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Rigoletto by Verdi at the Metropolitan Opera

There was some sort of mixup with tickets and maybe I wasn't supposed to be at last night's show even though I had emails saying it was part of my subscription package? I'm unclear on the details, possibly I didn't get the exact subscription package that was my first choice? Possibly I made an exchange when purchasing the tickets because I've already seen this Rigoletto, and lost my notes about the swap? In any case I showed up at the opera house and they didn't have me on the list, but since I'm a subscriber and they had some extra tickets available, they gave me a couple of comp tickets. Orchestra level, waaaay more expensive than the seats I normally get. :) [personal profile] ghost_lingering and I were pretty pleased about the upgrade, though I should probably up my donation to the Met next year. I've probably seen about a hundred shows at the Met and this is my third time seeing one from the orchestra level. It was nice to be able to get more of a sense of actors' expressions than you can from the family circle.

Director Michael Mayer moves Rigoletto to the 1950s mafia-run Las Vegas. The Duke is a mafia don, his courtiers including Rigoletto are his soldiers, who do stunning cruel things to other people because who will stop them? Sparafucile's sister Maddalena is a stripper. The set is largely neon, starting with the delightfully realistic and visually overhwelming Strip of the first act and becoming increasingly abstract toward the stunning blue and white neon lightning storm of the third act. It's a fun setting for a story about morality going out the window, colorful in all senses of the word. I'm not sure how deep the things the re-setting says are, but at minimum it says that just because we live in a democracy and not a semifeudal duchy, doesn't free us from the questions of power and autonomy and faith that Rigoletto asks, because many of the systems of power and obligation still operate, just at different societal layers.

Verdi's music is at its most amazing here. I love the way he reuses "La Donna e mobile" throughout the third act as a theme that says everything we need to know about the Duke and the social power of his charisma. I love the way a cappella resurfaces again and again as a way to strip these figures down to their inner essences. I love how interconnected the score is. In total, "Rigoletto" remains amazing.
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I got lots of bookreading done this weekend...

Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770-1870 by Jacob Katz

Interesting on a factual level but I often disagreed with his conclusions, mostly the lack of engagement with the ideology of Orthodoxy. Baffling that a book on that subject matter didn't mention Samson Raphael Hirsch once, baffling that it barely mentioned Chasidism and had a mere handful of references to Chasam Sofer.

The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

A really excellent treatment of basic principles of Kabbalah, essentially a version of Kabbalah designed to work for Jews for whom Kabbalah doesn't really work. R' Steinsaltz does a brilliant job as always of pulling all of these disparate ideas from all of Jewish thought together and making them actually seem to fit together.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

Pretty good Kinsey story, I thought. It was nice the way the mystery fit together, and I liked getting to see some paternal backstory filled in. Just X and Y to go.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Stupid book but I mostly enjoyed it. Also watched the movie on the flight home, but I didn't like it as much, except for Awkwafina who is great. I was glad that the movie got rid of the blatant anti-semitism in the book, but I was a little disappointed because as part of fixing that they removed Amanda's Jewish boyfriend who might've danced at the wedding. Alas, Jews do not dance in this movie.

Mortal Engines by Stanislaw Lem

Read on [personal profile] ambyr's recommendation, and highly enjoyed. Fairy tales about robots with a remarkable bite, alternately deeply cynical about humanity and powerfully optimistic about our potential.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

I still can't figure out if I read this book as a kid. I watched the new film a couple weeks ago and the plot didn't really ring a bell, and reading the book mostly likewise, but there were turns of phrase and emotional moods that felt familiar. I must have read it as a kid. I must have. But it's completely faded from memory.

Anyway, I mostly liked it, but not in a wow this was amazing way.

Also made a dent in C.L. Polk's Witchmark on [personal profile] aurumcalendula's recommendation and a big dent in Rena Rossner's Sisters of the Winter Wood, which... [personal profile] kass, if you haven't read this book, PM me your address and I'll mail it to you as soon as I finish, you will love it. Goblin Market meets shtetl folk tale.
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Back from Arizona after a 5 hour flight delay!

Daf 78-83 in one go

Conveniently the whole run of Daf Yomi while I was away consisted of the entirety of Perek Hei of Chullin, which was concerned with Oto v'et b'no, the commandment in Leviticus 22:28 not to slaughter a parent and a child animal on the same day. There are some fascinating oral law d'rashes of the verse that are completely counterintuitive to how you would just read the pasuk. At only 5 pages but covering a range of interesting but fairly self-contained halakhic issues, I think this would be a great perek of Gemara for someone just dipping their toes into learning Talmud.

To start with, oto is in the masculine, but the Gemara reasons that the mitzvah must be a prohibition on slaughtering a mother and her child (of either sex), not a father, because the clear intention of the mitzvah is similar to shiluach haken, the much more well known and much weirder mitzvah of sending away the mother bird before taking her eggs. The mother and her child are a clear family unit, in the case of the domesticated species the mitzvah is talking about, the father is rarely an active participant in raising the child, so the majority opinion is that we don't consider the father's seed as really having any connection to the child.

This then leads the Gemara on an interesting detour into the halakhos relating to mules and other crossbred animals, where in some cases where it matters, some Rabbis say that we similarly don't consider the father's seed as having any connection to the child, so that a mule with a mare parent is considered to be more a horse than a donkey, for example when it comes to whether you can yolk it with a mule who has a jenny for a parent.

And similarly the Gemara discusses the koy, an animal that according to some is the crossbred offspring of a domesticated animal and a wild animal, and some say on the same principle that whether it's considered domesticated or wild depends on the mother (for purposes of offering it as a Temple sacrifice, or for the halakha of covering the blood that will come in Perek Zayin.)

Later on there's some interesting halakhic questions about when and if you can incur multiple penalties for the same act, and when you can incur a lesser penalty instead of a greater penalty when committing an act that violates multiple issurs. This comes up because the act of oto v'et b'no inherently consists of two acts, the first of which is not an issur- killing the first animal, and the second of which is an issur- killing the second, related animal. So the Gemara asks a series of questions about cases where either the first act also transgresses a separate issur, or where the second act transgresses a separate issur, and how the two aveiros interact.

A big one that creates complicated interactions is shechting a consecrated animal outside the Temple courtyard, because there's a major disagreement about whether it incurs lashes or kares or nothing if it's done at a time when the animal is not permitted to be offered. So if you shecht the mother and then the child is consecrated, some hold that since you are not permitted to offer the son as a sacrifice that day because of oto v'et b'no, you do not incur the penalty for offering it outside the Temple courtyard, though you do incur the penalty of oto v'et b'no.

There's a lot more cases, I wish I'd been blogging daily during this perek, it was a lot of fun to learn, but I think I have to accept that I'm unlikely to have the time to give it any more detail here, so I'm just going to move on.

Perek Zayin will be about the mitzvah of covering the blood.
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I have been trying to shove my sleep pattern earlier, mostly with positive results. I've woken up most days this week more cheerfully than usual. Some bumpiness... a few nights where I wake up at 3 in the morning, read for a little bit before I can go back to sleep. But mostly it's been good. And then last night I got home from work at 8PM and was in bed by 9PM, because damn was it a long day at work.

Tuesday night was Puzzled Pint. Mostly the puzzles were eh, but there was one word puzzle that I thought was really elegant. There were strings of letters that were 'double encrypted'... First you figured out the encoding mechanisms the first time, and you decoded to get a series of clues that clued short words. Then you applied the associated encoding mechanism to the clue words to get a new word, all of which were part of a common, thematic dataset. I'll try to remember to link it when it's been posted online.

Tomorrow morning I'm flying with my family to Arizona for a cousin's wedding, which will either be really fun or a giant mess. :P Yay family. I know none of the details of the event because I never actually got an invitation- word passed through family backchannels that no slight was intended. :P My parents took care of the travel logistics so all I know is that I will show up tonight at their home, sleep over, we'll go to the airport tomorrow, and at some point in the weekend there will be a wedding and then I'll be home Monday.

Hopefully I will be recovered enough by Tuesday because I'm seeing the Met's Rigoletto again with [personal profile] ghost_lingering. And I've been thinking of trying to go see Andy Statman's Thursday show next week because I haven't seen him play in a while.
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Daf 77

Final Mishna of Perek dalet. What if you shecht an animal and inside you find an amniotic sac but no specific evidence of a fetus? Is it kosher from the shechita? What is its status?

The answer is that it's obviously kosher, if you want to eat it. Most people seem to regard it as disgusting, so it's considered a non-food item, but if you wanted to eat it would be considered a food item. In a similar manner, the bones of a neveila and the hide of a neveila do not have the tumah of a neveila, as they are not edible basar as required by the pasuk, but if you did something to the bones or hide of a (kosher, shechted, I think) animal that rendered them edible like cooking them in a stew for a long time, they would be kosher and treated as foodstuffs.

This also applies for purposes of the tumah of foods. So ordinarily the amniotic sac would not transmit tumah, but if you intended for it to be food, it would transmit tumah. But it would not have the tumah of neveila still because you could not intend to eat a neveila so there's no scenario where by your intent you can make it a neveila.

But the amniotic sac still seems to retain some of the properties of being associated with the fetus, apparently because it's assumed that a miscarried fetus was inside it and was reabsorbed into its walls. So if a cow gives birth to an amniotic sac it's considered to be its firstborn for purposes of bechor, although since you can't tell its gender and there's a slightly less than 50% chance that it's a kosher male bechor (three choices- male, female, or male/female but invalid to be a bechor because of birth defect), the sac itself is not judged to have the consecrated status of bechor.

Also, if the amniotic sac partially comes out of the mother and then goes back in, and then the mother is shechted, it's treated as if there could have been a fetus in it at the time, and thus the mother's shechita does not work for the sac, and the mother is considered to have given birth.

The Mishna ends with some discussion of the superstitious burial practices of the other nations around Israel, such as burying a miscarried fetus at the crossroads, which is therefore forbidden to Israel. The Gemara discusses exceptions to this- you're allowed to do at least some practices of the other nations, provided they have some therapeutic or useful purpose. The nuances of this question, of what is a therapeutic purpose and what is just superstitious nonsense and therefore forbidden, deserves a more thorough discussion than the Gemara gives it here, but I believe there's much more on this in Masechet Avodah Zarah.
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A Midsummer Night's Dream by Benjamin Britten, staged at the Philadelphia Opera

I really love Britten's score a lot. The harps and the bells and the strings, ohhhhh, the glissandi. It's a music of enchantment and it conjures up Oberon and Tytania's magical forest so vividly.

This seems to be the first time I've seen the thing live in its entirety- I missed the first act when I saw it at the Met because of traffic. But the version I imprinted on is David Daniels's Oberon in a Barcelona production on DVD. Daniels manages an incredible fey masculinity that is perfect for the role. I haven't always loved Daniels's singing, but he is perfection there, and that production is what I measure Midsummers against.

Robert Carsen's production sets the action on the border of dream and magic by conjuring up the forest as a mess of green and white bedding. In the first act, the set is a single massive bed the size of the stage, with megapillows for flopping onto and a green topsheet representing the forest. In the second act, the single bed is replaced by seven normal sized replicas, all the better for bedswapping confusions. In the third act, three beds float above the stage, with each of the entranced couples on one, suspended on wires, until they are lowered to the ground one by one as the lovers are awakened. It struck a nice balance for me for an economical production design that still delivered the imagery you need to enjoy the Dream. If you're not going to commit to full-on magical forest on stage, this was a nice way to go.

Tim Mead's Oberon did not match the standard set by Daniels- he was not overpowering in the same way- but he was spooky and otherworldly and he was well balanced by Anna Christy's Tytania, who managed at different moments to be petty or sexy or ethereal as needed. Matthew Rose's Bottom was the comic anchor the show needed. Miltos Yeromelou, a stage actor hopping over to the opera for the spoken role of Puck, was delightfully puckish, though perhaps not the conventional operatic Puck.
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Note: Unabashed recommendation for Wlad Marhulets's "Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet", David Krakauer as soloist.

Daf 76

For some reason the Mishna here is about treifos, which really ought to have been in the previous perek, but, um... it's all connected? Some of the halakha here is related to some of the halakha about the ben pekuah on previous pages, as the Rabbis found a connection between Rabbi Meir's position on ben pekuah and his position on hanging limbs.

The halakha is that if an animal breaks a bone on its hind leg below a certain point, it's not a treifa, but if it's above that point, it's a treifa. The point in question is called the 'arkuva', and there is a debate in the Gemara about what exactly it is. Rav Yehuda says it's the knee, Ula says it's a joint above the knee.

The Mishna also covers the previously mentioned hanging limb. If the animal were to become a neveilah, the partially severed limb would not only be neveilah, it would also convert in the process of death into ever min hachai. Meaning that not only was it forbidden to Jews, but Jews also couldn't sell it to non-Jews. But if shechita is done, it renders the limb kosher, provided the majority of the skin/meat around the break is intact. Rav teaches this is only if the break is above the arkuva, but if it's below the arkuva shechita renders it kosher even if it's less than the majority. Shmuel teaches that the same law is true both above and below the arkuva.
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Daf 74

Up to this point in the Gemara, it's apparently been the halakha unambiguously that the ben pekuah is a thing: If you shecht a mother and find a fetus inside, the mother's shechita counts for the fetus and it does not need to be separately shechted.

But here, we get a different opinion in the form of a Tannaitic dispute between Rabbi Meir and the Chachamim. What is the difference? Rabbi Meir and the Chachamim agree in the case of a nonviable fetus (it says eight months or less, but it pretty clearly means less than the gestational period of the animal, whatever that might be for a particular animal, and Rabbi Linzer's class pointed out that since it's not like you usually have an accurate date of conception for an animal, 'eight months' is likely determined based on physical markers of development rather than by counting), but Rabbi Meir holds that a viable fetus (nine months is the language used) needs a separate shechita, while the Chachamim hold that the mother's shechita still holds.

For the rest of the daf the Gemara explores the consequences of this distinction which play out of a variety of scenarios. The basic concept is that Rabbi Meir believes that once a fetus is viable, it is to some extent a separate entity from its mother even before birth, whereas the Chachamim hold that until birth it is still largely a single entity with its mother. But a series of baraisas show that neither of these conceptions is absolute- there are some ways in which Rabbi Meir's rulings indicate a partial conception of the fetus as still being part of the mother, and some ways in which the Chachamim's rulings indicate a partial conception of the fetus as a separate entity.

The Gemara teaches a general principle that a ben pekuah is considered shechted for purposes of shechita/eating, but not for other purposes where an animal is considered, like the prohibition on the prohibition on yolking animals of different species together. You can't say "technically it's not a living animal" to get away with violating that prohibition... Even though for purposes of shechita the ben pekuah is technically dead, it's still essentially a living animal.

But this gets more complicated in cases that are connected to shechita/eating, but not necessarily integrally, like tumah. Generally speaking live animals are not susceptible to tumas mes, but... maybe a ben pekuah is susceptible since in some senses it's meat and meat can be made susceptible? The Gemara goes through this whole complicated thing about the whether the shechita of its mother itself renders the ben pekuah susceptible to tumah or if it needs to be exposed to water or if a bloodless shechita renders it susceptible. I confess I don't totally understand it.

Daf 75

Aha! Everyone I tell about this perek has asked the question "Why don't Jews start a ben pekuah farm? It might be tricky at first but with time they could build up a stock of animals that didn't need shechita and it'd make kashrut so much easier!"

The main part of the answer is here. So technically if you have a live viable ben pekuah and you raise it to adulthood it still doesn't need shechita, but... there's a Rabbinical gezeira that you still need to shecht it, because of mar'is ayin. If people saw Jews going around eating unshechted meat they might assume the whole halakha of shechita didn't apply.

So does that mean that this halakha is entirely useless? No, not entirely. The Rabbis permit eating a ben pekuah if it has some sort of phenotypic abnormality that made it memorable, reasoning that if someone saw you eating the ben pekuah with the funny legs or something, you'd remember "Oh, right, that funny animal was a ben pekuah, that's why they're eating it" and there'd be no mar'is ayin issue. And also the shechita of ben pekuah seems to sidestep some other issues that aren't mar'is ayin issues... I'm a little confused on this part, but there may be some benefits with regard to tumah that I didn't follow, and maybe since it's already considered shechted a ben pekuah can't be a treifa? Also at least according to some opinions, you can eat the gid hanashe and the usually forbidden chelev of a ben pekuah. So there might be some reasons to attempt a ben pekuah farm, but the biggest reason, of getting rid of shechita, isn't there.
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Daf 73

We established that
a)if you do shechita on the mother, the fetus inside is considered included in that shechita, and it's permitted to eat. And
b) if a limb from the fetus came out of the womb, it is not permitted to be eaten even if it returns to the womb And
c) if you reached inside and severed a limb from the fetus, and then shechted the mother, the mother's shechita includes both parts and they're both kosher to be eaten.

New case: Difficult birth, a limb comes out and is stuck, so you sever it to help make the birth easier and save the mother. But the mother is still in trouble, so you shecht the mother so at least you get to eat her. What is the status of the pre-severed limb?

Obviously it's not permitted to be eaten. But does the shechita still sort of count for it, so that it's kind of like a treifa, or does the shechita not count for it, so that it's a neveila? The difference is that a neveila is tamei and a treifa is not, or if it is, it's only a very minor tumah d'rabbanan in some cases.

Machlokess between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis. Rabbi Meir says that as soon as you sever the limb, the connection to the mother is ended so the shechita doesn't count for it. The Rabbis point to the case c) I mentioned above, and say that maybe something similar happened and it's a treifa, not a neveila.

They then look at a similar case where Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis disagree, the hanging limb. This is a case where a limb has been partially severed (but not in a way that would make the animal a treifa). There's a d'rabbanan gezeira that if the animal dies naturally the limb is ever min hachai, it's somehow presumed to have separated halakhically during the dying process. But if you do shechita, there's a machlokess between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis about its status that follows the same pattern as the case of the fetus's severed limb.
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I write a bunch here about Artscroll, the biggest name in Orthodox Jewish publishing. Their Siddur has become the standard in American Orthodox shuls over the past few decades, though in the past five or so it's faced a challenge from a Siddur published by Koren, edited by Rabbi Sacks.

There are many editions of the Artscroll Siddur with different features and page layouts, but in the main Ashkenazi liturgy version of the siddur, there are two main versions: The brown version and the black version.

The brown version is the ostensible standard version, the black version is the RCA edition, issued in partnership with the Rabbinic Council of American, the mainstream Orthodox Rabbinical organization. There are only two differences between the two Siddurim- the Prayer for Israel and the Prayer for the American government only appear in the RCA edition. For some reason the creators of the original Artscroll siddur felt they could not sell it in some charedi communities if it had these prayers in it.

Anyway apparently it was news in the Orthodox text nerd community that a few months ago the RCA retracted its authorization for the Artscroll RCA edition siddur and is presenting a new Siddur, edited by Rabbi Basil Herring and published by Koren as the RCA edition. The new siddur attempts in various small but IMO significant textual ways to be more inclusive of the Orthodox woman's experience, to not make women feel like second class citizens in the synagogue. Artscroll's response was "We already print a women's siddur separately," because Artscroll is first-class at missing the point on women's issues.

I didn't learn any of this until yesterday when Artscroll sent an ad out for its new 'Synagogue Edition' prayerbook, which is the RCA edition minus the word RCA. It was such a strange ad that I had to seek out the story behind it. Here's a version of that story, anyway:

I've ordered a copy of the new Siddur, Avodat Halev, and I am looking forward to exploring it. More on that when I've had some time with it.

Daf 71

Having discussed whether a stillborn calf inside its mother's womb transmits tumah if a midwife reaches in and touches it, where it ruled that it does not transmit tumah because of the rule of ben Pekuah, the Mishna discusses the identical case for a human stillborn, which does transmit tumah.

Rabbah cites a general principle of taharah that seems to imply the opposite, called tumah b'luah, enclosed impurity. If you swallow an impure object, the act of handling it before swallowing it may render you tamei, but once you cleanse yourself and become tahor, the swallowed object, even if it is itself still tamei, does not make you impure from the inside.

And likewise the Gemara learns from a kal vachomer that tumah does not transmit outside in- If you are in a room with a corpse and become tamei, the thing you've swallowed that could absorb tumah does not become tamei. How? Since we know that something inside a clay vessel can transmit outward, but can't receive inward, kal vachomer that a stomach which can't transmit outward also can't receive inward.

And Rabbah goes one step further and teaches that two swallowed objects, one tamei and one tahor, do not transmit tumah one to the other inside the stomach. He learns this from a Mishnah that says that if one swallows a tamei object, they are still permitted to eat terumah.

You would think this would apply to the case of the midwife, then. The womb is an enclosed body like the stomach, so even if the stillborn has tumah, it should not transmit it to the hands of the midwife. But the Mishnah teaches that it does. What is the reason? To be continued on Daf 72.

Daf 72

Rava answers in the name of Rav Yosef in the name of Rav Yehuda in the name of Shmuel that this Mishna that the midwife's hands become tamei is d'Rabbanan, so we are more machmir than the straight rule of tumah b'luah. Why did Shmuel make this ruling? Rabbi Hoshaya says it's as a gezeira lest the stillborn exit the womb. Rava says it's as a chumra because Rabbi Akiva thought the hands being impure was a D'oraysa halakha and Rabbi Yishmael thought the hands were tahor. The halakha seems to be that we hold by Rabbi Yishmael as a theoretical matter, but practically hold by Rabbi Akiva since he's more machmir.

There have been a lot of debates in this perek that seem to ultimately root in a broader disagreement between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael about general hermeneutic principles.

Here, Rabbi Yishmael learns from Bamidbar 19:16 "And whoever in the open field touches one who is slain by the sword, or one who dies on his own, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be impure seven days" that the midwife's hands are pure. How? Again from basadeh, like from a couple days ago, but this time it's a kula! Since the pasuk says 'basadeh', the stillborn inside the enclosed womb is not a neveilah that transmits tumah.

Rabbi Akiva learns something else from basadeh, but instead learns that the stillborn in the womb transmits tumah because of the pasuk slightly earlier, Bamidbar 19:13 "Whoever touches of a corpse, of the life of a person that died, he will be impure” Banefesh implies the stillborn since it's a life inside of a person, says Rabbi Akiva. Meanwhile, Rabbi Yishmael learns something else from banefesh.

And... I have caught back up with the daf yomi cycle!
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An uptick in my mood is correlated with the recent good weather. I've taken my bike out twice this week, my first rides in almost two months. Just a few miles, but I'm looking forward to the return of spring and opportunity for more regular riding.

Definitely more rides on the D&R Canal trail, which is a local treasure, but I'm also thinking about where else I can ride to for more variety. I see the new Goethals Bridge has a bike lane, so maybe I can ride to Staten Island! I also want to see if I can manage a bike commute to work, first a Sunday dry run and then afterward for real. There are also bike trails in other parts of the state that I could drive to.

My longest rides this past summer were ~30 miles, so maybe I should make 40 miles in one ride the goal for this summer. And my total on Strava for last year was about 200 miles, so I'll try to make it at least 300 miles this year.

Also unless I want to keep shutting down for half the year I should get more comfortable riding in colder weather.
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Daf 69 continued

This was actually in Rabbi Linzer's shiur on Daf 70, and since I didn't really follow it before I listened I'm summarizing it now.

Whence this whole idea that a ben Pekuach fetus in a mother who is shechted has the status as if it were itself shechted?

The Gemara suggests it's from Devarim 14:6. "And every animal that has a split hoof and is cloven into two hooves, chews the cud, of the animals, it you may eat" The Rabbis understand 'of the animals' , since behema is mentioned twice in the verse, as meaning 'in the animals', and therefore that the fetus within its mother is covered by shechita.

But then it objects that this implies we understand the fetus as being a behema! But since this fetus can't be used in temura, the law of substitutional sacrifice, how can we call it a behema? So we embark on a more complicated drash of the same verse. The kol in 'every animal', rather, includes parts of the animal, like the fetus. But this must be distinguished from other parts of the animal, like a severed kidney, which we know from the Mishnah are not included in this halakha. So the Gemara learns from "it may you eat" that the part of an animal included in its law must be a complete entity, not a part of a thing.

But Rabbi Yochanan teaches that if you find the fetus to be dove-shaped, it is forbidden. Rabbi Linzer's class was debating whether this meant the fetus was at an early developmental state that didn't yet look like a cow, or if it was a genetic mutation that didn't look like a cow. The Gemara answers by pointing that the verse mentions hooves, so a ben Pekuah must be a)a part of the mother b)but a whole entity on its own c)not dove shaped.

Then the Gemara cites Rabbi Yishmael in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that a fetus that is cow-shaped need not have fully formed split hooves to be a ben Pekuah, and the Gemara saves its position by rereading the language about hooves so that it can also refer to nonsplit hooves. So a ben Pekuah must be a)a part of the mother b)but a whole entity on its own c)not dove shaped and d)have hooves that are either split or not split.

Then Rav Shimi bar Ashi tries to save the original drash of the verse from 'babehema' by saying it reflects Rabbi Shimon's opinion about temurah, and the Gemara accepts this possibility but seems to still prefer its more complicated drash.

Daf 70

A stillborn has the status of neveilah and therefore transmits tumah. What about a stillborn that is still inside the mother's womb? If someone reaches in to try to deliver, and they touch a stillborn, are they tamei?

The Tanna Kamma says no. Rabbi Yosei haGlili says no in the case of a kosher animal, yes in the case of a nonkosher animal.

They're both reasoning from the case of the ben Pekuah. If you were to shecht the mother, the fetus would be kosher and not even need shechting, so how could it possibly be a neveila now and then change status and become not a neveila? So Rabbi Yosei says that since the ben Pekuah only applies to kosher animals, this non-neveila situation is only with regard to kosher stillborns. The Tanna Kamma understands the pasuk in Devarim, which mentions 'all animals' as referring to kosher and nonkosher animals by ignoring the second clause which adds that "you may eat".
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Daf 68

New perek! Perek dalet is about whether a fetus inside a behema when the mother was shechted is kosher or not. The halakha is that yes, it is, even without separate shechita, because it's considered part of the mother. But that just leads us to some interesting edge cases. Which is... kind of interesting, but not particularly practically relevant.

The Mishna says that if the mother is undergoing a difficult pregnancy and the fetal calf extends a leg out of the mother, and then retracts it, *it* is still kosher. However, if the fetal calf extends its head out of the mother, then that is considered a birth even if it retracts the head. (And therefore since it's been born, it would need its own separate shechita if that's possible if you wanted to eat it.)

The second half of the Mishna says that if you cut into the womb and removed a limb from the fetus (Probably because it's a difficult childbirth and you want to make the delivery easier), it does not count as ever min hachai and is permitted to be eaten once you've shechted the mother, but if you cut into a behema and removed a kidney, it would be ever min hachai and thus the kidney would be prohibited even though it would not render the behema a treifa and the behema would be permitted to be eaten once shechted.

The second part of the mishna effectively crystallizes the unusual status of the fetus- it's a part of the mother in some ways (the mother's shechita counts for it) but not in others.

From the first part of the Mishna, the rest of the daf explores opinions deriving from different ways of reading the *it*. that is still kosher. Is *it* referring to the fetus in toto, or is it referring to the limb that was extended, or is referring to the fetus in toto except for the limb?

Rabbi Yehuda teaches in the name of Rav (and later in the name of both Rav and Shmuel) that the halakha is that the limb itself once extended is not kosher, but if it unextends before shechita, then the rest of the fetus is kosher. It derives this from a surprising reading of the verse about the treifos. Shemos 22:30. ובשר בשדה טרפה לא תאכלו. What does בשדה add to the verse? Apparently this encodes a broader concept of the natural space in which a particular kind of meat is supposed to be in order to hold a certain status. For example, if a sacrificial animal is in the Temple courtyard and then is removed from the courtyard, it permanently takes on the status of being prohibited.

According to Rav in this case, the natural שדה of the fetus is inside the womb for it to maintain the status of being connected to the mother, so when it exits the womb it permanently loses this status. Thus a limb that leaves the womb and then returns maintains its status of having exited the womb and is thus forbidden to eat.

This is not the most natural reading of the Mishna, and the Gemara tries a variety of ways to refute it, but it does not. Ulla in the name of Rabbi Yochanan argues that Shemos 22:30 should be limited to just the case of chatas offerings, since there is an explicit pasuk in Vayikra where the idea of permanent ban on chatas removed from the Temple courtyard comes from, but the Gemara refutes this since there is also a pasuk in Devarim from which the Gemara derives midrashically that bikurim are not subject to this ban, and therefore the pasuk in Shemos is needed to demonstrate that fetuses leaving their womb are subject to this prohibition.

When Rabbi Yochanan enters the dispute, this becomes a disagreement between him as the leader in early Amoraic Eretz Yisrael, against Rav and Shmuel as the leaders in early Amoraic Babylon. Even after Rabbi Yochanan's imputed position is conclusively refuted, the Gemara still seems to think there was a disagreement between the two areas about something, so it suggests instead that Rav held that the limb exiting the womb counted in some manner as 'birth' and therefore the whole limb was invalidated if a majority left the womb, whereas Rabbi Yochanan held that the limb exiting was not birth, and only the part of the limb that left the womb is invalidated.

Daf 69

I think it is pretty logical that the fetus would be kosher to eat and not require an additional shechita if found inside a properly shechted mother, but... what if the fetus was fairly well developed and viable, and after you remove it from the mother you raise it... Does it need shechita if you want to eat it? No, its mother's shechita counts for it even years down the line.

That's at least consistent as far as it goes, but it leads to strange scenarios. The Gemara seems to want to say that if such an animal, called a ben Pekuah, has children, those children inherit this status of not needing shechita. I can't figure out how many generations this lasts. And what if the ben Pekuah has a child with a non-ben Pekuah? Even though a)the ben Pekuah is kosher to eat without shechita and b)the non-ben Pekuah is kosher to eat, provided you do shechita, c)the child of the ben Pekuah and non-ben Pekuah is assur.

Why? Artscroll has a conceptually puzzling footnote about the various Rishonic conceptualizations of this Gemara... The child of the Ben Pekuah has to be thought of as having partially severed simanim inherited from its parent, and therefore a kosher shechita can't be done. One Rishonic commentator says it inherited one uncut tube from its non-ben Pekuah parent and one cut tube from its ben Pekuah parent. Another says that both simanim are considered half-cut. Either way, you can't do shechita if the simanim are already partially severed, but... if you inspected the animal, its simanim would be fine! It's all a metaphor taken literally or something. The ben Pekuah is a walking dead animal for some halakhic purposes, so therefore we treat it like it's literally dead.
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Daf 67

The end of Perek 3, which covered treifos and identification of kosher animals.

Having gone into detail about the kosher grasshoppers, the Gemara concludes on the topic of nonkosher sheratzim. There's essentially two parts here, a discussion of sheratzim in the water and a discussion of sherartzim on land. Both were discussions I was initially prepared to not pay that much attention to, but they're actually pretty practical.

Sheratzim in the water is the question of, if you want to drink from a river or a well or some other open water source, how careful do you need to be to make sure there are no little tiny creepy crawly things in the water. There was a big, I dunno, *thing* a couple years back when the NYC chareidi community discovered that there's a bunch of tiny little see-em-in-a-microscope bugs in the NY water supply, and people were unsure if this meant that they couldn't drink the water or not. Obviously there have always been little bugs in the water that could not be seen, so water like this was drunk by Moshe Rabbenu with no problem, and it always seemed somewhat silly to me, but here's the source of the discussion.

The Torah's verses about kosher fish requiring fins and scales explicitly mentions rivers and oceans. From this the Rabbis learn that this is a specification- sea creatures in bodies of water that are dissimilar to rivers and oceans do not need fins and scales. All agree that this includes insects which are formed in vessels, but they disagree about whether it includes all natural water that is not rivers and oceans, such as wells, gullies, etc...

The upshot is that if you have water in a pitcher and you didn't see any little tiny bug things, and then later you look and you can see a little tiny bug thing, it's a kosher little tiny bug thing! And you can drink without worrying. But if you drew the water from a river you need to remove all the little tiny bug things before you can drink it. Important qualifications in a world that did not have a bottled water industry. :P

The question of sheretz of the land is a specification from the Torah verse that it's all the sheretz that crawls on the land, so... The Gemara learns that any insect that forms inside a fruit and never comes out does not count as this kind of sheretz, but as soon as it exits and crawls on land it becomes this kind of sheretz.

The Gemara's intuitions about which sheratzim are which seem to be based on the contemporary science of spontaneous generation. Like, they know that if you leave meat out, maggots will appear on the meat, so they say that the maggots must have transformed from part of the meat. So it's tricky to figure out how to understand modern questions about insects in vegetables when we know that spontaneous generation is not a thing. It's in general hard to understand that the same insect could be acceptable to eat or not acceptable to eat depending on where its egg hatched.
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Daf 65

The Gemara spent about a page on the simanim of kosher beasts. It spends a page and a half analyzing the simanim of grasshoppers. Go figure.

I'm not totally sure I followed the whole debate. It's a very technical and very tiny disagreement between two baraitot, one stam and the other in the name of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Yishmael is known for his thirteen principles of midrashic derivation, and the nature of the debate is seemingly between the stam Tanna trying to read the Torah in a straightforward way and Rabbi Yishmael trying to apply one of his principles, a generalization after a specialization.

The verses go:

Leviticus 11:20: All winged swarming things that go upon all fours are a detestable thing unto you
Leviticus 11:21: Yet these may ye eat of all winged swarming things that go upon all fours, which have jointed legs above their feet, wherewith to leap upon the earth;
Leviticus 11:22: even these of them ye may eat: the arbeh after its kinds, and the sal'am after its kinds, and the chargol after its kinds, and the chagav after its kinds.

The stam Tanna interprets the verse as follows: There are eight species of grasshopper that are permitted, the four named ones and four other species which are similar to one of the named species. The characteristics of these grasshoppers is that they have four walking legs, two jumping legs, four wings, and the wings cover most of the body.

Rabbi Yishmael understands 'after its kind' as a generalization following a specialization (following a generalization?) and therefore it's not limited to these eight species, but to any other species that has the same characteristics as specified by these combinations of specification and generalizations. What does that mean? It means I'm confused.

He looks at the first insect mentioned, the arbeh, and points out that it has a bald head (without some sort of fuzz... Rabbi Linzer said this might also mean something about forehead shape). So you might say that since it says 'after its kind' that means that kosher insects are the ones that have bald heads. But then the chargol is mentioned and it does not have a bald head, and "after its kind" is also mentioned after it. So from this we learn that the the bald head is not a factor either way, it's not one of the simanim, because both bald and non-bald grasshoppers are listed in the verse.

Through similar logic Rabbi Yishmael establishes that having a tail or not having a tail does not matter as a siman. And having a rounded head or having an elongated head does not matter as a siman. So what does matter as a siman for Rabbi Yishmael? The same things as the stam Tanna: four walking legs, two jumping legs, four wings, and the wings cover most of the body. But one other thing as well, which he learns from the fourth grasshopper mentioned, the chagav. From the chagav he learns that for an insect to be kosher, it has to be known as a chagav, which apparently is also true of the chargol sad sal'am and arbeh, I guess chagav was a generic term for those sorts of creatures. So in practical terms this is Rabbi Yishmael's real limiting factor- once we verify the physical simanim, we have to have a tradition that an insect was known as a 'chagav' in order to consider it kosher. But it needn't necessarily be one of the eight species named by the stam Tanna.

Of course Askenazim today have no tradition about any insect being kosher so we don't eat any insects.

Daf 66

We know that the Torah requires that a kosher fish have fins and scales. A baraisa says that every fish with fins does not necessarily have scales, but every fish with scales has fins. As a practical matter, this means if you find a dissected fish that's had the fins removed, you can still assume it's kosher if you can see that it has scales. But it raises deeper questions about the nature of the simanim.

If every fish that has scales has fins, why does the Torah require kosher fish to have both fins and scales?

At first the Gemara attempts a linguistic argument- the words s'napir and kaskeset are not everyday words, so maybe if the Torah had only said s'napir, we would have known from context that it was either talking about scales or fins, but we wouldn't have been sure which. But the Gemara refutes this argument by pointing to other psukim in the Nach where kaskeset is used to refer to scales on someone's armored breastplate, so even if the Torah hadn't mentioned s'napir we'd have understood the verse.

So instead the Gemara gives this really interesting, vague answer quoting Isaiah. The full verse is "Hashem chafetz l'maan tzidko yagdil Torah v'yadir"- Hashem was pleased, for His righteousness’ sake, to make Torah great and glorious. The Gemara only quotes the end of the verse "To make Torah great and glorious." This, it says, is the reason the Torah mentions both fins and scales.

There's a lot of really beautiful ways to understand this idea. A basic one is that God could have just given us the requirement of scales, but by giving us the requirement of fins and scales, God gave us additional Torah, merely to give us an extra opportunity to study Torah.

Or perhaps you say that the meaning of this is that the Torah mentioned fins in order that we might learn that every fish with scales has fins, because every opportunity to learn more about the beauty and complexity of the order of the natural world is an exaltation of the Creator.
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When I was a kid, I liked the Carmen Sandiego video games and was obsessed with the PBS gameshow. And because of my love for Carmen, I occasionally but not consistently watched the animated show Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego. I saw [personal profile] cosmic_llin's request go out for pinch hit and after a little thought decided it would be fun to see if I could vid it.

It is a different experience reviewing the whole canon as compared to just dipping into occasional episodes. The didacticism kind of rolls over you and you can recognize the overall character arcs they were building. And you end up with an awful lot of Carmen Sandiego feels. She was an orphan with nobody in the world who cared about her! She built these new friendships at the ACME detective agency, and then lost them all to her ambition, and we see a repeated thread in her thefts of trying to reach back to her old colleagues for human connection- leaving clues, re-enacting old crimes she solved with her old partners, recruiting criminal partners from within the agency. And then in the finale we learn that her father is still alive and they almost reunite, but in the end it falls through again and for the first time in the series, we see Carmen Sandiego cry. It's so beautifully operatic.

I love Carmen's sense of ambition. She's a thief but she's not in it for the money. She gets repeatedly furious when her henchmen do a crime without her because of their greed. For Carmen Sandiego, a theft has the potential to be a work of art. It's an idea that's set up from the very first episode, where she steals the eyes of a Van Gogh painting, the nose from a Picasso, and the Mona Lisa smile, in order to craft them into the world's most artistically meaningful face. I think for Carmen Sandiego, there's something criminal about seeing an object of cultural significance being underused, only consumed passively, and this is what motivates her crime. How could you let a Van Gogh just sit on a museum wall for people to passively stare at? It could be so much more than that!

There's something unsettlingly beautiful about that conception of art. It merges the idea of visual art with the idea of performance art- all visual art is a performance, too, and if that performance is carefully staged in a museum it inherently is rendered more dull. Art is about narrative, motion, change. Carmen the artist is an agent of transformation. No canons too holy to be violated. No artwork too locked up to be liberated by the great Carmen Sandiego. There's something extremely Dada about the whole thing.

Skimming through [personal profile] cosmic_llin's list of preferred musicians I spotted Regina Spektor and "All the Rowboats" almost instantly popped into my head. It's a song about this very conception of art, museums as prisons, with the figurations in the artwork yearning to be free of their cages. It was an amazingly fortuitous alignment to tumble to, and of course Spektor's music is candy to a vidder, the way she never performs the same line twice the same way.

Making this vid was a frantic two week effort, but it was joyfully frantic because it came together so neatly. How often are you going to find a fandom with this many 'glass coffins' to pair with that lyric? How lucky was I to literally find images of notable landmarks in France, Germany, Holland, Italy, AND Ancient Rome to pair with "Hear them whispering French and German/ Dutch, Italian, and Latin"? The literalist vidder in me had such a field day with this vid. And yet at its core, this vid revolves around the series's two part finale and the story of Carmen's parents, a story that is itself activated by a piece of artwork that Carmen herself keeps locked up in a locket on her neck. I loved how I got to explore conceptions of art and at the same time I got to tell a personal story about Carmen and how she experiences the world.

Technically, I'm also proud that I was able to figure out enough about Blackmagic Fusion to mask out some Carmen talkyface in a key shot. That was one of the most sophisticated effects I've ever done for a vid. Of course then I got lazy and left in another bit of talkyface I probably should get around to removing. :P

Thanks for [personal profile] starlady for beta!

Glass Coffins (21 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Carmen Sandiego, Malcolm Avalon, The Woman in the Locket
Additional Tags: Fanvids

All the rowboats in the oil paintings
They keep trying to row away, row away

posted to Critical Commons here

In much less thoughtful terms, I dumped a bunch of the excess Carmen Sandiego feels I had into "Talent", a vidlet to the opening chorus of Taylor Swift's "I Did Something Bad". This one is all about Carmen's thieving swagger and I make no apologies for it because Carmen Sandiego is bad AF.

Talent (18 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Carmen Sandiego

Anyone can steal a Stradivarius...

password: festivids

seekingferret: Two warning signs one above the other. 1) Falling Rocks. 2) Falling Rocs. (Default)
I first watched Broad City while making Warning: Might Lead to Mixed Dancing, and I instantly loved the show's humor and the girls' BDE and also just how visibly, proudly Jewish the show was. I watched most of the first and second seasons, plus the pre-HBO stuff, and... the end result was all of two seconds in the vid. Like many things in that vid, I made a note that I wanted to revisit the show fannishly in more detail later. [personal profile] metatxt's Festivid request gave me the opportunity.

It was first of all an opportunity to just enjoy the rest of the show that I hadn't seen before, and there is some amazing stuff I hadn't seen. Like St. Mark's Place, the Season 2 finale, is a gorgeous piece of meandering storytelling, made all the more special because it takes place entirely on a single block where I lived for a year and a half and one of my favorite places in the world. I could watch that episode a million times. The chase scene through that shitty St. Mark's Market!!! The wig store!!!! Or the episode with Ilana's mom dickering with Canal Street purse merchants to grieve her mother's death had me literally rolling on the floor. The stuff the show does with Hilary Clinton and Trump and its engagement with our ambivalent and frustrated politics is so powerful and centering. And the stuff Season 4 does across multiple episodes with looking back at the beginning of Abbi and Ilana's friendship is thoughtful about the nature of friendship while still retaining the show's humor.

I wanted to make a vid that engaged with the over-the-topness of the show (the fact that, as [personal profile] elipie said to me, "Everything Ilana does is a meme"), and I wanted a shippy Abbi/Ilana vid, which conveniently is also what [personal profile] metatxt wanted. My first go-to for songs was the episode of LL Cool J's Lip Synch Battle where Abbi and Ilana (the real people, not the characters) competed. "And I Am Telling You" was one of Abbi's performances on that show, and it's an incredible performance the way she splits the middle between taking the song seriously and being just a little too into it. It is a dance with LKBVishness. It's a song from the musical Dreamgirls and it is... an epic emotional journey. I hope I have done it justice in this vid.

Thanks to [personal profile] elipie for beta!

Third on the Playlist (9 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Broad City (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Abbi Abrams/Ilana Wexler
Additional Tags: Fanvid, so extra

Abbi/Ilana 5ever. No, 6ever.

Posted to Critical Commons here
seekingferret: Two warning signs one above the other. 1) Falling Rocks. 2) Falling Rocs. (Default)
Perek Gimel ends tomorrow with Daf 67. My goal is to catch up over Shabbos, which means learning 3 dapim tomorrow.

Daf 64

It's taught in a baraisa that you can trust eggs sold to you by a non-Jew, that they did not come from neveilot and they did not come from treifot, as you are not permitted to eat an egg from a non-kosher animal such as these.

Asks the Gemara, can you trust eggs sold to you by a non-Jew, that they did not come from a non-kosher species? The Father of Shmuel taught that you can, provided the non-Jew identifies them as belonging to a particular kosher species. For example, provided the non-Jew says "These are chicken eggs." The idea being that if he identifies a particular species, you could theoretically grab some eggs you knew were for certain from that species and compare them, and therefore he's unlikely to be lying.

A new baraisa is brought that teaches that there are simanim of kosher bird eggs- they are rounded on one end and pointed on the other, the white is on the outside and the yolk on the inside. So this is added support for the idea that one can trust a non-Jew to sell you eggs, because you have methods of confirming that they're not lying based on the visual inspection of the eggs.

But Rabbi Zeira asks a great question: On a previous daf (I didn't mention this at the time), the Gemara had discussed several birds that are safek about whether they're kosher or not. He asks why we don't look at their eggs to see if they have the simanim of a kosher egg. The answer is a principle "simanim lav d'oraysa". Just because we have simanim d'rabbanan that can help us with a safek d'rabbanan like whether to trust a non-Jew to be lying, doesn't mean we can use those simanim to resolve a question of Torah law like whether particular birds are kosher.
seekingferret: Two warning signs one above the other. 1) Falling Rocks. 2) Falling Rocs. (Default)
Daf 63

I've been using the word 'bird' as my translation of the Hebrew Of, but let's be clear, that's not necessarily an accurate translation. Of means flying bird-shaped thing. It does not necessarily mean bird in the modern sense of avian. It makes no claim about evolutionary relationships.

There's another category of creatures the Torah discusses in its kashrut discussions: the sheretz. which literally means things that crawl- it seemingly covers a variety of verminous creatures, including insects, lizards, and small mammals.

I bring this up because here the Gemara confronts the problem of the tinshemet, which is listed in Vayikra both among the non-kosher birds and among the non-kosher crawling things. It would be seemingly compatible with the Torah's classification of creatures to say that this was the same creature, which has the characteristics of both an Of, and a sheretz. But the Gemara instead uses the hermeneutical principle that a thing is understood in its context to conclude that the tinshemet bird and tinshemet vermin are different creatures.

Some Rabbis understand this to mean that these are two different creatures that have some similarity that leads to similar names. Like how a bearcat is neither a bear not a cat, but is called that because it has some similarities to both. I'm sure you can think of other examples. One example categorization is that the bird tinshemet is a bat, and the vermin tinshemet is a mole, which look similar other than the wings.

Others conclude that these are just completely different animals, which I'm sure you can also think of examples of- two animals with similar or identical names because both names are taken from a place name, for example.

The whole daf today is seemingly designed around not really intended to be understood completely. The Torah had a variety of names for birds, which were not necessarily the names that the Rabbis of the Talmudic era, a thousand years later, used for birds. And the names the Rabbis of the Talmud used were not necessarily the names the Rishonim used 500 years later and several thousand miles away. And the names the Rishonim used are not the names we use today. So as an intermediate link in the chain, the Amoraim are aware that any guidance they offer is going to be limited. They provide identifications of then-current names for birds, but don't really detail characteristics of those birds in much detail, and mostly they emphasize that this whole house of cards is dependent on the transmission of personal traditions about which birds are kosher.
seekingferret: Two warning signs one above the other. 1) Falling Rocks. 2) Falling Rocs. (Default)
Daf 62

The Daf is very much about what I was saying yesterday about the difficulty of Talmudic minim. There are 24 nonkosher birds, but that doesn't mean that if we know 24 species of nonkosher birds, we know that any other species is kosher, because it could be that a species is part of a nonkosher min.

Rav Nachman proposes a rule that, since, as discussed on the previous Daf, tradition is that only two birds, the peres and the ozniya, only have one kosher siman and are nonkosher, that if you see an unknown bird and you are able to accurately identify the peres and ozniya, then you can be sure that it's a kosher bird. He then proposes a similar rule that, since tradition is that only one bird, the orev, has two kosher simanim and is nonkosher, that if you see an unknown bird and you are able to accurately identify the orev, then you can be sure that it's a kosher bird.

But this generates pushback. There are apparently several other birds in the orev family, including the zarzir and the white senunit, which are also nonkosher because they are also considered orev! So the Gemara modifies Rav Nachman's rule to say that you need not only be able to identify the orev, you need to be able to identify all members of its family.

Later, we discuss the 'cock of the swamp' and the 'hen of the swamp'. The cock of the swamp is unkosher, the hen of the swamp is kosher. Rabbi Elefant brings Rabbi Elchanan's interpretation of a machlokess between Rashi and Tosafos about this disagreement.

Rashi believes these are discussing the male and female of a single species; Tosafos says that this is impossible, if they were the same species we'd consider their kashrus together, so this must be two separate species... a species where both male and female are referred to as the swamp cock, and a species where both male and female are referred to as the swamp hen.

Rabbi Elchanan explains that the fundamental disagreement is about whether simanim are indicators of a kosher species (Tosafos), or if the indicators themselves are what make the species kosher (Rashi). Rashi's position is particularly surprising, and again points to the way in which the Rabbis' intuitions about animals are not the same as modern intuitions.

Meanwhile, the Gemara notes immediately afterward that later they discovered that the swamp hen was dores, a predator, and therefore nonkosher. This is where the key Rashi comes in that says that if we don't have a tradition that it's kosher, we cannot eat a bird. Of the four simanim of kosher birds, three are physical and can be easily verified. But the fourth is behavioral; needs to be observed in a living bird. How can we ever be sure that a bird isn't sometimes dores? And dores is of a different character than the other three simanim... The majority opinion of the mesorah is that if a bird is dores, it's automatically not kosher, whereas some birds that lack some of the other kosher simanim are kosher.


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