Today’s Daf

This  series is a unique opportunity to study a page of Talmud each day with one of the world’s foremost Jewish scholars. We are privileged to present these insights and chidushim drawn from the English version of the Koren Talmud Bavli with Commentary by Rabbi Adin SteinsaltzJoin thousands of students, scholars, readers and teachers worldwide in completing the study of the entire Talmud in a 7-year cycle. Read more about the history of Daf Yomi Talmud study. You can also browse the Daf Yomi Archives by date or by tractate.

Hullin 22a-b: Sacrifices From Fowl

According to the Torah (Sefer Vayikra 1:14), the two types of birds that can be brought as sacrifices are torim and benei yona – turtledoves and pigeons. The tor that is referred to is identified as Streptopelia turtur, while the yona is identified as Columba livia domestica. These birds are consistently referred to differently, the former are called torim, while the latter are called benei yona. This is understood by  to mean that a tor is only qualified to be brought as a sacrifice when it is an adult bird, while the yona can only be brought when it is young, before it reaches adulthood. According to the Mishna on today’s daf, these two periods are mutually exclusive, and what would be an appropriate sacrifice in a pigeon would be inappropriate in a dove, and vice versa. The cut-off point between the two is just four or five days after hatching, when the bird’s body becomes covered with plumage – gold in the case of torim and yellow in the case of benei yona.

The ruling of the Mishna is that torim that are too small and benei yona that have already reached adulthood cannot be brought as sacrifices and therefore performing melika on them (see above, daf 19, for a description of melika) would not be effective in any way.

In explanation of the difference between the two, the Rambam in his Moreh Nevukhim (3:46) argues that the meat of the turtledove is better when it is more mature, while that of the pigeon is better when the bird is young. The Ramban in his Commentary to the Torah (Vayikra 1:14) offers another suggestion, pointing to the different nature of each of these birds. Adult turtledoves are loyal to their mate to the extent that if one’s mate dies, the other will not choose another partner. This represents the relationship that exists between the Jewish People and God. In contrast, pigeons are jealous creatures that separate and switch mates, even as they are happy and content in their early stages of development.


This essay is based upon the insights and chidushim of Rabbi Steinsaltz, as published in the English version of the Koren Talmud Bavli with Commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, and edited and adapted by Rabbi Shalom Berger.

Learn more about the Aleph Society's Daf Yomi

The Aleph Society's digital Daf Yomi is available free to the public thanks to the generous support of readers like you. To dedicate future digital pages or tractates of the Steinsaltz Talmud, in honor of a special occasion or in memory of a loved one, please contact Melissa Sandler.

Take a look at the glossary or the daf archives, listed by date or by tractate, for more insights on the Talmud from Rabbi Steinsaltz.