Parshat שמיני Leviticus 11:4 – More Unusual Exclusions

Leviticus 11:4 – But these you shall not eat among those that bring up the cud and those that have a cloven hoof: the camel, because it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you.

Gemora Ketubot 60a: Why does it use the phrase “it is unclean”, “it” is unclean; human milk and blood, however, is not unclean but clean.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #18:

The phrase “those who walk on two feet” refers to humans. As for why it didn’t explicitly say “humans”, look at what I have written on note # 9.

It is probable that the comment on our posuk is made regarding the word “hu” [it]. In the adjacent sentences discussing forbidden items, it just says “tamei l’chem” [forbidden to you] which refers to what came before it, including the camel in our posuk. Additionally it does not say “it is forbidden to you”. Since it uses the word “it” here, we can learn that something else is excluded from being forbidden. Truthfully, also in Parshat Re’eh it also lists all the unclean animals together and says “forbidden to you”.

For all these reasons, the lesson is derived from here that milk and blood of humans is permitted. (And as our Sages mention, blood of a person is only permitted where it didn’t separate completely from the person, such as blood between one’s teeth. However, if it did separate [and one were to collect it] into a vessel, it would be forbidden because of “maarat ayin” [permitting something that could be easily misinterpreted] lest people might think that it is the blood of an animal.

Now, see that from this drasha that is permitting the milk and blood of a person to eat, we see a proof to the opinion of the Rambam that we mentioned above in note #9 that eating flesh of a person is a violation of a positive commandment [the commandment that stated explicitly what you should eat. Also, recall that the Ramban and Rashba said that there is no prohibition against eating people.]

Note that there is a general principle that something which derives from a forbidden thing is also forbidden. If eating people were permitted, why would there be a need for a posuk to tell you that it is permitted??!! Of course milk and blood of a person are permitted, behold, even eating people is permitted!

However, from the fact that there is a posuk teaching us that milk and blood are permitted, we can see that obviously it must be that eating people is prohibited. Thus the opinion of the Rambam is supported by our Gemora above.  

Further, the fact that eating human flesh is only forbidden as transgressing a positive commandment [less severe than transgressing a negative commandment], it makes sense that the prohibition would not be strong enough to include what derives from a person [such as a the milk and blood.]

Editor’s note: This note is basically a continuation of note #9. In our note here, the Torah Temimah again applies his creative deductive and rock solid reasoning to show that the Rambam’s opinion is correct.

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