The texts (Mas. Chullin, Mishna Ohalot etc) discuss an eiver min hachai and eiver is translated as "limb" but I am looking for some parameters for what counts as a limb.

The example of EM"haCh that I have seen online is Rocky Mountain (or Prairie) Oysters, which are bull testicles. Would an animal's skin count as a limb if it is taken (or somehow shed)? What about other organs, surgically removed or lost while the animal is alive?

Is there a technical meaning to (and use of) eiver that would establish what body parts are included or not?

I know that the Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch use two words, eiver and basar which might mean that eiver has a particular (and limited) application which requires the additional noun to include other elements, but this still provides no real set of limitations so any guidance or sources would be appreciated.

  • Which legal framework are we counting in regards to? The prohibition on consumption for gentiles? When it imparts Tumah?
    – Double AA
    Nov 6, 2019 at 13:35
  • I know that ohalot uses the term in the context of tumah and that there are distinctions between the application for eating of Jews and non-Jews but do the terms involved change in their coverage depending on the context? Is eiver always eiver, or is there something that is an eiver in one context but not another?
    – rosends
    Nov 6, 2019 at 14:03
  • Lanolin is a fatty substance derived from wool. It is mostly used in cosmetics, but also in the production of Vitamin D. Some poskim raised a possible issue in that it may be forbidden as 'Ever min Hachai'. Most poskim rule that it is kosher. Nov 6, 2019 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


Maakhalot Asurot

2.8 Under what conditions? When he eats them after they die. But cutting an Ever from a living from one of [the Shratzim species] and eating them, he's not given lashes for it, until he eats a keZayit; and the pieces may combine to determine the the kaZayit. If he ate a complete Ever from a Sheretz after it has died - he's not given lashes, unless it's a lentil size.

ב,ח במה דברים אמורים, בשאכל מהן אחר מיתתן. אבל החותך אבר מן החי מן אחד מהן, ואכלו--אינו לוקה עליו, עד שיהיה בו כזית; וכולן מצטרפין לכזית. אכל אבר שלם מן השרץ אחר שמת--אינו לוקה, עד שיהיה בו כעדשה.‏

5.1 The prohibition of Ever Min haChai applies to beast, animal and fowl - kosher species, but not impure ones.

ואיסור אבר מן החי נוהג בבהמה חיה ועוף--בטהורים, אבל לא בטמאים. ‏

5.2 It's the same rule, whether it's an Ever that has flesh, sinews and bones for example arm or leg, or whether it's an Ever with no bones for instance tongue, "the eggs", spleen, kidneys, tallow and so forth. The only difference is the Ever without bones - whether he severed the whole part or cut off a piece, behold it's forbidden due to Ever Min haChai. Whereas the Ever with bones - he's not Chayyav for it due to Ever Min haChai, unless he detaches it whole: flesh, sinews and bones; but detaching from a Chay just some flesh - he's Chayav due to Treifah as we've explained, not due to Ever Min haChai.

ה,ב אחד אבר שיש בו בשר וגידים ועצמות, כגון היד והרגל, ואחד אבר שאין בו עצם, כגון הלשון והביצים והטחול והכליות והחלב וכיוצא בהן: אלא שהאבר שאין בו עצם--בין שחתך כולו בין שחתך מקצתו, הרי זה אסור משום אבר מן החי. והאבר שיש בו עצם--אינו חייב עליו משום אבר מן החי, עד שיפרוש כברייתו בשר וגידים ועצמות; אבל אם פירש מן החי הבשר בלבד--חייב עליו משום טריפה כמו שביארנו, לא משום אבר מן החי.‏

5.7 If he dislocated an Ever or crushed it or ground it, for example testicles that were crushed or severed - behold it's not forbidden deOraita, for behold it has a trace of life and consequently doesn't spoil. Nevertheless it's forbidden to eat it due to an ancient custom all Yisrael have kept, that behold it resembles Ever Min haChai.

ה,ז שמט אבר או מיעכו או דכו, כגון הביצים שמיעך אותן או ניתקן--הרי זה אינו אסור מן התורה, שהרי יש בו מקצת חיים ולפיכך אין מסריח; ואף על פי כן אסור לאוכלו ממנהג שנהגו כל ישראל מקודם, שהרי הוא דומה לאבר מן החי. ‏

Ever needs to be a whole member or a part of a soft organ. A part of a member, I mean, which is composite from bones, ligaments and flesh, is only basar min hachay (halachically terefa) if the whole member did not be extracted.

  • These selections don't seem to use the phrase "basar min hachai" unlike the section of the Rambam which I found which does use that phrase. Curiouser and curiouser.
    – rosends
    Nov 7, 2019 at 0:47
  • +1 right answer but when you have time could you translate for english users
    – user15464
    Nov 7, 2019 at 16:04
  • @user15464 oh yes sorry I forgot
    – kouty
    Nov 7, 2019 at 16:14
  • @rosend b.m.h is written in Rambam 5.2
    – kouty
    Nov 7, 2019 at 16:16
  • @kouty I don't see the phrase basar min hachai in 5:2 (or in 5 at all). The gemara has it in Chullin and the Rambam does reference that in his peirush of perek 9 but then he only uses the term in Maachalot Asurot chapter 4. I wonder what the technical differences are.
    – rosends
    Nov 7, 2019 at 16:26

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