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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
R. Simeon b. Yohai stated, There are five things which [cause the man] who does them to forfeit his life and his blood is upon his own head: Eating8 peeled garlic, a peeled onion or a peeled egg, or drinking diluted liquids that9 were kept over night; spending a night in a graveyard; removing one's nails and throwing them away in a public thoroughfare; and blood-letting followed immediately by intercourse.
'Eating peeled garlic etc.' Even though they are deposited in a basket and tied up and sealed, an evil spirit rests upon them. This, however, has been said only where their roots or peel did not remain10 with them, but if their roots or peel remained with them there can be no objection.11
'And drinking diluted liquids that were kept over night'. Rab Judah citing Samuel explained: This applies only where they were kept over night in a metal vessel. R. Papa stated: Vessels made of alum crystals are the same in this respect as vessels made of metal. So also said R. Johanan: This applies only where they were kept in a metal vessel; and vessels made of alum crystals are the same in this respect as vessels made of metal.
'Spending a night in a graveyard', in order that a spirit of uncleanness may rest upon him.12 [This should not be done] since in consequence he might sometimes be exposed to danger.
'Removing one's nails and throwing them away in a public thoroughfare'. [This is dangerous] because a pregnant woman passing over them would miscarry. This, however, has been said only of a case where one removes them with a pair of scissors. Furthermore, this has been said only of a case where one removes the nails of both hands and feet. Furthermore, this has been said only in the case where one did not cut anything immediately after cutting them but if something was cut immediately after they were cut there can be no danger.13 This, however, is not [to be relied upon]. One should be on his guard in all the cases mentioned.14
Our Rabbis taught: Three things have been said about the disposal of nails: He who burns them is a pious man, he who buries them is a righteous man, and he who throws them away is a wicked man.15
'And blood-letting followed immediately by intercourse'. [This should be avoided] because a Master said: If a man has intercourse immediately after being bled, he will have feeble16 children; and if intercourse took place after both husband and wife have been bled, they will have children afflicted with ra'athan.17 Rab18 stated: This has been said only in the case where nothing was tasted after the bleeding but if something was tasted after it there can be no harm.19
R. Hisda ruled: A man is forbidden to perform his marital duty in the day-time, for it is said, But thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.20 But what is the proof? — Abaye replied: He might observe something repulsive in her and she would thereby become loathsome to him.
R. Huna said, Israel are holy and do not perform their marital duties in the day-time. Raba said, But in21 a dark house this is permitted; and a scholar22 may darken a room with his cloak and perform his marital duty. [But] we have learnt, OR SHE MUST PERFORM IT IN THE LIGHT OF A LAMP? — Read: SHE MUST examine IT IN THE LIGHT OF A LAMP.
Come and hear: And the people of the house of Monobaz26 did three things, and on account of these they were honourably mentioned: They performed their marital duties in the day-time, they examined their beds with cotton,27 and they observed the rules of uncleanness and cleanness in the case of snow. At all events, was it not here stated, 'They performed their marital duties in the day-time'? Read: They examined their beds in the day-time. This may also be supported by logical argument. For if one were to imagine [that the reading is] 'performed their marital duties', would they have been 'honourably mentioned'? — Yes, indeed;28 because owing to the prevalence29 of sleep30 she is likely to become repulsive to him.
'They examined their beds with cotton.' This provides support for a ruling of Samuel. For Samuel ruled: The bed31 may be examined only with cotton tufts or with clean and soft wool. Rab observed: This explains what they said in Palestine32 on Sabbath eves,33 when I was there, 'Who requires cotton tufts for his bread',31 and I did not understand at the time what they meant.
Raba stated: Old flax garments are admirably suited for examination purposes. But can this be correct,34 seeing that the school of Manasseh taught: The bed31 may not be examined either with a red rag or with a black one or with flax,35 but only with cotton tufts or with clean and soft wool?36 This is no difficulty, since the latter refers to flax while the former refers to garments of flax. And if you prefer I might reply: Both refer to garments of flax but the latter deals with new ones while the former deals with old ones.37
'They observed the rules of uncleanness and cleanness in the case of snow.' We learnt elsewhere: Snow is neither a food nor a drink. Though one intended to use it as food it is not subject to the laws of the uncleanness of foodstuffs,38 [but if one intended to use it] as a drink it is subject to the laws of the uncleanness of drinks. If a part of it contracted uncleanness all of it does not become unclean,39 but if a part of it became clean40 all of it becomes clean. Now is not this self contradictory? You first said, 'If a part of it contracted uncleanness all of it does not become unclean', and then you said, 'If a part of it became clean all of it becomes clean', which implies, does it not, that all of it was previously unclean?41 — Abaye replied: This is a case, for instance, where it42 was carried across the air-space of an oven,43 [in which case all the snow is unclean] because the Torah testified concerning an earthen vessel44 that
Niddah 17beven if it was full of mustard seed1 [all within it is unclean].2
MISHNAH. THE SAGES SPOKE OF A WOMAN IN METAPHOR: [THERE IS IN HER] CHAMBER3 AN ANTE-CHAMBER4 AND AN UPPER CHAMBER.5 THE BLOOD OF THE CHAMBER6 IS UNCLEAN, THAT OF THE UPPER CHAMBER7 IS CLEAN. IF BLOOD IS FOUND IN THE ANTE-CHAMBER, AND THERE ARISES A DOUBT ABOUT ITS CHARACTER,8 IT IS DEEMED UNCLEAN, BECAUSE IT IS PRESUMED TO HAVE COME FROM THE SOURCE.3
GEMARA. Rami b. Samuel and R. Isaac son of Rab Judah learnt the tractate of Niddah at R. Huna's. Rabba son of R. Huna once found them while they were sitting at their studies and saying: The chamber is within, the ante-chamber is without and the upper chamber is built above them,9 and a duct communicates between the upper chamber and the ante-chamber.10 If blood is found anywhere from the duct inwards, and there is any doubt about its character,8 it is deemed unclean11 but if it is found anywhere from the duct outwards, and there is a doubt about its character,8 it is deemed clean.12 He13 thereupon proceeded to his father and said to him, 'You told them, Master,14 that "if there is any doubt about its character15 it is deemed unclean", but have we not learnt: BECAUSE IT IS PRESUMED TO HAVE COME FROM THE SOURCE?'16 'I', the other replied, 'meant this: [Blood found anywhere] from the duct inwards is17 undoubtedly unclean,18 [but if it was found anywhere] from the duct outwards, it is deemed to be doubtfully unclean'.19 Said Abaye: Why is20 it [that if blood is found anywhere] from the duct outwards it is deemed to be doubtfully unclean?21 Obviously because it is possible that she bowed down and the blood flowed thither from the chamber. [But, then, why in the case where blood is found anywhere] from the duct inwards, is it not also assumed that she might have staggered backwards22 and the blood originated from the upper chamber?23 Rather, said Abaye, if you follow possibilities24 the uncleanness is doubtful in either case25 and if you follow presumption [blood found anywhere] from the duct inwards is undoubtedly unclean,26 [but if it was found anywhere] from the duct outwards it is undoubtedly clean.27
R. Hiyya taught: Blood found in the ante-chamber28 renders [the woman] liable [for a sin-offering] if she enters the Sanctuary,29 and terumah30 must be burnt on its account.29 R. Kattina, however, ruled: No sin-offering31 is incurred if she enters the Sanctuary,32 and terumah30 is not burnt on its account.32 According to the first alternative33 which Abaye mentioned, viz., 'If you follow possibilities',34 support is available for the ruling of R. Kattina35 but36 a divergence of view is presented against R. Hiyya. According to the second alternative33 you mentioned, viz., 'If you follow presumption'37 support is provided for the ruling of R. Hiyya38
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