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25 Cheshvan 5767 - November 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Maran HaRav Eliashiv Warns Against Any Shechitoh Changes

By G. Safran

Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita warned against any changes in the shechitoh tradition, even if obtaining kosher meat becomes harder as a result. Maran's remarks came in response to an inquiry from Jews living in Germany, where the current law bans any slaughter before stunning the animal.

HaRav Yitzchok Eliezer Jakob, the rov of the beis medrash and the rosh kollel of the Tevuos Shor kollelim for the study of the halochos of shechitoh, bedikoh and nikur, recently paid a visit to the home of HaRav Eliashiv to mark the publication of a new elucidated edition of Simloh Chadoshoh Vetevu'os Shor. During the course of his visit HaRav Jakob asked Maran to clarify matters in several sugyos and asked in particular about the situation in Germany, where animals receive an injection that stuns them to spare them the pain of slaughter. The law was passed following pressure by animal rights groups. In the past gedolei Yisroel came out against stunning the animal before shechitoh and this practice of stunning is not followed in any shechitoh in the world.

Recently a number of prominent members of the Jewish community in Germany met with members of an animal rights organization, telling them that the halochoh does not permit stunning the animal before shechitoh. The animal rights advocates said they would be willing to compromise by allowing local anesthesia of the neck using a special spray rather than by injection. The kehilloh members then asked HaRav Jakob to consult on the matter with Maran HaRav Eliashiv.

Maran replied that there is no way of knowing whether this type of anesthesia affects the animal's viability, making it impossible to clearly determine whether the animal has been rendered a neveiloh or treifoh. Maran also said, "How do we know? The non-Jews may draw other conclusions from this with regard to Jewish shechitoh. They may draw inferences with regard to other things, if it appears to them that Jews are prepared to loosen shechitoh requirements. This could lead to further problems.

"Everything is cause for concern," said HaRav Eliashiv. "Even if it can be argued that it is theoretically permissible according to halochoh, we cannot change accepted practices and the [traditional] shechitoh practices must remain and should not be touched in the slightest."

When told the Jews of Germany have to work very hard to find kosher meat and the difficulty they have leads many Jews to eat non-kosher meat, Maran replied, "Jews work hard in every place over everything, but when legitimization is given to such a thing nobody knows where it could lead. Therefore one must not agree to it."


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