while Hezekiah and R. Johanan differ in the case of a basket that had been examined. One Master1 holds [the objects to be clean because the basket] surely had been examined,2 and the other Master3 [holds them to be unclean, since] it might be assumed that the creeping thing fell in just when the man4 removed his hand.5 But [the case of the basket,]6 surely, was taught in the same manner as that of the woman,7 and is not a woman8 deemed to be duly examined?9 Since the flow of blood from her body is a regular occurrence she is regarded as unexamined.10 And if you prefer I might reply:11 Shammai and Hillel agree12 only in respect of a basket that13 is uncovered,14 while Hezekiah and R. Johanan differ in respect of a covered basket.15 'Covered'! Then how [could the creeping thing]16 have fallen into it? — [This is possible when] for instance, the way of using it was by [opening and closing] its cover.17 But [the case of the basket] surely, was taught in the same manner as that of the woman,18 and is not a woman19 in the condition of being covered?20 — Since the flow of blood from her body is a regular occurrence she is regarded as being in an uncovered condition.21 And if you prefer I might reply:22 Shammai and Hillel agree23 only in respect of the corner of a basket, while Hezekiah and R. Johanan differ in that of the corner of a room.24 But was not a 'basket' spoken of?25 — It is this that was meant:25 If a basket was used for clean objects in one corner of a room and, when it was moved into another corner,26 a creeping thing was found [in it while it was] in that other corner, Hezekiah holds that we do not presume the uncleanness found in one place27 to apply to another place,28 while R. Johanan holds that we do presume.29 But do we29 apply the rule of presumptive uncleanness? Have we not learnt: 'If a man touched someone in the night and he did not know whether it [was a person who was] alive or [one that was] dead, and in the morning when he got up he found him to be dead, R. Meir declares [the man] clean, but the Sages declare [him] to be unclean because all questions of uncleanness are determined by [the condition of the objects at] the time they are found',30 and in connection with this it was taught, 'As at the time they are found and in accordance with the place in which they are found'?31 And should you reply that this32 holds good only33 in respect of the law of burning34 but that in respect of the law of suspense it is well applied,35 have we not learnt, [it could be retorted,] If a needle36 was found37 full of rust or broken38 it is regarded as clean39 because all questions of uncleanness are determined by [the condition of the objects at] the time they are found?40 Now why should this be so?41 Why should it not rather be assumed that this needle was formerly42 in a sound condition43 and that it produced the rust just now?44 Furthermore, have we not learnt: If a burnt creeping thing was found upon olives and so also if a tattered45 rag46 was found upon them it is clean,47 because all [questions of] uncleanness are determined by [the conditions of the objects at] the time they are found?48 And should you reply that [the uncleanness is determined] in accordance with [the condition of the objects at] the time they are found, irrespective of whether the result is a relaxation49 or a restriction of the law,50 only in the place where they51 are found, but [if the doubt arises] in regard to the place in which they51 were not found52 the objects53 are not to be burned but are nevertheless to be held in suspense,54 was it not in fact taught,55 [it could be retorted,] If a loaf of bread was lying on a shelf under which56 lay an object of a minor degree of uncleanness,57 [the loaf,]58 although if it had fallen down it would have been impossible for it not to touch the unclean object,59 is clean, because it is assumed that a clean person entered there and removed it,60 unless one can testify, 'I am certain that no one entered there',61 in connection with which R. Eleazar stated: This assumption62 was required only in the case of a sloping shelf?63 — There64 the reason65 is as stated,66
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- And since at the time it contained no unclean objects a presumptive state of cleanness has been established.
- R. Johanan.
- Who conducted the examination.
- And the clean objects were still in the basket.
- On which Shammai and Hillel differ.
- Hillel having asked (supra 3b) 'what is the difference between the one case and the other?'
- Whose duty it is to examine herself every morning and evening.
- Apparently she is. Hence the basket also, which is in a similar condition (cf. prev. n. but one), must be deemed to be duly examined. Now since it was stated that the objects that were in the basket were regarded as retrospectively unclean an objection arises against Hezekiah.
- And so also the basket. Hence the justification for Hezekiah's ruling.
- To the difficulty raised supra 3b ad fin on the apparent contradiction between the joint ruling of Shammai and Hillel and the view of Hezekiah.
- MS.M. 'Shammai agrees with Hillel'.
- Though examined.
- So that the creeping thing might well have fallen in as soon as the examiner has removed his hand.
- Into which nothing could fall in by accident. Hence the justification for Hezekiah's ruling that the objects are clean.
- Which was actually found in it.
- Hezekiah is of the opinion that as long as clean objects are in the basket one is careful to keep it closed in order to prevent any unclean object from falling into it, but when the basket is empty care is no longer exercised and it is quite possible, therefore, for the creeping thing to have fallen in then. R. Johanan, however, holds that it is possible for the creeping thing to have fallen in unobserved, even while the clean objects were still in the basket, at a moment when the latter was opened in the ordinary course of use.
- Hillel having asked (supra 3b) 'what is the difference between the one case and the other?'
- Since no blood from the outside can flow into her body.
- Cf. supra p. 14, n. 19, mut. mut.
- And so also the basket. Hence the justification for Hezekiah's ruling.
- V. supra p. 14, n. 21.
- MS.M., 'Shammai agrees with Hillel'.
- This is explained presently. Lit., 'house'.
- In the statement, supra 3b ad fin, under discussion.
- After the objects had been taken out.
- If the unclean object was first discovered in the second place.
- It is rather assumed that the creeping thing fell into the basket when it was already in the second place after the objects had been removed from it.
- Even in such a case.
- Lit., 'as the time of their finding', Toh. V, 7.
- Sc. if in the morning the person was found dead in the place where he was touched in the night the man who touched him is unclean, but if he was found dead in a different place he remains clean. Thus it follows that we do not presume uncleanness found in one place to apply to another. How then could R. Johanan maintain that the rule is applied even in such a case?
- That the rule that we do not presume uncleanness found in one place to apply to another.
- Since the uncleanness is not a matter of certainty.
- If it was terumah; sc. the terumah need not be burned on account of the doubtful nature (cf. prev. n.) of its uncleanness.
- Lit., 'to suspend we suspend', i.e., the uncleanness of the objects thus affected is treated as a matter of doubt, and R. Johanan's ruling might be given the same interpretation and may thus be reconciled with that of the Mishnah just cited.
- That was known to be unclean.
- In contact with clean objects.
- Conditions which render it useless as a 'vessel'. Only a proper vessel contracts and conveys uncleanness.
- I.e., it (cf. prev. n.) conveys no uncleanness whatsoever to the objects with which it was found in contact.
- Toh. III, 5. Hence it is assumed that' the objects and the needle came in contact after the latter had lost the status of 'vessel' when it was no longer able to convey any uncleanness.
- That the objects should be regarded as absolutely clean and their uncleanness should not be regarded even as doubtful.
- When it first came in contact with the objects under discussion.
- When it duly conveyed its uncleanness to the objects.
- Since, however, the assumption is not made and the objects are not subjected either to a certain or to a suspended condition of uncleanness, even, presumably, where there was a change of place, how could R. Johanan maintain, even only in respect of a condition of suspense, that the rule of presumptive uncleanness is applied?
- Aliter: scorched.
- That was cut off from the unclean garment of a zab (v. Glos.).
- Sc. it is assumed that the creeping thing or the rag did not come in contact with the olives until after it had lost its uncleanness (the former by the burning and the latter by becoming tattered or scorched) and was unable to convey any.
- Toh. IX, 9. Now since the olives are not subjected even to the status of suspended uncleanness (as the categorical rule 'it is clean' implies) it follows that presumptive uncleanness does not apply when there was a change of time and so also, presumably, where there was a change of place. How then could R. Johanan maintain his ruling?
- As in the case of the needle and the rag (cited from Toh. III, 5 and IX, 9) where the objects are declared clean.
- Where a man touched some person in the night (cited from Toh. V, 7) in which case the man, according to the Sages, is decidedly unclean.
- The objects about which the doubt had arisen.
- I.e., whence the objects have been removed, as is the case with the basket with which R. Johanan was concerned.
- Terumah, for instance.
- And the same interpretation might also be given to R. Johanan's ruling which would thus be reconciled with the one cited from Toh. IX, 9.
- V. marg. glos. Cur. edd. 'we learnt'.
- On the ground.
- Middaf. This is now assumed to be an object (a garment, for instance) which, though not subject to midras (v. Glos.) uncleanness (which could convey uncleanness to both man and vessels) conveys nevertheless uncleanness to foodstuffs and the like, Pentateuchally.
- Found on the ground away from the unclean object.
- Which would have conveyed uncleanness to it.
- From the shelf, and placed it on the ground where it was found.
- Tosef. Toh. IV.
- 'That a clean person entered etc.'
- From which the loaf is most likely to slide down and fall on the unclean object below. Now, since even in such a case it is not presumed that the loaf fell upon the unclean object and contracted uncleanness before it rolled away to its present position, it follows that the rule of presumptive uncleanness is not applied when two different places are involved. How then could R. Johanan rule supra (3b ad fin.) that presumptive uncleanness is applied even (as in the case of the basket and the creeping thing) where two places are involved?
- In the Baraitha just cited.
- Why the rule of presumptive uncleanness is not applied to the loaf.
- Lit. — 'as he learned the reason'.
'Because it is assumed that a clean person entered there and removed it'.1 But why should it not be assumed here also2 that a raven came and dropped [the creeping thing into the basket]?3 — In the case of a man who acts4 with intention such an assumption5 is made, but in that of a raven which6 does not act with intention such an assumption7 is not made. But consider: The loaf8 is a case of doubtful uncleanness in a private domain. Now is not any case of doubtful uncleanness in a private domain regarded as unclean?9 — [The loaf is deemed to be unclean] because it is a thing that possesses no intelligence to answer questions,10 and any thing that possesses no intelligence to answer questions, irrespective of whether it was in a public or in a private domain, is in any doubtful case of uncleanness regarded as clean.11 And if you prefer I might reply: Here12 we are dealing with a Rabbinical uncleanness.13 A deduction [from the wording]14 also supports this view, for the expression used is 'middaf'15 which is analogous to the Scriptural phrase, 'a driven [niddaf] leaf'.16
THE SAGES, HOWEVER, RULED: [THE LAW IS] NEITHER IN AGREEMENT WITH THE OPINION OF THE FORMER NOR IN AGREEMENT WITH THAT OF THE LATTER etc. Our Rabbis taught: And the Sages ruled, [The law is] neither in agreement with the opinion of the former nor in agreement with that of the latter, neither [that is] in agreement with the opinion of Shammai who17 provided no fence for his ruling18 nor in agreement with the opinion of Hillel who19 restricted far too much,20 but [the women are deemed to be unclean] during the preceding twenty-four hours when this lessens the period from the [previous] examination to the [last] examination, and during the period from the [previous] examination to the [last] examination when this lessens the period of twenty-four hours. '[The women are deemed to be unclean] during the preceding twenty-four hours when this lessens the period from the [previous] examination to the [last] examination'. How is this to be understood? If a woman examined her body on a Sunday21 and found herself to be clean and then she spent Monday and Tuesday without holding any examination while on Wednesday she examined herself and found that she was unclean, it is not ruled that she should be deemed to be unclean retrospectively from the previous examination to the last examination but only [that she should be deemed to be unclean] during the preceding twenty-four hours. 'And during the period from the [previous] examination to the [last] examination when this lessens the period of twenty-four hours'. How is this to be understood? If the woman examined her body during the first hour of the day and found herself to be clean and then she spent the second and the third hour without holding any examination while in the fourth hour she examined herself and found that she was unclean, it is not ruled that she should be deemed to be unclean retrospectively for a period of twenty-four hours but only during the period from the previous examination to the last examination. But is it not obvious that, since she has examined herself during the first hour and found that she was clean, she is not to be deemed unclean retrospectively for twenty-four hours?22 — As it was taught, 'during the preceding twenty-four hours when this lessens the period from the [previous] examination to the [last] examination'23 it also stated,24 'during the period from the [previous] examination to the [last] examination when this lessens the period of twenty-four hours'.
Rabbah stated: What is the reason of the Rabbis?25 Because a woman well feels herself.26 Said Abaye to him: If so,27 [a period of uncleanness from] the time of her observation of the flow should suffice!28 And Rabbah?29 — He only wished to exercise Abaye's wits.30 What then is the reason of the Rabbis?31 — It is one such as that which Rab Judah gave in the name of Samuel: The Sages have ordained for the daughters of Israel that they should examine themselves in the morning and in the evening; 'in the morning', in order to verify the cleanness of objects they handled during the previous night,32 'and in the evening' in order to verify the cleanness of objects they handled during the previous day;33 but this woman,34 since she did not [regularly] examine her body,35 has36 lost one 'onah.37 But what could be meant by 'one 'onah'?38 — One additional 'onah.39 Said R. Papa to Raba: But would you not sometimes find that there are three 'onahs in twenty-four hours?40 — The Sages have laid down a uniform limit41 in order that there shall be no variations in the twenty-four hours' period. And42 if you prefer I might reply:43 [the period extends to three 'onahs] in order that the sinner44 shall not45 be at an advantage.46 What is the practical difference between them?47 — The practical difference between them is the case of a woman who was the victim of circumstances and in consequence of which she did not hold her examination.48
FOR ANY WOMAN WHO HAS A SETTLED PERIOD etc. Must it be conceded that our Mishnah represents the view of R. Dosa and not that of the Rabbis seeing that it was taught:49 R. Eliezer ruled, For four classes of women it suffices [to reckon the period of their uncleanness from the time they discovered the discharge,] viz., a virgin,50 a pregnant woman, a woman that gives suck and an old woman; and R. Dosa ruled, For any woman who has a settled period it suffices [to reckon her period of uncleanness from] the time she discovered the discharge?51 — It may even be held [that our Mishnah represents the view of] the Rabbis, for the Rabbis differ from R. Dosa only [in respect of a flow] that did not occur at the woman's set time52 but [in the case of one that did occur] at her set time they might agree with him; and our Mishnah deals with a flow that occurred at the woman's set time and it, therefore, represents the view of both.53 Thus54 it follows that R. Dosa maintains his view even where a flow did not occur at the woman's set time. Who then is the author of the following which the Rabbis taught: Though a woman has a settled period her bloodstain55 is deemed to be unclean retrospectively,56 for were she to observe a flow when it is not her set time she would be unclean retrospectively for a period of twenty-four hours?57 Must it be conceded58 to be the Rabbis only and not R. Dosa?59 — It may be said to be even R. Dosa; for R. Dosa may disagree with the Rabbis only in the case where the flow occurred at the woman's set time but where it occurred when it was not her set time he agrees with them;60 and our Mishnah deals with one that occurred at her set time and it is, therefore, in agreement with the opinion of R. Dosa
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- This assumption cannot, of course, be made in the case of the basket, with which R. Johanan deals, since the unclean object (the dead creeping thing) was actually found in it, and when it was found it was still in its state of uncleanness.
- In the case of the basket and the creeping thing.
- After the clean objects had been removed from it and after it had been moved into its new position.
- When he removed the loaf from the sloping shelf.
- That the man entered and moved the loaf to its present safer place.
- Even if it were to drop the creeping thing into the basket.
- That the raven dropped the thing after the clean objects had been removed etc. (cf. supra n. 11).
- Since (a) it is uncertain whether it touched the unclean object or not and (b) it was found within a house.
- The answer being in the affirmative, the difficulty arises, why is the loaf deemed to be clean?
- Lit., 'to be asked', whether it came in contact with the unclean object or not.
- Because the rule that doubtful uncleanness in a private domain is deemed to be unclean is deduced from that of sotah (v. Glos.) and consequently only rational beings like the sotah herself (who is able to answer whether she was or was not defiled) are subject to the same restrictions.
- In the case of the loaf.
- One, for instance, of those enumerated in Hag. 18b and 20b. A doubtful case of Rabbinical uncleanness is regarded as clean even in a private domain.
- Of the Tosef. Toh. IV cited.
- Rendered (supra 4a) 'an object of a minor degree of uncleanness'.
- Lev. XXVI, 36; the rt. of niddaf, and so also that of middaf implying something 'light', 'of minor importance', hence a 'minor degree of or Rabbinical uncleanness'.
- Having laid down that the period of uncleanness begins only 'FROM THE TIME OF THEIR DISCOVERING OF THE FLOW'.
- I.e., made no restriction whatever against the possible infringement of the actual law.
- Laying down that the period of uncleanness 'IS TO BE RECKONED RETROSPECTIVELY FROM THE PREVIOUS EXAMINATION'.
- Lit., 'who broke through beyond his measures.
- Lit., 'on the first of the week'.
- Of course it is. Why then should such an obvious ruling have to be stated?
- A ruling that had to be enunciated, since otherwise it could have been argued that the flow began on the Sunday immediately after the examination.
- As a kind of antithesis.
- For fixing a twenty-four hours' period of uncleanness. The reason for Hillel's period, 'from examination to examination' (cf. our Mishnah), is quite intelligible since the flow may well have begun as soon as the previous examination was concluded, but the twenty-four hours' period appears to have no logical justification whatsoever.
- Any flow. Had it begun immediately after the conclusion of her previous examination she would have been aware of it.
- That a woman is aware of the flow as soon as it begins.
- It being obvious that the flow began only at that moment, for if it had begun earlier she (cf. prev. n.) would have been aware of the fact. Why then should her period of uncleanness extend backwards for twenty-four hours? An objection against Rabbah.
- Sc., why did he take up such an untenable position?
- Lit., 'to sharpen (the mind) of Abaye'. Rabbah advanced the reason merely to afford an opportunity for Abaye, whose guardian and teacher he was, to prove it to be wrong.
- Cf. p. 20. n. 5.
- If a woman finds herself on examination to be clean it is thereby verified that all clean objects she handled during the previous night are to be regarded as clean; and should she discover any flow later at the evening examination the doubtful uncleanness would extend only to objects she handled during the day.
- Cf. prev. n. mut. mut.
- Spoken of in our Mishnah, and in the Baraitha cited.
- In defiance of the ordinance of the Rabbis.
- As a penalty.
- Lit., 'a time' or 'a period' of one day or night, sc. her uncleanness begins retrospectively one 'onah earlier.
- Seeing that the uncleanness extends backwards for twenty-four hours which represent two 'onahs.
- I.e., in addition to the 'onah immediately preceding the one in which her last examination was held (during which she is in any case unclean owing to the doubt as to when the flow began), she must suffer the penalty of being treated as unclean retrospectively even during the 'onah that preceded that one.
- When, for instance, the first examination after a number of days without an examination took place at midday. If the uncleanness extended backwards for a period of twenty-four hours it would cover  the 'onah of the day of the examination,  the 'onah of the preceding night and  the 'onah of the day preceding that night. Now since the penalty imposed was only one additional 'onah why should it in this case be increased to two 'onahs?
- Lit., 'made their measures equal', i.e., the period of twenty-four hours has been fixed, irrespective of whether it covers two 'onahs or three.
- So BaH. Cur. edd. omit.
- To the objection why in the case mentioned (cf. supra p. 21, n. 15) the uncleanness should extend over three 'onahs.
- The woman who, not only failed to examine her body regularly in accordance with the ordinance of the Sages but also delayed her last examination from the morning hour to noon.
- By having her period of uncleanness reduced to less than twenty-four hours.
- Over one in a similar position who held her examination in the early morning and whose period of uncleanness is extended retrospectively for a full period of twenty-four hours to the previous morning.
- The two replies offered.
- According to the first reply she would be subject to uncleanness for a full period of twenty-four hours, while according to the second reply, since in this case she is no sinner, the period would be reduced to two 'onahs and her uncleanness would be reckoned from the beginning of the previous evening only.
- What follows, with the exception of R. Dosa's ruling occurs also in the Mishnah infra 7a.
- I.e., one, whether married or unmarried, who suffered a flow for the first time in her life.
- Now, since the Rabbis elsewhere differ from R. Dosa's ruling, must it be conceded that our Mishnah represents his view only?
- As the appearance is obviously irregular it may well be suspected that one occurred earlier also.
- Lit., 'and the words of all', those of the Rabbis as well those of R. Dosa.
- Since the dispute between R. Dosa and the Rabbis has been limited to a flow that did not occur at the set time.
- Sc. one on a garment of hers.
- From the time it had been washed.
- As in this case, despite the woman's settled period, the uncleanness is deemed to be retrospective so it is retrospective in the case of the stain also.
- Since, from what has been said, it is only the Rabbis who impose retrospective uncleanness in the case of a woman who, though having a settled period, suffered a flow before or after that time.
- Is it likely, however, that R. Dosa would differ from an anonymous Baraitha?
- That the uncleanness is retrospective.