The popularity of learning the Talmud though Daf Yomi now comes with visuals, not only through illustrations but also renowned experts in the field. “We try to bring things to life so that people can relate to it,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Simcha Bamberger. In his role as a coordinator of the Rav Chaim Yisroel Belsky Global Chulin Initiative, he brought renowned Chulin expert Rabbi Amitay Ben-David to Kew Gardens Hills last Sunday for a presentation on this tractate.
Cosponsored by Chazaq, the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and Meal Mart, this Agudath Israel of America event took place at the Agudah of Kew Gardens Hills. “Rabbi Den-David wrote the book Sichos Chulin and runs a school for shochatim in Jerusalem. His sefer is an ideal companion for learning Chulin,” said Rabbi Bamberger. He noted that there are nearly a thousand Daf Yomi shiurim across America, and Agudath Israel works with them to provide programming relating to the topics at hand. “We are also working to prepare everyone for the Siyum HaShas on January 1, 2020, which is expected to be the biggest yet in the history of Daf Yomi.”
Rabbi Ben-David demonstrated the sharp blade of the shochet’s knife and compared it to one with serrated edges, which drags the flesh, causing pain to the animal being slaughtered. “The mitzvah of sh’chitah is to cut the two simanim,” he said, pointing at the trachea and the esophagus of the chicken. As he tore into the bird to show its organs, the smell proved that the chicken was not a prop. “You’re not allowed to press the knife when cutting the simanim. There is no stopping and the length of the knife must be two neck lengths of the animal.”
After showing the liver, crop, and gizzard of the chicken, Rabbi Ben-David proceeded down towards the bird’s feet, to show which signs on the feet distinguish kosher from treif. “There are three bones on the leg of a chicken and 16 tendons. A torn tendon makes it treif.”
After the detailed dissection of the chicken, Rabbi Ben-David surprised the audience with a carcass of a lamb. He pointed out items that distinguish kosher from treif – from jaw to hooves – giving the audience an appreciation of the training and expertise behind the production of kosher meat.
By Sergey Kadinsky