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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
ON HER HEEL OR ON THE TIP OF HER GREAT TOE. SHE IS UNCLEAN etc. One can well concede that HER HEEL11 is likely12 to come in contact with that place,13 but what is the reason for the uncleanness in the case of a stain on THE TIP OF HER GREAT TOE? And should you reply: It might sometimes touch her heel [the objection would arise]: Do we [as regards] uncleanness presume transfer from place to place? Was it not in fact taught: If she14 had a wound on her neck in a position to which the blood stain might be attributed,15 she may so attribute it;16 if it was on her shoulder, in which case she cannot so attribute it,17 she must not so attribute it; and we do not suggest that it is possible that she had taken it18 with her hand and transferred it there?19 — The fact rather is that THE TIP OF HER TOE is in a different category.20 because [direct dropping of blood] might occur while she is walking. But do we not [as regards] uncleanness presume transfer from place to place? Was it not in fact taught: If it21 was found on her finger joints.22 she is unclean, because hands are active.23 Now what is the reason?24 Is it not this: That we assume that she had examined herself with one hand25 and then touched it with her other hand?26 — No, her hand is different20 since all of it might come in direct contact27 [with the menstrual source].
ON HER THIGH OR ON HER FEET, IF ON THEIR INNER SIDE etc. How far28 ON THEIR INNER SIDE?29 — The school of R. Jannai replied: As far as the place of hebek.30 The question was asked: Is the place of the hebek.31 regarded as the inner, or as the outer side? — Come and hear what R. Kattina learnt: As far as the place of the hebek, and the hebek itself is regarded as the inner side. R. Hiyya son of R. Iwya taught this32 explicitly: The School of R. Jannai ruled, As far as the place of the hebek and the hebek itself is regarded as in the inner side.
R. Jeremiah enquired: What is the ruling33 where a bloodstain had the shape of a ring, of a straight line of drops,34 or of a splash of drops.35 or where it runs across the breadth of her thigh? — Come and hear: 'A bloodstain on her body concerning which there is doubt whether it is unclean or clean, is regarded as unclean'. Now does not 'on her body' imply stains of such shapes? — No, it might only refer to one that is shaped like a stripe.36
A woman once found blood on her web. When she came to R. Jannai37 he told her to experiment by repeating38 her forward and backward movements.39 But was it not taught: No repetition [test is recognized] in questions of cleanness?40 — We say that no repetition test is recognized only41 where the law would thereby42 be relaxed, but where it is thereby restricted we do recognize a test of repetition.43
IF SHE TAKES IT OFF etc. It was taught: R. Eleazar son of R. Jose stated, In such a case44 I gave a ruling in the city of Rome imposing a prohibition,45 and when I came to the Sages of the South they said to me, 'You have given the right decision.
Our Rabbis taught: Where a tall woman put on the shirt46 of a short woman or if a short one put on the shirt46 of a tall one, if [a blood stain]47 corresponds to the position of the pudenda of the tall one, they are both unclean, but if it does not correspond to it,48 the tall one is clean while the short one is unclean. Another Baraitha taught: If a woman examined her shirt49 and then50 lent it to her friend,51 she is clean, but her friend may attribute it52 to her. R. Shesheth explained: This53 was learnt only in regard to the civil law,54 but as regards the law of uncleanness the lender is clean while her friend is unclean.
Niddah 58bBut why is this case different from the following where it was taught: If two women were engaged in the preparation of one bird which contained no more than one sela' of blood, and then a stain of the size of a sela' was found on each, they are both unclean?1 — There2 the law is different since there was an additional sela'.3
Our Rabbis taught: Where a woman put on three shirts4 that she had previously examined5 [and then found blood on one of them]. if she is in a position to attribute [the blood to an external source]6 she may do so even though [the blood was found] on the lowest shirt, but if she is not in a position to attribute [it to an external cause]6 she may not do so even though [the blood was found] on the uppermost shirt. How so? If she passed through a butchers' market she may attribute the blood to it even though it was found on the lowest shirt, but if she did not pass through a butchers' market she may not attribute the blood to it even if it was found on the uppermost.
MISHNAH. [A WOMAN] MAY ATTRIBUTE [A BLOODSTAIN] TO ANY [EXTERNAL] CAUSE TO WHICH SHE CAN POSSIBLY ATTRIBUTE IT.7 IF [FOR INSTANCE] SHE HAD SLAIN A DOMESTIC BEAST, A WILD ANIMAL OR A BIRD, IF SHE WAS HANDLING BLOODSTAINS OR SAT BESIDE THOSE WHO HANDLED THEM. OR IF SHE KILLED A LOUSE. SHE MAY ATTRIBUTE THE BLOODSTAIN TO IT. HOW LARGE A STAIN MAY BE ATTRIBUTED TO A LOUSE?8 R. HANINA B. ANTIGONUS REPLIED: ONE UP TO THE SIZE9 OF A SPLIT BEAN; [AND IT MAY BE ATTRIBUTED TO A LOUSE] EVEN THOUGH SHE DID NOT KILL IT.10 SHE MAY ALSO ATTRIBUTE IT TO HER SON OR TO HER HUSBAND.11 IF SHE HERSELF HAD A WOUND THAT12 COULD OPEN AGAIN AND BLEED SHE MAY ATTRIBUTE IT TO IT. A WOMAN ONCE CAME TO R. AKIBA AND SAID TO HIM: I HAVE OBSERVED A BLOODSTAIN'. 'HAD YOU PERHAPS', HE SAID TO HER. 'A WOUND?' YES'. SHE REPLIED, 'BUT IT HAS HEALED'. IS IT POSSIBLE HE AGAIN ASKED HER, THAT IT COULD OPEN AGAIN AND BLEED?' 'YES', SHE REPLIED; AND R. AKIBA DECLARED HER CLEAN. OBSERVING THAT HIS DISCIPLES LOOKED AT EACH OTHER IN ASTONISHMENT. HE SAID TO THEM, 'WHY DO YOU FIND THIS DIFFICULT, SEEING THAT THE SAGES DID NOT LAY DOWN THE RULE13 IN ORDER TO IMPOSE RESTRICTIONS BUT RATHER TO RELAX THEM, FOR IT IS SAID IN SCRIPTURE, AND IF A WOMAN HAVE AN ISSUE, AND HER ISSUE IN HER FLESH BE BLOOD.14 ONLY BLOOD15 BUT NOT A BLOODSTAIN. IF ON A TESTING RAG THAT WAS PLACED UNDER A PILLOW SOME BLOOD WAS FOUND, IF THE STAIN IS ROUND IT IS CLEAN BUT IF IT IS ELONGATED IT IS UNCLEAN; SO R. ELIEZER SON OF R. ZADOK.
OR SAT. Only where SHE SAT18 but not [where she believes that] she did not sit.19 Thus20 we have here learnt what our Rabbis taught elsewhere: If a woman passed through a butchers' market, and it is a matter of doubt whether any blood was or was not squirted on her she may attribute [any bloodstain on her to a possible contingency]; but if it is doubtful whether she did or did not pass the market she21 is unclean.22
IF SHE KILLED A LOUSE. Only where SHE KILLED18 but not where she did not kill any. Whose view then does our Mishnah23 represent? — That of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. For it was taught: If she killed a louse she may attribute a bloodstain to it, but if she did not kill any she may not so attribute it; so R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. But the Sages ruled: In either case she may attribute the one to the other. Said R. Simeon b. Gamaliel: According to my view there is no limit24 and according to the view of my colleagues there is no end.24 'According to my view there is no limit' since you could hardly find25 a woman who could be regarded as clean for her husband, seeing that there is hardly25 a bed that does not contain ever so many drops of louse blood.26 'According to the view of my colleagues there is no end', since there is hardly25 a woman who could be regarded as unclean for her husband, seeing that there is hardly a sheet on which there are not ever so many drops of blood;27 but the view of R. Hanina b. Antigonus is more feasible than mine and theirs, for he has laid down, 'How large a stain may be attributed to a louse? One not bigger than the size of a split bean',28 and we rule in agreement with his view.29 But according to the Rabbis who ruled, SHE MAY ATTRIBUTE,30 how large may be the stain?31 — R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: She may attribute it to a bed-bug even if it is as big as a lupine.32
Our Rabbis taught: A33 bed-bug is of the same length and breadth and the taste of it is like its odour. Whosoever crushes it cannot help34 smelling it. It was stated to be of 'the same length and breadth' in regard to bloodstains.35 'The taste of it is like its odour' has been stated in regard to terumah.36 For we have learnt: 'Or if he tasted the flavour of a bed-bug in his mouth he must spit it out.37 But how could he know this?38 Because 'the taste of it is like its odour'. But still, whence could he know this?39 [Because] 'whosoever crushes it cannot help34 smelling it'.
R. Ashi ruled: In a town in which there are pigs there is no need to consider the possibility of menstrual bloodstains.40 R. Nahman b. Isaac stated: The condition of41 Dokereth42 is43 like that of a town in which there are pigs.44
HOW LARGE A STAIN MAY BE ATTRIBUTED etc. R. Huna explained: If the stain is equal in size to a split bean it may not be attributed to a louse; if it is smaller in size than a split bean it may be attributed to it. R. Hisda, however, explained: If it was of the same size as a split bean it may be attributed to it, but if it was bigger than the size of a split bean it may not be attributed to it. Must it be assumed that they45 differ on the question whether UP TO' is meant to include the terminus,46 R. Huna47 holding the opinion that 'up to' does not include the terminus48 while R. Hisda49 holds that 'up to' is inclusive of the terminus?50 — R. Huna can answer you: 'Up to' may sometimes include the terminus and sometimes exclude it, but in either case51 the meaning must be one that leads to a restriction,52 while R. Hisda can answer you: Elsewhere I agree with you53 that we adopt a meaning that leads to a restriction and not one that leads to a relaxation, but here the meaning must be in agreement with a ruling of R. Abbahu, R. Abbahu having ruled: All prescribed minima of the Sages are intended to impose restrictions, except the prescribed size of a split bean in the case of bloodstains which is intended to relax the law.54 There are others who give this tradition55 as an independent statement:56 R. Huna ruled, A bloodstain of the size of a split bean is treated as one bigger than the size of a split bean;57 while R. Hisda ruled, One of the size of a split bean is treated as one that is less than the size of a split bean;58 but they differ on the interpretation of UP TO here, as has just been explained.59
An objection was raised:
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