THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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CHULIN 57-58 - sponsored by Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald of Lawrence NY, in
honor of his father, David ben Aharon ha'Levy Rosenwald of blessed memory.
1) EXAMINING THE "TZOMES HA'GIDIN"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (56b) states that a bird with a broken leg is not a
Tereifah (unless it is the upper part of the leg, and the bone protrudes
outwards through the skin). The Gemara relates that a basketful of birds
with broken legs was brought to Rava, and he examined the area of the
"Tzomes ha'Gidin" ("the intersection of the sinews") in the legs of the
birds, and he permitted the birds.
2) A BIRD WITH A DISLOCATED THIGH
RASHI (DH b'Tzomes ha'Gidin) writes that there are sixteen sinews in the
Tzomes ha'Gidin that Rava examined. The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 56:6) rules that
if a majority of one of these sinews is cut, then the bird is rendered a
Does every bird need to be examined to ascertain that all of its sinews in
the Tzomes ha'Gidin are intact, or may we assume that they are intact unless
there exists some reason to suspect otherwise (such as a leg is broken)?
(a) The PRI MEGADIM (introduction to YD 39) writes in the name of the
MINCHAS YAKOV that the reason why we find no obligation to examine an animal
for each of the eighteen different types of Tereifos (with the exception of
the lungs) is because we may rely on the Rov that tells us that most animals
are not Tereifos, when, otherwise, considerable exertion would be involved.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shechitah 11:12) apparently extends this principle to a
bird and states that "we have never heard of anyone requiring that a bird be
examined in this manner, unless there is a suspicion that the bird is a
However, RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (in IGROS MOSHE YD 1:19) rules that this
does not mean that one may slaughter birds and prepare them for consumption
without examining them at all. The Shochet must first open the bird and
conduct a brief check (which does not involve much exertion, as per the
logic of the Pri Megadim) in order to determine that there is no problem
that is easily spotted that makes a bird a Tereifah. Only after he performs
this check and finds nothing out of the ordinary may the bird then be
prepared for consumption.
(b) The MINCHAS YITZCHAK (7:52) proves from the TAZ and SHACH (YD 56:9) that
the Tzomes ha'Gidin normally does not need to be checked at all. The REMA
there says that since we are not proficient in checking the Tzomes ha'Gidin,
when one observes on the Tzomes ha'Gidin some indication that it was hit
there, even if it is only a swollen area where some blood gathered, we must
say that the bird is a Tereifah since we do not have the expertise to check
and determine otherwise. The Taz and Shach comment in the name of the
MAHARSHAL that the Posek who sees such a mark should not rule immediately
that the chicken is a Tereifah. Rather, he should slice open the area which
is swollen and see if the area has endured some rotting and softening. Only
in such a case should he then rule that the bird is a Tereifah.
The Minchas Yitzchak infers from the words of the Maharshal that when no
external sign of a wound is observed, the Tzomes ha'Gidin do not have to be
examined at all. He agrees with the opinion of the Igros Moshe that as long
as a Jew opens the chicken and does a quick check to ascertain that nothing
looks problematic, he does not have to do any further checking to determine
that the bird is not a Tereifah.
The Minchas Yitzchak extends this ruling to a case involving a disease that
occurred among chickens that caused their sinews to become cut. An expert
examiner could inspect the chicken's lower leg area and determine whether or
not the chicken had this disease, and, consequently, had a significant
chance of having a cut sinew in the Tzomes ha'Gidin area. RAV MEIR
BRANDSDORFER shlit'a (in KENEI BOSEM YD #49) writes that any chicken that
was examined and found to have this disease must have its Tzomes ha'Gidin
examined. The Minchas Yitzchak agrees with this. However, Rav Brandsdorfer
adds that it is forbidden to eat any chicken until the chicken has been
examined by an expert to determine that it does not have this disease. Based
on his aforementioned statement that only a cursory check of the chicken is
necessary, the Minchas Yitzchak argues that there is no problem to eat
chickens without first checking for this disease, although one who is
stringent to do so is acting in a way that is holy.
Although the Minchas Yitzchak rules that one does not need to check the
Tzomes ha'Gidin, he does quote the MEI DA'AS who states that it is
preferable to check the Tzomes ha'Gidin, and one who does so will have a
blessing come upon him. Indeed, today many strict Kashrus organizations
require that the Tzomes ha'Gidin be routinely checked before giving their
Hechsher. This practice was instituted because within the last ten years,
the problem of the Tzomes ha'Gidin having snapped sinews has become
widespread. This is due in part to the fact that the chickens are raised to
be very meat-heavy on top, causing severe strain on the legs, which often
leads to snapped sinews in the Tzomes ha'Gidin. (Y. Montrose)
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses at length whether a bird with a dislocated
thigh ("Shemutas Yerech") is a Tereifah or not. RASHI (DH Shemutas) and
TOSFOS (DH Shemutas) agree that this refers to a case in which the ball
("Buka") that attaches the leg bone ("Yerech" or "Atma") to the socket in
the hip bone slipped out of the socket, causing the leg to become
dislocated. (See RAMBAM (Hilchos Shechitah 10:4) and ME'IRI for other
opinions of "Shemutas Yerech.")
3) A BIRD'S RIBCAGE PROTECTS ITS LUNGS
Why does the Gemara have any question about the dislocated thigh of a bird?
The Gemara earlier (56a) says in the name of Levi that the Tereifos of a
bird are the same as the Tereifos of an animal. The Gemara (54b) teaches
that when an animal's thigh is dislocated, the animal is a Tereifah. Why,
then, should a bird be any different?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Lama) suggests that those who permit such a bird also permit
an animal with similar damage. They disagree with the opinion mentioned in
the Gemara earlier (54b) that calls such an animal a Tereifah.
(b) Tosfos answers further that perhaps those who permit such a bird indeed
distinguish between birds and animals, and do not accept the opinion of Levi
earlier (56a) who compares the Tereifos of the two. (Tosfos is not entirely
satisfied with this answer.)
The RAN explains that the logic behind this distinction is that an animal's
weight rests on its thigh, while a bird's weight does not rest entirely on
its thighs, since it has wings which it uses to support some of its weight.
(c) The RAN mentions two other opinions in the Rishonim that differentiate
between the damaged thigh bone which renders an animal a Tereifah and the
bone of a bird discussed here. In the Gemara here, the joint (socket) itself
was not damaged, but the bird might still be a Tereifah for a different
reason. The Gemara here is discussing the *knee* joint, and not the thigh
socket, while the Gemara earlier is discussing the thigh socket (the hip). A
*knee* dislocation makes the animal Tereifah even if no damage occurred to
Alternatively, the Ran cites the RA'AVAD who suggests that the Gemara here
is discussing the hip, while the Gemara earlier is discussing the knee. A
*hip* dislocation makes the animal Tereifah even if no damage occurred to
QUESTION: Rav Chanah explains that a bird's ribcage protects the bird's
lungs from damage due to a fall or due to fire. RASHI (DH v'Rov Tzela'os)
explains that this is because the "width of the ribs protect [the lung],
because they lie not on their width, but on their sharp edges." How does
this protect the bird's lungs?
ANSWER: The SICHAS CHULIN (3:425) explains that Rashi means that the ribs of
a bird surround the lungs with their width perpendicular to the thoracic
cavity (that is, their flat sides face each other, and their pointed edges
face toward the inside and outside of the animal). The lungs, therefore, are
farther away from the outer surface of the bird, and, therefore, are better
insulated from impact and from fire.
4) REBBI SHIMON BEN CHALAFTA'S EXPERIMENT
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rebbi Shimon ben Chalafta wanted to see if
Shlomo ha'Melech was correct when he stated that ants have no rulers
How could Rebbi Shimon ben Chalafta doubt the words of Shlomo ha'Melech? The
Gemara in Bava Basra (75a) says that a person who doubts the statements made
by the Torah scholars of the generation is a "scoffer" who is worthy to be
punished. How, then, could Rebbi Shimon ben Chalafta have doubted the
accuracy of Shlomo's statement? (TOSFOS DH Eizil)
ANSWER: Rebbi Shimon ben Chalafta certainly trusted Shlomo's statement. He
wanted to show others how Shlomo ha'Melech knew that ants have no kings.