We have already learned (see above, daf 4) that one of the basic rules of ritual slaughter prohibits she’hiyah, or hesitating, during the act of sheḥita. The Mishna and Gemara on today’s daf attempt to clarify and define the parameters of the hesitation that would be forbidden. We find, for example, that Rava teaches that a person who is using a dull blade may continuously move the knife back-and-forth “all day long,” but this would not be considered she’hiyah as long as he did not pause in the middle.
The Mishna describes cases where the knife fell in the course of sheḥita, or even where the slaughterer’s clothing fell, and he stopped to pick up the knife or the clothing and continued with sheḥita. In such cases, as long as the pause was not equal to the time of slaughter, it is not considered to be she’hiyah. In defining “the time of slaughter” a number of possibilities are suggested, with Rav ruling that it is the length of time that it would take to slaughter a similar animal or bird; Shmuel ruling that it is the length of time that it would take to slaughter an animal, even if a bird was being slaughtered, and Rabbi Yosei b’Rabbi Ḥanina ruling that it is the length of time that it takes to lift the animal from the ground, position it for slaughter and perform sheḥita on it – for each type of animal according to its needs.
Although the Mishna and the Gemara appear to offer a variety of different possibilities for the definition of she’hiyah based on the particular animal that is being slaughtered and so forth, nevertheless, common practice today is to declare any hesitation – even of very short duration – as unkosher, whether in the case of an animal or the case of a bird.