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Shabbos 136


OPINIONS: The Gemara tells the story of two Amora'im who refused to eat from the "Igla Tilsa" (evidently, a type of choice calf) that Rav Idi bar Avin prepared for them, since it was slaughtered on the seventh day of its life. "Had you but waited to slaughter it until this evening," the Amora'im complained, "we would have eaten it" -- since it would been clear that it was not a Nefel (i.e. that it was a viable fetus). (These Amora'im were of the opinion that only after an animal lives for eight days, are we certain that it is viable.) What exactly is an Igla Tilsa?
(a) Earlier in this Maseches (Shabbos 11a, also Pesachim 68b), RASHI explained that "Igla Tilsa" is a cow's third offspring. Such a calf is well developed and fat.

TOSFOS (Bechoros 19a DH d'Hach) questions the contention that the third born is healthier than the first born, since the Gemara (ibid.) states that a *firstborn* sheep is usually stronger and healthier looking. Rashi (Shabbos 11a), however, apparently avoids this apparent contradiction by explaining that a cow normally bears its first young when it is still weak and relatively immature. By the time it bears its third brood, it is mature enough to bear strong offspring. (The Gemara in Bechoros is discussing a *mature* sheep that has not yet given birth.)

However, Rashi himself (Eruvin 63a) rejects this explanation based on a Gemara in Sanhedrin which contends that every Erev Shabbos Rav Yochanan and Reish Lakish would use the Sefer Yetzirah to create an "Igla Tilsa." How can one "create" a calf that is the third to it mother! (Rashi in Sanhedrin 65b suggests that it just "tasted like" a healthy, third-to-its-mother calf.)

(b) RASHI in Eruvin 63a explains that "Igla Tilsa" is a third-grown calf (one that has reached one-third of its full growth), which is particularly tasty. (See also Rashi Bava Metzia 68a DH l'ch'she'Yiheyu Meshulashim).

However, as TOSFOS (Gitin 56a) points out, this clearly does not seem to be the case with the "Igla Tilsa" of our Gemara, which was only 7 days old. A calf certainly isn't one third grown after only 7 days!

(c) In a similar fashion, RASHI in Sanhedrin 65b explains that "Igla Tilsa" is a calf that has reached one-third of its expected *lifespan*, at which time it has reached its *full* growth. This explanation, however, suffers the same problem as the previous one; how can a 7-day old calf have reached one third of its expected lifespan?

(d) TOSFOS (Gitin 56a, Bechoros 19a) therefore concludes that "Igla Tilsa" means a calf that is healthy and good tasting. The word "Tilsa" is not related to the root "Telasa," meaning "three," but to the root "Shalish," which means "an appointee" (i.e., one that is worthy of being appointed over others due to his personal prowess). Tosfos cites as examples of this usage the verses "v'Shalishim Al Kulo" (Shemos 14:7, see Targum Onkeles)and "Eglah Meshuleshes" (Bereishis 15:9 -- this is an original interpretation of the verse, see also Chizkuni there).


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