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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah

Folio 6a

are [as unclean] as that which touches the body of the menstruant herself; just as the touching of her body causes the uncleanness of a human being who in turn causes the uncleanness of the clothes he wears1  so does the touching of her bed or seat cause the uncleanness of a human being who in turn causes the uncleanness of the clothes he wears.

It was taught in agreement with Raba: A woman who observed a bloodstain2  conveys uncleanness retrospectively.3  And what are the things to which she conveys the uncleanness?4  Foodstuffs and drinks,5  beds and seats,6  as well as any earthen vessel, even though it was covered with a tightly fitting lid,7  and her counting8  is9  disturbed,10  and she conveys11  uncleanness to the man who cohabited with her retrospectively. R. Akiba12  ruled: She conveys uncleanness to the man who cohabited with her but begins her counting13  from the time only of her observing a flow. If she observed a flow of blood,14  she conveys uncleanness retrospectively for twenty-four hours.15  And what are the things to which she conveys uncleanness?16  Foodstuffs and drinks,17  beds and seats18  as well as any earthen vessel, though it was covered with a tightly fitting lid,19  her counting20  is not21  disturbed and she does not convey22  uncleanness to the man who cohabited with her.23  In either case, however,24  the uncleanness25  is held in suspense [and any consecrated foodstuffs touched] must neither be eaten nor burned.26  As to Raba, however,27  if he heard of the Baraitha,28  why did he not say [that his ruling is derived from] a Baraitha? And if he did not hear of the Baraitha, whence did he [derive the law for his inference] a minori ad majus? — The fact is that he heard of the Baraitha, but29  were he to derive his ruling from the Baraitha it could have been objected [that the uncleanness30  is conveyed] either to the man or to his clothes31  but not to the man as well as to the clothes he wears,32  hence he had recourse to his inference a minori ad majus.33

R. Huna ruled: [The retrospective uncleanness during] the twenty-four hours [preceding the observation] of a menstrual flow is conveyed only to hallowed things but not to terumah. But if so, should not this law have been mentioned together with those of the other grades [of sanctity]?34  — Only cases that involve definite uncleanness are enumerated but any in which no definite uncleanness is involved35  is not mentioned.

An objection was raised: What are the things to which she conveys uncleanness? Foodstuffs and drinks.36  Does not this37  mean those that are hallowed as well as those that are terumah? — No, only those that are hallowed.38

Come and hear: R. Judah ruled [that priestly women must examine their bodies] even after they have concluded a meal39  of terumah;40  and the point raised, 'Is not the consumed meal a matter of the past?'41  [And to this] R. Hisda replied: This42  was necessary only for the sake of ensuring the fitness of the remnants before her?43  — R. Huna reads:44  'To burn the remnants that were in her hands',45  the examination being held immediately after46  [the meal].47

Come and hear: It once happened that Rabbi acted48  in accordance with the ruling of R. Eliezer,49  and after he reminded himself50  he observed, 'R. Eliezer deserves to be relied upon

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Torath kohanim on Lev. XV, 19.
  2. So BaH. and MS.M. Cur. edd. 'blood'.
  3. Cf. prev. n. (Cur. edd. read 'twenty-four hours'), from the time the garment was last washed, it being unknown how soon after this the stain was made.
  4. During the period mentioned (cf. prev. n.).
  5. Which she touched (cf. foll. n.).
  6. On which she lay or sat. (Cur. edd. reverse the order.)
  7. Provided the woman shook the vessel and did not merely touch it.
  8. Of the 'eleven days' following the seven days of a menstrual period.
  9. Cur. edd. 'is not'.
  10. So MS.M and Rashi; because it is unknown when the flow actually appeared and the limits of the menstruation period cannot consequently be determined.
  11. Cur. edd. 'does not convey'.
  12. MS.M inserts R. Akiba's ruling infra before 'In either case, however'.
  13. Of the seven days of menstruation.
  14. So BaH. and MS.M. Cur. edd., 'stain'.
  15. BaH. and MS.M. Cur. edd. omit 'for twenty-four hours'.
  16. During the period mentioned.
  17. Which she touched.
  18. On which she lay and sat.
  19. Provided the woman shook the vessel and did not merely touch it.
  20. Of the 'eleven days' following the seven days of a menstrual period.
  21. Cf. Rashi and MS.M. Cur. edd. omit 'not'.
  22. So MS.M. Cur. edd., 'she conveys'.
  23. Cur. edd. add, 'but begins her counting from the time only of her observing of the flow'.
  24. Whether there was only a stain or a flow.
  25. During the period mentioned.
  26. Thus it has been shown that, in agreement with Raba, the Baraitha tacitly assumes that the beds and seats under discussion convey uncleanness not only to the man who came in contact with them but also to the clothes he wears (cf. Tosaf. Asheri a.l.).
  27. Who (supra 5b ad fin.) took the law of the uncleanness of an earthen vessel for granted and deduced from it that of the bed.
  28. That was just cited, in which the law of the earthen vessel is explicitly enunciated.
  29. As to the reason why he did not quote it.
  30. Of the bed or seat.
  31. Whichever of them came in contact with the unclean object.
  32. Which did not come in direct contact with the seat or the bed.
  33. From an earthenware vessel.
  34. In Hag. 20b where are enumerated the restrictions that are applicable to hallowed things and not to terumah and vice versa.
  35. Such as that of the twenty-four hours' period under discussion where the uncleanness is merely a preventive measure.
  36. Supra, in the Baraitha last cited.
  37. 'Foodstuffs and drinks'.
  38. The oil of a meal-offering, for instance, or the wine of libation.
  39. Lit., 'at the time of their passing away from eating'.
  40. Infra 11a.
  41. Lit., 'what has been, has been', sc. what is the use of an examination after the meal has been consumed when nothing can be done even if the woman were to be found unclean.
  42. The examination.
  43. Should a woman, for instance, discover a flow later in the day the examination after her morning meal would ensure the cleanness of the terumah that remained from that meal. Thus it follows that in the absence of an examination the terumah would be deemed to be unclean retrospectively. How, then, could R. Huna maintain that the uncleanness is conveyed to hallowed things only?
  44. In place of R. Hisda's version of R. Judah's meaning.
  45. Sc., if she finds herself on examination to be unclean the remnants of her meal, since she touched them, are deemed to be unclean and, as unclean terumah must be burned.
  46. Heb. Keshi'ur weseth (v. Rashi). Evthion (Tosaf. Asheri) [G], 'forthwith' (cf. Jast.).
  47. So that it may be taken for granted that the terumah she had just handled had come in contact with a confirmed menstruant. Where, however, the woman held no examination immediately after her meal, a subsequent discovery of a place causes no retrospective uncleanness to the terumah she handled.
  48. In the case of a young woman who did not suffer a flow during three consecutive periods (of thirty days each).
  49. That the period of uncleanness is to be reckoned from the discovery of the flow and not retrospectively. The Rabbis who differ from R. Eliezer hold this ruling to apply to an old woman only (whose senility might be assumed to be the cause of the irregularity) but not to a young one (cf. prev. n.).
  50. This is discussed presently.
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Niddah 6b

in an emergency'.1  And the point was raised, What could be the meaning of 'after he reminded himself'? If it be explained, 'After he remembered that the halachah was not in agreement with R. Eliezer but in agreement with the Rabbis', [the difficulty would arise:] How could he act according to the former's ruling2  even in an emergency? Hence,3  [it means after he recalled] that it was not stated whether the law was in agreement with the one Master or with the other Master, and having recalled that it was not an individual that differed from him4  but that many differ from him he observed, 'R. Eliezer deserves to be relied upon in an emergency'.1  Now if it is granted [that retrospective uncleanness applies also] to terumah5  one can well understand the incident6  since terumah was in existence in the days of Rabbi, but if it is maintained [that retrospective uncleanness is applicable only] to hallowed things7  [the objection would arise:] Were there hallowed things in the days of Rabbi?8  — [This may be explained] on the lines of a statement of 'Ullah. As 'Ulla stated, 'The Associates'9  in Galilee10  keep their things11  in levitical cleanness';12  so they may have done it in the days of Rabbi.

Come and hear: It once happened that R. Gamaliel's13  maid was baking bread loaves of terumah and after each14  she rinsed her hands with water and held an examination. After the last one when she held the examination she found herself to be unclean and she came and asked R. Gamaliel who told her that they were all unclean.15  'Master', she said to him, 'did I not hold an examination after each one'?14  'If so', he told her, 'the last16  is unclean17  while all the others are clean'. At all events was it not here stated, 'bread loaves of terumah'?18  — By terumah was meant19  the bread loaves20  of a thanksgiving-offering.21  But how does it come about that the loaves of a thanksgiving-offering22  should require to be baked?23  This is a case where they24  were set aside25  while they were being kneaded,26  this being in line with what R. Tobi b. Kattina27  ruled: 'If a man baked the loaves of a thanksgiving-offering in four loaves28  he has performed his duty'. [For when] the objection was raised, 'Do we not require forty loaves',29  [the reply was that] this30  is just a religious requirement.31  But, surely, [it was asked,] is it not necessary to separate terumah25  from each?32  And should you reply that one might break off a piece from each33  [it could be retorted that:] The All Merciful said, one34  which implies that one must not break off a piece.25  [To this] it was replied that 'they were set aside while they were being kneaded';35  so here also36  it may be explained that they were separated while they were being kneaded.37

Come and hear: Another incident took place when R. Gamaliel's maid was sealing wine jars with clay that after each she rinsed her hands with water and held an examination. After the last one when she held the examination and found herself to be unclean she came and asked R. Gamaliel who told her that they were all unclean. 'But, surely', she said to him, 'I held an examination after each one'. 'If so', he told her, 'the last38  is unclean while all the others are clean'. Now if it is conceded that one incident39  concerned hallowed things and the other terumah, it can be well understood why she asked a second time, but if it is contended that the former as well as the latter concerned hallowed things, why should she have asked him a second time? — [Each] incident occurred with a different maid.40

Another version: R. Huna ruled, [The retrospective uncleanness during] the twenty-four hours [preceding the observation] of a menstrual flow is conveyed both to hallowed things and to terumah. Whence is this41  inferred? From its omission in the enumeration of42  the various grades [of sanctity].43  Said R. Nahman to him: Surely, a Tanna44  recited [that the retrospective uncleanness]45  applies only to hallowed things and not to terumah. R. Samuel son of R. Isaac accepted this [teaching]46  from him [and explained it] as applying to common food that was prepared under conditions of hallowed things and not to common food that was prepared in conditions of terumah.47

We learnt elsewhere: If a question of doubtful uncleanness has arisen about a dough48  before it was rolled49  it may be prepared in uncleanness,50  [but if the doubt has arisen] after it had been rolled51  it must be prepared in cleanness.52  'Before it was rolled it may be prepared in uncleanness', because it is common food and it is permitted to cause uncleanness to common food in Erez Israel. 'After it had been rolled it must be prepared in cleanness', because common food that is in a condition of tebel53  in respect of the dough-offering is regarded as dough-offering, and it is forbidden to cause uncleanness to the dough-offering. A Tanna taught:

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Infra 9b. Lit., 'in the time of pressure'. For the nature of the emergency cf. Tosaf. contra Rashi.
  2. Which is contrary to the halachah.
  3. Cur. edd. in parenthesis insert 'not'.
  4. R. Eliezer.
  5. Contrary to the view of R. Huna (supra 6a).
  6. That occurred in Rabbi's time.
  7. As R. Huna laid down (cf. prev. n. but one).
  8. Surely not, since the Temple was no longer in existence at that time!
  9. Habraiya pl. of haber (v. Glos.).
  10. In their hope and expectation that the Temple might at any moment be rebuilt.
  11. Wine, for instance, which was used in the Temple for libation or oil that was used for the meal-offerings.
  12. Sc. bestow upon them the same care as if they were hallowed things. V. Hag., Sonc. ed., p. 157 notes.
  13. R. Gamaliel the Elder (Rashb.), prob. R. Gamaliel of Jamnia (Tosaf.).
  14. Lit., 'between each one and one'.
  15. On account of the twenty-four hours of her retrospective uncleanness.
  16. Lit., 'it'.
  17. Owing to retrospective uncleanness from the previous examination to the last examination.
  18. And yet the law of retrospective uncleanness was applied (cf. prev. n.). How then could R. Huna maintain (supra 6a) that it applies only to hallowed things?
  19. Lit., 'what terumah?'
  20. Sc. the four loaves (one from each of the four kinds) which are given to the priest and are subject to the restrictions of hallowed things though they are called terumah (cf. Lev. VII, 14).
  21. Cf. Lev. VII, 11ff.
  22. I.e., the four that (cf. prev. n. but one) are given to the priest, which are to be taken from the forty (cf. Men. 76a) baked loaves of the offering.
  23. After they have been hallowed by having been given to the priest.
  24. The four loaves.
  25. For the priest.
  26. Hence the baking after they have been hallowed (cf. supra n. 10).
  27. Var. lec. 'b. R. Kisna'.
  28. I.e., of the dough of each of the four kinds he made only one loaf instead of the prescribed ten (cf. Men. 76a).
  29. How then can four suffice?
  30. The number of forty.
  31. But no sine qua non.
  32. Of the four kinds, one from each.
  33. Of the four big loaves.
  34. Lev. VII, 14, 'and … shall offer one', 'one' implying a whole one. (Men. 77b.)
  35. One loaf from each kind was set aside for the priest while nine of each were left for the owner, and subsequently each of the four small and the four large (representing nine small) loaves were duly baked.
  36. In the case of R. Gamaliel's maid.
  37. The maid having been engaged in the baking of the priest's share.
  38. Lit., 'it'.
  39. Of the two in which the maid figured.
  40. Lit., 'it was with two maids'.
  41. That the uncleanness mentioned is equally applicable to terumah and hallowed things.
  42. Lit., 'since he does not teach it at'.
  43. Hag. 20b where the restrictions that apply to hallowed things and not to terumah and vice versa are enumerated.
  44. V. Glos. s.v. (b).
  45. During the twenty-four hours preceding the observation of a flow.
  46. Reported by R. Nahman in the name of a Tanna.
  47. It does not, however, apply to
  48. Lit., 'was produced about it'.
  49. So that it was not yet subject to the dough-offering. Only after it had been rolled is a dough regarded as ready and, therefore, subject to the dough-offering.
  50. Because owing to its doubtful state of uncleanness it may not be eaten in any case.
  51. When it is already subject to the obligation of the offering (cf. prev. n. but one) and when consequently part of it is virtually hallowed.
  52. Hal. III, 2; since it is forbidden to cause uncleanness to a hallowed thing (cf. Bek. 34a) though the dough in question could not in any case be eaten on account of its doubtful condition of uncleanness.
  53. V. Glos.
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