Genesis 9:4:

אַךְ־בָּשָׂ֕ר בְּנַפְשׁ֥וֹ דָמ֖וֹ לֹ֥א תֹאכֵֽלוּ׃

Sefaria.com translation:

Only flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Rash"i commentary explains that in this verse, we learn the prohibition of - you are not allowed to eat a live animal - אבר מן החי

At what point would this prohibition occur regarding fertilized chicken eggs? A chicken hatches from its egg about 3 weeks after the hen lays it. Suppose that you keep the eggs in an incubator, and eventually you can see the egg bouncing around and hear the chick chirping in the egg as it is trying to break the egg shell. There is no question that there is a live chick inside. However, it is still in the egg, so it is not "alive" in the sense that it is out of its "shelled" environment in the "world". Would you be allowed to eat the egg with the live chick, then? What would be the (excuse the pun) "breaking point" at which you would be prohibited from eating the fertilized egg?

  • Chullin 58a seems to differ a little from the experts, but perhaps I misunderstand
    – Joe Lewis
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


The answer to this is no. such an egg is not kosher as can be seen from Kosher Eggs

The prohibition of eating blood applies even to the smallest drop of blood, and thus any blood spots found in an egg renders the egg non-kosher.

Each egg should be opened into a clear dish or glass and checked for blood spots before it is cooked or combined with other food. If a blood spot is found, the whole egg must be discarded, and the cup or dish should be immediately and thoroughly washed with cold water.

When boiling eggs, it is customary to boil at least three eggs at a time. Some people have a separate pot just for boiling eggs.

If a blood spot is found in a boiled egg, the whole egg must be discarded.

Thus once the egg has been fertilized and the chick develops enough to show a "blood spot" the egg is not kosher. This is well before the embryo has developed enough to be identified as a chicken. Note that Eggs and Blood Spots does deal with modern non-fertilized eggs that might develop a blood spot.

It is in light of this modern reality that Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 1:36), clarifies that blood spots found in commercially produced eggs do not present any fundamental kosher problem. With respect to fertile eggs in the past, where a significant doubt existed that the blood might represent a new embryo, it was necessary to throw out the entire egg if it had a bloodspot. This is also the reason why a minimum of three eggs were boiled at one time – if one of them had a spot, it would be batel b’rov to the other two. Today, however, the only concerns are maris ayin or dam beitzim (a small amount of blood from a broken blood vessel in the hen, which is not forbidden). As a result, the entire egg is never assur and mei’ikar hadin removal of the blood spot would suffice. Moreover, since the issur is not intrinsic to the egg, there is no problem with cooking a single egg in a pot. Rav Moshe, however, writes that it is a proper practice to dispose of the entire egg even today, as eggs are not expensive and a person does not incur any significant loss. Therefore, the requirement to check each egg remains in effect, as does the requirement to dispose of eggs containing actual blood spots. Nevertheless, in cases of doubt, difficulty or error, eggs are kosher, even if checking was not done properly; moreover, if blood spots are discovered during or after cooking, there is no problem with the preparation utensils.

Note: Fertilized eggs are available in the marketplace and are sold at a premium. When purchasing organic or natural eggs, a consumer should be careful to check the carton and/or contact the egg producer. Consumers wishing to consume fertile eggs should consult a competent Posek for guidelines. Some kashrus agencies will not certify eggs that are intentionally produced as they were in the past, because of the halachic complexities pertaining to those eggs.

  • Oy! I overlooked the blood problem, completely! Where was my head, today? Good answer and research. The focus of my question was different, but, unclear from my title. Would the prohibition of eating the fertilized egg also be one of ever min hachai, or is eating blood included in this prohibition?
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 18:56
  • @DanF - see judaism.stackexchange.com/a/30838/501 - regarding ever min hachai, as well as slaughtering the unhatched chicken. Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 9:37

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