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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
Raba enquired: Does labour2 render all previous counting in zibah3 void? Does any discharge that causes uncleanness render all previous counting void and, therefore, this also [does it, since] it causes uncleanness like the days of menstruation; or is it possible that only that which4 causes the uncleanness of zibah that renders all the previous counting void, and this, therefore, [does not do it, since] it is no cause of such uncleanness? — Abaye replied: A zibah that is due to an accident provides the answer,5 for this is no cause of the uncleanness of zibah6 and yet renders all previous counting void.7 The other retorted: Indeed, this8 also is a cause of the uncleanness of zibah, for we have learnt: If he observed a first discharge he must be examined, if he observed a second discharge he must be examined, but if he observed a third he need not be examined.9 But according to R. Eliezer who ruled, 'Even after a third discharge he must be examined'10 would you also maintain that, since it is no cause of the uncleanness of zibah, it does not render the previous counting void? — The other replied: According to R. Eliezer the law is so indeed.
Come and hear: R. Eliezer ruled, Even after a third discharge he must be examined, but after a fourth one he need not be examined.11 Does not this refer to the rendering of previous counting void?12 — No, to the imposition on that drop of an uncleanness that may be conveyed through carriage.
Come and hear: After a third discharge. R. Eliezer ruled, he must be examined; after a fourth one he need not be examined; and it is in regard to a sacrifice that I said this13 but not in regard to the rendering void of all previous counting.14 But the fact is that15 according to R. Eliezer you may well solve from here that even that which causes no uncleanness of zibah renders all previous counting void. What, however, [it is asked], is the solution of the problem according to the Rabbis? — Come and hear what the father of R. Abin learnt: 'What had his zibah caused him? Seven days.16 Hence it renders void the counting of seven days. What had his emission of semen caused him? The [uncleanness of] one day. Hence it renders void the counting of one day'. Now what is meant by 'seven days'? If it be suggested that it causes him to be unclean for seven days, [the objection would arise that] in that case it should have been said: As on account of his zibah he is unclean for seven days. Consequently17 it follows, that only that which causes the uncleanness of zibah renders void the counting of the seven days, but that which does not cause the uncleanness of zibah does not render void all previous counting. This is conclusive. Abaye stated: We have an accepted tradition that labour does not render void all previous counting in zibah; and should you find a Tanna who said that it did render the counting void, that must be R. Eliezer.18
It was taught: R. Marinus ruled, A birth does not render void the previous counting after a zibah.19 The question was raised: Is it included in the counting?20 — Abaye replied: It neither renders void the days that were previously counted21 nor is it counted in the prescribed days.21 Raba replied: It does not render void the days counted and it is counted among the prescribed days.22 Whence, said Raba, do I derive this? From what was taught: And after that she shall be clean,23 'after' means after all of them, implying that no uncleanness may intervene between them.24 Now if you agree that [these days]25 are included one can well see the justification for saying that no uncleanness may intervene between them, but if you contend that these days25 are not included the birth, surely, would cause a break between them. And Abaye?26 — He can answer you: The meaning is that the uncleanness of zibah shall not intervene between them.27 Whence, said Raba, do I derive this? From what was taught: Of her issue,23 'of her issue' implies but not of her leprosy,28 'of her issue' but not of her childbirth.29 And Abaye?30 — He can answer you: Deduce once 'Of her issue31 but not of her leprosy' and do not deduce again, 'but not of her childbirth'. And Raba?32 — What an argument is this!33 If you agree that 'of her issue'31 implies 'but not of her childbirth' one can well justify the text; for since it was required for the deduction about childbirth, leprosy also was mentioned on account of childbirth; but if you contend that 'of her issue' implies only 'but not of her leprosy', [the objection would arise] that this could be deduced from And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue,34 which implies 'of his issue' and not of his leprosy. And Abaye?30 — One35 refers to a zab and the other to a zabah, both being necessary. For if the All Merciful had only written
Niddah 37bof a zab it might have been presumed to apply to him only, since he does not become unclean through a discharge that is due to an accident, but not to a zabah who becomes unclean even through a discharge that is due to an accident. Hence the necessity for the text about the zabah. And if the All Merciful had written only of a zabah, it might have been presumed to apply only to her, since she does not become unclean through observations [on less than three days] as on [three] days,1 but not to a zab who becomes unclean through [three] observations2 as [through observations on three] days.3 Hence both texts were required.
Said Abaye: Whence do I derive this?4 From what was taught: Her sickness shall she be unclean,5 includes the man who had intercourse with her; 'her sickness shall she be unclean' includes the nights;6 'her sickness shall she be unclean' includes a woman who gave birth in zibah who is required to continue in her uncleanness until seven clean days have passed. Now does not this mean: Clean from the uncleanness of birth?7 — No, clean from that of blood.8
Abaye further stated, Whence do I derive this?9 From what was taught: As are the days of her menstruation so are the days of her bearing. As the days of her menstruation are not suitable [for counting as the days] after her zibah10 and they cannot be included in the counting of the prescribed seven days, so also the days following her bearing which11 are not suitable [for counting as the days] after her zibah may not12 be included in the counting of the seven prescribed days. And Raba? — This is in agreement with13 R. Eliezer who ruled: It14 also renders void all previous counting.15 But may an inference be drawn from the impossible16 for the possible?17 R. Ahadboy b. Ammi replied: This is the view of R. Eliezer who holds that the possible may be inferred from the impossible.18 R. Shesheth, however, replied: Scripture has perforce compared them19 to one another.20
There are some who say: R. Ahadboy b. Ammi citing R. Shesheth replied. This represents the view of R. Eliezer who holds that the possible may be deduced from the impossible; but R. Papa replied: Scripture has perforce compared them to one another.
IF HAVING BEEN IN LABOUR FOR THREE DAYS etc. The question was raised: What is the ruling where she was relieved from both?21 — R. Hisda replied: She is unclean.22 R. Hanina replied: She is clean.23 R. Hanina explained: This may be compared to a king who, when going on a tour, is preceded24 by his troops and it is known that they are the king's troops.25 But R. Hisda, said: [Immediately before his arrival] he would require even more troops.26
We learnt: R. JOSHUA RULED, THE RELIEF FROM PAIN MUST HAVE CONTINUED FOR A NIGHT AND A DAY. AS THE NIGHT AND THE DAY OF THE SABBATH. THE RELIEF [SPOKEN OF IS ONE] FROM PAIN, NOT FROM BLEEDING. The reason then27 is because [she had relief] FROM PAIN and NOT FROM BLEEDING, but if she had relief from both21 she is clean. Does not this present an objection against R. Hisda? — R. Hisda can answer you: There was no need to state that, if she had relief from both, she is unclean, since [metaphorically] the troops completely disappeared; but even where she had relief from pain and not from bleeding where it might have been presumed that as she had not ceased to bleed she has not ceased to labour either and that it was merely stupor that seized her. Hence we were informed [that even in this case she is unclean].
We learnt: IF HAVING BEEN IN LABOUR FOR THREE DAYS OF THE ELEVEN DAYS, SHE WAS RELIEVED FROM HER PAINS FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AND THEN GAVE BIRTH. SHE IS REGARDED AS HAVING GIVEN BIRTH IN ZIBAH. Now, how are we to imagine the circumstances? If it be suggested: As it was stated,28 [the objection would arise:] What need was there to mention THREE seeing that it suffices29 if the labour lasted two days and the relief30 one day? Consequently it must be this that was meant: IF HAVING BEEN IN LABOUR FOR THREE DAYS she was relieved from both,31 or if having been in labour for two days, SHE WAS RELIEVED FROM HER PAINS FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, SHE IS REGARDED AS HAVING GIVEN BIRTH IN ZIBAH, and this presents, does it not, an objection against R. Hanina? — R. Hanina can answer you: No; the circumstances may in fact be as stated,32 but it is this that we were informed, that although the labour continued33 [for a part only] of the third day and she was relieved from her pains for twenty-four hours34 she is nevertheless unclean, contrary to the view35 of R. Hanina.36
HOW LONG MAY PROTRACTED LABOUR CONTINUE? R. MEIR RULED etc. Now since protracted labour may continue for FIFTY DAYS is there any necessity to mention FORTY? — R. Hisda replied: This is no difficulty, the one37 referring to an ailing woman and the other38 to a woman in good health.
R. Levi ruled: [The birth of] a child is a cause of the cleanness of those days only in which a woman may normally become a zabah,39 but Rab ruled: Even in the days that are suitable for the counting prescribed for a zabah.40 Said R. Adda b. Ahabah: And according to Rab's view41
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