C. R. Joseph posed the following objection: The phrase [reads], At any time do they slaughter. [If we accept your teaching] it should have read, At any time do they slaughter and eat. And furthermore [we may ask by way of objection], originally on what basis were they prohibited [from eating the meat they craved]? Because they had to bring [their animals as sacrifices] to the tabernacle nearby. But later [when they came to the land] on what basis were they permitted [to eat the meat they craved]? Because they were far from the tabernacle. [17a] How much the more so now [after the exile should they be permitted to eat the meat they crave] when they are even further [from the tabernacle].
D. Rather said R. Joseph, “[The text] accords with R. Aqiba.” As it was taught on Tannaite authority, “If the place which the Lord your God will choose to put his name there is too far from you, then you may slaughter any of your herd or of your flock, [which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you]” (Deut. 12:21). R. Aqiba says, “Scripture only wanted to prohibit for them meat from an animal killed by stabbing.” For originally they were permitted [to eat] meat from a stabbed animal. After they entered the land they were prohibited meat from a stabbed animal. And now that they were exiled you might assume that they revert to the original permission. Therefore we learned, At any time do they slaughter.
A. On what principle do they dispute [above]? R. Aqiba reasons that the meat they craved was never prohibited. R. Ishmael reasons that meat from a stabbed animal was never permitted. It is consistent according to R. Ishmael that which Scripture stated, “Then he shall slaughter the bull” (Lev. 1:5) [implying that they were commanded in the desert regarding the rules of slaughter]. But according to R. Aqiba what is implied by, “Then he shall slaughter”? [He would say that the rules for the slaughter of] Holy Things are different.
B. It is consistent according to R. Ishmael that which Scripture stated, “Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to suffice them?” (Num. 11:22). But according to R. Aqiba what is implied by, “Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to suffice them?” It should have [stated], “Be stabbed for them.” [He would say that it could mean they stabbed because the act of] their stabbing, that is their slaughtering.
C. It is consistent according to R. Ishmael that which was taught on Tannaite authority, (1) He who slaughters [a wild beast or a bird] and it is made carrion by his own deed, (2) he who pierces [the windpipe, i.e., stabs], (3) he who tears out [the windpipe], is free [of the obligation] to cover up [the blood] [M. ul. 6:2 G-J]. But according to R. Aqiba why is he [who pierces, or stabs], free [of the obligation] to cover up [the blood]? [This is a legitimate form of killing.] [He would say that] since it was prohibited [as a form of killing] it remains a prohibited [form of killing and thus does not fall under the rule for covering the blood].
D. It is consistent, according to R. Aqiba who said that the meat they craved was never prohibited, that which was stated in Scripture, “Just as the gazelle or the hart is eaten, so you may eat it; [the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it]” (Deut. 12:22). [This indicates that the meat they craved was eaten outside of the cultic order.] But according to R. Ishmael was [the meat they craved from] the gazelle or the hart itself ever permitted? [He would answer that] the Torah prohibited [meat that they craved] only from beasts that were fit to be offered as sacrifices. But [from] wild animals that were not fit to be offered as sacrifices, the Torah did not prohibit [the meat they craved].
A. R. Jeremiah raised the following objection: [Concerning] cuts of meat from animals killed by stabbing that Israel brought with them into the land [at the time they first entered it] — what is its status? Concerning what interval [are we asking this]? If we say it was during the seven years when they conquered the land, at that time unclean things were permitted to them [because of the urgency of the war of conquest]. As Scripture states, “And houses full of all good things” (Deut. 6:11). And said R. Jeremiah bar Abba, said Rab, “[This means they ate even] bacon (Rashi).” Do we need to specify [that they could eat] meat from an animal that was stabbed? [No, because that is obvious.] So it must be [that the period of time referred to] was after this [first seven years. What then is the law with regard to meat from an animal killed by stabbing brought into the land?]
B. Another possibility: It is consistent to say that it was during the seven years of the conquest. What was permitted to them was the booty they captured from the idolaters. But their own [unclean things] were not permitted [to them even under those circumstances. What then is the status of such meat brought into the land?]
C. The question stands unresolved.
A. Said Rabbah, “You have explained, All slaughter. And at any time do they slaughter [M. 1:2 C-D]. How will you explain, With anything do they slaughter [M. ul. 1:2 B]?”
B. And if you say it means, — even with a flint, even with glass, even with the point of a reed [T. ul. 1:5 A-B] [this is inconsistent as we have explained it thus far]. The phrases [in the Mishnah text] should be parallel. If those [first two phrases] deal with those who may slaughter, then this third phrase also should deal with those who may slaughter. [And that is not the case.] And if those deal with that which is slaughtered, then this should deal with that which is slaughtered.
C. Accordingly, said Raba, “All slaughter [is repeated in the Mishnah text] one time to subsume under the rule a Samaritan, and one time to subsume under the rule an Israelite heretic. At any time do they slaughter [M. ul. 1:2 D] [is stated to teach us] — whether by day or by night; [Supply: And in any place do they slaughter —] whether on a ship or whether on a roof [T. ul. 1:4 A-D]. And, With anything do they slaughter [M. ul. 1:2 B] [is stated to teach] — even with a flint, even with glass, even with the point of a reed” [T. ul. 1:5 A-B].
A. Except for (1) a scythe, and (2) a saw, [and (3) teeth, and (4) a fingernail, because they [do not cut, but they tear the windpipe and] choke [the animal]] [M. ul. 1:2 F-G]. The father of Samuel notched a knife and sent it [to the rabbis in Israel for a ruling as to whether it was fit]. He notched a knife [again in another way] and sent it [a second time]. They sent back to him [the general ruling]: [the notch that invalidates must be] like the tooth of saw as we learned [in this Mishnah].
B. Our rabbis taught on Tannaite authority: [17b] A knife that has many notches is deemed to be equivalent to a saw. [If] there is only a single notch, if it catches and slaughters, it is valid. If it chokes, it is invalid [T. ul. 1:7 D, F]. What is the circumstance of [a notch that will] `choke' and what is the circumstance [of a notch that] `catches'?
C. Said R. Eleazar, “`Chokes' [means a notch that is jagged] on both sides; `catches' [means a notch that is jagged] on one side.” But what difference does it make? [If it is jagged] on two sides the first edge [of the knife] cuts [into the throat] and the second edge tears [the organ]. [If it is jagged] on one side, also, the sharp edge of the knife cuts [into the throat] and the [jagged] edge tears [the organ].
D. [We could say that the circumstance is that the notch] stands at the top of the knife [and a one-edged-notch will not reach the organ when he slaughters until after it is properly cut]. But after all when [the knife] goes forward it cuts [into the neck] and when it comes back it tears [the organ]. [We refer here to a case where] he drew it forward but not back.
A. Said Raba, “There are three levels [of rules for defects] in a knife. (1) If it is [jagged so that it] chokes, he should not slaughter with it. And if he slaughtered with it, his act of slaughter is invalid. (2) If it is [jagged so that it] catches he should not slaughter with it to begin with. And if he slaughtered with it his act of slaughter is valid. (3) If it is bumpy [but not jagged] he may slaughter with it to begin with.”
B. Said R. Huna the son of R. Nehemiah to R. Ashi, “You said to us in the name of Raba that [a knife that is jagged enough that it] catches is invalid [for slaughtering] and lo, [here you just said a knife that] catches is valid!” There is no contradiction [between these two sources]. Here [where it is deemed] invalid [the case is that] he drew the knife forward and back. Here [where it is deemed] valid [the case is that] he drew the knife forward, but not back.
C. Said R. Aha the son of R. Avya to R. Ashi, “What is the rule [for a knife] if it resembles an awn (Cashdan: rough, though without notches)?” He said to him, “If we were given meat [from an animal slaughtered with this kind of knife] we would eat it.”
A. Said R. Hisda, “From what source do we know that the requirement of inspecting a knife derives from the Torah?” Because Scripture stated, “[Let every man bring his ox or his sheep], and slay them here [lit.: with this, i.e., with a proper knife], and eat” (I Sam. 14:34).
B. [But why do we need such proof?] It is obvious that if he perforates [the animal's organ with a defective knife] it will be terefah, hence we say he must have it inspected by a sage.
C. But lo said R. Yohanan, “They only said he must show the knife to a sage out of respect to the sage and on the authority of the rabbis. And the verse serves only as a support [for the practice and not as an authoritative source of the rule].”
A. In the West [in Israel] they inspected [the knife for imperfection] in the sun. In Nehardea they inspected it in water. R. Sheshet inspected it on the tip of his tongue. R. Aha bar Jacob inspected it with a hair.
B. In Sura they said, “It eats flesh, it must be inspected with flesh.” Said R. Pappa, “It must be inspected with the flesh [of one's finger] and with a fingernail and on three sides.” Said to him Rabina to R. Ashi, “R. Sama the son of R. Mesharshayya said to us in your name, that you said in the name of Raba, `It must be inspected with the flesh [of one's finger] and with a fingernail and on three sides.'”
C. He said to him, “[It must be inspected] with the flesh [of one's finger] and with a fingernail — that he did say; and on three sides — that he did not say.” Another version: “[It must be inspected] with the flesh [of one's finger] and with a fingernail and on three sides — that he did say. But in the name of Raba — that he did not say.”
D. Rabina and R. Aha the son of Raba were sitting before R. Ashi. They brought a knife before R. Ashi for inspection. He said to R. Aha the son of Raba, “Inspect it.” He inspected it with the flesh [of his finger] and with a fingernail and on three sides. He said to him, “You acted properly.” And so too did R. Kahana say [the same practice must be followed].
E. R. Yemar said, “It must be [inspected] with a fingernail and with the flesh [of one's finger]. But it does not have to be [inspected] on three sides.” For did not R. Zira say in the name of Samuel, “If he heated a knife white-hot and slaughtered with it, his act of slaughter is valid because the sharp edge [cuts the organs] before the white-hot [sides of the knife burn them].”
F. And we raise an objection [to this rule]: lo there are the [white-hot] sides to consider! And we say [they are of no concern because] the incision of the slaughtering opens wide [as he cuts and the sides do not come in contact with the organs]. Here too [we should say] that the incision of the slaughtering opens wide [and the sides do not come in contact with the organs. So they do not need to be inspected].
A. Said R. Huna bar R. Qatina, said R. Simeon b. Laqish, “There are three [rulings regarding] notches: (1) the notch in the bone of the paschal lamb [that invalidates it because it is prohibited to break a bone in the offering]; (2) the notch in the ear of a firstling [that renders it unfit for a sacrifice]; (3) the notch causing a blemish in a sacrifice.” R. Hisda said, “Also: the notch in a knife [used for slaughtering].” And the other [authority omits this because] he was not dealing with unconsecrated things.
B. And in all of these the notches must be as big as a notch [that renders unfit] the altar. [18a] And how big is a notch [that renders unfit] the altar? Big enough to catch a fingernail [that is drawn across it].