Thursday, February 14, 2008

Meat and Fowl

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said (Nedarim 54b): If one makes a neder prohibiting himself from meat, he is permitted in fowl. It is evident that he maintains that fowl is not included in meat.

The Chasam Sofer asks: How can he hold that fowl is not included in “meat,” when it is seemingly clear from the Torah that it is? The Jews in the Desert complained that they desired meat and the Ribbono shel Olom sent fowl to them. Evidently, fowl is a type of meat!

He answers that the Gemora explains that fowl is not included in “meat” because it is not healthy to eat fowl on a day of blood letting. Since in the Desert, the northern wind did not blow, and that is the reason why there was no circumcision then (the wind is needed to heal the child). Accordingly, there was no blood letting in the desert, as well. It emerges that there would be no distinction between fowl and meat in the Desert and fowl would be included in “meat.”