for a Master said that defilement breaks through [the ground] and ascends, and breaks through [the ground] and descends.1 [Thus far defilement by 'overshadowing' has been discussed,] whilst as regards [defilement by] contact, Rab Judah said that it has been taught: [The verse]. And upon him that touched the bone, or the slain2 [etc.] [has the following significance]. 'The bone' refers to a barley-corn's bulk of bone. 'Or the slain' refers to a limb severed from a living body which is not in such condition that [if attached to the body] it could have been restored. 'Or the dead' refers to a limb severed from a corpse. 'Or the grave' refers, said Resh Lakish, to the grave, [of those buried] before the revelation [at Sinai].3
Now what is meant by 'a limb [severed] from a corpse'? For if it has a bone of a barley-corn's bulk, it is [covered by the rule concerning] one who touches a bone! We must therefore suppose that it has not a bone of a barley-corn's bulk, and in spite of this the All-Merciful Law has included it [amongst the things whose contact defiles].
R. Johanan, on the other hand, will say that in point of fact [the limb severed from a corpse] has [a barley-corn's bulk of bone] in it, and if [the verse] is unnecessary for teaching [that the limb defiles by] contact,4 you can use it to teach5 [that it defiles through] carrying.6
AND BE SPRINKLED ON THE THIRD AND SEVENTH DAYS AND IT MAKES VOID etc.: The question was propounded: When the Mishnah teaches UNTIL HE HAS BECOME CLEAN, does it refer to the seventh day, meaning until after sunset, so that the author is R. Eliezer,7 or does it perhaps refer to the eighth day, the words UNTIL HE HAS BECOME CLEAN, meaning until he has brought his sacrifices, so that it gives the view of the Rabbis? — Judge8 from the following. Since it teaches in the subsequent [Mishnah] that he commences to count immediately [after purification],9 it follows that UNTIL HE HAS BECOME CLEAN in the first [Mishnah]10 means, until he has brought his sacrifices, and the ruling is that of the Rabbis who assert that naziriteship after purification does not operate until the eighth day.
MISHNAH. BUT FOR [DEFILEMENT CAUSED BY] SEKA KOTH [OVERHANGING BOUGHS]11 OR PERA'OTH [PROTRUDING BRICKS]12 OR A [FIELD THAT IS A] BETH PERAS,13 OR LAND OF THE GENTILES14 OR THE GOLEL [COVERING STONE] OR DOFEK [SIDE STONES] OF A TOMB,15 OR A QUARTER [-LOG] OF BLOOD, OR A TENT [IN WHICH IS A CORPSE],16 OR A QUARTER [-KAB] OF BONES, OR UTENSILS THAT HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH A CORPSE, OR [THE DEFILEMENT OF A LEPER'S] TALE OF DAYS17 OR HIS PERIOD OF DECLARED LEPROSY;18 FOR ALL THESE THE NAZIRITE IS NOT REQUIRED TO POLL. HE MUST, HOWEVER, BE SPRINKLED ON THE THIRD AND SEVENTH [DAYS],
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- So that any one walking above or beneath such a grave is accounted as 'overshadowing' it and becomes unclean. Cf. Oh. VII. 1.
- Num. XIX, 18.
- Lit., 'before the Word'. I.e., the bodies of Israelites buried before the revelation, though they do not defile by 'overshadowing', are treated like bodies of gentiles that defile at least by contact.
- For we already know this from the rule of one who touches a bone.
- [In accordance with the principle of Talmudic hermeneutics to apply a Biblical statement superfluous in respect of its own law to some other subject.]
- And we cannot infer from this that a limb which has not a bone of a barley-corn's bulk defiles a nazirite who touches it.
- The controversy concerns the question whether the naziriteship after purification commences immediately or whether it does not begin until the necessary sacrifices have been offered; v. supra 18b.
- Lit., 'come and hear'.
- With reference to the defilements for which a nazirite need not poll; infra 54b.
- Where it does not say immediately'.
- Under which there is a source of defilement, the exact branch being unknown. Such a branch would defile by 'overshadowing', and the person becomes unclean because of the doubt that has arisen.
- The meaning is mutatis mutandis, the same as in previous note.
- A field in which a grave has been ploughed becomes a beth peras, and renders unclean through contact for a distance of half a furrow of one hundred cubits in each direction. Peras Half.
- V supra 19b.
- According to Rabbenu Tam, 'the tombstone and the side stones on a grave'. [The tombs in ancient times were closed by means of large stones in order to protect them against the ravenous jackals (v. J.E. XII, p. 188). According to Levy the golel was an upright stone put up at the entrance of every niche or chamber luf (v. B.B. (Sonc. Ed.) pp. 422ff, for illustrations) into which the bodies were deposited; and the dofek is the buttressing stone which was placed in front of the golel to prevent it from falling. For other views v. Krauss TA. II, pp. 488ff.]
- According to Tosaf. the meaning is 'a quarter-log of blood or a quarter-kab of bones in a tent.'
- V. Lev. XIV, 8.
- According to Rashi; the period during which he offers his sacrifices for purification after the tale of days; v. Lev. XIV, 9ff.
WHILST [THE UNCLEANNESS] DOES NOT RENDER VOID THE FORMER PERIOD,1 BUT HE COMMENCES TO RESUME COUNTING [HIS NAZIRITESHIP] IMMEDIATELY [AFTER PURIFICATION] AND THERE IS NO SACRIFICE.2 [THE SAGES] SAID IN FACT3 THAT THE DAYS OF [DEFILEMENT OF] A MALE OR FEMALE SUFFERER FROM GONORRHOEA4 AND THE DAYS THAT A LEPER IS SHUT UP5 ARE RECKONED [AS PART OF THE NAZIRITESHIP].
GEMARA. By SEKAKOTH is meant a tree that overhangs the ground and by PERA'OTH protrusions from a fence.6
OR LAND OF THE GENTILES: The question was propounded: Did [the Rabbis] enact that the land of the Gentiles [causes defilement] because of the air,7 or did they, perhaps, enact only because of the soil?8 — Come and hear: HE MUST, HOWEVER, BE SPRINKLED ON THE THIRD AND SEVENTH [DAYS]. Now if you suppose that it was [declared unclean] because of the air, what need is there for sprinkling?9 Does it not follow then that it was because of the soil? — No. In point of fact, it may have been because of the air, and when the Mishnah teaches [that he must be sprinkled] it refers to the other instances. This indeed appears to be the case, since UTENSILS THAT HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH A CORPSE are mentioned. Do such utensils necessitate sprinkling?10 Thus it follows from this that [sprinkling] applies to the remainder only.11
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- I.e., the period before defilement.
- I.e., the sacrifice prescribed for a nazirite after defilement
- [H] Lit., 'In truth did they say'. Rashi remarks that this phrase denotes a halachah received by Moses at Sinai. V. B.M. 60a. Cf., however, below (56b) where this is derived by interpretation of the verses. [Rosenthal, F., Hoffmann Festschrift, p. 40, explains the phrase as the latin vero _ 'in fact'; and here is used to affirm the view that only the days of defilement of a male or female sufferer from gonorrhoea and the days that a leper is shut up are reckoned, but not the days of the leper's tale and his period of declared leprosy. This affirmation was necessary in view of the suggestion supra 56b that even in the latter case the days should be reckoned.]
- Cf. Lev. XV.
- Cf. Lev. XIII, 4ff
- Oh. VIII, 2, and Tosef. Oh. IX, 4.
- So that entering the atmosphere of a foreign country renders unclean. For the time when this enactment was promulgated. v. Shah. 15a.
- And one who does not touch the soil remains clean.
- Defilement from the air would be mild and would not necessitate sprinkling.
- In many instances they do not. [Vessels that come in contact with the dead do not communicate defilement to man so as to render him a principal source of uncleanness. The only question arises in case of metal vessels which, according to some authorities, become as grave a source of uncleanness as the dead itself. V. Tosaf. a.l.]
- I.e., to those to which we know it applies on other grounds. Thus the air of the lands of the gentiles may defile and the Mishnah affords no evidence about it.