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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
MISHNAH. FIVE KINDS OF BLOOD IN A WOMAN ARE UNCLEAN: RED, BLACK, A COLOUR LIKE BRIGHT CROCUS, OR LIKE EARTHY WATER OR LIKE DILUTED WINE.3 BETH SHAMMAI RULED: ALSO A COLOUR LIKE THAT OF FENUGREEK WATER OR THE JUICE OF ROASTED MEAT; BUT BETH HILLEL DECLARE THESE CLEAN. ONE THAT IS YELLOW, AKABIA B. MAHALALEL DECLARES UNCLEAN AND THE SAGES DECLARE CLEAN. R. MEIR SAID: EVEN IF IT DOES NOT CONVEY UNCLEANNESS AS A BLOODSTAIN IT CONVEYS UNCLEANNESS AS A LIQUID.4 R. JOSE RULED: IT DOES NEITHER THE ONE NOR THE OTHER.5
WHAT COLOUR IS REGARDED AS 'RED'? ONE LIKE THE BLOOD OF A WOUND.4 'BLACK'? LIKE THE SEDIMENT OF INK; IF IT IS DARKER IT IS UNCLEAN AND IF LIGHTER IT IS CLEAN. 'BRIGHT CROCUS COLOUR'? LIKE THE BRIGHTEST SHADE IN IT.4 'A COLOUR LIKE EARTHY WATER'? EARTH FROM THE VALLEY OF BETH KEREM6 OVER WHICH WATER IS MADE TO FLOAT. 'ONE LIKE DILUTED WINE'? TWO PARTS OF WATER AND ONE OF WINE OF THE WINE OF SHARON.
GEMARA. Whence is it deduced that there is clean discharge of blood in a woman? Is it not possible that all blood that issues from her is unclean? — R. Hama b. Joseph citing R. Oshaia7 replied: Scripture says, If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood,8 which implies between clean blood and unclean blood. But then, would the expression 'between a leprous stroke and a leprous stroke'8 also mean between an unclean stroke and a clean one? And should you reply: This is so indeed, [it could be retorted:] Is there at all a leprous stroke that is clean? And should you reply, 'It is all turned white; he is clean',9 [it could be retorted:] That is called a white scurf!10 Consequently it must mean: Between human leprosy and the leprosy of houses and the leprosy of garments, all of which are unclean; why then should it not be said heres also that the distinction implied is that between the blood of a menstruant and that of one suffering from gonorrhoea both of which are unclean?11 — What a comparison! There12 [the controversy13 is well justified14 since] a difference of opinion might arise in the case of human leprosy on the lines of that between R. Joshua and the Rabbis. For we have learnt: If the bright spot15 preceded the white hair, he16 is unclean; if the reverse was the case, he is clean. If [the order of appearance is] a matter of doubt he is unclean; but R. Joshua said: It is as though darkened,17 and in connection with this Rabbah explained: It is as though [the spot] darkened18 and he is therefore clean.19 As regards leprosy in houses the point at issue20 may be the one between R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon and the Rabbis. For we have learnt: R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon ruled: A house never becomes unclean unless the leprosy appears in the size of two beans on two stones,21 in two walls,21 at a corner,22 and it must be two beans in length and one bean in breadth.23 What is R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon's reason? — It is written24 wall25 and it is also written walls,26 now what wall is it that is like two walls? Admit that that is a corner.27 As regards leprosy in garments the divergence of opinion28 may be the one between R. Jonathan b. Abtolemos and the Rabbis. For it was taught: R. Jonathan29 b. Abtolemos stated, Whence is it deduced that leprosy that is spread over entire garments is clean? Since karahath30 and gabahath31 are mentioned in respect of garments, and karahath32 and gabahath33 are also mentioned in the case of human beings, as in the latter case if the leprosy spread over the whole body, he is clean so also in the former case if it spread over the whole garment it is clean.34 Here,35 however, if clean blood does not exist, what could be the point at issue between them?36 But whence is it inferred that these kinds of blood are clean and the others are unclean?37 — R. Abbahu replied: Since Scripture says, And the Moabites saw the water as red as blood,38 which indicates that blood is red.39 Might it not be suggested that only red blood40 is unclean but no other?41 — R. Abbahu replied: Scripture says; Her blood,42 Her blood43 implying four kinds.44 But have we not learnt, FIVE KINDS? — R. Hanina replied: Black blood is really red [blood] that had deteriorated.45 So it was also taught: Black blood is like the sediment of ink; if it is dark it is unclean, and if lighter, even though it has the colour of stibium, it is clean. And black blood is not black originally. It46 assumes the black colour only after it is discharged, like the blood of a wound which becomes black after it had been discharged from it.
BETH SHAMMAI RULED: ALSO A COLOUR LIKE THAT OF FENUGREEK. But do not Beth Shammai uphold the deduction from, Her blood,42 her blood43 which imply four kinds?44 — If you wish I may reply that they do not uphold it — And if you prefer I may reply that they do uphold it, but47 did not R. Hanina explain, 'Black blood is really red [blood] that had deteriorated'?48 Well, here also49 it may be explained that [the blood]50 had merely deteriorated.
BUT BETH HILLEL DECLARE THESE CLEAN. Is not this ruling identical with that of the first Tanna?51 — The practical difference between them is
Niddah 19bthe question of suspense.1
ONE THAT IS YELLOW, AKABIA B. MAHALALEL DECLARES UNCLEAN. But does not Akabia uphold the deduction from 'Her blood, her blood', which imply four kinds?2 — If you wish I may reply: He does not uphold it. And if you prefer I may reply: He does uphold it; but did not R. Hanina explain, 'Black blood is really red [blood] that had deteriorated'? Well, here also it may be explained that [the blood] had merely deteriorated.2
R. MEIR SAID: EVEN IF IT DOES NOT CONVEY UNCLEANNESS AS A BLOODSTAIN etc. R. Johanan stated: R. Meir took up5 the line of Akabia b. Mahalalel and declared it6 unclean;7 and it is this that he in effect said to the Rabbis, 'Granted that where a woman finds a yellow bloodstain on her garment you do not regard her as unclean;8 where she observed a discharge of yellow blood from her body9 she must be deemed unclean'. If so, instead of saying, EVEN IF IT DOES NOT CONVEY UNCLEANNESS AS A BLOODSTAIN IT CONVEYS UNCLEANNESS AS A LIQUID, should he not have said 'on account of her observation'?10 — Rather, it is this that he in effect said to them, 'Granted that where the woman observed yellow blood at the outset you do not11 regard her as unclean;12 where she observed first red blood13 and then a yellow discharge the latter also must be deemed unclean,14 since it is something like the liquids15 of a zab or a zabah'.16 And the Rabbis?17 — [An unclean liquid must be] similar to spittle; as spittle is formed in globules when it is discharged so must any other unclean liquid be one that is formed in globules when it is discharged; that liquid18 is therefore excluded since it is not formed in globules when discharged. If so, do not the Rabbis indeed give R. Meir a most satisfactory answer?19 — It is rather this that he said to them in effect: 'It18 should have the status of a liquid in respect of rendering seed susceptible to uncleanness'.20 And the Rabbis?21 — [For such a purpose] it is necessary that it shall be like the blood of the slain,22 which is not the case here. If so, did not the Rabbis indeed answer R. Meir well?19 — It is rather this that he in effect said to them: 'Deduce this23 by gezera shawah;24 here25 it is written, Thy shoots26 are a park of pomegranates27 and elsewhere it is written, And sendeth28 water upon the fields.29 And the Rabbis?30 A man may infer a ruling a minori ad majus on his own but he may not infer on his own one that is derived from a gezera shawah.31
R. JOSE RULED: IT DOES NEITHER THE ONE NOR THE OTHER etc. Is not this ruling identical with that of the first Tanna?32 — It is this that we were informed: Who is the first Tanna? R. Jose; for he who repeats a thing in the name of him who said it brings deliverance into the world.33
WHAT COLOUR IS REGARDED AS RED? ONE LIKE THE BLOOD OF A WOUND. What is meant by LIKE THE BLOOD OF A WOUND? — Rab Judah citing Samuel replied: Like the blood of a slaughtered ox.34 Why then was it not stated, 'Like the blood of slaughtering'? — If it had been stated, 'Like the blood of slaughtering' it might have been presumed to mean like the blood during the entire process of slaughtering,35 hence we were told, LIKE THE BLOOD OF A WOUND, meaning like that caused by the first stroke of the knife. 'Ulla replied:36 Like the blood of [a wound inflicted on] a live bird. The question was raised: Does 'live'37 exclude a slaughtered bird or does it possibly exclude an emaciated one? — This is undecided.38 Ze'iri citing R. Hanina replied:36 Like the blood of a head louse. An objection was raised: If she39 killed a louse she may attribute the stain to it.40 Does not this refer to a louse of any part of the body? — No, to one of her head. Ammi of Wardina41 citing R. Abbahu replied:36 Like the blood of the little finger of the hand that was wounded and healed and wounded again. Furthermore, it does not mean that of any person but only that of a young unmarried man. And up to what age? — Up to that of twenty.
An objection was raised: She39 may attribute it to her son42 or to her husband.42 [Now the attribution] to her son is quite reasonable since it is possible [that he was unmarried],43 but how is this possible in the case of her husband?44 — R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: Where, for instance, the woman entered the bridal chamber but had no intercourse.45 R. Nahman replied:46 Like the blood of the arteries.47
An objection was raised: It once happened that R. Meir attributed it48
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