Inspired by a recent chat discussion related to this question.

Does the prohibition of וכל דם לא תאכלו - not eating blood - apply to non-Kosher animals? The Rambam writes:

ודבר מפורש בתורה שאינו חייב אלא על דם בהמה חיה ועוף בלבד, בין טמאים בין טהורים

It is explicitly in the Torah that the prohibition is on animal and bird blood only, whether Kosher or non-Kosher

On the other hand he continues:

ודם חגבים ודגים טמאים, אסור--משום שהוא תמצית גופן, כחלב בהמה טמאה

The blood of locust and fish which aren't Kosher is forbidden - because it is part of their body, like fat of a non-Kosher animal

So the blood of non-kosher animals and birds would be forbidden based on the species prohibition, even without the blood prohibition. Is their blood actually a prohibition separate from their species prohibition?

The answer for the Rambam is likely* yes, but I would be interested in the range of opinion in other Rishonim as well.

* Because I have seen more difficult readings of other Rambam's that would push the language further than reading otherwise into this particular one, but there would have to be an otherwise compelling reason to do so.

  • Kareis would seem to be the major nafka minah
    – Double AA
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:01
  • 2
    I don't know what could be a clearer source than this Rambam.
    – Double AA
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:25
  • I don't really understand the question. The Rambam explicitly states that the prohibition is different for non-kosher locusts/fish than the prohibition for non-kosher animals. Are you looking for a practical nafka minah? Jul 7, 2014 at 21:10
  • @Matt, I agree that this is likely the correct analysis of the Rambam, but absent a review of the primary sources, I would be hesitant to say it is fully clear. But a good answer would include such an analysis and note the unanimity or otherwise of the question.
    – Yishai
    Jul 7, 2014 at 21:36
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    Perhaps edit that in, then (about other opinions and the Gemara). I think @DoubleAA and I were confused because the Rambam is pretty explicit. You still haven't explained your reasoning for being hesitant about the Rambam itself though Jul 7, 2014 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


Rambam’s source seems to be an explicit mishnah in Kereitot 5:1:

דַּם שְׁחִיטָה בִּבְהֵמָה, בְּחַיָּה וּבְעוֹפוֹת, בֵּין טְמֵאִים וּבֵין טְהוֹרִים ... חַיָּבִים עָלָיו ... דַּם דָּגִים, דַּם חֲגָבִים ... אֵין חַיָּבִין עֲלֵיהֶן

Blood obtained from slaughtering a domestic or wild animal or birds, whether impure or pure ... one is liable [a chatat if one eats it] ... Blood of fish or blood of locusts ... one is not liable [a chatat if one eats it].

Thus, in contrast to fish and locusts, if one eats the blood of a non-kosher animal, one transgresses the specific prohibition against eating blood (irrespective of the kashrut status of the animal) which incurs kareit if committed intentionally, and a chatat if done unintentionally.

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