Why is the Gemara (Talmud) Chulin which talks about Ritual slaughter of animals not having to do with sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdash (temple) in the SEDER (order) of Kodshim which is talks about Temple sacrifices?


Rambam (in the introduction to his Commentary on the Mishnah) says that it is because the Torah itself introduces the concept of slaughtering for nonsacred purposes immediately following the rules about sacrifices (Deut. 12:11, 15).

It may also be due to the fact that kosher slaughter is basically an optional mitzvah (you don't have to eat meat), except in the case of sacrifices - so the topic naturally fits here more than anywhere else.

  • 1
    To boot, your second paragraph alludes to the fact that the maseches, despite its name, pertains largely to ritual slaughter in general, rules of which apply to both the consecrated and the personal. So although the question is a good one and more than a pun, one need not assume that this book's placement in this context is a contradiction.
    – WAF
    Jun 29 '11 at 21:47

I would add as an answer, that perhaps, as the Torah describes within the context of wandering in the desert, animal slaughter without the context of sacrifice should be looked down upon.

See Vayikra Chapter 17:

1 And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying:

2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them: This is the thing which HaShem hath commanded, saying:

3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it without the camp,

4 and hath not brought it unto the door of the tent of meeting, to present it as an offering unto HaShem before the tabernacle of HaShem, blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people.

So in essence, I would answer that Chulin, really is Kodshin. There are some chasidic stories regarding the holy purpose raising an animal by eating it as well.

  • Bamidbar or Vayikra?
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 30 '11 at 17:47
  • @IsaacMoses: Vayikra 17:1-9 and Devarim 12:20-21. @avi see my answer here that it was only in the Desert that animals were not eaten when not sacrificed. Once the Jews entered the land, that no longer applied: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3660/…
    – Menachem
    Jun 30 '11 at 18:04
  • Right, that's what I meant by in Bamidbar. And yet, the law was written in the forever binding Chumash, and not left as oral tradition within the desert itself. Thats all my point was. I'll edit the answer to be a bit more clear.
    – avi
    Jun 30 '11 at 18:07

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