Hullin, Chapter 7, Mishnah 5

Hullin, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Five

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with a sciatic nerve that is cooked with other permitted nerves. Afterwards, the mishnah continues to deal with the subject of prohibited foods that are cooked with permitted foods.

 

Mishnah Five

1)      A sciatic nerve which was cooked with other [permitted] nerves:

a)      If it can still be recognized, [then all the nerves are prohibited] if [the sciatic nerve] imparts a flavor.

b)      But if it can no longer [be recognized] then they are all forbidden.

c)      And the broth [is prohibited] if it [the sciatic nerve] imparts a flavor.

2)      And so it is with a piece of nevelah, or a piece of an unclean fish that was cooked together with other pieces of flesh [or fish]:

a)      If it can still be recognized, [then all are prohibited] if it imparts a flavor.

b)      But if it can no longer [be recognized] then they are all forbidden.

c)      And the broth [is prohibited] if it [the sciatic nerve] imparts a flavor.

 

Explanation

Section one: If the person can still tell which one of the nerves is the sciatic nerve, then the other nerves are prohibited only if we can assume that the sciatic nerve imparted its taste to the other nerves. The test for this would seem to be the turnip and meat test we learned about in yesterday’s mishnah.

If he can’t recognize which one is the sciatic nerve, then all of the nerves are prohibited. Note that no amount of other nerves is sufficient, in this case, to nullify the presence of one forbidden nerve. This is unlike the usual rule that holds that forbidden substances can be nullified by a high enough percentage of permitted substances. The Talmud explains that this is because the sciatic nerve is treated like a complete entity, which can never be nullified.

As far as the broth goes, here the test is simply whether or not the sciatic nerve was of a sufficient amount to impart its taste. If it is not, then the broth is permitted, even if he can’t tell which one was the nerve.

Section two: The same rules hold true for other prohibited substances. Again we must explain why these pieces of meat or fish are not nullified by a high percentage of permitted meat or fish (in cases where he can’t recognize which was which). One would think that if there were, for instance, 200 pieces of permitted meat and only one piece of nevelah, that the permitted meat would nullify the tiny percentage of prohibited meat. The Talmud explains that pieces of meat or fish which are large enough to present to guests are significant enough that they can never be nullified.