By performing ritual slaughter on a kosher animal, its meat becomes permitted to eat. Such sheḥita also serves another purpose, as a properly slaughtered animal does not become tameh – it does not attain the ritual defilement of a neveila– an animal that died on its own or was killed by a predator (see Vayikra 11:39). This is true even if the sheḥita does not accomplish its primary purpose. If an animal was found to be a tereifa – an animal with a terminal condition that will die within a short amount of time – although sheḥita does not permit it to be eaten, nevertheless the animal does not become a neveila, rather it remains ritually pure, since it was slaughtered properly.
How would such sheḥita affect the status of an unborn – or partially born – fetus that we have been discussing in this perek?
According to the Mishna on yesterday’s daf, a fetus in its mother’s womb does not become a neveila if its mother is slaughtered, even though its exposed limb would become a neveila if it was cut off before its mother’s slaughter. In a case where the exposed limb was not cut off and sheḥita was performed on the mother while the limb was hanging out, we find a disagreement between Rabbi Meir and the Ḥakhamim. Rabbi Meir rules that the sheḥita cannot affect an exposed limb that was not inside the womb at the moment of slaughter, so it becomes a neveila; the Ḥakhamim argue that the sheḥita keeps the entire fetus from becoming a neveila, so it is rendered a slaughtered tereifa, which does not ritually defile.
The Gemara on today’s daf quotes a baraita that elaborates on the discussion that took place between Rabbi Meir and the Ḥakhamim regarding this issue. Rabbi Meir’s argument is that if the mother’s sheḥita affects the entire fetus, perhaps it should permit it to be eaten, as well. The Ḥakhamim reply that not all slaughter permits an animal to be eaten, as is evident from the case of a tereifa that is slaughtered, which remains pure, even though its meat is not permitted to be eaten.