As we learned on yesterday’s daf (=page), the Mishnah contrasts between two different kinds of ritual defilement. While the laws of tuma’t okhlin (ritual defilement of food) will allow parts of the animal that are related to the meat but are not themselves meat (e.g., skin, solidified meat juice, bones, sinews, horns or hooves) to supplement its bulk so that it reaches the minimum size required to become ritually defiled, the laws of tum’at neveilah (ritual defilement of an animal that was killed by a predator or died on its own) do not allow these parts of the animal to be included.
The Gemara on today’s daf quotes a Mishnah in Masechet Uktzin (1:1) that teaches the concept of yad (literally “hand,” in this case a handle) and shomer (“protection”). If meat or food has connected to it something that serves as a handle, or something that is necessary because it protects the food, then it may be viewed as an integral part of the food, even though it is separate from it.
The Mishnah in Masechet Uktzin teaches as follows:
Whatever serves as a handle to a bulk but not as a protection,is a medium whereby the bulk contracts uncleanness and conveys uncleanness, but is not included together with the bulk to make up the size of an egg to convey uncleanness. Whatever serves as a protection, even if it does not serve as a handle, is a medium whereby the bulk contracts uncleanness and conveys uncleanness, and is included together with the bulk. Whatever serves neither as a handle nor as a protection is no medium so that the bulk neither contracts uncleanness nor conveys uncleanness thereby.
Thus, the handle, which serves to allow the object to be picked up or used, may not supplement the volume of the meat, but if someone were to pick up a neveilah by means of its bones, sinews, horns or hooves, they would be viewed as coming into contact with the ritually defiled meat.