi Shimon, though, argues and maintains
that one who is "Mekalkel b'Chaburah" is Chayav, and thus, according to
Rebbi Shimon, it is not necessary for the productive element of the act to
occur immediately. The case of the Gemara here, therefore, is following the
opinion of Rebbi Shimon.
Accordingly, we can explain the words of our Gemara, "Mechatech b'Afar Hu,"
as follows. The Gemara (Sukah 31b) teaches that an object that is Asur
b'Hana'ah is considered to have no measurable weight or volume ("Ketutei
Michtas Shi'urei"). Why do we not apply that principle here? Since the
animal became Asur as Tikroves Avodah Zarah, we should say that the animal
is missing the Shi'ur of Shechitah (i.e. two Simanim). The answer is that
there is no minimum requirement for the thickness of the Simanim in order
for the Shechitah to be valid. The Shechitah must cut the Simanim regardless
of their size. Therefore, "Ketutei Michtas Shi'urei" does not apply here.
However, the RAN in Gitin writes that a Get that is written on an object
that is Asur b'Hana'ah is invalid according to Rebbi Shimon, even though a
Get also does not need a Shi'ur. Rebbi Shimon maintains that "anything that
needs to be destroyed is considered to be destroyed already" ("Kol ha'Omed
Lisrof, k'Saruf Dami"), which is different from "Ketutei Michtas Shi'urei."
The principle of "Ketutei Michtas Shi'urei" tells us that the Shi'ur is
missing (and thus it does not invalidate a Get), while "Kol ha'Omed Lisrof"
tells us that the object is entirely nonexistent (and thus it does
invalidate a Get).
Accordingly, the same applies in the case of one who slaughters an animal
for Avodah Zarah. The fact that the Simanim of the animal have no Shi'ur
(because of "Ketutei Michtas Shi'urei") is not a problem; as long as they
exist, they do not need a Shi'ur in order for the Shechitah to be valid.
However, according to Rebbi Shimon, the Simanim are considered to have been
burned already and they do not exist at all, and thus the animal cannot
become permitted through Shechitah. As Rebbi Akiva Eiger proved, the case of
the Gemara here is following the opinion of Rebbi Shimon (and that is why it
is not necessary for the productive element of the Shechitah to occur at the
same time as the destructive element). According to Rebbi Shimon, the
Gemara's question is clear. The person should not be Chayav for the
Shechitah of the animal, because it is considered as destroyed already when
he cuts the first Siman for Avodah Zarah. This is what the Gemara means by
the words "Mechatech Afar Hu."
In contrast, the case of "Oso v'Es Beno" and the case of Arba'ah v'Chamishah
are not following the view of Rebbi Shimon, and therefore in those cases the
slaughtering of the animal *is* considered an act of Shechitah. (Mordechai