Nikkur

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Nikkur is the process of making an animal kosher by removing chelev (forbidden fats) and the gid hanasheh (sciatic nerve).[1] The basis for this practice is Leviticus 7:23, "You shall not eat of any fatty suet, whether from cattle, sheep, or goats."

It is much easier to perform nikkur on the front part of the animal. It is also easier to perform on non-domestic animals such as deer as the chelev does not need to be removed from such animals.

Since it is difficult to perform nikkur on the hind part of domestic animals, the entire hind part is usually sold to the non-Jewish market in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. However, among Yemenite Jews, nikkur on the hind part of the animal is still practised. This tradition goes back for centuries.[1] While many Muslims today (e.g. in the Middle East) do accept food from People of the Book based on the Quranic precept, not all Muslim communities accept Kosher-slaughtered meat, including those hindquarters, as halal; communities that do not accept it include many on the Indian subcontinent.[2] On the other hand, in countries like Israel, specially trained men are hired to prepare the hindquarters for sale as kosher.

Translated texts on Nikkur[edit]

The following document (click to open), translated here from the original Hebrew, has been the basis for ritual slaughterers in Yemen when excising the fatty tissue (suet) known as chelev from the butchered animal, in accordance with a biblical injunction in Leviticus 3:3–4.[3]

Hilchot Nikkur - Text Translated into English

Hilchot Nikkur (the excision of fatty tissue known as "suet" from the slaughtered animal) - by Rabbi Yehuda Sa'adi[a]

A diagram showing the four ruminant stomachs (Click to Enlarge)

Insomuch that I have seen in this, our orphaned generation, all of us groping like blind men to find[b] the suet and its [appointed] places, and its [required] removal by excision, [not knowing] which of these [places] are to be judged strictly, and which of them are to be judged leniently; as also the [required] removal of the sinew [of the two hind legs],[c] and the membranes,[d] as also the "threads" (i.e. blood vessels and nerves) which are forbidden under the category of "suet," my heart has, [therefore], taken it upon itself to write what I have known about them, perchance those seeing my writing will give answer and show me the way of truth, and cause me to understand where I may have erred.

All of the exponents of our laws whom I have known agree to [this] one opinion, that there are three fatty tissues (suet) which, [by eating], men would become liable to extirpation, and they are that which men offer to God [upon the altar]. They are the suet which lies upon the innards,[e] and the suet (fat) which is upon the kidneys, and the suet which is upon the flanks. The suet which is upon the innards is that which is spread as a blanket over the inner ruminant stomach (Heb. Kores), which includes that which is upon the omasum (Heb. Messos) and the reticulum (Heb. Beith Hakossoth). That which is upon the kidneys is as it is implied, whose place is known; while that which is upon the flanks is that which is below the kidneys towards the hind side of the animal, attached to the fat of the kidneys, and which is [called in Aramaic] Tarba de-Aqlivusta,[f] where the joint of the hind legs (Aramaic: Deleifan Atmatha) is located, and which is the suet at the root of the thighs from within. Thus is it written by Maimonides, and by Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi, as also the author of Halachot Gedolot. Included in this [category] is the suet which [clings] to its side, spreading itself upon the flanks at both sides of the animal.

As for the meaning of "Aqlivusta," Rashi has explained[g] [it as being] the small bone lying on that bone which, [in French], is called hanche (haunch or hip), and [which is] connected to the vertebrae of the tail [of the sheep]. But Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi explained [it as] that bone which holds fast all the [other] bones, while the Kol Bo has written Rashi's explanation under his name. Yet, the [book known as] Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot (Hasemag) has written [under] the prohibitive command # 138, Tarba de-Aqlivusta: Rashi has explained the Qaliboseth (i.e. tail bone) as being the small bone lying on that bone which is called [in French] hanche (haunch or hip), and [which is] connected to the vertebrae of the tail [of the sheep] from above, upon which there is suet beneath the loin, and which is among that suet found on the flanks.

Regions of vertebral column in ruminants (Click to Enlarge)

Now these are the words used by Rabbi A. of Meitze: "Near the tail can be found the [edible] fat of the sheep's tail, upon which is the suet of the Qaliboseth (i.e. tail bone), and that same suet and [edible] fat of the sheep's tail cling one to another, etc." But in [the book] Sheiltot of Rabbi Ahai Gaon, and in [the book] Halachot Gedolot, they have written: "The suet which is upon the flanks is the suet of the Qaliboseth (i.e. tail bone), where the hind legs attach themselves." Likewise has Maimonides, of blessed memory, written: "[It is] the suet which is at the joints of the hind legs from within." Yet, in [the book] Sefer Hazikkaron,[h] he explained Tarba de-Aqlivusta as the place where the thighs are attached, etc., while in an Arabic commentary on the laws governing Ritual Slaughter [we find] that Qaliboseth [means] "al-falakh."[i]

Now what we have received as being the way to surgically remove all fatty tissue [is as follows]: After undressing the animal, they tear away the outer ruminant stomach from the hind legs unto the chest-wall cavity, and they take out the inner stomach, and remove, in its entirety, the blanket-like covering [of suet] which is spread out over it. And they take special precautions over the thin [layer of] suet which is connected to the large intestines, which is at the end of [that place called], the "coils of the ileum" (Heb. Hadar Hakanoh), near the place where he excretes excrement, [and] which, on the one side, the "suet of the innards"[j] is attached, while on the other side, the fat of the kanoh (ileum).[k] That suet which lies next to it is the suet of the small intestines, which is prohibited according to the Geonim, of blessed memory. They take precaution, likewise, over that side which clings somewhat unto the ileum (Heb. Senei Dhebei = "hatred of wolves"), surgically removing all of it thoroughly. They also take precaution to remove all of the suet that is found upon the abomasum[l] (Heb. Kevah) externally, which is known as the ḥūmṣā,[m] until nothing remains of it. Moreover, they take away the suet which is inside the abomasum, from within, which distinctively adheres itself to the abomasum. Yet, that which is not spread out like a blanket is that which is permitted, it being that which is ritually clean, and it is called bar ḥūmṣā.[n] Now that which is spread over the omasum (Heb. Messos) [and the reticulum] like a blanket is forbidden, which is an even layer of fat covered with a membrane and easily peeled, and which happens to be included among the "suet which lies upon the innards."[j] Now they scrape away [all suet] from the intestine which comes out of the abomasum (the fourth ruminant stomach) for the space of about a cubit (ca. 54 cm.),[o] it also being the suet of the small intestines which is prohibited according to [Maimonides], (Nachmanides)[p] and Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi, seeing that it is a close neighbour to the suet which lies upon the innards. Afterwards, they take out all of the entrails (intestines), and the inner ruminant stomach (Heb. Kores), as well as the liver, aside from the mesentery (Heb. Ḥalūḥelet),[q] for he still needs to clean it from the suet which is upon it. Afterwards, they peel away all of that lining membrane which is upon the flanks, which is forbidden on account of suet. They are scrupulous about its removal that nothing remains of it. The beginning of its place is from where there is the white [tissue] which is in the centre of the diaphragm (Heb. Tarfash) [which divides the digestive organs from the respiratory organs],[r] extending downwards unto the thighs [of the hind legs and] running width-wise along all the flanks, unto the spinal column (vertebrae). They remove it (i.e. the lining membrane) with the suet that lies upon it which is situate at the end of the thighs and which lies upon that flesh which is beneath the loins, which is called "lonbel"[s] in the foreign, [French] language and mutemaziqah[t] in Arabic. Now this suet is categorically included among the suet which lies upon the flanks.

Ruminant's digestive tract (Click to Enlarge)

Afterwards, they pull out the five "threads" (i.e. blood vessels and nerves) that are upon the flanks,[u] these being three on the right side and two on the left. The three on the right side, each one branches off into two separate [veins], while the two ["threads"] on the left side, each one of them branches off into three separate [veins],[v] while one of its heads is attached to the spinal column, and they are called the "threads (nerves) that are in the hip,"[w] the "threads of the walls [of the chest],"[x] and the "threads that are upon the flanks," their prohibition being on account of suet. Now if they are pulled off while they are still warm, they can be pulled off altogether. However, if they have become cold, they can no longer be pulled off, and one must then poke around after them. Afterwards, they rend with a knife the thin membrane that is conspicuously located upon the two sides of the spinal column, beneath the loins and extending as far as the ribs. It is the place that appears to the eyesight as a whitish colour by the light of the sun or by the light of a candle from the hind side of the animal, and which can be seen on its inside, and where there is no flesh that lies upon it. After the membrane has been rent, they remove the [forbidden] fat (suet) that is beneath it, extending down as far as the [edible] fat that lies beneath that same suet, it being that which divides between the hide of the animal and the said suet, and it is permitted. Now he removes this suet from [the two sides of][y] the spinal column, its length extending from beneath the loins all the way up to the ribs; while its breadth extending [outwards] until it becomes covered over in flesh, and once it has been covered over in flesh, [it is permitted].[z] They scrape away the suet that is upon the spinal column from within, where lies the flesh of the loins which is called [in Arabic] mutemaziqah, and they excise [the fatty tissue from] the mutemaziqah, [surgically removing] all of the [forbidden] fat (suet) that lies upon it externally. Then they dislodge the fat of the kidneys from the place of its attachment on the spine, above the diaphragm (Heb. Tarfash) [which divides the digestive organs from the respiratory organs],[aa] towards the side of the animal's loins, surgically removing all suet beneath it, or else they remove the central bone of the spinal column entirely. Afterwards, he opens up the [pelvic] bone that joins together the two thighs, [separating the two thighs], taking out all fat that is within it [and which] lies over the fat of the kidneys, it being the [forbidden] "fat that is upon the flanks," or what is also called [in Aramaic] Tarba de-Aqlivusta. They surgically remove it up to the place where the tail begins in large domesticated animals, but in sheep they continue to scrape away the outer part of the fatty tail (rump) towards its inner side which knocks upon the thighs, with the fat of the kidneys and the flanks, all that which is high up at the top of the fatty tail (rump), at the place where it excretes excrement, extending as far as the bones of the fatty tail (rump). Now beneath it there is a marked difference in the thin membrane between the said suet and the suet in the fatty tail, as well as between the "threads" (i.e. blood vessels and nerves) which draw nourishment from the fat of the kidneys and the flanks. Now they scrape away all the fat (suet) which is between the sinews (Heb. Peqoqeloth) [in the loins],[ab] which in Arabic is [known as] al-falakh (Coccyx), along with the "threads (i.e. blood vessels and nerves) that enter inside the perforations in the bones which join together the loins of the animal above, wherein ends the spinal cord. He then dismembers the thighs, each one individually, and opens up each one from its flesh on that side where the hide is attached, until the displaced tendon (Heb. Gid Hanasheh) can be seen which is on the hollow of the thigh, removing it and digging up after it in all the flesh of the thighs. Now on [that part of] the [hollow of the] thigh which is called [in Arabic] mukheh, [it requires removing the tendon] from without and from within, and on the calf [of leg] which is called [in Arabic] sā‘ed, [it requires removing the tendon] from without and from within, and on the flesh which is upon it, which grows from the bunch of converging sinews [in the calf] (Heb. Ṣūmmat Hagīdīm),[ac] called [in Arabic] suqleh, with all of the fat of the tendon, in every place where it is to be found. Now there are found on the two sides of the [hollow of the] thigh which is called [in Arabic] mukheh and in its socket [what are known as] stems (Heb. Qenuqenoth),[ad] as well as the fat (Heb. Shoman) of the displaced tendon, [both] being virtually impossible to clean them very well. Therefore, let him remove them and cast them away.[ae] Now there are in the calf, underneath its flesh, three small tendons, they being of the displaced tendon. Therefore, let him open up the flesh and remove them. And as for the spleen, let him peel away the membrane which is upon it, and pull away the "threads" (i.e. blood vessels and nerves) that are inside of it which are three, their prohibition being on account of suet, and one is required to dig-up after them.[af] The inner ruminant stomach (Heb. Kores), the omasum (Heb. Messos) and the reticulum (Heb. Beith Hakossoth), (as well as the rump of sheep),[ag] require being cleaned of all suet that clings to them. The membrane which is upon the diaphragm (Heb. Tarfash) [which divides the digestive organs from the respiratory organs],[ah] alongside the liver, is forbidden on account of suet, and that which is alongside the lung is customarily removed lest he who sees it becomes skeptical, although it is permitted. They [also] remove the lower membrane which is upon the kidneys, it being forbidden on account of suet, [as also the tunic membrane that envelope the testes]. As for the "threads" (i.e. veins and arteries) that are forbidden on account of blood, they do not have it as a practice in these countries to remove them,[ai] seeing that they cut up the animal in several pieces.[aj] Now may God deliver us from errors, and instruct his servants in the way of truth. Amen, may it even be His will.

Original:

המקור

דיני ניקור שחיבר הרב הגדול כמהר"ר יהודה בן כמהר"ר שלמה צעדי זצוק"ל וזה לשונו

לפי שראיתי בדורינו הדור היתום הזה, כולנו מגששים כעורים בהכרת החלבים ומקומותיהם וניקורם, ואיזה מהם החמור ואיזה מהם הקל. וניקור גיד הנשה והקרומות והחוטים, שאסורים משום חלב. מלאני לבי לכתוב מה שידעתי מהם, אולי הרואים כְתבי ישיבוני ויורוני דרך האמת, ומה ששגיתי יבינו לי

כל הפוסקים שידעתי מסכימים לדעת אחת, ששלשה חלבים שחייבים עליהם כרת, והם שקריבים לגבוה. והם חלב שעל הקרב, וחלב שעל הכליות, וחלב שעל הכסלים. חלב שעל הקרב, הוא הפרוש כשמלה על הכרס הפנימי, ובכללו שעל המסוס ובית הכוסות. ושעל הכליות, כמשמעו, ומקומו ידוע. ושעל הכסלים, הוא שלמטה מן הכליות כלפי אחורי הבהמה, מחובר לחלב הכליות, והוא תרבא דאקליבוסתא. היכא דילפינן אטמתא מקום חיבור הירכיים, והוא החלב שבעיקרי היריכיים מבפנים, כ"כ הרמב"ם והרי"ף ובעל הלכות גדולות. ובכללו החלב שבצדו המתפשט על הכסלים משני צידי הבהמה

ופירוש אקליבוסתא, פירש רש"י עצם קטן מונח על עצם הנקרא הנק"א, ומחובר לחוליות האליה. והרי"ף פירש, אותו עצם המחבר העצמות. והכלבו כתב פירוש רש"י בשמו. וסמ"ג כ' לאוין קל"ח, תרבא דאקליבוסתא, פירש רש"י הקליבוסת שהוא עצם קטן ומונח על העצם הנקרא הנק"א, ומחובר לחוליות האליה מלמעלה, ועליו יש חלב תחת המותן, ומחלב שעל הכסלים הוא. וז"ל ר"א ממי"ץ, סמוך לזנב יש שומן האליה, ועליה יש חלב הקליבוסת, ואותו חלב ושומן האליה דבוקים זה בזה וכו'. ובשאלות דרב אחא ובעל ה"ג כתבו, חלב שעל הכסלים הוא חלב הקליבוסת, במקום שהיריכיים מתחברות. וכ"כ הרמב"ם ז"ל, חלב שבעיקרי היריכיים מבפנים. ובספר הזכרון פירש, תרבא דאקליבוסתא, מקום חיבור וכו'. ובפירוש הל' שחיטה בלשון ערבי, קליבוסת, אלפלך'

וסדר הניקור שקיבלנו, אחר שמפשיטין הבהמה, קורעין הַכרס החיצונה מבין היריכיים עד החזה, ומוציאים הכרס הפנימי, ומסירים שמלה הפרוסה עליו כולה. ונזהרים על החלב הדק המחובר במעי, שהוא סוף הדַּר הכּנָה הקרוב למוצא הרעי, שמצדו אחד מחובר חלב הקרב, ומצדו השני שומן הכנה. וזה החלב שמצדו, הוא חלב הדקין האסור לדעת הגאונים ז"ל. וכן נזהרים בצד הדבוק בקצת סיני דיבי ומנקרין הכל היטב. וכן נזהרים להסיר חלב שעל הקיבה מבחוץ, והוא חומצא, עד שלא ישאר ממנו שום דבר. ונוטלים חלב שבתוך הקיבה מבפנים המחובר לקיבה ממש. ושאינו פרוש כשמלה הוא המותר והוא הטהור, והוא הנקרא בר חומצא. והפרוס על המסוס (ובית הכוסות) כשמלה, אסור שהוא תותב קרום ונקלף, והוא מכלל חלב שעל הקרב. וגוררים מהמעי היוצא מהקיבה כמו אמה, וגם הוא חלב הדקין האסור לד' הרמב"ם (הרמב"ן) והרי"ף (וה"ג), מפני שהוא שכן לחלב שעל הקרב. ואח"כ מוציאים כל בני מעיים והכרס והכבד, חוץ מחלוחלת, שעדיין צריך לנקותה מחלב שעליה. ואח"כ קולפין כל הקרום שעל הכסלים שאסור משום חלב. ומדקדקים עליו שלא ישאר ממנו כלום. ותחלתו מהמקום הלבן שבאמצע הטרפש עד היריכיים לרוחב כל הכסלים עד השדרה. ומסירים אותו עם החלב שעליו שבסוף היריכיים, ועל הבשר שתחת המתניים הנקרא בלע"ז לונבי"ל, ובערבי מֻתמאזק"ה. וזה החלב, הוא מכלל חלב הכסלים. ואח"כ מושכים חמשה חוטים שבכסלים, שהם ג' מהימין ושנים מהשמאל. השלשה שמימין, מתפצלים לשנים שנים, והשנים שבשמאל, כל אחד מהם מתפצל לשלשה שלשה, וראשו האחד מחובר לשדרה, והם נקראים חוטי העוקץ וחוטי הדפנות וחוטי הכסלים ואיסורן משום חלב. ואם שולפן כשהם חמין, נשלפין כולם. ואם נתקררו, אינם נשלפים וצריך לחטט אחריהם. ואח"כ קורעים בסכין קרום דק שאצל השדרה ממש משני צדדיה, מתחת המתנים עד הצלעות. והוא המקום שייראה למראית העין כעין לבן לאור החמה או לאור הנר מאחורי הבהמה, ויראה מבפנים ועליו אין בשר. ואחר שקורע הקרום, נוטלים החלב שתחתיו עד השומן שתחת אותו חלב, והוא המפסיק בין עור הבהמה ובין זה החלב, והוא מותר. ונוטל זה החלב [משני צידי] השדרה, ארכו מתחת המתנים עד הצלעות. ורחבו עד שיתכסה בבשר, ומשנתכסה בבשר [מותר]. גוררים החלב שעל השדרה מבפנים אצל בשר המתנים הנקרא מתמאזק"ה, ומנקרין המתמאזק"ה מכל חלב שעליה מבחוץ. ועוקרין חלב הכליות ממקום חיבורו בשדרה מעל הטרפש לצד מתני הבהמה, ומנקרין תחתיו מכל חלב, או מסירין עצם השדרה האמצעי כולו. ואח"כ פותח העצם המחבר שני היריכיים ומוציא כל החלב שבתוכו על חלב הכליות, והוא חלב שעל הכסלים, והוא תרבא דאקליבוסתא. ומנקרין אותו עד תחלת הזנב בבהמה גסה, ובכבשים מוסיפין לגרור פני האליה כלפי פנים הנוקש על היריכות, עם חלב הכליות והכסלים כל הגבוה בראש האליה מקום מוצא הרעי, עד עצמות האליה. ולמטה ממנו יש הבדל בקרום דק בין זה החלב ובין חלב האליה, ובין החוטין היונקים מחלב הכליות והכסלים. וגוררין כל החלב שבין הפקוקלות, שהוא בערבי אלפלך', עם החוטים הנכנסים בנקבי העצמות המחברות מתני הבהמה מלמעלה שבהם כּוֹלֶה חוט השדרה, ומפריד היריכיים כל אחד לבדו. ופותח כל אחד מהבשר של צד העור, עד שייראה גיד הנשה שעל כף הירך, ונוטלו ומחטט אחריו בכל בשר היריכיים. ובירך הנקרא מוכ'ה מבחוץ ומבפנים. ובשוק הנקרא סאעד מבחוץ ומבפנים, ובבשר שעליו הגדל מִצּוּמּת הגידים הנקרא סוקלה, עם כל שומן הגיד בכל מקום שימצא. ויש משני צדי הירך הנקרא מוכ'ה ובכף שלה, קנוקנות (וראשי הקנוקנות נכנסים בראשי העצמות וצריך המנקר לשבור ראשי העצמות כדי להסיר הקנוקנות מעיקרם (ב"י), ואין ללמוד סדר הניקור רק במראית העין מן המומחה הבקי בניקור) ושומן גיד הנשה שאי אפשר לנקותם היטב. לכך יתירם וישליכם. ויש בשוק תחת בשרו ג' גידים קטנים, והם מגיד הנשה, לכך יפתח הבשר ויסירם. והטחול יקלוף כל הקרום שעליו וימשוך החוטים שבתוכו שהם ג' ואיסורם משום חלב. אם נמשכו, הרי טוב. ואם לאו, צריך לחטט אחריהם. והכרס והמסוס ובית הכוסות (והאליה) צריך לנקותם מכל החלב הדבוק בהם. והקרום שעל הטרפש מצד הכבד, אסור משום חלב. ומה שמצד הריאה, נהגו להסירו שמא יסתפק הרואה. אבל הוא מותר. ומסירים הקרום התחתון שעל הכליות והוא אסור משום חלב. והחוטים שאסורים משום דם, לא נהגו באלו הארצות לנטלם, מפני שמחתכין את הבהמה לכמה חתיכות. (טבח שדרכו לנקר בשר ונמצא אחריו חוט או קרום, מלמדין אותו שלא יזלזל באיסורין. אבל אם נמצא אחריו חלב אם הוא כשעורה מעבירין אותו, ואם נמצא אחריו כזית ואפילו בהרבה מקומות מכין אותו מכת מרדות ומעבירין אותו.) וה' יצילנו משגיאות ויורה עבדיו דרך האמת אכי"ר

זה שנמצא כתוב בכתיבת יד הקדש הרב הנעלה רב מתיבתא כמוהר"ר יהודה צעדי זצוק"ל. תם


Notes:

  1. ^ Perhaps the most profound authority on this subject in Yemen during the beginning of the 18th-century CE. He passed away in anno 1740 CE.
  2. ^ Literally: "to recognise".
  3. ^ The Torah (Genesis 32:32) teaches: "Therefore will the children of Israel not eat of the sinew which shrank (displaced tendon), which is upon the cavity of the thigh, unto this very day." By way of an oral tradition, it has been passed down that the prohibition of eating the sinew or tendon applies to the two hind legs of the animal that is to be eaten. Even to this day, the Yemenite Jews who are expert in the removal of all hard, white fat, or suet (Heb. chelev), found on the internal organs and hind parts of the slaughtered animal, abstain from eating these tendons by carefully having them removed. (Other communities forfeit the hind part altogether, choosing not to eat this part of the animal out of concern for their unintentional eating of chelev, or thereby becoming liable to extirpation.) The tradition, however, still stands with a small minority. The sinew runs down the leg from the upper thigh bone, reaching as far as the feet. That which is required to be removed is actually all of the sinew (tendon) which is located on the upper thigh bone of both hind legs, as also the greater part of that which runs down the calf-muscle of both hind legs. It is a common practice among those expert in "nikkur" (the removal of fatty tissue) to poke around the tendon with a knife, removing all excessive fat (chelev) which he finds running parallel to the long sinew that is taken away. The commandment to remove the sinew applies to, both, domesticated animals and to wild animals, but it does not apply to birds.
  4. ^ Such as the membrane that envelopes the omasum, the reticulum, the rumen and the abomasum, the thin membrane that envelopes the two kidneys, and the membrane that envelopes the spleen, etc.
  5. ^ The reference here is to the Greater and Lesser Omentum. Cf. Leviticus 3:3 and 4:5, or what is known in layman's terms as "tallow."
  6. ^ Literally meaning "the suet of the tail bone." See: Rashi's commentary in Hullin 93a.
  7. ^ Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 93a.
  8. ^ Sefer ha-Zikkaron of Rabbi Ishmael Cohen Tanuji, on Tractate Hullin, chapter seven.
  9. ^ The fat of the coccyx at the lowest end of the vertebrae. (Cf. infra, where our author says the "Peqoqeloth," or the ramification of sinews in the loins near the tail, is called in Arabic al-falakh.)
  10. ^ a b The phrase, "suet of the innards," or "inwards," is taken from Leviticus 3:3. The word "innards" is a generic word for the forbidden fat that is found in the animal's gastrointestinal tract, and which would include the fat on such organs as the rumen (first ruminant stomach), the omasum (third ruminant stomach), the reticulum, the abomasum (fourth ruminant stomach), and the fat upon the small intestines, specifically the duodenum. The fat upon the innards is characteristic in that it is covered with a membrane which can be easily peeled off. Maimonides (Hil. Maachalot Asurot 7:6), describing the forbidden fat of this part, writes that it is "on the stomach which is bent like a bow in shape, although whatsoever is like a cord extending outwards is permitted."
  11. ^ This same organ corresponds with that organ which is also called "the Hatred of Wolves."
  12. ^ i.e. the fourth stomach.
  13. ^ See: Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 49b.
  14. ^ See: Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 49b. The permitted fat, known as bar ḥūmṣā, is a more limpid fat found on one side of the greater curvature of the abomasum (fourth ruminant stomach), whereas on the other side there is to be found the forbidden fat, known as ḥūmṣā, and which is more brittle and whitish in nature.
  15. ^ The reference here is to the duodenum. After food is broken down in the abomasum (the fourth ruminant stomach), it passes into the intestines. Before reaching the curly, small intestines, it passes through a long straight tube that is called in the language of the Talmud, "reish ma'aya," or "beginning of the intestines," and which same organ is known anatomically as the duodenum. The fat on the duodenum is primarily the edge of the greater omentum, which is stretched under the stomachs and intestines and is attached to the duodenum on the animal's right side. The very beginning of the duodenum also has part of the lesser omentum attached to it. Any fat, or suet, beyond the first cubit is considered "fat of the curly intestine" and is permitted. (cf. Maimonides' Hil. Ma'achalot Asurot 7:9 and the Maggid Mishneh ibid).
  16. ^ Our manuscript has been emended to read Maimonides instead of Nachmanides, seeing that the original document had inadvertently written Nachmanides instead of Maimonides.
  17. ^ See: Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 50a. The mesentery is a membrane keeping the entrails in position.
  18. ^ i.e. the midriff (Thoracic diaphragm).
  19. ^ Old French word copied down in Rashi's commentary on Hullin 93a, having simply the meaning of "loin," or what is called in modern French, "lombe."
  20. ^ Translated, this word means "the flesh of the loins," as well as a portion of the area around the backbone (spine).
  21. ^ See: Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 93a.
  22. ^ These blood vessels and nerves are only prohibited by a rabbinic prohibition, either because they pass through sections of the forbidden fat, or suet, or because they are blood vessels whose walls are saturated with blood.
  23. ^ i.e. that branch out of the lower spinal column and extend into the flanks.
  24. ^ Which wall encloses the lungs and the ribs.
  25. ^ "[the two sides of]," so amends the text Rabbi Yitzhaq Ratzaby of Benei Barak, based upon another manuscript written by Rabbi Yehuda Sa'adi.
  26. ^ "[it is permitted]," so amends the text Rabbi Yitzhaq Ratzaby of Benei Barak, based upon another manuscript written by Rabbi Yehuda Sa'adi, adding that the Tur has said in the name of Maimonides that there is a sign for detecting edible fat, namely, "any fat that is under the flesh and where the flesh completely enfolds it on all its sides until it can no longer be seen without tearing through the flesh, that fat is permitted."
  27. ^ i.e. the midriff (Thoracic diaphragm), the internal muscular partition that separates the chest (thoracic cavity) from the abdomen (abdominal cavity) in mammals.
  28. ^ See: Tosefta Hullin 9:14. The "Peqoqeloth," or "ramification of sinews," is the tissue which covers and connects the walls of the flank and muscles, the fat of which branches out between the sinews in the loins, and runs near the tail or rump of the sheep.
  29. ^ Cf. Mishnah Hullin 4:6. Maimonides, in his Code of Jewish Law (Mishne Torah, Hil. Sheḥiṭa 8:12 [13]) describes the Ṣūmmat Hagīdīm (lit. juncture of the tendons) as follows: “Ṣūmmat Hagīdīm are situated in domesticated and wild animals above the heel, in the place where butchers hang-up the animal [after its slaughter]. They are three white tendons, one of which is thick, and the other two are thin. From the place where they commence, they are hard and white in colour, until the white disappears and they begin to appear a reddish colour and become softer to the touch, that is Ṣūmmat Hagīdīm, and which is approximately the length of sixteen finger-breadths (ca. 36 cm.) in a bull.” Rabbi Eli Cashdan thinks that this description refers to Achilles Tendon, the name given to the aggregated tendons in the distal part of the tibia. Rabbi Joseph Karo, describes the Ṣūmmat Hagīdīm as follows (Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah § 56:2–3): “Ṣūmmat Hagīdīm in an animal are [tendons] found in the middle bone outward, whereon falls the tail. Others say they [are located more] inwards, in the direction of the hollow part of the animal's [leg], etc.”
  30. ^ By "Qenuqenoth" are meant the thin sinews that run lengthwise along the hollow of the thigh, beneath the flesh, from the outer sinew to the inner sinew.
  31. ^ This entire section is worded differently in the printed edition of Hilchot Nikkur used by Rabbi Yitzhaq Ratzaby. According to that version, here it is written: "Now there are found on the two sides of the thigh which is called "mukha" and in its socket [what are known as] stems (Heb. Qenuqenoth), and the heads of the stems enter inside the nodules of the bones, requiring of him that surgically removes all fat to break the nodules of the bones in order to remove the stems from their root (Beit Yosef). No one is permitted to learn the order of excision (Heb. Nikkur) simply by way of passive eye inspection from an expert that is skilled in the excision of fatty tissue. [Along with the stems of the hollow of the thigh, one finds] the fat (Heb. Shoman) of the displaced tendon, [both] being virtually impossible to clean them very well. Therefore, let him remove them and cast them away."
  32. ^ In the version used by Rabbi Yitzhaq Ratzaby, here it is worded: "If they can be pulled-away, then well, but if not, one is required to dig-up after them."
  33. ^ So adds Rabbi Yitzhaq Ratzaby in his printed edition of Hilchot Nikkur.
  34. ^ i.e. the midriff (Thoracic diaphragm), the internal muscular partition that separates the chest (thoracic cavity) from the abdomen (abdominal cavity) in mammals.
  35. ^ The sense here is to the tunic membrane that envelopes the testes in male animals. This membrane is forbidden, not because of forbidden fat (suet), but because of the blood vessels that run through it. In Yemen, the custom was to cut in half each testicle following the animal's slaughter, without removing the tunic membrane. In this way, the blood drained from the veins running through the tunic membrane (Yosef Qafih, Halikhot Teman [Jewish Life in Sanà], Jerusalem 1982, p. 95). Other Jewish communities, however, did not cut the membrane, for which reason they entirely removed the membrane after the animal's slaughter.
  36. ^ In the version used by Rabbi Yitzhaq Ratzaby, here it is added: "The ritual slaughterer who is used to surgically removing all fatty tissue from the flesh and there was found after him an artery or membrane, they teach him not to despise matters of prohibition. However, if there was found after him suet, if it were a barley's bulk [in size], they remove him [from his position so that he no longer acts as one who excises tissue]. Yet, if there were found after him an olive's bulk [in size], they flog him with the flogging meant for the rebellious, as do they remove him [from his position]."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Zivotofsky, Ari Z. (2007). "What's the Truth about Nikkur Achoraim?". OUKosher.org. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  2. ^ HalalPAK comparison between halal and kosher[dead link]
  3. ^ Yehuda Saadi, Yemenite Jewish manuscript, early eighteenth century, Yemen (with Hebrew original). Printed in: Pisqei Maharitz, vol. 6 (ed. Yitzhak Ratzaby), Benei Barak 1993, pp. 495–524. Printed also by Avihai Yitzhak in: Yemenite Jewish Tradition with Animals (מסורת יהודי תימן בבהמה), Zichron Yaakov 2011, pp. 185–188; as also printed by Yehuda Levi Nahum in: Mikhmanim miḥasifath ginzei teiman (מכמנים מחשיפת גנזי תימן), Tel-Aviv 1990, pp. 220–221; and by Rabbi Shelomo Mahfud, in: Yad Shelomo (יד שלמה), Benei Barak 2012, pp. 325–335.

External links[edit]