Torah Methodology #4 - Klal U'Prat
These are terms that we will use for the next eight methodologies, so we'd best explain them. A klal is a generality. A prat is a specification. If I say animals and goats in the same context, "animals" is the klal and "goats" is the prat. Similarly, since carrots are a sub-set of vegetables, "vegetables" would be a klal and "carrots" would be a prat.
The rule of klal u'prat is applied when the Torah states a generality followed by a specification. When the Torah does this, the intention is to limit the law in question to the specific case. For example, the Torah says regarding sacrifices, "from the animals, from cattle and sheep" (Leviticus 1:2). "From the animals" is a klal. "From cattle and sheep" is a prat. From the principle that a klal followed by a prat only includes the prat, we know that cattle and sheep are the only mammals that may be offered as sacrifices.