Hullin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

In the beginning of the tractate we learned that if a deaf-mute, an imbecile (someone who is either crazy or perhaps retarded) or a minor slaughter an animal, the slaughtering is valid, but only if someone else watches them. If no one is watching, then we can assume that they did not slaughter in a valid fashion and the animal cannot be eaten. Our mishnah deals with the issues of covering the blood and the prohibition of “it and its young” when it comes to these three categories of people.  

 

Mishnah Three

1)      If a deaf-mute, an imbecile or a minor slaughtered while others watched them, one must cover up the blood;

a)      But if they were alone, they are exempt from covering it up.   

2)      Similarly for the matter of “it and its young”: if they slaughtered while others watched them, it is forbidden to slaughter after them [the mother/young],

a)      But if they were alone:

i)        Rabbi Meir permits to slaughter after them [the mother/young].

ii)       But the rabbis forbid it.

b)      They agree, that if a person did slaughter [after them], he has not incurred forty lashes.

 

Explanation

Section one: If other people watched the deaf-mute, imbecile or minor slaughter a wild animal or bird, and they saw that it was done in a valid fashion, then they are liable to cover up the blood. Since their slaughtering is valid, there would be no reason for them to be exempt from this obligation.

However, if they were alone, then their slaughtering is not valid and they are exempt from covering up the blood, as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah.

Section two: As is the rule with the covering of the blood, if other people see a deaf-mute, imbecile or minor slaughter an animal it is forbidden to slaughter the mother/offspring because the first animal was slaughtered in a valid fashion.

If they were alone, then Rabbi Meir holds that the second animal (the mother/offspring) can be slaughtered because we can assume that the first one was not slaughtered properly.

However, the other rabbis hold that one should not slaughter the second animal lest the first animal was properly slaughtered. According to the Talmud, the other rabbis disagree with the halakhah in section one as well—they must cover the blood because the slaughtering might have been done in a proper fashion. In other words, when a deaf-mute, imbecile or minor slaughters an animal without witnesses, we can’t eat the animal lest it not be valid. However, we have to also take into consideration that it was slaughtered correctly and therefore the blood must be covered and it is forbidden to slaughter the mother/offspring on the same day.

While the rabbis say that one should not slaughter the second animal, if one does, he is not liable for the forty lashes because it is not certain that the first animal was slaughtered properly. In order for someone to incur a punishment, it must be certain that he transgressed, and in this case there is no way to ascertain whether the first animal was slaughtered properly.    

 

 

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