By Jules, Carol, Davey, Danny, Karli, Kayla, Reuben and Sarit Sherwinter.
2 Adar 5773 / February 12, 2013
MBY 498-499 Slaughtering and salting on Yom Tov (abridged – part 2)
To conclude the topic of ‘shechita’ (slaughtering) on Yom Tov, we will explore an unexpected, but very relevant, application (especially on Sukkos!) We quote from The Laws of Yom Tov, by Rabbi S. B. Cohen, p. 140:
“The melacha known as slaughtering actually prohibits the taking of the life of any living creature through any means. The Biblical prohibition applies only to killing a creature from which one will derive benefit (e.g. as food), but the Sages prohibited even killing for the sake of destroying the creature… It is permitted to kill a dangerous insect (e.g. a bee) that is pursuing a person, if it cannot be trapped1. However, one should not kill an insect that is merely bothersome (e.g. a mosquito).2”
1 For further reference on this point, we quote from MBY 316:1-12: “Here is a bit of supplement from Rabbi Ribiat in The 39 Melachos, vol. III, p. 875:
Non-stinging insects. Only the threat of significant physical pain or injury can permit trapping. Insects that are merely annoying (e.g. house flies, ants, roaches, etc.) or whose stings cause only mild pain and discomfort (in most cases, even mosquitoes) may not be trapped. Trapping is prohibited even if buzzing and interference of the insect disturbs one at his meal or is disruptive to his solitude.” For several halachic reasons, trapping is preferred over killing; hence Rabbi Cohen’s words, “… if it cannot be trapped.”
2 Indeed, in a long footnote, Rav Cohen cites several authorities who ruled leniently with regard to killing mosquitoes on Yom Tov specifically (as opposed to on Shabbos. The reason for this distinction is complex.) His conclusion, however, is to refrain from doing so, in deference to the predominant view that permits killing only in the case of potential pain and injury, not mere discomfort, as mentioned. Ed. If someone is allergic to mosquito bites, he may certainly consider mosquitoes to be in the same category as bees.