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A Gentile’s ‘Kashrus Certificate’
‘We Do Not Give Innards to a Gentile’
(Chullin 33a)



Can a Jew give a gentile the innards of an animal to eat? The issue comes up in our Gemara.

Shechita involves cutting two simanim, the windpipe and esophagus, but they are not cut simultaneously. The windpipe is cut first, followed by the esophagus. Since the lungs are connected to the windpipe, it turns out that the lungs are detached from the animal before shechitah is completed.

A Jew may eat the lungs since the shechitah was done properly (even though any other limb detached from the animal before the second siman is cut would be forbidden).


Permitted To Us, Forbidden to Them?

Gentiles, however, are not commanded to slaughter animals; shechitah has no consequence for them. Therefore, they should arguably be forbidden to eat the lungs due to eiver min hachai; they are limbs cut from a living animal, which are forbidden to gentiles. Indeed, Rav Acha bar Yaakov believes that the lungs and intestines of a shechted animal are forbidden to gentiles.

Rav Papa, however, asks: “Is there anything permitted to Jews that is forbidden to gentiles?” Such a food cannot exist, he implies. But why not? What is behind the general rule, cited elsewhere (Sanhedrin 59a; Tosfos, Chullin 102a) food permitted to Jews is permitted to gentiles?

One possible answer is: Since Jews are children of royalty and highly restricted in what they may eat, surely any food permitted to them is permitted to gentiles. If Hashem allowed Jews to eat a certain food, He certainly did not forbid it to gentiles.


Siman or Sibah?

Another answer doesn’t rely on logic. It simply assumes, as a matter of fact, that if a Jew can eat something, so can a gentile. The rule is absolute. If a gentile knows that a food is kosher for a Jew, that serves as his “kashrus certificate.” It must be kosher for him.

A practical difference emerges between these two reasons. If the answer is based on logic, an exception can be made when a countervailing argument arises. For example, in our case, there is an argument to prohibit the lungs to a gentile based on ever min hachai. There’s no logical reason to say that the innards should be permitted to a gentile just because they’re permitted to a Jew.

If the rule is absolute, however – that “kosher for Jews” automatically indicates “kosher for gentiles” – then the lungs are permitted to gentiles too.

This inquiry is the key to understanding Tosfos on our sugya (see Kovetz Shiurim II, Kovetz Shemuos 23, etc.). See also Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 9:12-13, Kesef Mishneh; Lechem Mishneh; and Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Yorah Deah 27.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.