Hullin, Chapter Six, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

Leviticus 17:13 states, “And if any Israelite or any stranger who resides among them hunts down (or traps) an animal or a bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.” From this verse we learn that when a person slaughters a wild animal such as a deer or a bird, he must pour out the blood and cover it with earth. Our chapter deals with the details concerning this mitzvah.

 

Mishnah One

1)      [The law of] “covering up the blood” applies both within the land of Israel and outside it, both during the existence of the Temple and after it,

2)      It applies to unconsecrated animal, but not consecrated animals.  

3)      It applies [only] to wild animals and birds, whether they are at one’s disposal or not.  

4)      It applies also to a koy, for it is an animal about which there is a doubt.  

5)      It may [therefore] not be slaughtered on a festival; and if it was slaughtered [on a festival] one may not cover up its blood.

 

Explanation

Section one: The law concerning covering up the blood applies in all times and in all places. It is not dependent upon the existence of the Temple or the land of Israel.

Section two: The law applies only to unconsecrated animals. Obviously this is true for game animals, because they can never be sacrificed. It is also true of birds which can be either a hatat or an olah. In such cases, there is no mitzvah to cover the blood with earth.

Section three: It applies only to wild animals and birds and not to domesticated beasts. However, it applies to these animals whether they are already trapped and at one’s disposal or not. One might have thought that since the verse says, “when one hunts/traps” that the rule applies only to wild animals and birds that were trapped.

Section four: The rabbis did not know whether to classify the koy as a wild animal or as a domesticated beast (see Bikkurim 2:8-11). Therefore, one has to deal with it stringently, and apply to it laws that govern both domesticated and wild animals. If one slaughters a koy, he must cover the blood, lest it is a hayah (a wild animal).

Section five: One cannot slaughter a koy on a festival because it is forbidden carry the dirt to cover up the blood, because the dirt is muktzeh (off-limits on Shabbat and Yom Tov). Note that if a koy was known to be a hayah, it could be slaughtered because the dirt would definitely be needed. However, since the koy might not be a hayah, it might not need to have its blood covered and therefore, carrying the dirt might be a violation of muktzeh. If it was slaughtered, the blood should not be covered on Yom Tov. Rather, he must wait until evening.     

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