Kosher eggs

The gemara in Bechoros 6b asks why we are allowed to drink milk, why is it not ossur because of
ever min hachai? The gemara brings various pessukim to prove that it is kosher:
וחלב דבהמה טהורה מנלן דשרי ... מדכתיב (שמואל א יז) ואת עשרת חריצי החלב ... ואיבעית אימא מהכא (שמות ג) ארץ זבת חלב ודבש ואי לא דשרי משתבח לן קרא במידי דלא חזי ואיבעית אימא מהכא (ישעיהו נ"ה) לכו שברו ואכלו ולכו שברו בלא כסף ובלא מחיר יין וחלב
 “How do we know that it is mutar to drink milk from a kosher animal? Because it says that [Yishai gave Dovid] ten cheeses to take to the army camp, alternatively from here – Eretz Yisroel is called ארץ זבת חלב ודבש – if milk was not mutar the Torah would not praise Eretz Yisroel with it, alternatively from here - לכו שברו ואכלו ולכו שברו בלא כסף ובלא מחיר יין וחלב – go and buy and eat and buy for no money and for no cost wine and milk.”

Tosafos (Chullin 64a, dibbur hamaschil sheim rikmah ve’achlah) asks how do we know that eggs are kosher? Maybe they are ever min hachai? Tosafos answers in the name of the be”hag as follows:
The gemara proves that eggs from a non-kosher bird are not kosher from a possuk in this week’s sedrah - ואת בת היענה – and the daughter of the ostrich.
The gemara asks ( חולין ס״ד ע״ב):
וכי בת יש לה ליענה? אלא איזו זו ביצה טמאה
“Does an ostrich have a daughter? (i.e. does it give birth to live offspring) Rather this is referring to the egg of a non-kosher bird which is also prohibited.”
The beha”g says that we did not need the possuk to tell us that the egg of a non-kosher bird is not kosher because we have a general rule – hayotze min hatome tome – anything that comes from a non-kosher animal is not kosher. So we knew anyway that the egg of an ostrich is not kosher. Rather we must say that this possuk comes for a diyuk – the egg of a non-kosher bird is not kosher but the egg of a kosher bird is kosher.

The ramban in Chulin quotes another proof that eggs are not ever min hachai as follows:
If eggs were ossur, then chickens (or any other kosher bird) that are born from eggs would also be ossur because of the rule that kol hayotze min hatome tome – anything that comes from something ossur is ossur. From the fact that we can eat chickens it must be that the eggs that they are born from are kosher.

The Ramban asks on this proof as follows:
The halacha is that an egg laid by a kosher bird that is a tereifa (has been injured and will not live more than 12 months) is not kosher. The gemara (Temura 31a) asks – if so, then the chick that is born from this egg should also be not kosher, because hayotze min hatome tome?
The gemara answers:
גבי ביצה אימת גדלה לכי מסרחא וכי אסרחא עפרא בעלמא הוא
“[Everyone says that a chick that comes from an egg of a Tereifah bird is kosher because] before it develops (i.e. in the stage between being a new born egg and it becoming a chick) it putrefies (i.e. it is not possible to eat a newly formed bird embryo – it is disgusting and it is not food) and it is like dirt (therefore because as this stage it is not food at all, the issur goes away.”

Asks the Ramban – how can you say that the proof that eggs from kosher birds are not ever min hachai is that birds that are born from them are kosher? The gemara says that the egg of a tereifa is ossur but the bird that is born from them is mutar because the egg goes through a stage of being indedible. So maybe too all eggs are not kosher (because of ever min hachai) and the reason that birds born from them are mutar is due to the fact that the egg, before it turns into a chick, becomes totally inedible so the issur goes away?

Rav Shach z”l (Avi Ezri hilchos ma’acholos assuros 3:1) answers as follows:

The Rambam (hilchos maacholos assuros 3:11) says that the reason that the egg of a tereifa is kosher is becuase it is not a non-kosher species.
אפרוח שנולד מביצת טרפה מותר שאין מינו טמא
“A chick that is born from the egg of a tereifa bird (a kosher bird that has been injured) is kosher because it is not a non-kosher species.”
The Raavad asks why the Rambam gives a different reason to the gemara:

ראה לשנות הטעמים שפירשו בו חכמים שהם מתוקנין יותר מכולם כי ביצת טרפה אינה ממין טמא ואסורה והטעם שפירשו בו לאימת קא גביל לכי קא מסרחא וכי מסרח עפרא בעלמא הוא

“Why did the Rambam change the reason that the gemara gives? You cannot say that the determining factor is whether or not it is a kosher species because the egg of a tereifa is from a kosher species nevertheless it is not kosher? The gemara explains that the reason that the chick is kosher is because the egg goes “rotten” before the chick is born and therefore looses its non-kosher status.”

Reb Chaim z”l answers the Ra’avads question as follows:

There are two reasons that the egg of a tereifa (injured) bird can be ossur:
  1. Becuase of the klal that hayotze min hatame tame – because its mother is not kosher. In this case it is ossur because of the status it inherited from its mother.
  2. Because it itself is intrinsically ossur
When the gemara says that the chick that comes from the egg of a tereifa is kosher because the egg goes “rotten” it is addressing the first reason. The gemara means – do not say that the chick is ossur because it is
yotze min hatame – because when the egg becomes rotten it looses its halachical connection to its mother and from now on is determined by its own halachos.

Nevertheless it would still be possible to say that the egg is intrinsically a non-kosher food. Even if you break the halachical connection to its mother maybe it remains ossur.

For example, an ostrich chick is ossur. We do not say that because the egg is “rotten” the egg is like “aphra de’alma” – dirt – and therefore the chick is mutar. That is irrelevant because the egg and the chick are a non-kosher species. Here too, maybe the chick is not kosher due to the non-kosher status of the egg of a tereifa. To this the Rambam answers that it is a kosher species, that means – essentially it is kosher, the only reason it was classified as non-kosher was due to the halacha of hayotze min hatame tame – something that comes from an issur is ossur.

Using this principle of Reb Chaim, Rav Shach explains the proof that the Ramban quotes that a normal egg is mutar:
If the egg would be ossur because of ever min hachai – then the sevara of ביצה אימת גדלה לכי מסרחא וכי אסרחא עפרא בעלמא הוא – the egg becomes “rotten” - would not be sufficient to make the egg mutar. This sevara only terminates the connection to the mother. Where the egg is ossur because of the issur of the mother we can say that it has spoilt and from now on has its own halachos. However were the egg to have its own issur of ever min hachai – then it would remain ossur even after spoiling because it is essentially a non-kosher food.

If so, the chick born from the egg would be ossur because hayotze min hatame tame. Therefore the opinion that the Ramban brings says that you can prove from the fact that any kosher bird may be eaten that the egg is not ever min hachai.


  1. I love your posts! I wish you'd post more often... Btw - I changed my location from to , please amend your link! Incidentally, I'm looking for writers, if you're remotely interested in writing short pieces occasionally (rather than lomdish pieces such as these) please let me know at ng.gtorah(at)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Parshas Devarim - Why did Moshe hint at his rebuke?

Parshas Shoftim - upholding the halacha

Lo sasur, Rashi, the Ramban and the Rambam