Zeroa, lechayayim and keva

Igud HaKohanims 194 page book about the national priestly due from the nation to kohanim

A Torah commandment that some call forgotten, awareness of this obligation from those who slaughter cattle – the “shochet” – to give the foreleg, cheeks and abomasum to the kohen has been growing due to the tireless efforts of Igud HaKohanim. The gift, written in פרשת שופטים (Deuteronomy) typically read during the summer months, obligates the shochet to give the foreleg, cheeks (tongue included) and abomasum of every kosher four legged animal  (cow, sheep, buffalo etc.) to a kohen – even when slaughtering for commercial purposes. The Mishna of Chullin, Perek Hazroa  ch. 10 writes;

The (mitzvah of) zeroa, lechayayim and keiva is applicable in the land (of Israel) and outside the land (of Israel), while the temple stands and in its absence

This halacha is echoed by the Rambam (הל’ ביכורים ומתנות כהונה פ”ט ה”א), is the view of the Rishonim, and brought by the Shulchan Aruch.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 61:21) says as follows;

מתנות נהוגות בכל מקום, בין בארץ בין בחוצה לארץ, בין בפני הבית בין שלא בפני הבית.

The giving of the foreleg, cheeks and abomasum is obligatory in all places – both in the land of Israel and outside of it, both when the bet-hamikdash is present and when it is not.

Chickens are not obligated under the mitzvah of zroa, lechayayim and keva

The national obligation of Israel – yet the shochet is the person responsible for implementation (note: chickens are not exempt from the mitzvah of zeroa, lechayayim and keva)


This mitzvah, is listed in the mishna, the Rambam and shulchan aruch, as applicable in all times and places. The shulchan aruch (Yoreh Deah, 61;31) writes that these parts intended for the kohen are forbidden to be eaten by a yisroel.

Today’s kosher consumer should be familiar with a few questions about this mitzvah;

  • Does does “Glatt Kosher” meat mean the gifts where given?
  • May glatt-kosher beef be consumed if the shochet neglected to give these gifts to a kohen?
  • May kosher tongue be bought and served?
  • May marrow bones of the right foreleg be used for shabbos cholent?

Igud HaKohanim is currently active in an ongoing educational campaign to restore this mitzvah to it proper practical place and invites you to view the following articles;



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