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Make the Cut

Rhona Lewis

Knives, saws, scissors, shears, sickles, scythes, and lawnmowers — they’re all used for cutting. What jobs use cutting instruments, and for what?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016



Business: Sheep Farmer

Cutting Utensil: Gas-powered shaver

Shepherds aren’t a thing of the past. In fact, Eli Weiss and Avichai Suisa are sheep farmers in the Shomron in Israel. Their farm, Haikar Hasimchah (the happy farmer), is a successful business and at the same time reminds the Arab neighbors that Jews are here to stay.


Think of sheep and you think of wool. Once a year, before summer starts, it’s sheep shearing time. “The shearer opens a professional barber’s shop by setting up a separate pen into which the sheep come. Using a noisy, heavy-duty, gas-powered shaver, every sheep is laid down and slowly rolled around until completely shaved. It takes about four days to shear our herd of 270 sheep,” says Eli.

And the wool? The mitzvah of reishis hagez means giving a Kohein the first fleece of a sheep raised in Israel. It’s a mitzvah Eli and Avichai would love to do, but so far, no Kohanim have come to claim the wool. “It’s just not practical,” says Eli.

There’s another mitzvah these sheep farmers are waiting to do… providing sheep for korbanos. “Korbanos are brought from unblemished sheep under a year old,” explains Eli. “Since we don’t tag our lambs until after they’ve received their first vaccination at about a month old, we often have lambs that could be used for korbanos.” While a month-old lamb is probably too small to bring as a korban (there simply isn’t enough meat on it), when Mashiach comes, thanks to Eli and Avichai, there will be sheep waiting to grow big enough to become korbanos.

In the meantime, if you’re rich and brave enough, you could do what’s described in Yuma and use a sheep instead of a chicken for kapparos before Yom Kippur.

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