Sunday, 26 May 2019

Berachot 39: Blemishes of the Nose, Lip, Teeth and Jaw

Today's daf includes Mishnayot on other blemishes not yet mentioned. The rabbis continue to discuss when would stop a firstborn animal from being sacrificed, allowing it to be slaughtered and eaten by Kohanim outside of the Temple.  

We are told that the nose and the upper lip cannot be pierced, damaged, or split.  The Gemara clarifies: these animals are prohibited only if the blemish pierces through the outside skin of the animal.  Rashi teaches that such blemishes must have been made from the outer part of the animal toward the inside.  Rambam refers specifically to holes made for a nose ring that is placed at the end of an animal's nose.  

Another blemish of the jaw and mouth area is the chutim chitzoniyot, either gums or incisors.  When these are broken off, both partially or completely to the gum, or when the penimim, molars or "inner teeth" are torn out completely.  Steinsaltz teaches that cows and sheep have incisors in the front of the bottom jaw only.  The molars are on the top and bottom of these animals mouths and they look as if two teeth are next to each other because of their many bumps.