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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
AND THE FLESH OF A CORPSE. Whence is this deduced? — Resh Lakish replied: Scripture said, Whatsoever uncleanness he hath,6 implying all forms of uncleanness7 that emanate from him.8 R. Johanan replied: Or a bone of a man, or a grave,9 'a man' is10 on a par with 'a bone'; as a bone [conveys uncleanness when] dry so does a man.11 What is the practical difference between them?12 — The practical difference between them is the case of flesh that13 crumbles.14
An objection was raised: The flesh of a corpse that was crumbled is clean?15 — There it is a case where it was pulverised and turned into dust.
An objection was raised:16 Every part of a corpse conveys uncleanness except the teeth, the hair and the nails, but while they are attached [to the corpse] they are all unclean?17 — R. Adda b. Ahabah replied: It18 must be exactly like a bone; as a bone was created simultaneously with it19 so must every other part20 be such as was created with it.21 But are there not the hair and nails that were created with it19 and they are nevertheless clean? — Rather, said R. Adda b. Ahabah, It20 must be exactly like a bone; as a bone was created simultaneously with it19 and when cut22 does not grow again23 so must every other part20 be such as was created with it and when cut22 does not grow again. The teeth are, therefore, excluded since they were not created with it,19 and the hair and nails were excluded since, though they were created with it, they22 grow again. But skin surely [is a part of the body] that22 grows again, for24 we have learnt: A skinned animal,25 R. Meir declares, is ritually fit,26 and only the Sages declare it to be unfit.27 And even the Rabbis declare it to be unfit only because in the meantime28 the air affects it and it would die, but the skin29 would, as a matter of fact, grow again;30 and yet have we not learnt: In the case of the following their skins are on a par with their flesh,31 viz., the skin of a human being?32 — Surely in connection with this ruling it was stated: 'Ulla said, 'Pentateuchally the skin of a human being is clean, and what is the reason why they ruled it to be unclean? It is a preventive measure against the possibility that a person might use the skins of his father and mother as spreads for an ass.'
Others there are who read: Skin, surely, [is a part of the body] that33 does not grow again, for34 we have learnt: And the Sages declare it to be unfit.35 And even R. Meir declares it to be fit only because its flesh hardens and the animal recovers its health but it does not, as a matter of fact, grow again,36 and yet did not 'Ulla state, 'Pentateuchally the skin of a man is clean'? — When 'Ulla's statement was made it had reference to the final clause37 only: But all these,38 if they were dressed or trodden upon sufficiently to render them fit for dressing, are clean39 with the exception of a human skin.40 And it was in connection with this ruling that 'Ulla stated, 'Pentateuchally the human skin is clean if it had been dressed; and what is the reason why they ruled it to be unclean? It is a preventive measure against the possibility that a person might use the skins of his father and mother as spreads'. But does not flesh grow again and yet it is unclean? — Mar son of R. Ashi replied: The place of missing flesh becomes a scar.41
BUT THE ISSUE. Whence is this42 deduced? — It was taught: His issue is unclean,43 teaches concerning an issue of a zab that it is unclean.44 But cannot this be arrived at by a process of reasoning: If it45 causes uncleanness to others46 would it not, with more reason, cause uncleanness to itself?47 The case of the scapegoat proves the contrary, since it causes uncleanness to others48 while it is itself clean. You also should not, therefore, be surprised in this case49 where, though the issue carries uncleanness to others,46 it is itself49 clean. Hence it was specifically stated, 'His issue is unclean'43 teaching thereby that the issue is unclean. But might it not be suggested that this50 applies only to contact [uncleanness] but not to carriage, this being a case similar to that of a dead creeping thing?51 — R. Bibi b. Abaye replied: There was no need for a Scriptural text as far as contact is concerned, since it50 is not inferior52 to semen,
Niddah 55bso that if a Scriptural text was required it was only in respect of carriage. But might it not be suggested that by means of carriage it conveys uncleanness to both man and his garments, while by means of contact it conveys uncleanness to man but not to his garments, this being a case similar to that of contact with a carcass?1 — This cannot be entertained, for it was taught: Others2 Say, Of them that have an issue, whether it be a man, or a woman,3 his 'issue' is compared4 to himself;5 as in his case you make no distinction between his contact and his carriage as regards the conveyance of uncleanness to man and to his garments,6 so also in that of his issue. But now that the law7 is deduced from 'Of them that have an issue',3 what need is there for 'His issue is unclean'?8 — R. Judah of Daskarta9 replied: It was required; since10 it might have been presumed that the case of the scapegoat proves the contrary,11 for it causes uncleanness to others12 while it itself is clean; and as to the deduction from13 'Of them that have an issue' [it might have been explained that] it serves the purpose of indicating the number,14 viz., 'issue', one; 'his issue',15 two; while after the third issue the All Merciful compared him to the 'woman',16 hence the All Merciful has written, 'His issue is unclean'. And now that the All Merciful has also written, 'His issue is unclean'17 you may apply to the other text18 this exposition19 also.
AND SPITTLE. Whence do we deduce [the uncleanness of] spittle? — It was taught And if he20 … spit.21 As this might be presumed to apply even if the spittle did not touch,22 it was explicitly stated, upon him that is clean,21 only if it touched him that is clean.23 Thus I know the law concerning his spittle only,24 whence could I deduce the uncleanness of his mucus, phlegm and nasal discharge? From the explicit statement, And25 if he … spit.26
The Master said, 'As this might be presumed to apply even if the spittle did not touch',27 but whence could this uncleanness28 be deduced? — It might have been presumed that the expression of 'spit' here26 may be inferred from that of 'spit'29 mentioned in the case of a yebamah, as there the act30 is valid though the spittle does not touch [the yabam] so is the act31 valid here also even though the spittle did not touch the clean person, hence we were informed [that actual contact is essential]. But might it not be suggested that this31 applies only to touch32 but not to carriage, the law being similar to that of a dead creeping thing?33 — Resh Lakish replied: The school of R. Ishmael taught, Scripture said, 'upon that34 which is with the clean',26 implying, whatever is in the hand of him that is clean,35 I have declared it to be unclean to you.36 But might it not be suggested that by carriage it conveys uncleanness to the man and his garments while by contact it conveys uncleanness to man only but not to his garments, this law being similar to that of the touch of nebelah? — Resh Lakish replied and so it was also taught at the school of R. Ishmael: Scripture said, 'upon that which is with the clean'37 implying that that which I have declared to you as clean elsewhere I have declared to you as unclean here, and what is this? It is the touch of nebelah.38 But might it not be suggested that this39 refers to40 the carrying of a dead creeping thing?41 — If that were so, Scripture should have written, 'upon that which is with a man',42 why then did it write 'upon that which is with the clean'?43 Consequently the two deductions may be made.44
'And nasal discharge'. What [uncleanness] is [there in a] nasal discharge?45 — Rab replied: This is the case where it was drawn and discharged through the mouth,46 since in the circumstances it is impossible for the nasal secretion to be free from particles of spittle. R. Johanan, however, stated that it is unclean even if it is drawn and discharged through the nose. It is thus clear that he is of the opinion that the nose is a source,47 the All Merciful48 having included it.49 As to Rab,50 why should not the tears of a zab's eyes51 be enumerated?52 For53 has not Rab stated, He who wishes to blind his eye shall have it painted by an idolater,54 and Levi stated, He who wishes to die shall have his eyes painted by an idolater, and in connection with this R. Hiyya b. Goria explained, 'What is Rab's reason for not saying "He who wishes to die [etc.]"? Because one might sniff them up and discharge them, through the mouth'.55 Now56 what is Rab's explanation?57 — Granted that the poison is discharged,58 the tears themselves are not so discharged.
Come and hear: 'There are nine fluids of59 a zab. His sweat, foul secretion and excrement are free from all uncleanness of zibah; the tears of his eye, the blood of his wound and the milk of a woman convey the uncleanness of liquids60 if they consist of a minimum quantity of a quarter of a log; but his zibah, his spittle and his urine61 convey major uncleanness';62 but nasal discharge was not mentioned. Now according to Rab63 one can well see why this was not mentioned, since it was not definite enough to be mentioned, for it is only sometimes that it is discharged through the mouth while at other times it is discharged through the nose;64 but according to R. Johanan65 why was it not mentioned? — But according to your view,66 was his mucus and phlegm67 mentioned?68 But the fact is that spittle was mentioned and the same law applies to all other secretions the law of whose uncleanness was derived from the Pentateuchal amplification,69 and so also here70 spittle was mentioned and all other secretions the law of whose uncleanness was derived from the amplification are also included. 'The tears of his eye' [is legally a fluid] since it is written in Scripture, And given them tears to drink in large measure,71 'the blood of his wound', since it is written, And drink the blood of the slain,72 and there is no difference73 between striking one down outright or striking one down in part;74 'the milk of a woman', since it is written, And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink.75 Whence do we derive the law that 'his urine' [is legally a fluid]? — It was taught: His issue is unclean, and this76 includes his urine in respect of uncleanness. But may not this77 be arrived at by a logical argument? If spittle, that emanates from a region of cleanness, is unclean how much more so his urine that emanates
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