1) RELYING ON ACHAV'S "SHECHITAH"
QUESTION: Rav Anan in the name of Shmuel (4b) rules that one is permitted to eat the meat of an animal slaughtered by a Jew who worships idols, because we find that King Yehoshafat, who was a Tzadik (RASHI DH Ela Mumar), ate the meat that King Achav slaughtered, even though Achav worshipped idols.
The Gemara present multiple attempts to refute this proof, but all of the attempts are answered. It seems that the Gemara concludes that King Yehoshafat did eat from the Shechitah of Achav and his men, which proves that one may rely on the Shechitah of a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah.
However, the Gemara then seems to begin the discussion again and says, "Rather, [we can prove that one may eat from the Shechitah of a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah] from here...." Why does the Gemara need to bring another proof for the ruling of Rav Anan? (TIFERES YAKOV, CHESHEK SHLOMO)
Moreover, the Gemara (end of 5a) concludes that one may not rely on the Shechitah of a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah. How are we to understand King Yehoshafat's actions? (CHESHEK SHLOMO)
ANSWER: The Gemara clearly acknowledges an inherent weakness in the proof from the actions of Yehoshafat, as is evident from its repeated attempts to refute the proof, as well as from its conclusion that one may not rely on the Shechitah of a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah. The Gemara, however, does not state the weakness with the proof. Why does the Gemara ultimately reject the proof from Yehoshafat?
(a) According to some commentaries (see REBBI AKIVA EIGER to YD 2:1), the Shechitah of a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah is prohibited only mid'Rabanan. Accordingly, the proof from Yehoshafat is not valid because perhaps in his times the Rabanan had not yet decreed that such a Shechitah is prohibited. The Rabanan prohibited such a Shechitah only after the times of Yehoshafat.
(b) Another weakness in the proof from Yehoshafat is that the Navi relates that Achav repented from his evil ways (Melachim I 21:29) before the incident of the meal with Yehoshafat took place! Perhaps Achav remained steadfast in his Teshuvah and never returned to his evil ways, and, therefore, he was no longer considered a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah (OR HA'CHAYIM in CHEFETZ HASH-M). (See MITZPEH EISAN, who discusses how Rav Anan cites proof from Yehoshafat in the first place.)
(c) The TIFERES YAKOV suggests that perhaps Ovadyah and Yehoshafat's men performed the Shechitah after all (as the Gemara suggests).
(d) The SHILTEI GIBORIM (beginning of Chulin) rules that one may rely on the Shechitah of a Jew who is a Mumar for all of the Mitzvos of the Torah as long as a G-d-fearing Jew supervised his Shechitah and saw that it was done properly. The same law should apply to one who is a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah. Accordingly, perhaps Yehoshafat appointed his men to watch Achav's men when they slaughtered the animals, and that is why he relied on their Shechitah. (M. KORNFELD)
2) CONSENT FROM HASH-M TO EAT THE "SHECHITAH" OF ACHAV
OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that the conduct of Eliyahu ha'Navi -- who ate meat from the slaughterhouse of Achav -- provides no proof no proof for Rav Anan's ruling, because "Al Pi ha'Dibur Sha'ani" -- Hash-m permitted Eliyahu to eat Achav's meat.
There are a number of ways to understand what the Gemara means when it says that Hash-m permitted Eliyahu to eat Achav's meat.
(a) RASHI and TOSFOS explain that Hash-m permitted Eliyahu to eat Achav's meat, even though relying on the Shechitah of a person like Achav is prohibited under normal circumstances. (The MITZPEH EISAN points out that although we are not permitted to listen to a Navi who instructs us to transgress an Isur d'Oraisa unless his Nevu'ah merely gives temporary permission to transgress, with the purpose of preventing others from transgressing the Torah ("l'Migdar Milsa"; Yevamos 90b), that rule applies only to giving permission to the public to transgress. A Navi may transgress an Isur in private when he receives a Nevu'ah from Hash-m permitting him to do so.)
(b) The RITVA explains that Hash-m guaranteed Eliyahu that the meat from Achav's slaughterhouse was Kosher meat; it was the meat slaughtered by Ovadyah, the righteous servant of Achav. In a similar vein, the ROSH YOSEF explains that according to the RI'AZ who rules that one may rely on the Shechitah of a Mumar l'Chol ha'Torah when a Jew supervised and approved the Shechitah, "Al Pi ha'Dibur" here may mean that Hash-m Himself gave testimony that He supervised the Shechitah of Achav's men and that they slaughtered the animals properly. (Z. Wainstein)
3) WHEN IS A "MUMAR" NOT CONSIDERED A JEW
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa that refutes the opinion of Rav Anan, who says (4b) that one is permitted to eat the meat of an animal slaughtered by a Mumar l'Avodas Kochavim. The Beraisa discusses various categories of Mumar, including a Mumar l'Davar Echad, whose Korban is accepted, and a Mumar l'Chol ha'Torah, whose Korban is not accepted. The Beraisa proves that a Mumar l'Avodas Kochavim is considered a Mumar l'Chol ha'Torah and, consequently, is disqualified from performing Shechitah.
The RAN (1a of the pages of the Rif, DH ul'Inyan) discusses the various categories of Mumar. He writes that a Mumar l'Hach'is -- one who rejects the Mitzvos, or even a single Mitzvah, out of arrogance in order to anger Hash-m -- is considered like a Nochri and is disqualified from performing Shechitah. Even when a Jew supervises his Shechitah from the beginning to the end and attests that it was performed perfectly, his Shechitah is forbidden, because only a Jew's Shechitah is valid. The Mumar has left the Jewish people and is considered like a Nochri.
However, the Ran in Gitin (23b of the pages of the Rif, DH Sefer) writes that a Sefer Torah written by a Mumar l'Avodas Kochavim is valid mid'Oraisa. The Rabanan decreed that such a Sefer Torah is Pasul, because it was written by a Jew who abandoned the Mitzvos. The Gezeirah of the Rabanan applies to him even if he is a Mumar l'Davar Echad who had the opportunity to do an act in a permissible manner but instead did it in a forbidden manner.
Why does the Ran in Chulin state that a Mumar l'Hach'is even for a single transgression is not considered a Jew at all, while in Gitin he states that even a Mumar l'Avodah Zarah is unfit only mid'Rabanan (to write a Sefer Torah), but is still considered part of the Jewish people?
(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 39:3) first suggests that the Ran in Gitin is discussing a Mumar who is not a Mumar l'Hach'is. However, he rejects this suggestion, because the Ran in Avodah Zarah (end of 7b of the pages of the Rif) states that a Jew who had the opportunity to do an act in a permissible manner but instead did it in a forbidden manner has the status of a Mumar l'Hach'is. Since the Ran in Gitin describes the Mumar's actions in this manner, he must be referring to a Mumar l'Hach'is there as well.
The Magen Avraham explains instead that the Ran in Gitin is discussing a sinner who explicitly declares that he is not attempting to anger Hash-m, but he merely wants to find out what forbidden food tastes like.
(b) The Magen Avraham answers further that the Ran in Gitin is referring to a Mumar who ate forbidden food only once, while the Ran in Avodah Zarah is referring to a Mumar who ate forbidden food numerous times (and even though he knows what it tastes like, he continues eating it).
(c) The BECHOR SHOR (in TEVU'OS SHOR, Gitin 45b) says that there is no contradiction in the words of the Ran. The Ran in Chulin is ruling in accordance with the opinion of RASHI and the RAMBAM, who rule that a Mumar l'Hach'is is disqualified mid'Oraisa from performing Shechitah. In Gitin, the Ran is merely discussing a different opinion -- that of the RASHBA and RAZAH, who maintain that a Mumar l'Hach'is is disqualified only mid'Rabanan. The Ran rules, however, like Rashi and the Rambam. (See also CHAZON ISH YD 2:4, DH v'Nir'eh, who asserts that the Ran's conclusion is to follow the lenient opinion, that of the Rashba and Razah.) (D. BLOOM)
4) THE "SHECHITAH" OF A "KUSI"
OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that Raban Gamliel and his Beis Din decreed that one may not eat meat from an animal slaughtered by a Kusi. Rebbi Zeira asked that perhaps the decree was made only with regard to Shechitah performed by a Kusi without the supervision of a Jew ("Omed Al Gabav"). Rebbi Yakov bar Idi replied that such a Shechitah is obviously forbidden by the Torah, and no decree is needed to prohibit it. The decree, therefore, must have been made to prohibit the Shechitah of a Kusi even when a Jew is Omed Al Gabav.
Why is it obvious that the Shechitah of a Kusi without the supervision of a Jew is forbidden?
(a) RASHI (DH l'Meimra) explains that the only reason why a Shochet is careful to slaughter an animal properly is that he does not want to cause another Jew to transgress the Torah. The source for the Mitzvah not to do something that will cause another person to sin is "v'Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol" -- "Do not place a stumbling block before the blind" (Vayikra 19:14). The Kusim reject this meaning of the verse and interpret it literally. According to their interpretation, the Kusim have no prohibition against causing another person to sin, and therefore they will not be careful to slaughter an animal properly for a Jew.
(b) The RASHBA disagrees with Rashi and offers a different interpretation for the exchange between Rebbi Zeira and Rebbi Yakov bar Idi. The Rashba explains that Rebbi Zeira had heard in the name of Rebbi Yakov bar Idi that the reason why Raban Gamliel's Beis Din prohibited the Shechitah of Kusim was, as the Gemara says later (6a), that it was found that the Kusim were worshipping a statue of a dove atop Har Gerizim. Rebbi Zeira's doubt was that perhaps this reason to prohibit the Shechitah of Kusim applies only according to the opinion of Rebbi Meir (as the Gemara on 6a discusses). Rebbi Meir rules that one must be stringent in all cases, even when only a minority of cases is actually forbidden. Only according to Rebbi Meir should the Shechitah of Kusim be prohibited, but not according to the Chachamim who argue with Rebbi Meir. Rebbi Zeira questioned whether Rebbi Gamliel would have enacted a decree prohibiting the Shechitah of Kusim -- in accordance with the view of Rebbi Meir -- when the Halachah follows the Chachamim who follow the majority of cases (and since the majority of Kusim do not worship the dove, the Shechitah of Kusim should be permitted). Therefore, Rebbi Zeira suggested that perhaps Raban Gamliel did not decree that the Kusim are considered completely like Nochrim, but that since he saw that their level of observance of Shechitah was seriously deteriorating, he decreed that they have the status of Jews who eat Neveilah, whose unsupervised Shechitah is forbidden.
The difference between Raban Gamliel's decree and the law in the Mishnah is that, according to the Mishnah, one may rely on the unsupervised Shechitah of a Kusi if the Kusi himself eats the meat of the animal he slaughtered (as described on 3b). Raban Gamliel's decree prohibited the meat of a Kusi's Shechitah even if the Kusi himself eats it, since, in his time, the Kusim were suspected of eating Neveilah.
Rebbi Yakov bar Idi replied to Rebbi Zeira that even according to the Mishnah, one may not rely on the Shechitah of a Kusi even if the Kusi himself eats the meat. The reason for this is that Hash-m gave to Moshe Rabeinu at Har Sinai five Halachos concerning Shechitah which were not written explicitly in the Torah. Even though the Kusim generally are careful to observe these Halachos, their observance of these Halachos is not reliable, since these Halachos are not written in the Torah. (The Halachah does not follow the view of Raban Shimon ben Gamliel (4a), who says that whatever Mitzvos the Kusim observe, they observe even more stringently than the Jews.)
Therefore, Rebbi Yakov argued that the unsupervised Shechitah of a Kusi was forbidden even before the decree of Raban Gamliel, since we cannot rely on the Kusi's observance of the five Halachos of Shechitah given to Moshe Rabeinu.
Rebbi Zeira maintained that perhaps Raban Gamliel originally agreed with Raban Shimon ben Gamliel's opinion that whatever Mitzvos the Kusim observe, they observe even more stringently than the Jews, even if those Mitzvos are not written explicitly in the Torah. Raban Gamliel's decree was that we should no longer follow Raban Shimon ben Gamliel's opinion. Accordingly, the fact that a Kusi would eat the meat of his own Shechitah does not allow us to rely on it. (D. BLOOM)
5) HASH-M PROTECTS THE RIGHTEOUS FROM ACCIDENTAL SIN
QUESTION: The Gemara proves that Rebbi Zeira accepted Rebbi Yakov bar Idi's argument that the decree prohibiting the Shechitah of a Kusi applies even when a Jew supervises the Shechitah. When Rebbi Zeira was informed that Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Asi ate meat from the Shechitah of a Kusi, he questioned whether they were unaware of Raban Gamliel's decree, or whether they had heard about it but disagreed with it. Rebbi Zeira answered his own question and said that they certainly must have heard about the decree and disagreed with it, because if they were unaware of the decree (and, had they been aware of it, they would have agreed with it), Hash-m would not have let them accidentally sin by eating the meat from the Shechitah of a Kusi. From the fact that Rebbi Zeira did not answer his question by saying that the case in which Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Asi ate the meat of a Kusi was when a Jew supervised the Shechitah, it is evident that Rebbi Zeira agrees that in such a case the Kusi's Shechitah is still prohibited.
TOSFOS points out that on a number of occasions a Tana or Amora did transgress accidentally. For example, the Gemara in Makos (5a) relates that Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai accidentally killed a false witness when the Halachah did not warrant his death. The Gemara in Shabbos (12b) relates that Rebbi Yishmael accidentally fixed a burning wick on Shabbos, transgressing the Melachah of kindling a fire. Why did Hash-m not prevent them from sinning?
(a) TOSFOS and other Rishonim answer that the rule that Hash-m protects the righteous from accidental sin applies only to sins involving forbidden food items. (This is because such foods become part of the person's body and thereby affect him more than other forms of sinful acts; see EINEI SHMUEL.)
(b) The RITVA (Makos 5b, Shabbos 12b) explains that Hash-m protects the righteous from all forms of accidental sin. However, in the case of Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai and the false witness, the witness evidently deserved to be punished with death for some other transgression, and, therefore, Rebbi Yehudah ben Tabai was justified in killing him. In the case of Rebbi Yishmael, it was his own fault that he sinned. He was aware of the prohibition of the Rabanan against reading by candlelight on Shabbos (which the Rabanan enacted in order to prevent a person from fixing a failing wick), but he reasoned that he would not forget and fix the wick, and he decided to read by the light of a candle. In such cases, Hash-m does not protect the righteous from sinning.
(Tosfos quotes the Midrash that says that today, even the most righteous people are not as great as the donkey of Rebbi Pinchas ben Yair (see 7a), and thus Hash-m does not protect them from accidental sin.)