Parashas Re’eh

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Eating Within our Means

Taste of Talmud

“When Hashem your G-d will broaden your boundaries… and you say, ‘let us eat meat;’ you shall slaughter from your cattle and from your sheep… kaasher tziveesicha, as I have commanded you” (Deut. 12: 21 & 22).  The Rambam and other poskim (halachik deciders) learn from here that there is a positive commandment to perform shechita, ritual slaughter. These poskim also comment that one is not obligated to eat meat.  Should one, however, desire to eat meat, he fulfills a positive commandment by carrying out a proper shechita.  There are poskim who disagree. Amongst them are the Raavad and the Ritzvah (quoted in Tosafos in Tractate Sh’vuos 24a).  These poskim are of the opinion that shechita is merely a way to remove the Biblical prohibition of eating an animal that was killed in some manner other than shechita.  This prohibition is found in this week’s portion as well; “do not eat a n’vaila, dead carcass.”  An animal is considered to be a n’vaila if it died of natural causes or if it were slaughtered in an incorrect manner.  In order for a shechita to be valid, great care and attention must be given to all of the details delineated in Halacha.

Taste of Halacha

“When Hashem your G-d will broaden your boundaries… and you say, ‘let us eat meat;’ you shall slaughter from your cattle and from your sheep… kaasher tziveesicha, as I have commanded you” (Deut. 12: 21 & 22).  The numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the words “ka’asher tziveesicha,” 1037, equals the value in the words which form the basic tenets of the laws of Shechita: “Rov Shtaim B’bihaima Vrov Echad B’of.” This means, that in order for the Shechita to be kosher, the majority of the wind pipe and esophagus must be severed in an animal.  In a bird, only the majority of either pipe is required.  In addition, the blade of the knife may not have any nicks in it, nor may it become entangled in the surface hair of the animal.  The slaughtering must be done in a smooth continuous movement and without pause.  The placement of the cut is such that it causes the animal the least pain possible.  If the incision would be made too high or too low on the neck, it is rendered invalid.  Needless to say if too much pressure is placed in a downward motion or if the knife was inserted in between the two pipes, the shechita would also be invalid and the animal would become classified as a n’vaila.  All of these laws were given directly to Moshe Rabbeinu by G-d and they are scrupulously adhered to until today “as I have commanded you.”

Taste of Parasha

“When Hashem your G-d will broaden your boundaries… and you say, ‘let us eat meat;’ you shall slaughter from your cattle and from your sheep… kaasher tziveesicha, as I have commanded you” (Deut. 12: 21 & 22).  The Torah is conveying to us an important lesson in derech eretz (ethical behavior).  It is teaching that one should only eat meat when G-d has “broadened his boundaries,” in other words, when he can afford it.  Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah taught that one should only buy what he can afford, be it vegetables, fish, or meat. Rav said:  We need to listen to this great man! Rashi adds, “Those with limited means should accustom themselves to suffice with less expensive victuals” (Chulin 84a).  Our sages teach us that if need be one should eat on Shabbos as he does during the week, rather than to become dependent on others due to irresponsible expenditures.  How does this fit in with the teaching of our sages that the money one spends on Shabbos will not take away from his pre-allotted amount?  The Chofetz Chaim explains that while it is true that there is an extra measure of divine blessing associated with Shabbos, this does not mean that one may be reckless with his finances.  Shabbos and Yom Tov are the appropriate times to enjoy meat and other lavish items, but within reason.

About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and Yeshiva L' Baalei Batim. He is the owner and director of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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