Hullin, Chapter One, Mishnah Four

 

Introduction

Animals are slaughtered and sacrificed by having their throats slit. Non-sacrificial birds are also slaughtered in this manner. However, sacrificial birds are slaughtered by a process called “nipping” which is done from the back of the neck. For more information on “nipping” see Zevahim 6:4.

Our mishnah compares the laws of nipping with the laws of slaughtering.

 

Mishnah Four

1)      If one cut at the side [of the neck], the slaughtering is valid.

a)      If one nipped off [the head of a bird sacrifice] from the side of the neck, the nipping is invalid.

2)      If one cut at the back of the neck, the slaughtering is invalid.

a)      If one nipped off [the head] from the back of the neck, the nipping is valid.

3)      If one cut at the front of the neck, the slaughtering is valid.

a)      If one nipped off [the head] from the front of the neck, the nipping is invalid.

4)      For the whole of the back of the neck is the appropriate place for nipping, and the whole of the front of the neck is the appropriate place for slaughtering.

a)      It follows, therefore, that the place which is appropriate for slaughtering is inappropriate for nipping, and the place which is appropriate for nipping is inappropriate for slaughtering.

 

Explanation

Section one: The side of neck is valid for slaughtering but not for nipping bird sacrifices. Some commentators hold that this is only ex post facto—meaning one should not slaughter from the side but if one does, the slaughtering is valid. Others hold that even “lechatchila” (a priori) one can slaughter from the side. The side is considered to be part of the front.

Section two: Slaughtering cannot be done from the back of the neck, whereas this is the place where nipping must occur.

Section three: Slaughtering should be done at the front of the neck, whereas nipping done at the front is invalid.

Section four: This section explains the general rule—any place that is valid for nipping is not valid for slaughtering and vice versa. 

 

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