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I am a female, and I never considered being a schoichet before. I don't know whether women are permitted to become schoichets. I know precious little about the profession. I was a practicing vegan for years, for animal welfare reasons, but also for health and environmentalism. I still and will always take care of my health and the ecology as best I can, but I believe I can do these now while on a diet that includes meat, eggs and other animal based foods.
Last night I was talking with a young orthodox Jewish friend who keeps kosher and shabbos I've known for five years, and who has earned my trust (which says something). He suggested I talk with someone about becoming a schoichet. He thinks there would be an exception for me, being female. He thinks it's best I become one. I don't know, I think he may be correct that it is something I should do.
Where do I begin to look? Who do I talk with? I was thinking my son should study it, but my friend says it would be better that I study the course instead. He could be right about that. I would rather talk about most of the details offline, but I would like some url's recommended here. I just did a quick search now. What do you think about the following ones?
According to Mishnaic and Talmudic law, there is no problem with a woman being a shochet. Unfortunately, there was a fellow named Eldad Hadani who pretended to come from over the river Sambatyon, from Dan, and as part of his fakery, reproduced their Talmud, called Hilchos Amar Yehoshua, so called because every law begins Amar Yehoshua amar Moshe mipi haGvura. (see more here:
He declares shechita by women invalid. See Tosafot on the first amud of Chullin who discuuses this -- the roshei teivos are often wrongly expanded to hilchot Eretz Yisrael. He tries to harmonize it with the clear din from the gemara. The reason given is nashim daatan kalos, which can mean they are flighty and not to be trusted, but which I heard Rabbi Bleich in shiur explain as that they would faint at the blood, akin to other examples of problematic shechita. In the end it seems like we say it is OK.
But there is another problem once we get to Yoreh Deah, where IIRC the statement is made that women don't shecht in practice. This is understood in different ways, some which can provide such an impediment.
Why, in particular, Raizel, do you want to be a shochet? Is it lack of access to kosher meat? I know I probably wouldn't have the stomach for slaughtering...
It's been a long time, but I happened to notice this so I decided I couldn't pass this up
The Sugya if women Shechting is as follows: Tosfos holds that it's permitted, not like Hilchos Eretz Yisroel, since the Mishna allows a woman to Shecht by Kodshim, Kal V'chomer by Chulin. (The Pleisi says that Tosfos' proof is only to his own Shita that the reason that woman cannot Shecht is because they are more frivolous to Halacha. If they're not frivolous for Kodshim, Kol SHechain for Chulin. But Hagahos Maaimoni who explains the problem that women are faint of heart, there is no proof from Kodshim. By Kodshum, since a Kohain is needed to catch the blood in a vessel, so you have someone built in to watch her if she'll faint in the middle. But Chulin, where there is no one watching her, maybe she cannot Shecht.)
The Taz asks on this that Tosfos in Kedushin said that L'Chatchila women and Avadim did not do Schita in the Beis Hamikdash? He answers that could have been that they imposed it on themselves or a extra Chumra, but has nothing to do with Chulin.
The Poskim agrees with Tosfos, yet, the Agur says that the Minhag is that women do not Shect. The Bais Yosef asks, how can there be a Minhag that they don't Shecht. Maybe no women wanted to Shecht? Only if a woman wanted to Shecht and we wouldn't allow her would be a proof that there is a Minhag not to Shect. The Shach answers that the Agur holds like the Mahrik that by Minhagim we say that if we don't see something done we can still establish it to be a Minhag. The T'vuas Shor answers that we have a rule, that if a great man gives witness about something, though through what he tells us there might be alternative explanations, we still say that it's a proof to what he's saying, since he must have taken the time to examine that it's because of his reason and not for an alternative reason. The Gra says that the reason of the Minhag is like the Tosfos in Kedushin. He learns the reason that L'Chatchila they didn't Shecht in the Beis Hamikdash is because they might be negligent in the Shcita. This reason would apply even to Chulin. The T'vuas Shor says the reason why the Mihhag is different than in the days of Chazal, since we have many more Chumros, it became something that is a strong Tircha, which we don't trust women for. He brings a proof from Tosfos to this Minhag. Tosfos ask how are women believed that something was Shechted correctly, (since there is a Chezkas Issur and it's not in her hands to Shecht. Tosfos answers that since she could learn to Shecht, it's considered in her hands.) Why does Tosfos asks just from women and not by regular males that never learnt to Shecht. So Tosfos held that by males it's definitely in their hands since they can learn. Women, the Minhag is for them not to Shect, so it's not in their hands so much to learn. KM"L that we still consider it in her hands to learn.
The Simla Chadasha says that if a woman Shechted, we must assume that it's not a good Shcita until proven otherwise. Since she's not doing like the Minhag, we cannot apply to her the rule that most people that Shecht know how to Shecht, since she is not like most people, since she's not obliged to the tradition. For this reason, even if an institution gives her Kabalah, since they're going against tradition, they are also suspect. Even if she proves to us she knows Shchita, the Pri Megadim says that a male must check the knife, since it's a big Tircha we don't trust women. Also, she needs to prove to us that she's not faint of heart, since if she would be in doubt whether she stopped or not, she would permit the Shchita.
BOTTOM LINE: The clear tradition is that women do not Shecht, and any institution that tries to introduce it would be totally suspect of trying to undermine the tradition. Well, good bye for now. Maybe I'll resurface again in a few years.
thanks! that is a good summary of the halachic literature on the subject. i'll just add a link
to hilchot Amar Yehoshua (/Eretz Yisrael) to round it out:
This should take one directly to the page where it is discussed, but it might not outside of the US.
My own slight concern is that these halachic positions, and perhaps even the common custom, may have arisen as an indirect result of a forgery from a charlatan. That alone might render the minhag a minhag ta'us.
I agree that we cannot *absolutely* know what sparked the minhag, and that might well prove an impediment to practical revocation of the minhag. While perhaps someone with 'western' values might want to revoke it for egalitarian purposes, I don't imagine many Jewish women are lining up to be shochtim. I *could* imagine someone trying to revoke it under minhag ta'us due to being annoyed and appalled at the corruption of our masorah. But then, those of 'high status' in our dor in general would not even agree that Eldad HaDani was a faker.
The reason I think it fairly reasonable that the minhag is due to this charlatan is: the Mishna and gemara explicitly discuss who is kosher and who not for shechita, under "hakol shochatin ushchitasan kesheira", and in the ensuing discussion in the gemara. This "lo raiynu raya" I would agree with, that the gemara's silence on the issue indicates that it is not even an issue. The only reason it came up as an issue was due to a charlatan and his fake "gemara". That the Pleisi has a question on Tosafot's disproof is beside the point. The issue should never have come up to be rejected. Given that this halachic discussion was going on, if the minhag exists it seems more than reasonable that it would have come up due to following whatever halachic reason was attributed to Hilchot Amar Yehoshua. I think this reasonable enough to be annoyed by it, at the least.
(Similarly, IIRC, the chumra not to shecht unless one went to mikvah for baal keri is also from Eldad, while are gemara seems to indicate that tumah is no concern for shechita.)
I have a Youtube video link here of some woman slaughtering a chicken respectfully, a friend directed me to it:
I love animals, so it was hard for me to watch, but necessary, as I plan to continue to eat them; because it is right to I know.
I don't think the woman slaughtering is Jewish, and not saying anyone here should watch, also I think it's pants she's wearing with the apron otherwise snius except perhaps her hairstyle.
I haven't taken any steps toward slaughtering or studying it yet, but am considering it. There is no shoichet in my state and no school for it. My friend who recommended I study it is still keeping in touch, called just before yom hakipurim to wish me an easy fast and health for my family.