As we learned on yesterday’s daf, the Mishna 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 neveila (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 Mishna in Massekhet Okatzin (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 Mishna in Massekhet Okatzin teaches as follows:Whatever serves as a handle to a bulk but not as a protection, the attached food becomes impure if the handle comes in contact with a source of impurity, and the handle transmits impurity, but the handle is not included together with the bulk to make up the size of an egg to convey impurity. With regard to an appendage that serves as a protection, even if it does not serve as a handle, the attached food becomes impure if the protection comes in contact with an impure item, and the protection imparts impurity, and it also joins together with the food to constitute the requisite measure to impart impurity. With regard to that which serves neither as a handle nor as a protection, the attached food does not become impure if the appendage comes in contact with impurity, nor does the appendage impart impurity or join together to constitute the measure that imparts impurity.
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 neveila by means of its bones, sinews, horns or hooves, they would be viewed as coming into contact with the ritually defiled meat.