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The Fat of the Land
‘Only Those Whose Chelev Are Forbidden…’
(Zevachim 70a)



Our sugya delves into which kinds of chelev are tahor and which kinds are not. Let us explore a related topic:

Heaven-Sent Meat

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 59b) relates that R. Shimon b. Chalafta once encountered two lions while traveling. Alarmed, he said the verse, “The young lions roar for prey” (Tehillim 104:21), and a miracle immediately occurred. Two pieces of meat fell from heaven, and the lions satiated their hunger with one of them.

R. Shimon b. Chalafta took the other piece of meat to a beis midrash and asked if it was permitted for consumption. The reply he received was that it was surely kosher as “nothing impure descends from heaven.”


Mastery Of The Sefer Yetzirah

The Gemara also recounts (infra 67b) that R. Chanina and R. Oshaya would learn the halachos of creation every Erev Shabbos. Rashi (s.v, “aski b’hilchos yetzirah“) writes that, in the course of their study, they combined letters of Hashem’s name by which Hashem created the world, which resulted in the creation of a calf that they ate. The Gemara does not mention whether the calf required shechitah or not.


To Slaughter Or Not

Acharonim discuss this question, with the She’lah HaKadosh (Parshas VaYeshev, p. 70) arguing that an animal created by means of Sefer Yetzirah doesn’t require shechitah. The Seder HaDoros maintains that Sanhedrin 59b supports this argument (Seder Tanaim Ve’amoraim, os shin, Maareches Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta, os beis, 182) since R. Shimon b. Chalafta was satisfied when he heard that the heaven-sent meat was kosher. But if an unnaturally-born animal required shechitah, he couldn’t have eaten it. Since he seemed prepared to do so, shechitah is obviously not required.


A Temple Sacrifice

The author of Tur Barekes (Hilchos Yom Tov, p. 143) adds that there is no need for nikur (to remove the forbidden fat and veins) in an animal descending directly from heaven, nor any need to remove the gid hanasheh.

We should mention that Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen of Lublin interestingly argues that although a mystically-created animal (not born to parents) doesn’t need shechitah, it can be brought for sacrificial purposes in the Temple.


Sent By The Wind

The S’dei Chemed (Ma’areches Chametz u’Matzah, 2:3) warns that a person who thinks he is holding a heaven-sent piece of meat should suspect that it is actually a regular piece of meat that the wind brought to him. In his view, the halachos mentioned in the Gemara were intended only for the Amora’im who could create animals with Sefer Yetzirah and who knew very well if a certain piece of meat derived from heaven.