Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Chullin 16

Due to some time pressures, I have been unable to regularly post the Tuesday's daf post, but a story that I heard in a Rabbi Rosner shiur on the daf (available at made me feel compelled to write this week's post.

The gemara on Chullin 15b and 16a discusses whether a proper shechita can be accomplished through the use of a machine. As explained in the gemara, there was a mechanism by which a knife could be driven back and forth to cause the cutting the simanim. The gemara originally permitted this when the mechanism was driven by human force (a potter's wheel) but not when the force was the result of water power. The gemara then hypothesized that even when water power was utilized, the shechita still may be permissible if the cut was made by the first release of water by a person.

Following his recitation of the gemara's discussion, R' Rosner took a sidebar to talk about other machines in halacha. One of the machines he discussed was the one used to make machine matzas. R' Rosner then told a story involving the maggid of Yeushalaim who found himself abroad close to Pesach. Since R' Schwadrun was concerned that he would not make it back home in time for Pesach, he had brought some machine matza with him. When it became certain that he would not make it back to Israel for Pesach, he began to look for a place to stay for Yom Tov. As part of these conversations, he mentioned that he had his own matza and that he would be less of a burden to his hosts. As related by R' Rosner, R' Schwadrun was turned down two or three times by people who did not want machine matza in their homes as they deemed it chametz. Finally, R' Schwadrun found a place to stay, but still they wanted him to promise that he would use precautions when eating his machine matza so that the crumbs would not mix with Pesach products.

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