Semicha Aid-Melicha-Chapter 65-67

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The subject of Melicha discusses the laws pertaining to removing blood from meat in order to allow its consumption. The Torah forbids eating certain bloods, while other blood are permitted. At times the blood is Rabbinically forbidden. The following are the detailed laws regarding the different forms of blood, as is explained in Shulchan Aruch chapters 66-67. It is imperative for the learner to have a clear understating of these laws prior to beginning the study of Melicha.


Reasons why the Torah forbade blood:

  1. Blood contains the soul of the animal and by eating blood one incorporates within himself an animal soul. Through doing so one’s connection to his souls root in heaven is severed.[1]
  2. Blood is meant to be offered in the temple as an offering, therefore we are not allowed to eat it.[2]
  3. It gives animalistic character traits to the person, such as bad desires.[3]
  4. Blood used to be offered for idolatry. Therefore Hashem forbade its consumption for the Jewish people.[4]


1. Which living creatures contain forbidden blood? [5]

Introduction: The Torah[6] states “You shall not eat blood in all your settlements, the blood of a fowl and animal. Anyone who eats any blood receives excision from his nation”. The Gemara in Kerisus[7] derives from the words “fowl and animal” that only those living creatures which are Halachicly similar to animals and fowl contain blood which is forbidden in consumption. However those living creatures that are not Halachicly similar to fowl and animals do not contain a blood prohibition.

Land animals and fowl: The bloods of all land animals and all fowl are forbidden to consume.[8] This applies whether or not the animal or fowl is a Kosher species or is a non-Kosher species, [or is a Kosher species with a slaughtering or Treifa defect]. Likewise this applies whether the animal is domestic or wild.  The blood of a fetus is forbidden.[9]

Fish Sea animals: The blood of fish is not forbidden either Biblically or Rabbinically due to the blood prohibition.[10] However blood of a non-Kosher fish is Rabbinically forbidden just like its meat.[11] Likewise even the blood of a Kosher fish contains a prohibition of Maaras Ayin[12] and hence may only be consumed if the blood is not visible or contains a sign from which the onlooker can recognize that the blood is of a fish. Thus one may not drink a cup of fish blood unless he places a piece of the fish, such as its scales, into the drink.[13] If blood of a fish fell into one’s food, the food remains permitted irrelevant of the ratio.[14] 

Locusts:[15]  Blood of locusts is Kosher.[16] [However some say it is forbidden due to Maaras Ayin unless the blood contains a sign for the onlooker which reveals that it is blood of locust.[17]]

Eggs:[18] The blood of eggs is forbidden. If one knows the blood is the start of the formation of a chick then the blood is Biblically forbidden. If one does not know whether the blood is the beginning of the chick formation then it is only Rabbinically forbidden to eat.

Human blood:[19] Human blood is not Biblically forbidden due to the blood prohibition. Nevertheless it is [Rabbinically] forbidden to drink visible human blood which has separated from a human body due to Maaras Ayin. Therefore if one bit a piece of food and he sees blood on the remaining piece [such as can occur if one has an injury in his gums] then that area which contains the blood may not be eaten, and one is thus to scrape the blood off the piece. Nevertheless there is no prohibition in sucking and swallowing blood that is coming out of a mouth injury as such blood has never separated from the human body and hence remains permitted.

If human blood fell into one’s food , the food remains permitted irrelevant of the ratio.[20] 


2. Which bloods of animals and fowl are forbidden to eat?[21]

There are different types of blood with regards to the prohibition against eating blood of an animal and fowl. Some of these bloods are Biblically forbidden under the penalty of Kareis. Others retain a negative command, while others are permitted.

The following is a list of these bloods:

  1. Blood of soul-Carries penalty of Kareis: Only the blood which the soul leaves with upon death, carries a punishment of excision for its consumption. Thus to consume the blood which leaves upon slaughtering an animal or fowl carries a penalty of Kareis. However all other blood of the animal or fowl is not included within the Kareis penalty.
  2. Separated blood of limbs-Carries a negative command: All blood that is absorbed within the limbs but separated from the limb is Biblically forbidden due to a negative command although does not carry the penalty of Kareis. This applies whether the blood has spilled outside of the limb or left the limb and formed a bruise under the skin, or has left its original area of absorption and became absorbed in a different area of the limb. In all these cases the Biblical prohibition applies.[22]
  3. Blood absorbed within limbs-Is permitted: The blood which is absorbed within the limbs and has not separated from the limb is Kosher.
  4. Blood which was removed from a limb through salting:[23] The blood which is removed from meat through salting is Rabbinically forbidden.
  5. Blood which was removed from a limb through cooking:[24] The blood which is removed from meat through cooking is Rabbinically forbidden.

3. May one eat raw meat that has not had its absorbed blood removed?[25]

Based on the previous Halacha [that blood which is absorbed within a limb and has not separated is Kosher], it is permitted to eat raw meat which contains blood without needing to first salt it to remove its blood. Nevertheless one must rinse the raw meat prior to consumption [in order to remove the external blood that is on the surface of the piece[26]]. Furthermore prior to consumption one must remove any veins and arteries from the meat as the blood that is contained within the veins is considered as if it were sitting within a vessel [and hence does not receive the allowance of absorbed blood].


One may eat raw meat without salting it beforehand to remove its blood. However one must first wash the piece and remove its veins.

4. Dam Tzarur-Meat which contains a bruise:[27]

Cooking: If one desires to cook meat or chicken that contains a bruise he must cut the bruised area prior to [soaking[28] and] salting the meat.[29]

Roasting: If one desires to roast meat or chicken that contains a bruise there is no need to cut open the bruised area or [heavily[30]] salt the meat beforehand. This applies whether one desires to roast the meat with a skewer or over coals.


Dam Tzarur on a piece of chicken breast




What is the definition of Dam Tzarur?

The literal definition of Dam Tzarur is a bruise. It is unclear however as to which form of bruise this refers to; if it includes even a red mark or only a black and blue mark, or only an area with a scab. Some Poskim rule that a mere red coloring on the meat is not considered Dam Tzarur and only if there is an actual pocket of blood is it Tzarur. Others rule that even a mere redness is considered Dam Tzarur.[31] Practically the Mehadrin Hashgachas do not cut or remove the bruises under the skin, and rather simply make a slit in the skin of that area and the blood comes out through salting.[32]


Must one cut off the bruised area, or does it suffice to cut it open?

Some Poskim[33] rule one must completely remove the bruised piece prior to the soaking and discard it. Other Poskim[34] however rule that it is not necessary to cut off the area and rather it suffices to merely slice it open.


If one bought a chicken from a reliable Hashgacha and then found a bruise on the chicken, must he cut off that area?[35]

All Mehadrin Hashgachas have each individual chicken checked for bruises prior to the soaking process which takes place before Melicha. Nevertheless if one finds an actual pocket of blood in the chicken then that area is to be removed from the chicken. Likewise if one finds a mere discoloring, such as a blue or red or black mark one must cut off the area before cooking as we suspect it occurred before the chicken died.[36] If one found the bruise only after the chicken was cooked and the bruise is verified to contain blood, then the chicken requires 60x the bruise otherwise everything is forbidden.[37]


5. An animal or fowl which had its spine broken during slaughter:[38]

If one broke the spine of an animal [after the slaughtering of the two pipes, but prior to the death of the animal[39]] it is forbidden to eat the meat raw unless it is well salted.[40] Once it is salted and its blood is removed one may even cook the meat. If one roasts the meat [completely[41]] then it does not require prior salting.[42] Nevertheless the custom is to be stringent and cut and salt the meat prior to cooking or roasting.[43]

May one initially break the spine if he plans to cut and salt the meat?[44] There are opinions which rule that one is initially to beware from cutting the spine of the animal or placing a knife in its heart even if one desires to quicken the animal’s death. The reason for this is because by doing so one causes the blood to become absorbed within the limbs.


6. The parts of the animal/bird which must be removed or cut prior to salting:

  • Cheilev: [45] One may not salt the forbidden fats together with the meat, and hence they must be removed from the animal prior to salting. This process is called Nikur and requires special expertise and knowledge of tradition to know which fats must be removed.[46]
  • Intestines:[47] Prior to salting the Mashgiach is to verify that the chicken is empty of all inner limbs in order so the salt reaches each area.
  • Veins or arteries:[48] Certain veins and arteries are removed from the meat or are cut prior to the salting, due to the blood which they contain. By fowl the custom is not to [cut or] remove any veins besides for the veins of the neck and legs, being that chicken veins are thin and their blood is released through salting.[49] Various veins however must be cut or removed from animal meat. This process is called Nikur and requires special expertise and knowledge of tradition to know which veins must be removed.[50]
  • Cutting the wing:[51] According to Michaber one must cut the edge of the wing of fowl prior to salting in order to release the blood from that area. However the Rama rules this is unnecessary as the veins of a chicken are very thin and their blood comes out without being cut open. [Practically the Mehadrin Hashgachas are stringent like the Michaber in order so Jews of all sects can eat the meat under their supervision.[52]] Some have the custom to cut the vein under the wing. However it is best not to do so.[53]
  • Cutting open the wounded areas:[54] All wounded areas of the chicken must be cut prior to soaking as explained in Halacha 4.
  • Removing the chicken head prior to soaking:[55] One is to remove the head of the chicken prior to soaking it for 30 minutes.
  • Removing the feathers: The feathers are removed prior to the soaking process.
  • Split back chickens:[56] Prior to the soaking the chicken is customarily split by its back. This is done for two reasons: In order to verify the chicken is cleansed from any inner limbs, and in order to accomplish the salting of all the areas inside the chicken in a most easy fashion.


Hayom Yom 26th Elul

The order for Kashering meat for eating, to remove the forbidden blood that it contains, is soaking, salting, rinsing.

This process corresponds to the following matters in Avodas Hashem; service of G-d.

Soaking: Immersing oneself within the words of the Rebbe.

Salting: Having a personal Yechidus with the Rebbe.

Rinsing: Singing a Niggun.


[1] Oar Hachaim Hakadosh Vayikra 17/10

[2] Ramban Vayikra 7

[3] Ramban Vayikra 17/14; Ben Ish Chaiy

[4] Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim

[5] Chapter 66

[6] Vayikra 7/26-27

[7] 20b-21a

[8] This is learned from the above mentioned verse which explicitly states that blood of animals and fowl are forbidden.

[9] See Shach 13/2; Peri Megadim 66 S.D. 2

[10] 66/; As fish do not require slaughtering to be Kosher and are hence not Halachicly similar to fowl and animals. [Kerisus 21a]

[11] Michaber 83/5 rules that gravy of a non Kosher fish is Rabbinically forbidden.

[12] Meaning the Sages prohibited drinking fish blood due to worry that an onlooker may come to think it is blood of a animal.

[13] 66/9

[14] Michaber 66/10

As from the letter of the law these bloods are permitted [Michaber ibid], and it is only due to Maaras Ayin that we refrain from eating it, therefore if it fell into a food the food is permitted without nullification as is always the law by Maaras Ayin. [Peri Megadim 66 S.D. 16] Meaning since even the blood itself is permitted when it is known that it came from a fish, certainly if it falls into a mixture the mixture is permitted. [Shach 66/16] This allowance applies even if the blood is the majority of the mixture. [Peri Megadim ibid]

[15] 66/1

[16] As locust do not require slaughtering to be Kosher and are hence not Halachicly similar to fowl and animals. [Kerisus 21a]

[17] See Tiferes Yisrael on Kerisus 5/1

[18] 66/2

[19] 66/10

[20] Michaber 66/10

As from the letter of the law these bloods are permitted [Michaber ibid], and it is only due to Maaras Ayin that we refrain from eating it, therefore if it fell into a food the food is permitted without nullification as is always the law by Maaras Ayin. [Peri Megadim 66 S.D. 16] This allowance applies even if the blood is the majority of the mixture. [Peri Megadim ibid]

[21] 67/1

[22] See however Chapter 76 Halacha 8 for the exact definition of separated from place to place.

[23] Taz 69/23 and 24

[24] Shach 89/15; Taz 69/24

Other Opinions: The Rambam implies that blood that was removed from meat through cooking is Biblically forbidden. We do not hold like the Rambam. [Shach 87/15; Peri Megadim 87 S.D. 15]

[25] 67/2

[26] Shach 67/1; Meaning that the blood on the surface has separated from the piece and is hence forbidden as explained in the previous Halacha. [Peri Megadim 6 S.D. 1]

[27] 67/4

[28] Kitzur SH”A 36/1

[29] As otherwise the salt will not be able to remove this blood.

[30] However slight salting is required prior to roasting according to the Rama. [Shach 67/10; See Chapter 76/2]

[31] See Darkei Teshuvah 67/29 which brings the Shut Tuv Dam Vedaas who writes a dispute on this matter.

[32] Told to me by the head Rav of a Mehadrin Hashgacha in Israel.

[33] Kitzur SH”A 36/1

[34] Beis David 11; Shulchan Gavoa 67/12; Darkei Teshuvah 67/32

[35] Heard from Rabbanim of slaughterhouses

[36] The reason we assume it occurred before the animal died is because it is not possible for an animal to receive a bruise after death.

[37] Hakashrus 9 footnote 228

[38] 67/3

[39] Shach 67/2

[40] As the blood of an animal desires to shoot out of the body during slaughter, and when the spine is broken the blood is unable to spring out and hence becomes reabsorbed within the limbs. For this reason it is forbidden to eat the meat raw without salting, as the meat contains blood that has separated. [Taz 67/1; Shach 67/3 based on Tur] However salt helps remove all the absorbed blood, even if the blood was absorbed from a different area. [Shach 67/4] Now although in 69/18 we rule that if one salted meat in a vessel without a hole the entire piece is forbidden due to that the blood moved from one area of the piece to another, and blood can only be removed through salting if it is in its original place, nevertheless here salting helps to remove the blood that the limb absorbed. The reason is because only blood which moved through salting can no longer be removed through salting. Alternatively, when salting meat in a vessel without a hole the meat is considered pickled within the vessel and hence the blood which moved can no longer leave through salting. [Shach 69/74]

[41] Shach 67/5; Otherwise the meat is still considered raw. [ibid]

[42] Michaber ibid

[43] Rama ibid; This follows the ruling of Rashi and the Baal Haiitur that salting does not help remove the blood of such a piece unless it is cut. [Shach 67/6]

[44] Rama ibid

[45] 64/16

[46] Rama 64/7

[47] Lechem Hapanim on Kitzur SH”A 36/3

[48] 65/1-3

[49] Rama 65/3

[50] 65/13

[51] 65/3; See Hakashrus 9/48

[52] Kuntrus Shechitas Lubavitch p. 43

[53] Kuntrus Shechitas Lubavitch p. 43

[54] 67/4; Hakashrus 9/49

[55] Kitzur SH”A 36/13; Rama 65/2-3

[56] See Lechem Hapanim [Misgeres Hashulchan] on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 36/3 for an elaboration on the obligation to split back the chickens before salting; Chochmas Adam 30/8; Hakashrus 9/48;

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