MISHNAH. SHAMMAI RULED: FOR ALL WOMEN1 IT SUFFICES [TO RECKON] THEIR [PERIOD OF UNCLEANNESS FROM THE] TIME [OF THEIR DISCOVERING THE FLOW].2 HILLEL RULED: [THEIR PERIOD OF UNCLEANNESS IS TO BE RECKONED RETROSPECTIVELY] FROM THE [PREVIOUS] EXAMINATION TO THE [LAST] EXAMINATION,3 EVEN [IF THE INTERVAL EXTENDED] FOR MANY DAYS. THE SAGES, HOWEVER, RULED: [THE LAW IS] NEITHER IN AGREEMENT WITH THE OPINION OF THE FORMER4 NOR IN AGREEMENT WITH THAT OF THE LATTER,5 BUT [THE WOMEN ARE DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN UNCLEAN] DURING [THE PRECEDING] TWENTY-FOUR HOURS6 WHEN THIS7 LESSENS THE PERIOD FROM THE [PREVIOUS] EXAMINATION TO THE [LAST] EXAMINATION, AND DURING THE PERIOD FROM THE [PREVIOUS] EXAMINATION TO THE [LAST] EXAMINATION WHEN THIS8 LESSENS THE PERIOD OF TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.
FOR ANY WOMAN WHO HAS A SETTLED PERIOD IT SUFFICES [TO RECKON HER PERIOD OF UNCLEANNESS FROM] THE TIME SHE DISCOVERS THE FLOW: AND IF A WOMAN USES TESTING-RAGS WHEN9 SHE HAS MARITAL INTERCOURSE, THIS IS INDEED10 LIKE AN EXAMINATION WHICH LESSENS EITHER THE PERIOD OF THE [PAST] TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OR THE PERIOD FROM THE [PREVIOUS] EXAMINATION TO THE [LAST] EXAMINATION. HOW [IS ONE TO UNDERSTAND THE RULING THAT]11 IT SUFFICES [TO RECKON HER PERIOD OF UNCLEANNESS FROM] THE TIME SHE DISCOVERS THE FLOW'? IF SHE WAS SITTING ON A BED AND WAS OCCUPIED WITH RITUALLY CLEAN OBJECTS12 AND, HAVING LEFT THEM, OBSERVED A FLOW, SHE IS RITUALLY UNCLEAN WHILE THE OBJECTS13 REMAIN RITUALLY CLEAN.
ALTHOUGH THEY14 HAVE LAID DOWN THAT SHE15 CONVEYS UNCLEANNESS FOR A PERIOD OF TWENTY-FOUR HOURS [RETROSPECTIVELY]16 SHE COUNTS [THE SEVEN DAYS OF HER MENSTRUATION]17 ONLY FROM THE TIME SHE OBSERVED THE FLOW.
GEMARA. What is Shammai's reason?18 — He is of the opinion that a woman19 should be presumed to enjoy20 her usual status, and the status of the woman21 was one of cleanness.22 And Hillel?23 — When is it said that an object is presumed to possess its usual status? Only when the unfavourable condition24 is not internal;25 but as regards a woman,
Original footnotes renumbered.
- In respect of menstrual uncleanness.
- It being assumed that up to that moment there was no vestige of blood even in the ante-chamber (cf. Mishnah infra 40a). Hence only objects that were touched by the woman after the discovery become ritually unclean. All objects touched prior to that moment remain clean.
- When she discovered the discharge. If the last, for instance, took place at 5 p.m. on a Thursday and the previous one at 8 a.m. on the preceding Sunday, all objects touched since the Sunday examination are deemed to be ritually unclean because it is assumed that some blood, prevented from leaving the body by the walls of the womb, may have made its way into the ante-chamber immediately after that examination.
- Shammai, whose ruling is too lenient.
- Hillel, who is too restrictive, since blood could not well be retained in the ante-chamber for a very long time.
- Me'eth le'eth, lit., 'from time to time'.
- An interval of more than twenty-four hours having intervened between the two examinations.
- The two examinations having taken place within twenty-four hours.
- Before and after.
- Lit., 'behold this'.
- In the case of 'ANY WOMAN WHO HAS A SETTLED PERIOD (supra).
- In the preparation, for instance, of foodstuffs.
- The bed, and the foodstuffs which she handled.
- The Sages.
- A woman who had no settled period.
- From the time she observed the flow.
- Prescribed in Lev. XV, 19.
- For his ruling in the first clause of our Mishnah.
- About whom it is uncertain when her flow began.
- Lit., 'cause to stand … upon'.
- Spoken of in our Mishnah.
- Since she was occupied with ritually clean things.
- How, in view of Shammai's reason, can he maintain his ruling.
- Which might impair its status.
- But is due to some external cause. MS.M. adds, 'as, for instance, when it is doubtful whether one did, or did not touch (an unclean object)'.
since what she observes [is a discharge] from her own body, it cannot be held that she is presumed to have her usual status.
Wherein, however, does this1 essentially differ2 from that of a ritual bath of which we learnt: If a ritual bath3 was measured and found lacking, all purifications that have heretofore been effected through it, whether it was in a public4 or in a private domain,5 are regarded6 as unclean?7 According to Shammai8 the difficulty arises from 'heretofore'; while according to Hillel the difficulty arises, does it not, from the certainty; for, whereas in the case of the twenty-four hours' period9 of the menstruant [any terumah10 she touched] is only held in suspense, it being neither eaten nor burned,11 here12 the uncleanness is regarded as a certainty?13 — The reason14 there15 is that it may be postulated that the unclean person shall be regarded as being in his presumptive status16 and assumed17 not to have performed proper immersion.18 On the contrary! Why not postulate that the ritual bath shall be regarded as being in its presumptive status of validity and assume that it was not lacking?19 — Surely a lacking [bath] is before you. But in this case also,20 is not blood before you? — She has only just now observed it.21 In that case22 too, is it not23 lacking only just now?24 — What a comparison!25 In that case22 it might well be presumed that the water was gradually diminishing,26 but can it here also be presumed that she was gradually observing the flow?27 — What an objection is this! Is it not possible that she observed the blood only when it was coming in profusion?28 — In the former case29 there are two unfavourable factors30 while in the latter31 there is only one unfavourable factor.32 Wherein, however,33 does this31 differ from the case of the jug concerning which we have learnt:34 If one tested35 a wine jug for the purpose of periodically taking from it terumah [for wine kept in other jugs]36 and, subsequently,37 it was found to contain vinegar,38 all39 three days it is certain,40 and after that it is doubtful.41 Now does not this42 present an objection against Shammai?43 — The reason there44 is that it can be postulated that the tebel45 shall be regarded as having its presumptive status, and then it may be presumed that it had not been ritually prepared.46 On the contrary! Why not postulate that the wine be regarded as having its presumptive status47 and then it might be assumed that it had not become sour? — Surely it stands sour before you. But in that case also48 is there not blood before you? — She has only just now observed it. But in that case too49 is it not sour only just now? — What a comparison! In the latter case49 it might well be presumed that the wine turned sour by degrees,50 but can it also be said in the former case48 that she observed the flow by degrees?51 — What an objection is this! Is it not possible that she observed the blood only when it came in profusion? — In the former case49 there are two unfavourable factors52 while in the latter48 there is only one such factor.53
An incongruity, however, was pointed out between the case of the jug54 and that of the ritual bath:55 Wherein lies the essential difference between the two56 that in the latter case57 [the retrospective uncleanness is regarded as] a certainty while in that of the former58 [the uncleanness of the terumah is deemed] doubtful? — R. Hanina of Sura replied: Who is the author [of the ruling concerning the] jug? R. Simeon, who in respect of a ritual bath also regards [the retrospective uncleanness] as a matter of doubt; for it was taught:59 If a ritual bath was measured and found lacking all purifications heretofore effected through it whether it was in a public or in a private domain, are regarded as unclean.60 R. Simeon ruled: In a public domain they are regarded as clean but in a private domain they are regarded as being in suspense.61
Original footnotes renumbered.
- The case of the menstruant.
- Both according to Shammai and Hillel.
- Which must contain a minimum of forty se'ah of water.
- Where a case of doubtful uncleanness is elsewhere regarded as clean.
- Where a doubtful case is regarded as unclean (cf. prev. n.).
- Since the bath is now ritually invalid.
- Mik. II, 2.
- Who ruled that the period of uncleanness of menstruant women begins FROM THE TIME OF THEIR DISCOVERY OF THE FLOW and not retrospectively.
- According to the Sages; or the interval between her last and previous examinations according to Hillel (v. our Mishnah).
- V. Glos.
- As explained infra 6a.
- In the case of the ritual bath, where it is categorically stated 'are retrospectively unclean'.
- And the terumah must be burned.
- For the restrictions.
- The case of the ritual bath.
- Of uncleanness, which before valid immersion is a certainty.
- On account of the discovered invalidity of the ritual bath he used.
- Since the invalidity may have begun at the time the immersion took place.
- At the time of the immersion.
- That of the menstruant.
- Hence there is no need to assume that the flow began any earlier.
- Ritual bath.
- As far as is known.
- Why then should it be assumed to have been lacking earlier?
- Lit., 'thus, now'.
- So that the presumptive state of validity has long ago been impaired. And since it is not known when the process began the restrictive ruling given is well justified.
- Obviously not. Hence it may well be assumed that the flow began only at the moment when it was discovered.
- While in fact a particle of it which is quite sufficient to cause uncleanness (cf. infra 40) may have been in the antechamber long before she was aware of any flow.
- That of the ritual bath.
- The assumption that the unclean person was in his confirmed status of uncleanness and the lacking condition of the bath.
- The case of the menstruant.
- The present observation of the blood. Since against this factor there is the favourable one of the woman's previous condition of confirmed cleanness it may well be assumed that the flow began not earlier than the moment when it was observed.
- According to Shammai.
- What follows is a Baraitha (Tosef. Ter. IV) and is quoted here as Mishnah. This is not an isolated instance. V. Higger Ozar ha Beraitoth, pp. 37ff.
- Either by tasting some of its contents (Rashi) the terumah and tithe having been duly taken from it (Rashb. B.B. 96a) or by smelling it (Tosaf. l.c.).
- In order that he might be allowed to use the wine in the other jugs he keeps this one jug for the purpose of taking from it daily, or whenever required, the appropriate quantity of wine as terumah or tithe for the wine in the other jugs.
- After a month or two, for instance.
- A liquid which (according to Rabbi, B.B. 84b) may not be used as terumah for wine.
- So MS.M. and Rashal. Cur. edd. in parenthesis insert 'the first'.
- V. following note.
- Tosef. Ter. IV. The meaning according to R. Johanan (B.B. 96a) is that during the first three days after the test the contents of the jug are regarded as 'certain' wine because in less than three days wine cannot turn into vinegar. Even if it be assumed that it began to turn sour immediately after the test it could not be called 'vinegar' until full three days had elapsed. The terumah given within these three days must inevitably have been wine and consequently have exempted the wine in the other jugs. After three days the contents are regarded as 'doubtful wine' since it is possible that the wine began to deteriorate only three days before it was found to be vinegar, into which it may have turned just at that moment. As the terumah is accordingly of a doubtful nature another portion must be set aside for the purpose. The meaning according to R. Joshua b. Levi (ibid.) is that during the last three days prior to the discovery that it had turned into vinegar, it is regarded as 'certain' vinegar because, in his opinion, the contents are deemed to be vinegar as soon as the wine begins to deteriorate in odour though its taste may still be that of wine. Since it is now proper vinegar the deterioration must have commenced at least three days earlier. Prior to the three days it is regarded as 'doubtful' because it is unknown when the deterioration had set in.
- The ruling in the Baraitha cited according to which where unfavourable factors exist restrictions are applied retrospectively.
- Who ruled in our Mishnah that menstruants are not deemed to have been unclean for any length of time retrospectively, but reckon their period of uncleanness only from the moment OF THEIR DISCOVERING THE FLOW.
- In the Baraitha cited.
- The untithed wine, v. Glos.
- Sc. that the priestly and levitical dues have not been duly set aside for it.
- Of being wine.
- That of the menstruant.
- That of the jug of wine.
- So that it lost its status long before it completely turned into vinegar.
- Of course not. Hence the assumption that the flow began the moment it was discovered.
- The confirmed status of the wine as tebel and its present sour condition.
- The present observation of the blood.
- Cited supra from Tosef. Ter. IV.
- Mik. II, 2, also cited supra.
- In both of which (as stated supra) there are equally two unfavourable factors.
- Mik. II, 2.
- Cited supra from Tosef. Ter. IV.
- So marg. gl. Cur. edd. 'we learnt'.
- Supra q.v. notes.
- Tosef. Mik. I; the reason is discussed infra.