Devarim 12:21 - If the place where the LORD has chosen to establish His name is too far from you, you may slaughter any of the cattle or sheep that the LORD gives you, as I have instructed you; and you may eat to your heart’s content in your settlements.

But, The laws of slaughter are listed in the following verses - Dvarim 12:22-25. There are some in preceding verses too - Dvarim 12:15-18.

It says there what to do with blood for example but it does not say how to kill the animal. How is this proof of Oral Torah?

Why must "As I have Commanded you", be interpreted as:

  • Why Would the Participle Phrase only Modify one portion of the phrase: "slaughter - as I have commanded you" - rather than "slaughter in the place ... as I have commanded you" ... ?
  • Why is "commanded" in this passage, understood to mean, "explained" - "As I have already explained to you" - rather than, "as I have already commanded you" ... ?

Can someone provide clarification? Shemot 24:12 and Devarim 17:18-19 do not say anything about anything else but Written Torah.

Slaughter is a matter of veterinary science pretty much. What is written in our tradition is long outdated. So, how does the peshat / plain-reading of the text suggest that it had been necessary for God to explain the exact process?

Did the Egyptians slaughter their cattle in a much different way?

The reason why actual killing method is not stated anywhere is because we are to slaughter in most humane way possible and that changes as our technology advances. See Shemot 34:6 where it says that God is very kind, so we must be too to the animals we slaughter since we are made in the image of God.

  • 1
    How are the sources you cited laws about slaughter? Were does it say how to slaughter animals? All I'm seeing is about eating, who can eat, what can be eaten and can't... Please enlighten me!
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 18, 2016 at 14:39
  • Like I said, it is probably not listed because the way the animal is slaughtered is changing over time. For example, current science recommend to stun the animal before slaughter so it does not suffer. Jan 18, 2016 at 16:19
  • 1
    So you are saying that, because specifics are not given, qualification of parameters is left to us to determine? Ok that's fair, I think you should edit that in to your question, because as it stands the evidence you bring seems to have nothing to do with slaughtering. Your real evidence is that there is no specification made, so there is no definite parameter.
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 18, 2016 at 18:17
  • 3
    Please edit this post to indicate clearly what proof it's asking for clarification of. In addition, the bulk of this post reads like more of a statement of rebuttal than a request for clarification. It would work a great deal better as a question post if it is rephrased to be more clearly the latter.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 18, 2016 at 19:56
  • Since the answers correctly point out your mistake in referring to 12:22 when you should refer to 12:21 (as in the title), I would tend to let this stay open. The body of the question does not say why you think verses 22-25 disprove the usage of 12:21 to show the Oral Law. You also do not say why your last sentence would apply to halacha. Jan 18, 2016 at 22:53

3 Answers 3


The verses before and after 21 point out that blood can't be eaten -- it has to be spilled on the ground. They also point to which animals can be eaten. But no where in them are there any explanations of how one is to slaughter the animal. So if verse 21 says "as I have commanded" but the laws of slaughter are not in the written text (does one have to use a knife? how is meat prepared etc) then either the text is imperfect and referencing something non-existent, or the text is calling forth a complementary set of rules which were not written but were taught.

Deut 17 makes reference to a written Torah. This is not to the exclusion of the necessary oral one, but because the verse discusses writing, there would be no mention of a non-written, oral set of laws. Shmot 24:12 makes reference only to the luchot, and then to a written text. Again, this doesn't preclude the oral one - check out rashi and the ramban on that verse.

  • Why can't "As I have commanded you" - be understood as "As I have [already] commanded you" rather than "As I have [explained] to you"? Aug 29, 2016 at 18:25

You are probably referring to the proof from the text that oral torah exists

Devorim 12.21.

If the place the Lord, your God, chooses to put His Name there, will be distant from you, you may slaughter of your cattle and of your sheep, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat in your cities, according to every desire of your soul..

It sais as I(G-d) have commanded you(Moses), but no were in bible to we see what was commanded regarding slaughter so it must be referring to commandments that were given orally, so we see that the written Torah relied on the oral commands (Torah) for more details (not everything was written)

Rashi there

you may slaughter… as I have commanded you: We learn [from here] that there is a commandment regarding slaughtering, how one must slaughter. [Since this commandment is not written in the Torah we deduce that] these are the laws of ritual slaughtering given orally to Moses on [Mount] Sinai. — [Sifrei ; Chul. 28a]

Yoma 75b.

Rabbi said, Then thou shalt kill [of thy herd and of thy flock]. . . as I have commanded thee. (10) This teaches that Moses received commandments concerning the gullet, and the windpipe, and concerning the larger part of one [organ] in the case of a fowl, and the larger part of two in the case of cattle? (11)

(10) Deut. XII, 21.
(11) The windpipe and the gullet, one in the case of fowl, both in the case of cattle, must be cut according to the ritual. There is no commandment anywhere in the Pentateuch as to the details of ritual slaughtering of animals or birds, called shechitah. Hence ‘as I have commanded thee’ must refer to another source of law: the unwritten or oral one.

Chulin 28 a

For it has been taught: Rabbi says. The verse: And thou shalt slaughter . . . as I have commanded thee, (8) teaches us that Moses was instructed concerning the gullet and the windpipe; concerning the greater part of one of these organs [that must be cut] in the case of a bird, and the greater part of each in the case of cattle.

(8)Deut. XII. 22

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Jan 17, 2016 at 23:08
  • Hazoriz / Danny - A.) I agree that Sifrei ; Chul. 28.a serves as a historical record that this passage was interpreted to be evidence; B.) However - because all of these arguments "beg the question" - presupposing that God must have given exact instructions - I feel the question is still unanswered - because it does not answer if this inference can be made from the plain-meaning of the text; C.) It would be a valid answer to state: "Rabbinic Judaism asserts the conclusion was derived through this reasoning, but never asserts this as an inference from the Plain-Meaning". Aug 29, 2016 at 19:50
  • @elikakohen I do not see an answer, an answer would be if you find somewhere in the written Torah where Hashem command how to slaughter an animal for eating, but it seems no had found one yet,
    – hazoriz
    Aug 29, 2016 at 20:13

Regarding if shechita is outdated or recommended

Even if it will be outdated we will not change but for now it is not outdated

Read a quote below from

Religious slaughter and animal welfare:
a discussion for meat scientists.
Meat Focus International - March 1994 pages 115-123.
Published by : CAB International

Temple Grandin.
Department of Animal Science.
Colorado State University.
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523.

Joe M. Regenstein.
Cornell Kosher Food Initiative.
Department of Food Science.
Cornell University.
Ithaca, New York 14853-7201, USA.

Restraint devices are used for holding animals both for ritual slaughter and for conventional slaughter where animals are stunned. The use of a head restraint will improve the accuracy of captive bolt stunning. In large beef slaughter plants without head restraint captive bolt stunning has a failure rate of 3 to 5, i.e., a second shot is required.

Captive bolt and electric stunning will induce instantaneous insensibility when they are properly applied. However, improper application can result in significant stress. All stunning methods trigger a massive secretion of epinephrine (Van der Wal 1978; Warrington 1974). This outpouring of epinephrine is greater than the secretion which would be triggered by an environmental stressor or a restraint method. Since the animal is expected to be unconscious, it does not feel the stress. One can definitely conclude that improperly applied stunning methods would be much more stressful than kosher slaughter with the long straight razor sharp knife. Kilgour (1978), one of the pioneers in animal welfare research, came to a similar conclusion on stunning and slaughter .

Halal (Muslim) slaughter performed with a knife that is too short causes definite distress and struggling in cattle. We recommend to those Muslim religious authorities who require slaughter without stunning that they require that the knife must be razor sharp with a straight blade that is at least twice the width of the neck. Unless the animals are stunned, the use of curved skinning knives is not acceptable. Due to the fact that Muslim slaughtermen do not usually receive as extensive special training in slaughter techniques as Jewish Shochtim, preslaughter stunning is strongly recommended. As stated earlier, reversible head-only electrical stunning is accepted by most Muslim religious authorities. Preslaughter stunning allows plants to run at higher line speeds and maintain high standards of animal welfare.

From wikipedia

Temple Grandin has stated that she has "observed that if the rules (of the five forbidden techniques) are disobeyed the animal will struggle. If these rules are obeyed the animal has little reaction.

Studies and experiments cited on orthodox Jewish website Chabbad.org include one conducted in 1994 by Dr. Temple Grandin - an Associate Professor ofAnimal Science at Colorado and a study completed in 1992 by Dr. Flemming Bager, Head of the Danish Veterinary Laboratory, which showed that when the animals were slaughtered in a comfortable position they appeared to give no resistance and none of the animals attempted to pull away their head. The studies concluded that the animals had no pain and were not even aware that their throats were cut.

Temple Grandin—a leading designer of animal handling systems—gives various research times for loss of consciousness via Kosher and Halal ritual slaughter and elaborates on what parts of the process she finds may or may not be cause for concern. Grandin observes that the way animals are handled and restrained prior to slaughter likely has a greater impact on their welfare than whether or not they are stunned. For this reason, "under the leadership of Grandin, research into animal welfare during slaughter has shifted away from examination of different techniques of stunning to a focus on auditing the performance actual slaughter plants operating under commercial conditions



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