QUESTION: The Gemara says that the salamander "lives in fire." RASHI (DH v'Salamandra) writes that this creature is created through sorcery from a fire made with myrtle branches. However, Rashi in Chagigah (27a, DH Salamandra) and Sanhedrin (63b, DH Salamandra) explains that the salamander is a creature which is created from a fire that has burned continuously in one place for seven years, implying that no sorcery is used for the creation of the salamander.
How are the two different explanations of Rashi for the source of the formation of the salamander to be reconciled? Why does Rashi here in Chulin explain that the salamander is created through sorcery, while in Chagigah he explains that its creation involves no sorcery? (GILYON HA'SHAS)
(a) The CHASAM SOFER answers that sorcerers cannot create a new creature. Moreover, the Gemara here interprets a verse in the Torah (Vayikra 11:29) as referring to the salamander. The verse certainly would not refer to a creature which is created only by sorcerers.
Rather, it appears that the salamander is a creature which loves the heat and finds comfort in the fiery depths of the earth. Sorcerers are able to bring this creature out from its hidden location with the use of sorcery. In order to bring out the salamander, however, the sorcerers must create an appropriate habitat for it. This is accomplished by burning a fire in the same place for a lengthy span of time, as Rashi mentions in Chagigah and in Sanhedrin.
(b) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON (Teshuvos Tzafnas Pane'ach #234) suggests that anything brought into being in an extraordinary, unexpected manner is referred to as "sorcery" (Keshafim). Although the salamander is a natural creature (as the Chasam Sofer proves), since it comes about in such an unusual manner it can be said that it is created through the use of "sorcery."
OPINIONS: Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua says that "Beivarei d'Narash" are not "Min ha'Yishuv." What is the meaning of Rav Huna's statement?
(a) RASHI (DH Beivarei d'Narash) explains that the words "Beivarei d'Narash" refer to beavers that are found in Narash, a town in Bavel. They "are not Min ha'Yishuv" means that their place of origin is the water, and not the dry land. Another version of Rashi (cited by Tosfos) clearly states that Rav Huna's intention is to teach that these animals are not considered Sheratzim, and one who eats them is not punished with Malkus for transgressing the prohibition against eating Sheratzim.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Hani Beivarei) quotes RABEINU TAM who has a different text in the Gemara. Rav Huna states that "Beibivri v'Narash" are not "Min ha'Yishuv." Rabeinu Tam explains that Rav Huna refers to two different cities: the cities of Bei Bivri and Narash (as mentioned in Eruvin 56a). Rav Huna is responding to Rebbi Zeira's statement, in which he mentions the verse which chastises the "dwellers of Chaled" (Tehilim 49:2). Chaled, in the plain meaning of the verse, is a term that refers to the earth (see Background to the Daf). Rav Huna's statement proclaims that the people of Bei Bivri and Narash, due to their wickedness, are not included in the designation of "dwellers of Chaled". This is the meaning of the words, "they are not Min ha'Yishuv." The Mishnah in Kidushin (40b) uses this phrase in this context when it states that "one who does not learn Torah or Mishnah, and acts improperly with others, is not Min ha'Yishuv."
The TIFERES YAKOV writes that the wording of the Gemara seems to support the explanation of Rabeinu Tam. If, as Rashi explains, Rav Huna's intention is to teach that certain animals originate in the water and not on land, then he should have said that they are not "Min ha'Yabashah" -- "not from the dry land." He should not have used the term "Yishuv," which means settlement or habitation. There are other places, such as a desert, that also are not "settlements."
However, according to Rabeinu Tam's explanation, there is a different problem. In what way is Rav Huna's statement about the people of Bei Bivri and Narash related to the previous Gemara? Rebbi Zeira quoted the verse about the "dwellers of Chaled" only to show that a Chuldah is unique to land, while other land creatures have a counterpart that lives in the water. Why does Rav Huna introduce an entirely unrelated statement about wicked people?
The LEV ARYEH asks another question on the explanation of Rabeinu Tam. Following Rav Huna's statement, Rav Papa says that the people of Narash are all excommunicated. This is apparently because they are all evil. If Rav Huna equates Bei Bivri with Narash, then why does Rav Papa say only that Narash was worthy of Cherem? Why does he not also mention Bei Bivri? It is unlikely that the two Amora'im are referring to two separate times in history, because Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua and Rav Papa were contemporaries. The Lev Aryeh concludes that according to Rabeinu Tam, one must say that Rav Papa investigated the matter and found the people of Narash to be much worse, and therefore he said that they should be put in Cherem, as opposed to the more mildly evil people of Bei Bivri. (Y. MONTROSE)


QUESTION: The Mishnah rules that a limb dangling from a live animal is Metamei with Tum'as Ochlin. RASHI (DH bi'Mekoman) explains that since the limb needs Hechsher, it is Metamei only if the owner of the animal intended to feed it to a Nochri.
Why does Rashi mention feeding the hanging limb to a Nochri? The limb is forbidden to both Jews and Nochrim because of the Isur of Ever Min ha'Chai, as the Gemara itself points out later (see Rashi, beginning of 129b)!
ANSWER: The TOSFOS YOM TOV (Chulin 9:7) explains that Rashi mentions feeding the limb to a Nochri because it is much easier to find a Nochri who will agree to eat Ever Min ha'Chai than to find a Jew who will eat it.