The gemara Chullin (42a) lists a severed spine as one of the conditions rendering the animal a treifa. Therefore, what is special about the dove/turtle-dove korban (Vayikra 1:15) which features the Kohen severing the spine before cutting the simanim yet Hashem tells the Kohanim to shecht in this fashion?

Sefaria explains Rashi (1:15):

אֵין מְלִיקָה בִכְלִי אֶלָּא בְּעַצְמוֹ שֶׁל כֹּהֵן, קוֹצֵץ בְּצִפָּרְנוֹ מִמּוּל הָעוֹרֶף וְחוֹתֵךְ מַפְרַקְתּוֹ עַד שֶׁמַּגִּיעַ לַסִּימָנִין וְקוֹצְצָן : The nipping of the bird’s head must not be done with an instrument but by the priest’s very self:) he nips with his finger-nail close by the nape, cuts right through the neck-bone until he comes to the “organs” (the wind pipe and the gullet) and cuts them through too (Sifra, Vayikra Dibbura d'Nedavah, Section 7 3; Zevachim 65a).

  • I was sure that this question was asked before on MY. I can't find it, though.
    – MTL
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 1:12

1 Answer 1


The Sefer HaChinuch writes regarding the prohibition of removing the head of the Chatas Haof (Mitzva 124) the folllowing:

(Source from Sefaria.org)

וענין המליקה והאזהרה שלא יבדיל גם זה מפרטי הקרבן הוא. ואך אמנה אשר לא יחוש להוציא כל רוחו יוכל להשיב כי אולי בדבר המליקה הנעשית ביד הכהן בחטאת העוף, שהוא קרבן של עני, רמז שימהר כל אדם בתכלית המהירות צרכו של עני, ועל כן אינו צריך קרבנו שחיטה, שלא יצטרך הכהן לחזר אחר הסכין ולבדקו, ויתבטל העני שם ממלאכתו בינתים. גם להפליג המהירות אמר שיתחיל ממול ערפו, כי הוא המכן אל ידו ולא יצטרך להפך הצואר אל צד הסימנין. ועוד יש רמז בענין המליקה שהיא ממול הערף בתורים ובני יונה, שנמשלו ישראל בהן שלא נהיה קשי ערף.

Regarding Melikah and the warning not to remove (the head of the Chatas Haof) is also. There is to note which one will not sense to put his whole effort to answer why is Melikah done with the hand of the Kohen with the Chatas Haof? (The reason is) Because it is a Korban of a poor person. This hints that people should be quick regarding the needs of a poor person, therefore the (bird) offering does not need ritual slaughter, so that the Kohen will not be required to find a knife and examine it (that it is fit for ritual slaughter) and cause the poor person to refrain from working (to support himself) during that time (it takes to get the knife and examine it). Additionally, to make things quicker, it (the Torah) says that one should start (the slaughter) from the back of it's neck for it is readily available and one does not need to turn its neck to the sides of the Simanim. Additionally there is a hint regarding Melikah that it occurs on the back of the neck with turtledoves and young doves, that (the Children) of Israel should not be "stiff necked" (i.e. brazen)

Hope this is insightful!

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