Sunday, November 09, 2008

chatzi shiur for a ben Noach

Having touched last week on the issue of whether the shiur gadlus applies (12/13 to count as an adult) applies to a ben Noach, let me add the following: The Rambam (Hil Melachim 9:10) writes clearly that shiurim were only given to Bnei Yisrael and are not applicable to bnei Noach; therefore, a ben Noach is chayav for eating the smallest piece of eiver min hachai. Tosfos (Chulin 33) seems to disagree, as Tosfos writes that a b"n is chayav on a small piece of meat combined with bone and sinews (gid v'etzem). The implication is that one is not chayav for a small piece of meat alone, but only for a k'zayis -- however, that shiur k'zayis of eiver min hachai may be met by eating a combination of meat, bone, and sinew and need not consist of meat alone.

The Pri Megadim (Y.D. 62) suggests that the machlokes may depend on the definition of the concept of "achila". According to Tosfos, achila by definition means consuming a k'zayis. It is only the halacha l'Moshe m'Sinai or derasha of chatzi shiur which creates a new prohibition for eating less, but that does not apply to a ben Noach. According to the Rambam, achila by definition means consuming any amount. The din of chatzi shiur serves as an exemption for eating less than a k'zayis, but that exemption does not apply to the ben Noach.

(My son pointed out to me that the Sefer Tiferes Yosef quotes a few places that R' Yosef Engel discusses this same issue, e.g. Gilyonei haSha"s Yoma 74, Beis haOtzar 198 and a few other places.)


  1. Anonymous9:21 PM

    i am a noahide. could you please explain the jewish terms of the article. and it would be very much appreciated if the nearest english terms are used in articles that are also related to noahides so that it guides us too. thanks and blessings, theresa

  2. for a jewish person to receive punishment for eating something forbidden an olive size amount must be eaten; less than that is still forbidden, but there would be no punishment (assuming there was an operative jewish court system enforcing punishment for religious violation). There is a dispute between the Rambam and Tosfos whether the shiur (=amount) applies to a noahide, or whether the whole concept of defining a shiur is strictly for jews but any amount of a prohibited food (e.g. eating raw flesh from an unkilled animal) would make a noahide liable for theoretical punishment.

  3. Anonymous7:37 AM

    1)A Noahide should not be reading this Blog its torah Shebalpeh, Which if recall correctly is Assur to teach also (please correct me if I am wrong)
    2)I am not sure if you addressed this bt if the Avos where Bnei Noach How was Eisav A yisroel Mumar?

  4. 1) Lots of assumptions you are making: Is the issur learning or teaching, and does it apply to a public presentation or only when directed davka to a ben noach?

    2) I did not address it, but the Ramban does - end of parshas Emor. This is his proof against the Chochmei Provence.

  5. Anonymous12:45 AM

    I am asking because of lack of Knowledge on my part it is not a widely discussed topic. this particular topic intrests me so a ben-noach can go open a gemara himself and would not you be considered oiver Lfnie Iver if you supply it do you know any sefer or other source that addresses this in depth its an intriguing topic

  6. take a look at tosfos on chagiga 13 and the minchas chinuch 232. maybe i will do a post on it at some point.

  7. Perhaps the machlokes is tied to the concept of chatzi shiur. If chatzi shiur is understood to be an extension of the original issur, then if something is bad in the standard quantity for liability, it's still bad in a lesser quantity so noahides would still be prohibited from eating the smaller quantity. But if chatzi shiur is an independent issue of the torah, then perhaps this issur does not apply to noahides.