Simlah Chadasha writes (2:25) that those groups of people that do not accept the validity of the Oral Torah such as צדוקים (Sadducees) is acceptable, because even though all laws of kosher slaughter are recorded in the Oral Law and no mention of them is made in the Written Law, and the Sadduccees rejected the Oral Law; nevertheless, since it is clear that the laws of kosher slaughter are contained outside of the Written Law*, the slaughter of a Sadducee is acceptable (if we have established that this particular person knows the laws -- see there) because they have the same tradition of slaughter laws that we do.
What is a little confusing is that at the end of that halacha, after writing that the shechita of Sadducees is acceptable, Simla Chadasha writes "therefore, the shechita of Karaites is not acceptable." [emphasis mine]

What follows is from my rebbi's notes on Simla Chadasha, answering this question:

The Karaites are different from the Sadducees and the Bitusim. While the latter are allowed to slaughter for a Jew, if they are being adequately supervised, the Karaites are not. The Karaites who lived at the time of the Simlah Chadashah, did not accept the oral laws, even those pertaining to shechitah. As a result they were not considered to be בר זביחה and that which they slaughtered is neveilah. Once a person is not a ‫בר זביחה‬ the meat this person slaughtered is forbidden regardless of the level of certification. The meat is neveilah even if every action of this person were observed to be correct and the knife was inspected prior to the shechitah and found to be perfect.

Question 1: Is the above quote accurate? How do Karaites slaughter animals to avoid the prohibitions of neveilah נבילה (Deut. 14:21) and treifah טריפה (Ex. 22:30)?
Question 2: How would a Karaite explain Deut. 12:21, "וזבחת...כאשר צויתיך" "and you shall slaughter...how I commanded you" -- where is that צווי if it was not written down anywhere in the Torah?

* Because it is written (Deut. 12:21) "וזבחת...כאשר צויתיך" "and you shall slaughter...how I commanded you." The problem is that there is no mention of a method of slaughter recorded anywhere in Tanach. Therefore, that this verse teaches that Hashem taught Moshe about the method of kosher slaughter on Mount Sinai. (Chullin 28a, SC 1:1)

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    From the story in Yoma 19b it seems the tzeduki opinion was not actually practiced, even by the tzedukim. See there about the tziduki who was 'misaken outside and then entered the kodesh hakidoshim, as per tzeduki rules, when he walked out his father said 'even though we are tzidukim, we still are afraid of the prushim', the kid dies etc. Accordingly they are given dependability when seen fit. Kraim however were much worse in this respect. They rejected all traditional laws and practices.
    – user6591
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 0:29
  • This is part of the reason that even when a group claims to only follow Torah shebich'sav we know they are lying. Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 9:42
  • @user6591 I think you're confusing the Yom Kippur service and shechita. That gemara discusses the Yom Kippur service; my question discusses shechita. Is my question unclear?
    – MTL
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 11:15
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    @user6591 The origins of Karaism as a formal movement actually do not matter to me. I believe it to be the closest form of Judaism to the one prescribed in the Torah. I believe that all of Israel was once "Karaite" (i.e., non-Talmudic) and that the Talmud is a later addition to the Jewish tradition. (In many ways the Talmud is a spectacularly wonderful addition.) But I don't focus much on these issues - because they are a matter of faith. No amount of proof-texting would convince a devout Rabbanite that the Oral Law is an addition. And same thing for Karaites. Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 20:39
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    To VTCers: Even if you disagree with Karaite beliefs, they are on-topic as per site policy. If you disagree with site policy, feel free to take it to Meta, but as it stands now, that’s what the policy is.
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


By way of background, I am a Karaite Jew (from an actual Karaite family). I run a Karaite Jewish blog (ABlueThread.com); and I actually have an entire article on this topic.

See my post here: http://wp.me/p43Sek-sm

And here is an explanatory video: http://youtu.be/gARsacJ5oWs?t=2m

To Summarize:

Karaites require completely cutting of all four signs (two veins, windpipe and gullet) - the Rabbinic tradition only requires cutting of at least two signs.

In the middle ages, and even today, there are Karaites who won't eat meat slaughtered by Rabbanites because of this difference -and others, including the fact that Karaites deems slaughtering a pregnant animal to be forbidden (whereas Rabbanites do not).

I hope this was helpful.

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    Majority opinion: This refers to a few lines previously, in which we are commanded to spill the blood on the ground. Minority Opinion: Before the Torah was written, there was an oral law. (This is not controversial, as interactions between Hashem and man prior to the revelation were oral.) And one of those oral commandments was that Hashem told Abraham how to slaughter for the akeidah. So, the as I commanded you, refers to this teaching. (I reject this opinion, btw; and I don't think it existed in Karaite literature prior to the 14th century; I'll research this.) Not sure of other opinions. Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 18:42
  • Thanks! ....how do Karaites explain "וזבחת....כאשר צויתיך" (Deut. 12:21)? (meaning, where is that צווי?) And how does this connect with the Karaite refusal to recognize the Oral Law?
    – MTL
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 18:43
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    My view (and tat of the person in the video) is that Shechita was known prior to the giving of the Torah. The question is "how was it known." The minority opinion above suggests that Hashem gave Abraham instructions. The other view is that Shechita developed naturally as a method of slaughter; we already knew what it was at the time of the revelation. Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 19:03
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    Karaites don't accept the Rabbinic concept of an Oral Law. We do not believe there is an unrecorded series of revelations that explain the written law. Karaites agree that prior to the revelation Hashem instructed man orally. How much of this is an oral law (lower case) is up for debate. The only example I can think of is shechita, where some later karaites believed that God instructed Abraham. Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 20:24
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    There are many things that were continued from pre-revelation times. The setting of the months based on the new moon is one of them. There is no direct verse that says our months are dependent on the new moon. Karaites believe (generally) that the Israelites were setting their months by the new moon, and Hashem maintained that practice in the written torah. So, I don't think that this qualifies as an oral law of any sort, but the concept explains why the Torah does not command the new moon. Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 20:25

In As it is Written: A Brief Case for Karaism we have the following description of shechitah:

To attempt to prove the existence of the Oral Law the students of the Talmud often quote Deuteronomy 12:21, which states, "...then you shall kill of your herd and your flock, which YHWH has given you, as I have commanded you..." The Rabbis claim that the phrase "as I have commanded you" refers to the parts of the Oral Law which explain the proper methods of slaughtering an animal. Indeed there are many requirements laid down in the Talmud as to the "proper" way of killing an animal; however, these are the customs of those writing the Talmud rather than the laws of God. The most misleading aspect of the claim that this passage refers to an alleged Oral Law is that it ignores the context of the passage. Not more than 5 verses earlier we see that the Torah itself dictates how we are to slaughter animals: "Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it upon the earth like water" (Deuteronomy 12:16). From this, we learn that to properly slaughter an animal we must do it in a manner that pours its blood on the ground — as opposed to letting it harden in the veins of the slaughtered animal (e.g. by strangulation). This reading is confirmed by the lines directly succeeding the verse in question: "Only be sure that you eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and you may not eat the life with the meat.." (Deuteronomy 12:23). In fact, this verse states that the only requirement of slaughter is that we do not eat the blood.

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    I've never quite understood how a description of how one treats the blood after the shechita is considered a description OF shechita. "Let dough rise" doesn't tell me how to make the dough.
    – rosends
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 10:37
  • @rosends I think it's only hard when the passage is approached with the assumption that an 'oral' Torah is the only explanation. Deut 28:58 "If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book..." I would expect a reference as explicit at that to accept information not in the book. oral or not, as Torah.
    – user34203
    Commented Feb 27 at 2:18

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