Treifa Shechita According to R' Akiva

Chulin (2:4) | Yisrael Bankier | a month ago

A valid shechita not only involves what must be cut, but also the manner it is performed. Over the past week we have learnt about various issues with the performance of the shechita.

The Mishnah (2:4) records a debate regarding the following cases: one cuts the trachea and the oesophagus was severed yet not cut be the knife; the oesophagus was cut and the trachea was severed; one of them was cut and the animal left to die; or after cutting one, the knife slide behind the other and cut it for there (chalada). R' Akiva maintains that the animal is a treifa, while R' Yeshevav argues that the animal is a neveila. To explain, a neveila refers to an animal that simply died, where as a treifa refers to an animal that received a valid shechita, yet had a grave anatomical issue. In both cases the animal cannot be consumed. An important difference however is that a neveila is a source of tumah, while a treifa is not.

R' Yeshevav continues by citing the rule in the name of R' Yehoshua that any animal that did not receive a valid shechita is considered a neveila. It is only if the shechita was valid and some other issue caused the animal to be considered not kosher, is the animal considered a treifa. R' Akiva ultimately agreed with R' Yeshevav. We shall however try to understand the original position of R' Akiva.

The Rashash (on the Mishnah) suggests a few possibilities. The first is that we find that the cutting of one of these "simanim" (oesophagus and trachea) is enough for the shechita of birds. Consequently, since the action is defined as an act of shechita elsewhere it is enough for the animal to not be defined as a nevielah.

He also suggests that when discussing this law of tumah, the Torah connects animals and birds – "this is the Torah of animal and bird" – suggesting that share the same legal definition. Consequently, since the cutting of one siman is effective to not render a bird as a nevielah, the same applies to animals.

The Rashash however notes that the above rationale only stands if one of the simanim was first cut in the required manner. Otherwise R' Akiva would have agreed from the outset that the animal is a neveilah. This is because that would also be the ruling for a bird that was slaughtered in that way.

The Imrei Moshe however cites a Tosefta that appears contradict this reasoning. There (2:2) the Tosefta records that R' Akiva originally maintained that the animal is considered a neveilah even if the issue of chalada applied to both simanim. Put simply, R' Akiva would argue that the animal is a treifah even in the case where neither simanim were cut in the required manner – which would be insufficient even for birds.

The Imrei Moshe (2:29) suggests that R' Akiva initially maintained that the laws regarding the details of the manner of shechita were additional requirements only necessary to allow the animal to consume. These additional laws however were not required to remove tumat neveilah.

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