Friday, May 8, 2015

Halacha: Kisui HaDam - Part 2

Rav Chaim Cohen

Last week we discussed the reasons and meaning behind the mitzvah of covering the blood of a bird or non-domesticated animal after it is slaughtered. This week I would like to analyze the mitzvah from a halachik perspective and to understand the relationship between the covering and the slaughtering. The Gemara tells us that because the two words of ושפך וכסה are in the same pasuk , we learn that the person who does the שחיטה should do the כיסוי. The obligation is incumbent on the שוחט and if another person preempts him then he needs to pay ten gold pieces to the שוחט. The question is how linked are these two activities and mitzvot.

There is a very interesting machloket brought in the Rosh in chulin concerning when to make the bracha on covering the blood. The בה"ג says that the שוחט should make the bracha after he finishes covering the blood. He explains that although most brachos are recited before we perform a mitzvah,this case is different and an exception. The reason we can't make the bracha before the covering is because we are in the middle of a mitzvah because the covering is the end of the slaughtering process. Therefore we can't interrupt the mitzvah in the middle so the bracha is said at the end.  The Rosh argues on the בה״ג and says that the bracha is made prior to covering the blood like by all other mitzvot.

A possible explanation of the machloket is that the בה״ג thinks that the pasuk linked together the covering and the slaughtering and they comprise one extended mitzvah. Therefore the bracha can only be made after the covering. The Rosh understands that although slaughtering is necessary to create the mitzvah of covering, they are still two separate actions and two mitzvot and therefore the bracha is made prior to the covering.
 Another halachik difference is whether a person can speak between the slaughtering and the covering. According to the בה״ג it would be prohibited but according to the Rosh it would be permitted.

Challenging question: according to the בה״ג that the two actions are part of one process, then why is there a bracha  at all on the covering. It would make sense that if the covering is the end of the process of slaughtering, that it should not require a separate bracha.  If anyone has an answer please let me know or add a comment below.

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