Kenneth Cohen

Ritual Slaughtering

We have been marveling at the commentary of the Baal Haturim all year, in these Dvar Torahs. It is amazing that an individual had such an incredible mathematical mind.

The rules of ritual slaughtering, known as שחיטה, are derived from the words, וזבחת כאשר צויתיך, “And you shall slaughter as I commanded you.” (This is also an indication that the specific details as to how to perform Shechita, were handed down from Hashem to Moshe at Mount Sinai.)

The Baal Haturim made the calculation that the Gematria, or numerical value of the words, כאשר צויתיך, is equal to the words, רוב אחד בעוף ורוב שנים בבהמה, that one majority is required by a fowl, and two majorities for an animal.

He is referring to what are known as the סימנים, or signs, for slaughtering. The signs are the trachea and esophagus of the animal. In the smooth motion of the Shochet, he must sever the majority of both signs, when slaughtering an animal, and a majority of one of the two signs, for a fowl.

The Baal Haturim possessed an amazing mind, that allowed him to both receive Divine inspiration to make the connection between the words of the Torah, and the specifics learned from these words.

All kinds of great things happen when an individual manages to disconnect from the material world, and connects to his Neshama, and the spiritual world.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at