TalmuDigest

For the week ending 16 June 2012 / 25 Sivan 5772

Nidah 23 - 29

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Strange births and their effect on ritual purity
  • Bird found in the stomach of a slaughtered kosher animal
  • The meaning of shasuah
  • Graveyard stories of the Sage Abba Shaul
  • Miscarriage of an incomplete fetus or a "sandal"
  • When only the placenta comes forth
  • Maintaining silence in presence of teacher
  • Miscarriage which produces a fetus of questionable gender
  • Applications of the tefach (handbreath) measurement

A Unique Animal

"But this shall you not eat from among those that bring up their cud or have a separated split hoof hashasuah." (Devarim 14:7)

What is the meaning of this word hashasuah, which appears in the phrase introducing those animals that are forbidden for eating despite having one of the signs of a kosher species?

On the surface this is merely an adjective describing the nature of the split hoof as one that is completely separated. In his commentary, however, Rashi cites the statement in our gemara of Rabbi Chanan bar Abba that hashasuah is a species of animal with two backs and two spines which the Torah includes among the forbidden animals.

If such an animal ever existed is a matter of dispute. The Sage Shmuel ruled that such a unique animal was actually mentioned to Moshe by G-d. But if a fetus resembling it is found in a kosher animal, it would be considered kosher just as any other unborn creature found within a slaughtered kosher animal. The Sage Rav, however, states that no such animal ever lived and what Moshe was told was that if a fetus with such strange features was found in a slaughtered kosher animal, it would be forbidden.

  • Nidah 24a

What the Sages Say

"One can learn the meaning of one Torah passage from another but not from a passage in the Prophets."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Nidah 23a

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