MISHNAH. IF A NAZIRITE POLLS AND THEN DISCOVERS THAT HE WAS DEFILED, THEN IF THE DEFILEMENT IS DEFINITE [THE NAZIRITESHIP] IS RENDERED VOID, BUT IF IT IS A DEFILEMENT OF THE DEPTH,1 IT IS NOT RENDERED VOID, BEFORE POLLING, HOWEVER, EITHER [TYPE OF DEFILE MENT] RENDERS [THE NAZIRITESHIP] VOID. [THE LAW REGARDING 'DEFILEMENT OF THE DEPTH' IS] AS FOLLOWS. IF HE GOES DOWN INTO A CAVERN TO BATHE, AND A CORPSE IS FOUND FLOATING AT THE MOUTH OF THE CAVERN,2 HE IS [DEFINITELY] UNCLEAN. IF IT IS FOUND EMBEDDED IN THE FLOOR OF THE CAVERN,3 THEN IF HE WENT IN MERELY TO REFRESH HIMSELF HE REMAINS CLEAN,4 BUT IF IT WAS TO PURIFY HIMSELF AFTER DEFILEMENT THROUGH CONTACT WITH THE DEAD HE REMAINS UNCLEAN,5 BECAUSE WHERE THE STATUS QUO IS ONE OF DEFILEMENT THE DEFILEMENT REMAINS, BUT WHERE IT IS ONE OF PURITY, HE REMAINS CLEAN, THIS BEING THE PRESUMPTION [IN EACH CASE].6
GEMARA. How do we know this?7 — R. Eliezer said: A verse reads, And if any man die very suddenly beside him,8 'beside him' Signifying that it is evident to him.9 Resh Lakish said: A verse reads, If [any man …] shall be unclean by reason of a dead body or be on the road, afar off,10 signifying that [the uncleanness] must be like a road. Just as a road is visible, so must uncleanness be visible.
If these be correct,11 what of the following where we learnt: 'Defilement of the depth' is such [defilement] as is not known even to a single person living anywhere in the world. If, however, it is known to someone living even at the end of the world, it is not defilement of the depth.12 Now on [Resh Lakish's] view that [defilement] should be [visible] like a road, there is no difficulty,13 but on [R. Eleazar's] view that it must be evident to him, what matters it if there is someone at the end of the world who knows of it? Further, there is the following: If a man finds a corpse lying [buried] across the road,14 he becomes unclean in respect of terumah,15 but remains clean as regards naziriteship and celebration of the passover.16 But what is the difference?17 — We must therefore say that [the rule of] defilement of the depth is known by tradition.18 BEFORE POLLING, HOWEVER, etc.: Who is the author [of the Mishnah]?19 R. Johanan replied: R. Eliezer, who considers that polling estops [him from drinking wine].20
Rami b. Mama propounded: What would be the law if [the nazirite] became unclean during the fulfilment of [his naziriteship], but discovered this after the fulfilment.21 Is it [the moment of] discovery that is important,22 and this occurred after fulfilment, or not,23 the practical difference being [the period that is] to be rendered void?24
1 It follows that after fulfilment is meant. Hence [discovery after fulfilment renders void]. The question, however, still remains whether the whole [period] is rendered void or only seven [days].
But on whose [view is this question asked]?2 Shall I say on the Rabbis' view? It is obvious that the whole period becomes void! Whilst on R. Eliezer's view any [defilement contracted] after fulfilment renders only seven days void? — The reply is [that R. Eliezer said] this of one who actually becomes unclean after fulfilment, whereas here [the defilement of the depth] occurred before the fulfilment.3 [Do we then say that the whole is rendered void] or is this case different since discovery did not come until after fulfilment? — The same passage [answers this question too]. For it says: EITHER [TYPE OF DEFILEMENT] RENDERS IT VOID, making no distinction between them.4
Our Rabbis taught: If a man finds a corpse lying across the road,5 he becomes unclean in respect of terumah,6 but remains clean in respect of the nazirite-vow and celebrating the passover.7 This is only true if there was no room for him to pass [without actually walking over the corpse], but if there was room for him to pass, he remains clean even in respect of terumah.8 [Further], it is only true9 if [the corpse] was found whole, but if it was found [with its limbs] broken or dislocated, even though there was no room to pass10 we conceive that he may perhaps have passed between the pieces.11 If, however, [the corpse] was in a grave, then, even if [its limbs were] broken or dislocated, he becomes unclean because the grave unites it. [Further,] we say this12 only of one who was walking on foot, but if he was carrying a load or riding, he becomes unclean,13 because it is possible for one walking on foot to avoid either touching [the corpse] or making it vibrate,14 or overshadowing it, but it is impossible for one carrying a load or riding to avoid either touching it or making it vibrate or overshadowing it. [Further,] this ruling15 applies only to a 'defilement of the depth', but if it was a known [source of] defilement, all three become unclean. A defilement of the depth is one which is not known to anyone [living even] in any part of the world. If, however, someone [living even] at the other end of the world knows about it. It is not [regarded as] a defilement of the depth.16 If [the corpse] was hidden in straw or in pebbles, it counts as a defilement of the depth,17 [but if] in the sea or by darkness or in a cleft of the rocks, this does not count as a defilement of the depth.18 'Defilement of the depth' was held to apply only in the case of a corpse.19 [THE LAW REGARDING DEFILEMENT OF THE DEPTH IS] AS FOLLOWS. IF HE GOES DOWN: A [dead] reptile when floating, does not defile.20 For it has been taught: If there is a doubt concerning a [source of defilement] floating in a vessel or on the earth,21 it is treated as clean. R. Simeon said that in a vessel [the doubtful object] is treated as unclean, whilst on the earth it is treated as clean.22
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