Oktzim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Nine



Today’s mishnah returns to the topic of whether a food needs to first be made susceptible to impurity or whether it needs “intention” in order to be considered food.


Mishnah Nine

1)      The fat [of the carcass] of a clean beast is not regarded as unclean with carrion uncleanness; for this reason it must first be made susceptible.

2)      The fat of an unclean beast, however, is regarded as unclean with carrion uncleanness; for this reason it need not be made at first susceptible.

3)      As for unclean fish and unclean locusts, intention is required in villages.



Section one: “Helev,” a certain type of fat, from a clean animal, cow, goat or sheep, that died without being properly slaughtered, is not impure. Only the “helev” of an unclean animal (camel, rabbit, pig, etc.) is impure (as is the whole animal, after it has died). So if one has “helev” from an clean animal it must first come into contact with water to be even susceptible to impurity. We should note that such fat is forbidden to eat, even if the animal was properly slaughtered.

Section two: As stated above, “helev” from an unclean animal is already impure. Indeed, the entire animal is impure (see mishnah three). Therefore, even the helev need not come into contact with water for it to be impure.

Section three: In the villages people don’t seem to eat unclean fish and locusts. Therefore, in such places, for the fish or locust to be susceptible to food impurity the person must have the intention to eat it. In contrast, in larger marketplaces people will eat such food. If this food is sold there, it will not require intention for it to be susceptible to impurity.

In all places, the fish and locusts are not susceptible to impurity until they have had contact with liquids.