Eating Raw Meat

Beitzah (3:3) | Yisrael Bankier | 10 years ago

If one has an animal that is gravely ill they would likely wish to slaughter it so that that meat would be kosher rather than leaving it to die and become a neveilah. Ordinarily, one is not allowed to slaughter an animal on Yom Tov unless he intends to eat its meat that day. When faced with the situation of this ailing animal the Chachamim were more lenient due to the potential financial loss. Just how lenient is the subject of debate in our Mishnah (3:3).

The Tana Kama rules that there must be enough time left in the day that one could potentially slaughter the animal and eat a kezayit of its roasted meat. The Tifferet Yisrael explains that roasting the meat is used as the measure since it is the quickest way to both kasher the meat and make it edible. The leniency is that the owner does not actually need to eat the meat of the animal on Yom Tov for it to be slaughtered in this situation. R’ Akiva however explains that even less time is required; the time taken to slaughter the animal and eat a kezayit of raw meat from where it was slaughtered. How do we understand R’ Akiva’s position? Is one really allowed to eat raw meat prior to any salting or kashering?

To answer this let us first briefly look at parts of the prohibition of eating or drinking blood. The Mishnah (Keritut 5:1) explains that dam ha’nefesh (blood that flows out at the time of slaughter) is prohibited and punishable with karet. With respect to the remaining blood, that which is found in the veins and cavities is prohibited; likewise for the blood in the meat that separates. This is problem with cooking unsalted meat, as the blood would separate and re-enter the meat rendering not kosher. If the blood has not left the meat (i.e. raw unsalted, uncooked meat) then the Tosfot (Chullin 14a) explains that the blood inside the meat is not prohibited.1

Indeed the Shulchan Aruch explains that it is permitted to eat raw meat, provided that the surface blood has been washed off and that the meat does not contain veins in which blood has collected. Consequently, it follows that the time to rinse the meat would need to be added to R’ Akiva calculation.

The Tosfot Yom Tov however directs us to his commentary in Menachot (11:7) where he brings the explanations thus far. He also however brings the opinion of the Rambam who maintains that if one wishes to eat raw meat it must first be salted and washed well. The Tosfot R’ Akiva Eiger here however notes that our Mishnah appears to present a difficulty for the Rambam. If we wanted to explain that R’ Akiva meant that it was the time take to eat the raw meat with salting, the poskim write that the time for salting is equal to the time for roasting. In other words, R’ Akiva would not be disagreeing with the Tana Kama.

The Beit Yosef (YD 67)*also questions the Rambam’s position. It appears that the Rambam understands that even the even blood that has not separated from the meat is forbidden. Elsewhere however he rules that if raw meat was scolded or placed in vinegar (chalita) then it may be eaten without salting.2 Chalita does not remove the blood so it would appear the he agrees that such blood is permitted. The Beit Yosef explains that the Rambam agrees that that blood is permitted. However if the blood in the meat can separate easily it is prohibited even if it has not yet done so. The process of chalita* however serves to lock in or solidify the blood.3

Indeed, R’ Akiva Eiger explains by citing the Sha’ar HaMelech that the Rambam would need to explain that R’ Akiva means that it is the time needed to slaughter and eat a kezayit of raw meat after chalita in vinegar*.


1 Rav Soloveitchik (Shiurei HaRav, Melicha, 41) explains that according to the Tosfot until the blood has separated from the meat, it is not defined as blood, but rather “meat juice”.

2 We do not rely on chalita alone, as we are not proficient in the process. (Rif)

3 The Aruch HaShulchan (YD 67:9) explains that there is good reason for the Rambam’s requirement of chalita, for without which the blood would separate in one’s mouth as the meat was chewed.

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