web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Daf Yomi


Daf-Yomi-logo

The Sons Stirred Within Her
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Temura 30b)

Many sugyos in our tractate involve the well-known difference of opinions as to whether “a fetus is a limb (yerech) of its mother” or a separate entity.

If a fetus is a separate entity, however, how is slaughtering a pregnant animal permitted? After all, we learned in Chullin that the Torah prohibits slaughtering a mother and its child on the same day (Vayikra 22:28). If a fetus is considered a limb of its mother, the question does not arise because then the slaughterer is only killing one animal. But if the fetus is a separate entity, isn’t the slaughterer violating the prohibition of oso v’es beno?

Life Or Limb

The Rambam seems to briefly address this question by writing, “It is permitted to slaughter a pregnant animal; the fetus is a limb of its mother” (Hilchos Shechitah 12:10). Two important conclusions seem to emerge from this ruling: 1) The halacha accords with the opinion that a fetus is a limb of its mother and 2) it is forbidden to slaughter a pregnant animal according to those who maintain that a fetus is a separate entity.

The problem is that neither of these two conclusions appear correct. First, the Rambam himself writes in another place that a fetus is not a limb of its mother (see Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach 3:12 and Mahari Kurkus, ibid). And second, from the Gemara it seems evident that both opinions permit slaughtering a pregnant animal (Bava Kama 78b; see Responsa Beis Yitzchak, E.H. 1:54:7). The Rambam’s statement, then, seems doubly contradicted. Many poskim have tried to solve these contradictions, including the Chelkas Yoav who suggested a brilliant idea.

Oso V’es Bno

Why do those who maintain that a fetus is a separate entity allow slaughtering a pregnant animal? Because the entire argument regarding a fetus concerns a fetus that has actually been born. Once a calf is born, we discuss if its present status retroactively affects its previous status and gives it independent significance. But if it is never born, everyone agrees that the fetus was, and remains, a limb of its mother.

With this explanation, the Rambam’s statement is very simple. Since the fetus of a slaughtered pregnant animal will never be born, everyone agrees that it is a limb of its mother. Hence, the Rambam rules that the mother may be slaughtered. What about a fetus that is born? The Rambam does not discuss this case in this context (cited in Avnei Nezer, Y.D., 336:7; see also Chelkas Yoav, vol. II, p. 122, and Dovev Meisharim 1:26).

Why, though, does the Rambam issue a definitive ruling on slaughtering a pregnant animal when the Gemara never does? A few poskim offer a fascinating solution. The writings of the Geonim and Rishonim indicate that a serious disagreement took place between the Chachamim and the Karaites about slaughtering a pregnant animal. The Karaites contended that a fetus is considered “offspring” (beno), quoting the pasuk, “…and the sons (habanim) agitated inside her” (Bereishis 25:22). Hence, slaughtering a pregnant animal is forbidden due to the prohibition of oso v’es b’no. The Chachamim, however, led by Rabbi Meshulam bar Rabbi Klonimus (cited in HaEshkol, III, p. 70, and in the Albeck edition, II, p. 120, and ibid. in remark 3) rejected this opinion, arguing that the children whom Rivkah later bore are only called “sons” because of their future state.

No Separation Anxiety

The Rambam considered this argument when he wrote “It is permitted to slaughter a pregnant animal; a fetus is a limb of its mother.” The Rambam did not intend to rule on the famous dispute regarding the status of a fetus. Rather, he meant to rule like the Chachamim that neither of the two Talmudic opinions maintains that the fetus of a slaughtered pregnant mother is considered “offspring.” (See Beis Yitzchak, ibid; Ohr Sameiach on the Rambam, Hilchos Shechitah, ibid; Magiah on the ‘Itur, shaar 2, Hilchos Shechitah, 28; and Torah Sheleimah, Bereishis, 25:85.)

A Fetus Is An Eiver Of Its Mother

Indeed, in the original manuscripts of the Yad Hachazakah, the Rambam’s phrasing is “It is permitted to slaughter a pregnant animal; a fetus is an eiver (limb) of its mother.” The famous Talmudic disagreement is always framed as the question of whether “a fetus is a yerech of its mother.” Hence, it seems clear that the Rambam was simply refuting the Karaites’ opinion but had no intention of ruling on the famous Talmudic dispute whether a fetus is its mother yerech or not.

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English are available for simcha dedications as well as for yahrzeit, shloshim and other memorial occasions. They are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Daf Yomi”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
President Obama overlaid against photo of Jonathan Pollard.
Jonathan Pollard To Be Freed in November
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Before going in, I had told R’ Nachum all of the things we were doing in Philly, and how it was very important to receive a good bracha on behalf of our newest venture, a Russian Kollel.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem

(JNi.media) Tisha B’Av (Heb: 9th of the month of Av) is a fast day according to rabbinic law and tradition, commemorating the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE by the Roman army led […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Devarim often parallels the stories in Bereishit but in reverse & can be considered as a corrective

‘Older’ By A Month
‘…Until The Beginning Of Adar’
(Nedarim 63a)

We realize how much we miss something only after it’s gone.

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

Moses begins Sefer Devarim reviewing much of the 40 years in the desert & why he can’t enter Israel

While they are definitely special occurrences, why are they cause for a new holiday?

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

“When a king dies his power ends; when a prophet dies his influence begins” & their words echo today

In addition to the restrictions of Tisha B’Av, there are several restrictions that one may not perform during the week that Tisha B’Av falls in.

The word “shavat” in the first kina of Tisha B’Av morning indicates a sudden suspension and cessation of time that accompanied the Temple’s destruction.

The two decided to approach Rabbi Dayan. “What is the halachic status of conquered territory?” asked Shalom.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
Daf-Yomi-logo

‘Older’ By A Month
‘…Until The Beginning Of Adar’
(Nedarim 63a)

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Plucked Apple
‘…Which Cannot Become Permitted’
(Nedarim 58a)

Going Public
‘From A Wealthy Roman Lady’
(Nedarim 50a)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Not As An Asmachta?
“An Asmachta [In Beis Din] Does Acquire”
(Nedarim 27b)

Ulla’s Murderous Companion
‘Yes! Cut Him Even Deeper’
(Nedarim 22a)

An Enduring Text
‘If One Vows By The Torah…’
(Nedarim 14b)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-24/2012/03/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: