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Chulin, 49

CHULIN 47-50 - sponsored by Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald of Lawrence NY, in honor of his father, David ben Aharon ha'Levy Rosenwald of blessed memory.


OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes its extensive discussion regarding defects and blemishes in the lungs that render an animal a Tereifah. The Gemara here states that when a hole is found in the lung after it was removed, and after the Shochet conducted an internal examination (while the lungs were still in the animal), the animal is Kosher as long as the hole is in a place where the Shochet's hands reached, because we assume that the hole was made by the hands of the Shochet after the Shechitah.

The Gemara earlier (46b; see Insights there) teaches that a Sirchah on the lung renders the animal a Tereifah. However, not all adhesive growths qualify as Sirchos to render the animal a Tereifah. Some Sirchos are considered to be only "Rir b'Alma," a fatty substance that clings to the lung.

The Mishnah in Beitzah (40a) states that before slaughtering a domesticated animal, one should give it water to drink. The RIF there explains that the fluid that it drinks before Shechitah will help remove a Sirchah that is only "Rir b'Alma." The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) adds that giving water to the animal to drink before Shechitah may enable us to permit the animal even when a Sirchah is found on its lung, because the water causes a weak Sirchah to slip off easily.

What is the procedure that is practiced today with regard to examining the lungs for signs of Tereifah?

(a) The ROSH (3:14) quotes MAR YAKOV GA'ON who ruled that if the Sirchah falls off when one holds the trachea and shakes the lung three or four times, then it is merely a piece of "Rir" that became stuck to the lung, and it is not a Sirchah.

(b) Others suggest that if the Sirchah falls off by squeezing and pressing it with one's fingers, then it is also only "Rir" and the animal is permitted. Their reasoning is that a genuine Sirchah would not easily fall off of the lung without leaving a hole. Therefore, if the Sirchah comes off successfully without leaving a hole in the lung, this proves that it was not a genuine Sirchah.

The REMA (YD 39:13) states that this practice is a "great leniency" and preferably one should not rely on it, but all of the Ashkenazic communities have accepted this practice and one should not rebuke them for it, because it does have a solid foundation in Halachah. However, the Bodek who uses such a procedure to remove such Sirchos must be a G-d-fearing Jew who knows how to press the Sirchos gently and not pull them off by force.

The Rema points out that the removal of a Sirchah in any manner is valid only for a grown cow, but not for a young calf or other small animals, such as lamb and deer. Sirchos in such animals are naturally very soft, and thus even a real Sirchah will come off when squeezed.

(c) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 39:10) does not permit an animal that has any Sirchah in a place that renders the animal a Tereifah, regardless of whether it comes off when shaken or squeezed. He strongly objects to the practice of removing Sirchos through squeezing and pressing them, and he quotes the RASHBA who writes, "Whenever a Sirchah in the lung is prohibited, there is no distinction between a Sirchah which is as thin as a hairsbreadth or as thick and as strong as a thumb, unlike those who press them with their hands and, if they dissolve, they are lenient and assume that they are not really Sirchos." The Shulchan Aruch continues in the name of the Rashba that "anyone who follows this practice is considered to be one who feeds Tereifos to the Jewish people."

(d) In more recent times another practice developed, similar to the act of squeezing and pressing. The common practice today is to test a Sirchah by peeling ("Kiluf"). The examiner carefully peels a small Sirchah off of the lung, and if comes off easily without tearing off any part of the lung (that is, the lung afterwards is inflated and found to have no puncture), then the Sirchah is considered to be merely "Rir" and the animal is Kosher. This is because a true Sirchah clings to the membranes of the lung and does not come off easily. (See SEFER TEMUNEI CHOL, p. 163.) The PISCHEI TESHUVAH (YD 39:14) cites the CHASAM SOFER (YD 39) who discusses this practice and writes that the early authorities "cried out against it." However, the Chasam Sofer then cites an authority that states that the Chachamim prohibited only a Sirchah that emerges from the lung itself. They did not prohibit categorically any other form of external growth of flesh or film on the lung (such as in the case reported by the TAZ YD 35:14); if such a growth can be peeled off and no hole is found, then the animal is permitted.

The Chasam Sofer concludes that when such an examination is performed by an expert, G-d-fearing Jew, then "the humble shall eat and be satisfied" (Tehilim 22:27). However, he adds that "one who guards his soul will keep away from all such practices" out of doubt that such an animal might possibly be a Tereifah. (See also HAGAHOS YAD SHAUL of RAV YOSEF SHAUL NATANSON, printed at the end of the Shulchan Aruch, who questions the argument of the authority cited by the Chasam Sofer.)

HALACHAH: Sefardim, and others who follow the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch, eat only meat from an absolutely "Glatt" animal; that is, no Sirchos at all were found on the lungs of the animal. ("Glatt" means "smooth" in Yiddish, or "Chalak" in Hebrew.) This is referred to as "Beis Yosef Glatt," and it is the highest standard of Kosher meat. The next standard of Kosher meat is known as "Glatt" Kosher, which refers to an animal from which only small Sirchos were removed through peeling them away. The lowest standard is known as "Kosher"; it relies on peeling for all Sirchos.

It is interesting to note that RAV OVADYAH YOSEF (in YABI'A OMER YD 5:3), after stressing the importance of eating only meat from an entirely "Glatt" animal (especially for Sefardim who should follow the rulings of the Shulchan Aruch), writes that if one is invited to the meal of a person who is not particular to eat only absolutely "Glatt" meat, it is permitted for him to eat meat there, because perhaps there were no Sirchos, and even if there were Sirchos, perhaps the Halachah is like the view of those who permit the animal when the Sirchos are removed by being peeled off, since most animals are not Tereifos.

(It should be noted that in contemporary Halachic terminology, the word "Glatt" has come to be used to describe various Halachic standards that avoid certain lenient practices (and not only those related to the Sirchos of a lung) which involve Halachic disputes. Generally, "Glatt Kosher" refers to meat that was processed with Halachic practices that are acceptable to the vast majority of authorities.) (D. Bloom)


QUESTION: The Gemara (end of 49a) quotes a Beraisa to prove that certain fats are permitted to be eaten. The Beraisa discusses the verse, "v'Es Kol ha'Chelev Asher Al ha'Kerev" -- "and all the fat that is on the innards" (Vayikra 3:3), which describes the parts of the Korban Shelamim that are to be burned on the Mizbe'ach (and thus are prohibited to be eaten). Rebbi Yishmael maintains that this includes the fat on the Dakin (small intestines). Rebbi Akiva maintains that this includes the fat on the Keivah (abomasum).

The Gemara cites a second Beraisa that contradicts the first Beraisa. The second Beraisa quotes Rebbi Yishmael who says that the verse is teaching that just as the "fat that covers the innards" (mentioned in the first part of the verse) is "Kerum v'Niklaf," so, too, all fat that is "Kerum v'Niklaf" is included and is prohibited to be eaten. RASHI (DH Kerum, DH Af Kol) explains that "Kerum v'Niklaf" refers to fat that has a thin film over it that can be peeled off easily since it is not strongly attached to the fat. Rebbi Yishmael is saying that the fat on the Keivah and the fat on the Dakin are included.

The second Beraisa quotes Rebbi Akiva who requires that the fat also be "Tosav" in order to be included in the prohibition against eating it. Rashi (DH Tosav) explains that this means that the fat is spread like a "dress," or continuous sheet, on the innards. According to Rebbi Akiva, only the fat on the Dakin is prohibited, because it is spread over the Dakin like a garment. However, the fat on the Keivah is not spread over the Keivah like a garment, and therefore it is not included in the Torah's prohibition.

The Gemara answers that the views expressed in the first Beraisa must be reversed. It is Rebbi Akiva who includes the fat on the Dakin, but not the fat on the Keivah, in the prohibition, while Rebbi Yishmael includes the fat on the Keivah (and certainly the fat on the Dakin, as Rashi explains).

Rashi's explanation of the Sugya here seems to contradict his explanation later. The Gemara later (93a) cites Rav Yehudah in the name of Shmuel who says that "the first Amah of the intestines after the Keivah must be scraped off -- this is the Chelev on the Dakin." Rashi there (DH v'Zehu Chelev) says that this is the fat about which Rebbi Yishmael and Rebbi Akiva argue in the Beraisa here.

Why does Rashi there say that Rebbi Yishmael and Rebbi Akiva argue about the Chelev on the Dakin? According to Rashi here, everyone agrees that the Chelev on the Dakin is prohibited! They argue only about the Chelev on the Keivah (Rebbi Yishmael prohibits it, and Rebbi Akiva permits it)! (See GILYON HA'SHAS on 93a, RASHASH, and CHIDUSHEU HAGAHOS to TUR YD 64:4.)

ANSWER: The MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Shegagos 13:5, DH v'Asher) explains that there is a difference between what types of Chelev are included in the prohibition against eating Chelev, and what types of Chelev are included in the requirement to burn the Chelev of a Korban on the Mizbe'ach. The Gemara later (93a) is discussing the Chelev that is burned on the Mizbe'ach. When the Gemara there states that "this is the Chelev on the Dakin," it is referring to the Chelev of a Korban that is burned on the Mizbe'ach. Rashi was bothered by the fact that there is no explicit verse that states that the Chelev on the Dakin is offered on the Mizbe'ach. Rashi therefore says that the source for this law is the Beraisa in which Rebbi Yishmael and Rebbi Akiva argue about what Chelev is included in the Chelev that is burned on the Mizbe'ach. Rashi there is referring to the first Beraisa cited here, which is discussing the types of Chelev that are offered on the Mizbe'ach. On the first Beraisa, Rashi does not say that everyone agrees that the Chelev on the Dakin is included. Rashi makes this statement only with regard to the second Beraisa cited here. The second Beraisa, though, is discussing what Chelev is prohibited to eat (and not what Chelev must be offered on the Mizbe'ach). With regard to eating Chelev, everyone agrees that all Chelev is prohibited, including the Chelev on the Dakin. (D. Bloom)

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