For the week ending 25 June 2011 / 22 Sivan 5771

Chullin 2 - 8

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Who is eligible to do shechita
  • The status of a Kuttite or sinner regarding shechita
  • The shechita of an idol worshipper
  • How the righteous King Yeshshofat ate from the meat of sinful King Achav
  • The Prophet Eliyahu and the ravens
  • Accepting sacrifices from sinners
  • The condemnation of the Kuttites
  • Rabbi Meir's eating of a vegetable and its consequences
  • Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair and the River Ganai
  • The dialogues between him and Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi
  • The blessing Prophet Elisha received from Prophet Eliyahu
  • Shechita done with a heated knife

Half-hearted Hospitality

  • Chullin 7b

When Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi invited Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair for a meal, he was happily surprised when this great Sage accepted, for it was his custom to always refuse hospitality. Noticing the excited look on the face of his host, Rabbi Pinchas declared:

"Do you think that I have taken a vow not to benefit from any Jew? Jews are a holy people and my refusal is based on my understanding that there are among them who genuinely wish to give to me but lack the means to do so, while others have the means but lack the will. Regarding the latter, King Shlomo wrote: 'Do not eat the bread of one who has an evil eye… for he invites you to eat and drink, but his heart is not with you.' (Mishlei 23:6-7)"

"You," concluded Rabbi Pinchas, "have the means and the will to grant hospitality but I must nevertheless turn down your invitation because I am in a hurry to fulfill the mitzvah of ransoming captives."

Rabbi Pinchas seemed to be critical of half-hearted hosts and yet includes them in his praise of all Jews being holy people. Tosefot explains that the very fact that a miserly Jew extends an invitation to a guest, even though he is motivated by shame rather than generosity, qualifies him to be considered holy.

It was the extreme righteousness of Rabbi Pinchas that compelled him to refuse an invitation from a host who did not extend it wholeheartedly.

What the Sages Say

"No one suffers a blow to his finger unless it is decreed from Above."

  • Rabbi Chanina - Chullin 7b

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