THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
CHULIN 61-63 - sponsored by Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald of Lawrence NY, in
honor of his father, David ben Aharon ha'Levy Rosenwald of blessed memory.
1) DID TZADIKIM EAT A NON-KOSHER BIRD
QUESTION: Rav Papa states that a Tarnegola d'Agma is a species of non-Kosher
bird, while a Tarnegolta d'Agma is a species which is Kosher. (TOSFOS points
out that "Tarnegola d'Agma" and "Tarnegolta d'Agma" do not refer to a
"rooster of the swamp" and a "hen of the swamp," because it is not possible
that the male of a species should be a non-Kosher bird, while the female of
the same species is a Kosher bird! Rather, these are actually two entirely
different species of birds. See, however, the first approach of Tosfos in
Nidah 50b, DH Tarnegolta d'Agma.)
2) HALACHAH: DETERMINING THE KASHRUS OF A BIRD
Mereimar taught that they found that the Tarnegolta d'Agma was also Dores,
showing that it, too, is a species of non-Kosher bird. RASHI (DH Chazyuha)
says that before they realized that the Tarnegolta d'Agma was Dores, they
thought that it was Kosher. Rashi presents this as a reason for the Halachah
that we do not eat *any* bird unless we have a Mesorah (tradition) that it
is a Kosher bird.
Rashi's explanation, though, seems to contradict the Gemara earlier in
Chulin (7a). The Gemara there says that Hashem does not let even the animal
of a Tzadik cause others to sin, and thus surely Hashem does not let
Tzadikim themselves cause others to sin. How, then, is it possible that
before Mereimar's ruling, all of the Tzadikim such as Rav Papa permitted the
Tarnegolta d'Agma, thinking that it was Kosher and ruling that it was
permitted to be eaten, when in fact they were causing themselves and others
to eat non-Kosher food? This seems to contradict the Gemara earlier!
(a) The TAZ (YD 82:4) answers this question based on the words of TOSFOS in
Gitin (7a, DH Hashta). Tosfos explains in the name of RABEINU TAM that this
principle does not mean that Hashem always prevents a Tzadik from causing
others to sin (as indicated by the simple meaning of the words). Rather, it
means that Hashem does not let a Tzadik himself eat anything that is
prohibited, as it is especially denigrating to a Tzadik to eat something
forbidden. Accordingly, the Taz explains that it must be that Rav Papa and
the other Tzadikim, through Divine intervention, never actually ate the
Tarnegolta d'Agma themselves. The fact that they ruled that it was Kosher
and other people ate it as a direct result does not contradict the Gemara
earlier, since the special Divine intervention protects only the Tzadikim
themselves from eating prohibited food.
(b) The SICHAS CHULIN says that the TESHUVOS HA'ROSH (20:20) implies that
the Tzadikim themselves ate the Tarnegolta d'Agma. He suggests that it was
possible for Tzadikim to eat the Tarnegolta d'Agma because it really *is* a
Kosher bird. The only reason why they later prohibited it was because they
saw one bird of this species eat by being Dores. The Chachamim decreed that
from then on all birds of that species may not be eaten.
(c) It is possible to suggest other explanations based on a Midrash. The
Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 60:8) relates an incident in which Rebbi Yirmeyah
sent Rebbi Zeira a basket of figs, without first separating Ma'aser. Rebbi
Yirmeyah assumed that Rebbi Zeira would separate Ma'aser, while Rebbi Zeira,
upon receiving the gift, thought that it is not possible that Rebbi Yirmeyah
would send figs without first having separate Ma'aser from them. In the end,
the figs were eaten in a state of Tevel, without Ma'aser being separated.
Upon hearing about this incident, Rebbi Aba bar Yemina said to Rebbi Zeira
that "if the earlier generations were like angels, then we are like people.
If they were like people, then we are like donkeys, and not like the donkey
of Rebbi Pinchas ben Yair, for his donkey refused to eat barley from which
Ma'aser was not separated, while we eat figs from which Ma'aser was not
There are a number of ways to understand the Midrash, according to which we
may suggest various answers to the question on our Gemara as well.
(It does not seem reasonable to explain that in the incident in the Midrash,
the Tzadikim themselves did not partake of the figs from which Ma'aser was
not separated, as the Taz says with regard to our Gemara, because Rebbi Aba
said, "*We* eat figs from which Ma'aser was not separated.")
1. The simple explanation of the Midrash seems to be that they said about
themselves that they are no longer in the category of Tzadikim who are
protected through Divine intervention from eating prohibited foods. If this
is the case, then we may suggest that the Amora'im who lived when the
Tarnegolta d'Agma was permitted also were not included in the category of
Tzadikim that merited this protection, just as Rebbi Yirmeyah and Rebbi
Zeira -- who lived in the same period -- did not merit this protection, even
though they were great Tzadikim. From the fact that Rav Papa proclaimed that
the Tarnegolta d'Agma was Kosher, it seems that the Tarnegolta d'Agma was a
newly-discovered bird that was thought to be Kosher only for a short period
of time (and was not eaten by the Tzadikim of preceding generations, who
merited this protection).
2. It is clear that the YEFEI TO'AR learns the Midrash in an entirely
different manner. He asks that we know that Hashem intervenes and does not
let Tzadikim sin. (It seems that he either had a different Girsa in the
words of Rebbi Aba, or he understood that Rebbi Aba's comment that they did
not merit being protected in general was not meant literally, but rather was
said by Rebbi Aba out of humility and repentance, while he was expressing
how great were the previous generations compared to them.) He answers that
this Divine intervention happens only when the Tzadik involved comes upon
the forbidden food accidentally. The case of the figs, though, was closer to
negligence than to accident, as Rebbi Yirmeyah should have told Rebbi Zeira
that the figs were Tevel, and Rebbi Zeira should have asked Rebbi Yirmeyah
whether or not Ma'aser had been separated. Whether or not this is the actual
intent of the Midrash, the Yefei To'ar's approach can be applied to our
Gemara. It is possible that in the case of our Gemara, the fact that the
bird was eaten before it was studied (to determine whether or not it is
Dores) constituted negligence and not accident, and therefore the Tzadikim
did not merit to be protected (see also the MESHIV DAVAR (YD 22), who writes
that there was never a tradition that the Tarnegolta d'Agma was Kosher, and
it was just assumed to be Kosher because it looked like a chicken). (Y.
OPINIONS: Rav Papa states that a Tarnegola d'Agma is a species of non-Kosher
bird, while a Tarnegolta d'Agma is a species which is Kosher (see previous
Insight). Mereimar taught that they found that the Tarnegolta d'Agma was
also Dores, showing that it, too, is a species of non-Kosher bird.
May we eat a bird that we do not observe to be Dores, or must we be
concerned that perhaps it is Dores and we simply have not yet seen it do so?
(a) RASHI (DH Chazyuha) writes that since we do not know the identities of
all the non-Kosher birds, we should not eat any bird without a Mesorah
(tradition). Even though we do not see the bird being Dores, we must suspect
that it sometimes is Dores, as was the case with the Tarnegolta d'Agma.
Therefore, even when we find three signs of Kashrus in a bird, we may not
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (82:3) records the opinion of the Ba'al
ha'Me'or as the Halachah, but the REMA writes that we may not rely on the
words of the Ba'al ha'Me'or and we may eat only birds for which we have a
Mesorah. (Regarding the well-known question of whether or not we may eat
turkey, see Insights to Chulin 63:1.) (Z. Wainstein)
(b) The MAHARSHAL and VILNA GA'ON (YD 82:3, cited by the SHACH) point out
that according to RABEINU TAM (cited by TOSFOS to 61a, DH Kol) -- who
maintains that when a bird has the three other signs of Kashrus, we may
assume with certainty that it is not Dores -- when we find a bird with these
three signs, we should be allowed to eat it. The SHACH, however, is not
ready to accept this lenient opinion as the Halachah.
(c) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR writes that when a bird has a wide beak and webbed
feet, it may be assumed with certainty that it is not Dores. Therefore, even
without a Mesorah we may eat such a bird if it displays the three other
signs of Kashrus.