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Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Vayeishev

On the Origin of Species

Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Rav Moshe Zev Granek 

November 25, 2021



And Yosef brought a bad report about them to their father.

Bereishis 37:2

According to Rashi, among the things Yosef reported was that his brothers ate eiver min hachai (a part of a living animal). Why would the brothers have violated this prohibition, to which even b’nei No’ach are subject?

The Shelah suggests that the animals from which the meat was taken had been created by the brothers through Sefer Yetzirah (which can be used to create animals—see Sanhedrin 65b). The  Shelah explains that such animals would not require shechitah, so the issur of eiver min hachai would not obtain.

Most mefarshim understand the Shelah to mean that any animal not born of another animal is not considered an animal. Some Acharonim challenge this from the Gemara (Yoma 75b) that says the slav (quail) that fell from heaven (Bemidbar 11:31) required shechitah. If we can assume those birds were created ad hoc by Hashem and not hatched from eggs, why would they require shechitah?

The answer may be that the Shelah’s principle doesn’t apply to animals that come from eggs. The Yam Shel Shlomo (Chulin 9:9) says that since birds do not give birth to their offspring directly but lay eggs from which they hatch, there is no difference between birds that emerge from eggs and those created unnaturally, like those that grow in trees (see Mordechai, Chulin 735); all require shechitah.


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