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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah

Folio 18a

but1  a divergence of view is presented against R. Kattina.2  According to the ruling of R. Huna3  neither of them differs from the other,4  since one5  might deal with blood found anywhere from the duct inwards while the other6  might deal with such as was found anywhere from the duct outwards. According to Rami b. Samuel and R. Isaac the son of Rab Judah, however, who ruled, 'From the duct outwards, and there is a doubt about its character, it is deemed clean' and 'from the duct inwards, and there is a doubt about its character, it is deemed unclean', how are these rulings7  to be explained? Obviously [as referring8  to blood found] anywhere from the duct inwards.9  Must it then be assumed10  that their ruling differs from that of R. Hiyya?11  — This is no difficulty, since one12  refers to blood found on the floor of the ante-chamber13  while the others14  refer to blood found on the roof of the ante-chamber.15

R. Johanan stated: In three instances16  did the Sages follow the majority rule17  and treated them as certainties, viz., the 'source', the 'placenta' and the 'piece'. The 'source'? The case already spoken of.18  The 'placenta'? Concerning which we have learnt: If a placenta19  is within a house, the house is unclean;20  and this is so not because a placenta is regarded as a child but because generally there is no placenta without a child in it.21  R. Simeon said, The child might have been mashed22  before it came forth.23  A 'piece'? For it was taught:24  If a woman aborted a shaped25  hand or a shaped foot she26  is subject to the uncleanness of birth,27  and there is no need to consider the possibility28  that it might have come from a shapeless body.29  But are there30  no others?31  Is there not in fact the case of nine shops32  concerning which it was taught: If there were nine shops32  all of which were selling ritually killed meat and one shop that was selling nebelah33  meat and a man bought some meat in one of them and he does not know in which of them he bought it, the meat is forbidden on account of the doubt;34  but if35  meat is found,36  the majority rule is to be followed?37  — We38  speak of uncleanness;39  we do not discuss the question of a prohibition.40  But is there not the case of the nine [dead] frogs among which there was one [dead] creeping thing41  and a man touched one of them and he does not know which one it was that he touched, where he is unclean on account of the doubt if this occurred in a private domain,42  but if it occurred in a public domain such a doubtful case is regarded as clean; and if one43  was found44  the majority rule is to be followed?45  — We46  deal with the uncleanness of a woman; we do not discuss general questions of uncleanness. But is there not the following case of which R. Joshua b. Levi spoke: If a woman crossed a river

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. As no doubtful uncleanness is recognized.
  2. Who does recognize it (cf. prev. n.).
  3. Who told his son that blood on the inward side of the duct is unclean and on its outward side is clean.
  4. Neither R. Hiyya and R. Kattina differ from each other nor either of them from him.
  5. R. Hiyya.
  6. R. Kattina.
  7. Of R. Hiyya and R. Kattina.
  8. In agreement with R. Kattina.
  9. Since blood found on its outward side is deemed to be clean and the woman is not only exempt from a sin-offering if she enters the Sanctuary, but is not even forbidden to enter it.
  10. Since in no case do they recognize certain uncleanness.
  11. Who does recognize certain uncleanness. Is it likely, however, that they would both differ from him?
  12. R. Hiyya, in ruling that the blood is definitely unclean.
  13. Which is the natural passage for blood issuing from the chamber.
  14. Rami and R. Isaac, who regard the blood as only doubtfully unclean.
  15. Which is nearer to the upper chamber.
  16. Lit., 'places', where doubts existed.
  17. Sc. the majority of the respective cases concerning which no doubt exists.
  18. In the last clause of our Mishnah, and in the ruling of R. Hiyya (supra 17b), from which it is obvious that, since mostly the blood in question issues from the source, any blood in the ante-chamber is assumed to originate from that source.
  19. About which it is unknown whether it did or did not contain a dead embryo.
  20. As overshadowing a corpse, though it is unknown (cf. prev. n.) whether the placenta contained one.
  21. From which it is obvious that the uncleanness of the placenta is regarded as a certainty by the majority rule, since most placentas contain embryos.
  22. And mixed up with the blood of birth which, representing the greater part of the mixture, neutralizes it.
  23. Infra 26a.
  24. Cf. marg. gl. Cur. edd., 'we learnt'.
  25. Lit., 'cut'.
  26. Lit., 'its mother'.
  27. And, since it is unknown whether it was that of a male or a female, the restrictions of both are imposed upon her.
  28. Which (cf. infra 24a) would exempt her from the certainty of uncleanness.
  29. Infra 24a, which proves that by the majority rule, the doubtful case is regarded as a certainty because the majority of births (which are normal) is followed.
  30. Beside the three instances mentioned by R. Johanan.
  31. Where the majority rule is followed.
  32. In a market in which there were ten such shops.
  33. V. Glos.
  34. Because the shop with the prohibited meat, being a fixed place, has the same status as half the number of all the shops in the market; and, consequently, the majority rule does not apply.
  35. On the floor of the market in which the ten shops were situated.
  36. So that the meat did not come from a fixed place.
  37. V. Hul. 95a; and, since the majority of the shops sold meat that was ritually killed, the meat found is also regarded as ritually fit. Now since this provides another instance of a doubtful case that, by reason of the majority rule, is regarded as a certainty, why did R. Johanan mention three instances only?
  38. Sc. R. Johanan in mentioning the three instances.
  39. With which all the three instances deal.
  40. To which the last case cited refers.
  41. The latter conveys uncleanness but not the former (cf. Lev. XI, 29).
  42. Since the creeping thing was in a fixed place which is equal in status to half of all the animals in the place.
  43. Of the ten creatures mentioned.
  44. Sc. the man touched an isolated animal which had no fixed place.
  45. Tosef. Toh. VI. As the majority are frogs the man is clean. Now why was not this case of doubtful uncleanness mentioned by R. Johanan?
  46. Sc. R. Johanan in mentioning the three instances.

Niddah 18b

and miscarried1  in it, she must bring a sacrifice which may be eaten, since we follow the majority of women, and the majority of women bear normal children?2  — We spoke of Tannaitic rulings;3  we did not discuss reported traditions.4  But, surely, when Rabin came5  he stated, 'R. Jose son of R. Hanina raised an objection [against R. Joshua b. Levi from a Baraitha dealing with] a forgetful woman,6  but I do not know what objection it was',7  Does not this mean that it8  presented no objection but rather provided support?9  — No; it is possible [that he meant that it] neither presented an objection nor provided any support.

What does it10  exclude?11  If it be suggested that it10  was intended to exclude the case12  where the majority rule is opposed by the rule of presumption13  so that in such a case terumah14  may not be burnt on its account,15  surely [it could be retorted] did not R. Johanan once say this,16  for we learnt, 'If a child is found at the side of dough, with a piece of dough in his hand, R. Meir declares the dough clean, but the Sages declare it unclean because it is the nature of a child to slap17  [dough]';18  and when it was asked, 'What is R. Meir's reason' [the answer given was that] he holds the view that though most children slap dough a minority of them do not, and since this dough stands in the presumption of cleanness;19  you combine the status of the minority20  with the rule of presumption21  and the majority rule22  is impaired,23  while the Rabbis [regard] the minority as non-existent, and, where the majority rule is opposed by that of presumption, the majority rule takes precedence; and in connection with this Resh Lakish citing R. Oshaia stated: This is a presumption24  on the strength of which terumah is burnt,25  while R. Johanan stated, This26  is not a presumption on the strength of which terumah is burnt?27  — It28  was rather intended to exclude the rule of majority of which R. Judah spoke.29  For we learnt: If a woman aborted a shapeless object,30  if there was blood with it she is unclean31  otherwise she is clean; R. Judah ruled: In either case she is unclean.32  And in connection with this Rab Judah citing Samuel stated: R. Judah declared the woman unclean only where the shapeless object had the colour of one of the four kinds of blood,33  but if it had that of any other kinds of blood34  the woman is clean, while R. Johanan stated: [If it had the colour] of one of the four kinds of blood35  all36  agree that she is unclean, and if it had that of any other kinds of blood all agree that she is clean; they37  differ only in the case where she aborted something

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. In consequence of which it is unknown whether or not the miscarriage was a developed child.
  2. Infra 29a. Now since her sacrifice, a bird sin-offering (the method of whose killing by pinching would have caused an unconsecrated, or doubtfully consecrated bird to be nebelah), may be eaten, it follows that the bird is deemed to be duly consecrated because, by reason of the majority rule, the woman's doubtful birth is regarded as a certain birth of a normal child. Why then did not R. Johanan mention this case which concerns a woman's uncleanness?
  3. Lit., 'our Mishnah', sc. rulings occurring in a Mishnah or a Baraitha.
  4. Of Amoras. R. Joshua b. Levi was an Amora.
  5. From Palestine to Babylon.
  6. Lit., 'mistaken', one who cannot tell the date on which she bore her child.
  7. Infra 29a.
  8. The Baraitha dealing with the forgetful woman.
  9. For R. Joshua b. Levi's ruling. Since the answer is presumably in the affirmative the ruling given here in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi has its origin in a Baraitha. Why then, since it is a case of the uncleanness of a woman and is also a Tannaitic ruling, was it not included among those cited supra by R. Johanan?
  10. R. Johanan's limitation of the instances supra to three.
  11. I.e., what other doubtful instance is there that, despite the majority rule, is not treated as a certainty?
  12. Of a woman's uncleanness.
  13. Lit., 'there … with it'.
  14. Being doubtfully unclean.
  15. Sc. on account of the doubtful uncleanness.
  16. Explicitly, in other cases of uncleanness. Why then should he repeat it here by implication?
  17. Toh. III, 8.
  18. In consequence of which he imparts to it the uncleanness which he is presumed to have contracted from menstrual women who coddle him or play with him (R. Tam.). Aliter (Rashi): 'To dabble in the rubbish heap', where he contracts uncleanness from dead creeping things. His contact with the dough is regarded as a certainty (cf. Tosaf.).
  19. As is any dough, unless the contrary is proved.
  20. Of children who do not slap dough and, therefore, cannot impart to it their uncleanness (so according to Tosaf.). Aliter: Who do not dabble in the rubbish heap and, therefore, contract no uncleanness (according to Rashi).
  21. The dough is presumed to be clean (cf. prev. n. but one).
  22. That 'most children slap dough' or 'dabble in the rubbish heap'.
  23. By the major force of two to one.
  24. Sc. that it is a child's nature to slap dough (Rashi). The term 'presumption' is here used loosely and really denotes 'majority'.
  25. Sc. the majority rule by which it is offered has been given the force of a certainty.
  26. Since 'the presumption of uncleanness' is here opposed by 'majority'.
  27. Because it has not the force of a certainty. Now, since R. Johanan made here this explicit statement on the relative importance of the majority rule and that of presumption, what need was there to repeat it implicitly supra?
  28. R. Johanan's limitation supra to three instances.
  29. Sc. that in that case the uncleanness which is dependent on the majority rule is not regarded as a certainty. It is only one of a doubtful character and, in consequence, terumah that is subject to such uncleanness may not be burnt.
  30. Lit., 'piece'.
  31. As a menstruant. Since the abortion cannot be regarded as a child she is exempt from the uncleanness of childbirth.
  32. Infra 21a. It is impossible in his opinion for an abortion to be free from all blood, though the latter might sometimes escape attention.
  33. Described in the Mishnah infra 19a, as unclean. Black and red blood are here regarded as of the same colour, the latter being a deteriorated form of the former. The Mishnah treating them as two gives the total number of kinds of unclean blood as five. In R. Judah's opinion the colour of unclean blood is proof that the entire mass is a piece of clotted blood. Hence the woman's menstrual uncleanness. The Rabbis, however, do not regard it as blood but as a shapeless piece of flesh.
  34. Green or white, for instance.
  35. Cf. prev. n. but one.
  36. Even the Rabbis.
  37. The Rabbis and R. Judah.