TalmuDigest

For the week ending 27 August 2011 / 26 Av 5771

Chullin 65 - 71

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Features of birds and locusts determining their status
  • Which fish and water creatures may be consumed
  • The status of worms in fruit
  • Status of a calf found inside a slaughtered animal
  • Status of the part of a fetus protruding from mother before shechitah
  • A firstborn animal which can be cut to pieces and thrown to the dogs
  • The status of a dead fetus regarding ritual impurity
  • Contamination of one entering a house struck by leprosy
  • The contaminated ring that was swallowed

Judging One by the Company it Keeps

"It was not in vain that the zarzir bird made it a habit to live in the company of the orev bird; it did so because it too is an unkosher species."

This was the argument used by Rabbi Eliezer to support his position that the zarzir, a bird not explicitly mentioned in the Torah as a forbidden species, was indeed forbidden for consumption. The fact that this bird chose to live in the company of the orev, generally believed to be the forbidden raven, served as proof that it is included in the Torah's ban on "the orev and its species". (Vayikra 11:14)

This concept of judging something by the company it keeps is expanded on in Mesechta Bava Kama (92b) where the gemara cites examples from the Torah, Prophets and Writings as well as Mishna and Beraita as support for the folk-saying that a barren tree tends to grow next to a fruitless one. Rabbi Eliezer's statement about birds is the Beraita example, and Rashi there calls our attention to the fact that his ruling regarding the status of the zarzir is disputed by the other Sages who consider it a kosher bird.

  • Chulin 65a

What the Sages Say

"What a shame Ben Azai that you never studied under Rabbi Yishmael!"

  • The Sage Shimon ben Azai - Chullin 71a

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