1) THE HUNTERS' DISCOVERY
QUESTION: The Gemara states that a group of hunters taught Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira an interesting fact. Whenever they would hit an animal on its Gid ha'Nasheh, it would die within twelve months. Accordingly, an animal that is hit on its Gid ha'Nasheh should be considered a Tereifah. Rebbi Yehudah responded that the animal is not a Tereifah. He argued that one may not add to the list of Tereifos enumerated by the Chachamim. A similar incident happened with other hunters who related that they hit an animal on its kidneys with identical results, and Rebbi Aba gave them the same response. The Gemara asks why indeed such animals are not considered Tereifos if they die within twelve months. The Gemara answers that there is a tradition that if medicine would be placed on the wound, then the animal would live.
Why exactly were these hunters hitting the animals in the first place?
(a) RASHI (DH b'Gida and DH v'Katli) explains that they would hit the animal with arrows or sticks on the Gid ha'Nasheh or on the kidney, and it would die from this wound. The SICHAS CHULIN (3:363) understands that Rashi learns that they used to hunt the animal and kill it in this manner. (Apparently, they were not Jewish hunters.)
(b) The OR ZARU'A (#420) explains that the hunters had already captured the animal before they hit it. When they wanted to slaughter the animal (he understands that they were Jewish hunters), they would hit the animal on the Gid ha'Nasheh or on the kidney in order to make it fall to the ground so that they could then slaughter it properly. The force of the blow would stun the animal, and thus it would not shake wildly before the Shechitah. The Or Zaru'a clearly implies that the hunters realized -- by observing other animals that subsequently died after being hit in these areas -- that this blow caused the animal to become a Tereifah.
(c) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES quotes the PISKEI RID who gives a similar explanation to that of the Or Zaru'a. However, the Piskei Rid says that the hunters never were able to successfully slaughter the animal after hitting it in these spots, because the animal would die almost immediately.
(The SERIDEI ESH (volume 2, page 85) cites this Gemara as a crucial proof against those who maintain that an animal that will die eventually is forbidden to be eaten as a Tereifah. This opinion is advanced by the DAGUL MEREVAVAH (YD 29), the MARCHESHES, and others who maintain that there are two types of Tereifos. The first type is the typical Tereifah that is included in the prohibition against eating Tereifos. This type includes all of the Tereifos listed in the Mishnah and Gemara. It is derived from the verse, "u'Vasar ba'Sadeh Tereifah Lo Socheilu" -- "Do not eat meat that is torn (Tereifah) in the fields" (Shemos 22:30). There is a second type of Tereifah that is derived from another verse, "Zos ha'Chayah Asher Tochlu" -- "This is the animal that you shall eat" (Vayikra 11:2). This verse teaches that any animal that has a mortal condition is forbidden from being eaten due to the positive commandment to eat animals that do not have such a condition. (This is in contrast to the negative prohibition forbidding the Tereifos listed in the Mishnah and Gemara; see 42a.)
The Seridei Esh asks many questions on this opinion. One question that he asks is how could Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira and Rebbi Aba, in the Gemara here, reject this important finding of the hunters? Their finding should be included in the second category of Tereifos that prohibits animals due to the positive commandment of "Zos ha'Chayah Asher Tochlu"! He rejects the possible answer that the Gemara's conclusion is that this animal can be healed and therefore is not a Tereifah at all, because Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira and Rebbi Aba themselves did not originally give this answer, but rather they ruled that it is not possible to add more Tereifos to the list of existing Tereifos. If they knew that this animal was definitely prohibited in some manner, then they would never have responded in such a manner. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) HALACHAH: STANDING UP FOR A TALMID CHACHAM WHILE ONE WORKS
QUESTION: Rebbi Chana Pesora'ah relates that while he was working as a moneychanger, Rebbi Yochanan ("Bar Nafcha") approached and asked to see a certain type of coin, a Dinar Kordina'ah. Rebbi Chana wanted to stand up out of respect for Rebbi Yochanan, but Rebbi Yochanan did not let him and told him that "workers are not permitted to stand for Talmidei Chachamim while they are involved in their work." Even though the Mishnah in Bikurim (3:3) states that the workers must stand up for those who bring their Bikurim to Yerushalayim and greet them, Rebbi Yochanan says that standing for those who bring Bikurim is permitted, but not standing for Talmidei Chachamim. RASHI (DH Mipneihem) explains that this honor was accorded to them in order to encourage them to continue doing the Mitzvah of bringing Bikurim. The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos to Bikurim 3:3) writes that this honor was accorded to them "because they are a congregation of people, and the [requirement to give] honor to the public is different" from the requirement to give honor to an individual Talmid Chacham. (See BIRKEI YOSEF YD 244:5.)
Rebbi Yochanan's ruling that one may not stand up for a Talmid Chacham while involved in one's work does not seem to apply to Rebbi Chana. Rebbi Yochanan's ruling applies only to workers who are employed by others, who may not take the time to stand up while they are working since they are being paid by the employer for their time. Rebbi Chana, however, was a self-employed moneychanger. Why did he not stop working in order to stand up for a Talmid Chacham?
(a) RASHI (DH Ein Ba'alei Umniyos) writes that it is true that Rebbi Yochanan's ruling applies only to those who are working for others. However, Rebbi Chana, as a moneychanger, indeed was employed by others, since the capital (or part of it) that he was using as a moneychanger was given to him by someone else, and a percentage of the fee that Rebbi Chana received for his service as a moneychanger was given to that investor. By taking time off from working, he was causing a loss to the investor.
TOSFOS (DH Ein Ba'alei Umniyos) explains that Rashi understands that this must be the correct explanation, since Rebbi Yochanan says that these workers are not "Resha'in" ("permitted") to rise for Talmidei Chachamim. If a person is self-employed, there is no reason to prohibit him from taking time off to perform a Mitzvah.
However, Tosfos continues and says that according to Rashi, a person who is self-employed is not obligated to interrupt his work in order to stand before a Talmid Chacham. He is merely permitted to stand. This is because the Gemara in Kidushin (33a) teaches that a person must perform the Mitzvah of standing up for a Talmid Chacham only when he does not lose money by doing so. Tosfos infers from there that if he is working, he does not need to interrupt his work.
The LEV ARYEH also explains that Rashi maintains that a self-employed worker is not required to stand, and he cites proof from the Gemara. Since Rebbi Yochanan's ruling prohibits employees from standing, it is obvious that a self-employed person is allowed to do as he wants, because if he would be required to stand, then his employees would also be required to stand! Moreover, when the Gemara asks its question from the fact that workers are not permitted to stand for Talmidei Chachamim but must stand for people who bring Bikurim, it could have answered that the Mishnah that says that workers must stand for those who bring Bikurim refers to workers who are self-employed, since they are required to stand in certain circumstances. The fact that the Gemara does not give this answer shows that people who are self-employed are not required to stand for Talmidei Chachamim while they are working.
(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU YAKOV BAR SHIMON who argues that when Rebbi Yochanan says that workers are not "Resha'in" to stand while they are working, he does not mean that they are not "permitted" to stand. Rather, it means that they are not required to stand, but they indeed may stand if they want. He cites the Gemara in Erchin (28b) which uses the words "Eino Reshai" to mean that "he is not obligated." He explains that here, too, Rebbi Yochanan means that one who is involved in his own work, like Rebbi Chana, is not required to stand for a Talmid Chacham. (See also Tosfos to Kidushin 33a, DH Ein, who cites both explanations.)
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 244:5) rules that one who works for others is not permitted to stand for a Talmid Chacham, while one who is self-employed is permitted, but not required, to stand for a Talmid Chacham. The PISCHEI TESHUVAH there (#3) records a dispute about whether a worker (who works for others) is required to stand for his father and for his primary Rebbi ("Rabo Muvhak"). (Y. MONTROSE)