Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Is "Not Forbidden" Equivalent to "Permitted"?

Of course a Jew may not eat meat from a treifa.  That is, from an animal that has certain simanim that basically means the animal would have died if it hadn't been killed.  That is different than n'veila, which is meat from an animal that was killed by some other means than sh'chita.  For example, a deer killed by a rifle bullet or the bumper of a 4x4 filled with drunk would-be hunters.  (I suspect a lot of those "hunters" actually just got lucky and caught a deer in their headlights.)  Then there is meat from a b'heima t'mei'a -- pork, for example.  Who cares why it's forbidden?  Forbidden is forbidden, right?  Well, l'ma'aseh, maybe; though it often comes up in case of situations where the details of what actually happened are not clear.  But philosophically, there is a lot to learn from the details.

For example, the Torah only prescribes a punishment (lashes, in this case) if one ate a "shiur" (in this case a k'zayis) of the issur.  What about eating less than the torah prescribed shiur?  That is the subject of a machlokes Reish Lakish and R' Yochanon; Reish Lakish says chatzi shiur mutar m'd'oraisa (but, of course, assur m'd'rabanan), while R' Yochanan says chatzi shiur assur m'd'oraisa. We pasken like R' Yochanan, but I saw a fascinating question regarding this machlokes this morning.  Since we are all going crazy about shiurim now ("Abba!  Are you sure that I need to eat that much matzah?!?  Any how fast?!?"), I figured that siting was propitious timing.

According to Reish Lakish, would a person be allowed (on a d'oraiso level) to shecht an animal on yom tov that he knows is a treifa with the intent to eat only pakos pakos min ha'shiur; say less than an ounce every 11 minutes or so (just to be safe)?  It's such a cool question because one is allowed, of course, to shecht an animal on yom tov l'tzorech ochel nefesh -- the the sake of eating -- because freshly shechted meat is much yummier than the stuff that's been sitting on the shelves for a few days/weeks/...

This question was discussed by R' Kahaneman (Ponevezh Rosh Yeshiva) in his youth when he was sitting at the yom tov table with the Aruch haShulchan (its author, actually, R' Yechiel Michel Epstein).  The Aruch haShulchan said he would be amazed if the Torah would allow such a thing.  The heter of tzorech ochel nefesh, he reasoned, is based on enhancing one's yom tov experience; how could such a thing be possible?  Besides, who says the Torah even allows one to shecht any animal with the intent of eating less than a shiur?  Maybe the Torah only allowed sh'chita l'tzorech ochel nefesh for something that has a din "achila"; ie, a k'zayis or more.  R' Kahaneman wasn't so sure one needed to be some amazed if it would be that the Torah allowed that.  After all, the Torah does not forbid it and it could increase one's simchas yom tov; so maybe.

For my part, I was amazed (still) at the huge gap between the conversation at my yom tov table and the yom tov table of g'dolim from the not too distant past.  You'd think I would be past being amazed.  Isn't it amazing that I'm not?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…