Part II: Yoreh De'ah
Chapter 2 - LIFE AND DEATH; SOURCES; BODY PARTS
Eating the kosher types of animals and birds is allowed only after they
have been properly slaughtered; see Ch.3. It is forbidden to eat them
if they die or are killed in any other way, or to eat parts of their
bodies that are removed (see 14:6) or become detached (see 55:5) while
they are still alive (62:1-4, and see next paragraph), but parts removed
from them after slaughtering may be eaten as soon as they have died (27:1).
Fish and locusts do not require slaughter (13:1;85:2) but they should not
be eaten while they are still alive.
Anything edible (see 81:3-4;84:17;85:3) that is derived from a forbidden
source is forbidden, but human milk (81:7) and bees' honey (81:8-9) are
permitted. The milk and eggs of a kosher species are permitted even
though they come from a living creature (81:5;86:4). The milk and eggs
of a TEREFAH (see Ch.4) are forbidden (81:1,6;86:3,10), but a living
offspring of a TEREFAH is permitted (79:3; see 86:7). The oral Torah
gives signs that distinguish the eggs of kosher and unkosher species
(83:8;86:1-2); these signs are used when the parentage of the egg is
not known. Birds' eggs are forbidden if they have started to develop
It is forbidden to take the eggs or non-flying chicks of a kosher bird if a
kosher mother bird is just above them (see 292:1,7-9,11-13), but it is
permissible to kill them (see 292:10) or to take them if the mother bird is
first sent away in condition to fly (292:4-6). This prohibition does not apply
if the birds are in a location easily accessible to the taker; see 292:2-3.
A kosher creature that eats only forbidden foods is forbidden (60:1). If
it is sick or has eaten or absorbed a poisonous substance it is forbidden
only if the substance is dangerous to humans (60:1-2). Indeed, any
dangerous situation must be avoided (116:5; see also Ch.12). Substances
that the sages considered to be dangerous included snake venom (116:1),
meat and fish that were cooked together (116:2-3), and human sweat (116:4-5).
It is also forbidden to eat disgusting foods and to eat with dirty hands
or utensils (116:6). It is forbidden to regularly buy or sell foods that
are Biblically forbidden even if deriving benefit from them is permitted;
the only exception is CHELEV (117:1; see below). On procedures to follow
if forbidden foods were accidentally or deliberately sold to a Jew see
The blood of animals and birds is forbidden (66:1) even after they are
slaughtered unless it remains absorbed in the meat (67:1-5). Procedures
for removing the blood from meat are described in Ch.5. A "blood spot"
found in a bird's egg is rabbinically forbidden, and in some cases is an
indication that the egg has started to develop (66:2-3,5,7). Fishes' blood
is forbidden only if it might be confused with animal or bird blood
(66:9), and one's own blood is permitted if it has not left the body (66:10).
On mixtures and doubtful cases see 66:4,8.
The sciatic nerve (GID HA-NASHEH) is forbidden even after slaughter in
animals and in birds that have round thigh sockets (65:5-7). On doubtful
cases and trustworthiness see 65:11-14; on the extent of the nerve see
65:8-9. Certain parts of the fat (CHELEV) of cattle, sheep, and goats
are forbidden even after slaughter; see 64:1-15. The oral Torah gives
signs (involving the structure of the horns) that distinguish these
animals (which are called BEHEMAH) from other kosher animals (CHAYAH)
whose fat is permitted; these signs are used if the species is not known
(80:1-6). Removal of these forbidden parts requires great skill and must
be learned by observing an expert (64:7). It should be done within three
days after slaughtering (64:18).
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.