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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 7

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Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 7

1

There are a sum total of 50 physical blemishes that disqualify both humans and animals. In particular, they are:

א

כָּל הַמּוּמִין הַפּוֹסְלִים בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה חֲמִשִּׁים וְזֶהוּ פְּרָטָן:

2

Five involving the ear: a) one whose ear lobe has been blemished1 to the extent that one's nail would become held back by the blemish.2 There is, however, no concept of a blemish with regard to the skin which surrounds the lobe of the ear, whether it is perforated, marred, or cracked.

ב

חֲמִשָּׁה בָּאֹזֶן. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּפְגַּם סְחוּס אָזְנוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁתַּחְגֹּר הַצִּפֹּרֶן בַּפְּגָם. אֲבָל הָעוֹר הַמֻּקָּף לִסְחוּס הָאֹזֶן אֵין בּוֹ מוּם בֵּין נִקַּב בֵּין נִסְדַּק:

3

b) one whose ear has cracked to the slightest extent even though its substance has not diminished;

c) one whose [ear] lobe has been perforated, [leaving a hole] the size of a carshinah bean.3 Whether the whole is round or long, if its area is the size of a carshinah bean, it is considered a blemish.

d) one whose ear has dried to the extent that if it was perforated, it would not bleed;

e) one whose ear was double.4 [This applies] even to a goat kid whose ears are often extended and appear double, provided it has two lobes. If, however, it has only one lobe and it appears like one entity that is double-sized, it is acceptable.5

ג

מִי שֶׁנִּסְדַּק סְחוּס אָזְנוֹ בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא חָסֵר. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב סְחוּס אָזְנוֹ כְּכַרְשִׁינָה בֵּין נֶקֶב עָגל בֵּין נֶקֶב אָרֹךְ אִם מִצְטָרֵף לְכַרְשִׁינָה הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם. מִי שֶׁיָּבְשָׁה אָזְנוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּנָּקֵב וְלֹא תּוֹצִיא דָּם. מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה אָזְנוֹ כְּפוּלָה לִשְׁתַּיִם. אֲפִלּוּ הַגְּדִי שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ אָזְנָיו לִהְיוֹתָן נוֹטוֹת וּכְפוּלוֹת וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי סְחוּסִין. אֲבָל אִם אֵין לָהּ אֶלָּא סְחוּס אֶחָד וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּגוּף אֶחָד שֶׁנִּכְפַּל כָּשֵׁר:

4

There are three involving the eye-lashes:

a) one whose eye-lids are perforated even to the slightest extent;

b) one whose eye-lids are cracked even to the slightest extent;

c) one whose eye-lids are blemished6 even to the slightest extent.

These three blemishes are included in the term cherutz mentioned in the Torah.7

ד

שְׁלֹשָׁה בְּרִיס שֶׁל עַיִן וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב רִיס מֵרִיסֵי עֵינָיו בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. מִי שֶׁנִּסְדַּק רִיס מֵרִיסֵי עֵינָיו בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. [מִי שֶׁנִּפְגַּם רִיס מֵרִיסֵי עֵינָיו בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא]. וּשְׁלֹשָׁה מוּמִין אֵלּוּ בִּכְלַל (ויקרא כב כב) "חָרוּץ" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה:

5

There are eight involving the eye:

a) one who is blind,8 whether in one eye or in both eyes;

b) one who cannot see from both of his eyes or one of them, even though there is no apparent change in them, because he has water continuously descending into his eyes;

c) one who cannot see with both or one of his eyes clearly, because he has continuous nerve deterioration;9

d) one who has a mound like a grape in his eye,10 even though he can still see;

e) one who has cataracts11 in his eyes which cover some of the pupil of the eye;

f) one who has the white of his eyes extended slightly into the pupil until the pupil is interrupted by the white of the eye. This is the meaning of the term tivlul mentioned in the Torah.12 If, however, the pupil is extended and enters the white of the eye, it is not considered a blemish, for there are no blemishes in the white of the eye;

g) one who has a white point in the midst of his pupil. This is the meaning of the term dak mentioned in the Torah.13 [The above applies] provided it appears floating on the pupil. If, however, it is not floating, or if it is submerged in the pupil, it is not a blemish. Similarly, if there was a black mark in the midst of the white, even if it appeared to be floating, it is not considered a blemish, for there are no blemishes in the white. If there was a black mark sunk in the pupil, it is also included in the blemish called dak. If, however, it appears to be floating, since it is black within black, it is not considered as a blemish.

ה

שְׁמוֹנָה בָּעַיִן וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הָעִוֵּר בֵּין בְּאֶחָד מֵעֵינָיו בֵּין מִשְּׁתֵּיהֶן. מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה בִּשְׁתֵּי עֵינָיו אוֹ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין נִרְאָה בָּהֶן שִׁנּוּי כְּלָל מֵחֲמַת שֶׁיָּרְדוּ מַיִם קְבוּעִים כְּנֶגֶד רֵאוֹתָיו. מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה בְּעֵינָיו אוֹ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן רְאִיָּה בְּרוּרָה מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהָיָה בָּהּ סַנְוֵרִים קְבוּעִים. מִי שֶׁבְּעֵינוֹ כְּמוֹ עֵנָב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא רוֹאֶה. מִי שֶׁיָּצָא בָּשָׂר יָתֵר בְּעֵינוֹ עַד שֶׁחִפָּה מְעַט מִן הַשָּׁחֹר שֶׁל עַיִן. מִי שֶׁנִּמְשַׁךְ הַלֹּבֶן שֶׁל עַיִן וְנִכְנַס מִמֶּנּוּ מְעַט בַּשָּׁחֹר עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא הַשָּׁחֹר מְעֹרָב בַּלֹּבֶן וְהוּא (ויקרא כא כ) "תְּבַלֻּל" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה. אֲבָל אִם יָצָא מִן הַשָּׁחֹר לְתוֹךְ הַלָּבָן אֵינוֹ מוּם שֶׁאֵין מוּמִין בְּלָבָן. מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה נְקֻדָּה לְבָנָה בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׁחֹר וְזֶהוּ (ויקרא כא כ) "דַּק" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה וְהוּא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה צָפָה עַל גַּבֵּי הַשָּׁחֹר. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הָיְתָה צָפָה אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה מְשֻׁקַּעַת בְּשָׁחֹר אֵינוֹ מוּם. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה נְקֻדָּה שְׁחֹרָה בְּתוֹךְ הַלֹּבֶן אֲפִלּוּ צָפָה אֵינוֹ מוּם שֶׁאֵין מוּמִים בְּלָבָן. הָיְתָה נְקֻדָּה שְׁחוֹרָה שׁוֹקַעַת בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׁחֹר אַף זֶה נִקְרָא דַּק. אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה צָפָה הוֹאִיל וְהִיא שְׁחֹרָה בְּשָׁחֹר אֵינוֹ מוּם:

6

There are three involving the nose:

a) One whose nose is perforated, even from only one side;14

b) one whose nose is split;

c) one whose nose is blemished.

ו

שְׁלֹשָׁה בַּחֹטֶם. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב חָטְמוֹ אֲפִלּוּ מִצַּד אֶחָד. מִי שֶׁנִּסְדַּק חָטְמוֹ. מִי שֶׁנִּפְגַּם חָטְמוֹ:

7

There are six involving the mouth:

a) One whose lip is perforated; this applies even if only one is perforated;

b) one whose lip is blemished;

c) one whose lip is cracked, provided the surface of the lip is split into two sides;

d) one whose lower jawbone extends even the slightest measure further than his upper jawbone;

e) one whose mouth is swollen congenitally, as part of the structure of his body. If, however, it is swollen because of the wind,15 it is not considered a blemish;

f) one from whom the majority of the free portion of the tongue16 was removed.

ז

שִׁשָּׁה בַּפֶּה. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב שְׂפָתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אַחַת מֵהֶן. מִי שֶׁנִּפְגְּמָה שְׂפָתוֹ. מִי שֶׁנִּסְדְּקָה שְׂפָתוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁנִּסְדַּק מַזַּר שֶׁלָּהּ עַד שֶׁתֵּחָלֵק לִשְׁנֵי רָאשִׁים. מִי שֶׁעֶצֶם לֶחְיוֹ הַתַּחְתּוֹן עוֹדֵף עַל הָעֶלְיוֹן כָּל שֶׁהוּא. מִי שֶׁפִּיו נִבְלַם מֵחֲמַת גּוּפוֹ וּבְרִיָּתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם נִבְלַם מֵחֲמַת הָרוּחַ אֵינוֹ מוּם. מִי שֶׁנִּטַּל רֹב הַמְדַבֵּר שֶׁל לְשׁוֹנוֹ:

8

There are twelve involving the reproductive organs:

a-d) one whose member is crushed,17 mashed, severed, or cut off;

e-h) one whose testicles - or testicle - is crushed, mashed, severed, or cut off;

i) one who has only one testicle even though he has two sacs;18

j) one whose two testicles are in one sac;

k) a person whose sexual organ is covered by flesh and his gender cannot be determined;

j) a hermaphrodite.19

ח

שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר בְּאֵיבְרֵי הַזֶּרַע וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּמְעַךְ הַגִּיד שֶׁלּוֹ. אוֹ נִכְתַּת. אוֹ נִתַּק. אוֹ נִכְרַת. מִי שֶׁנִּמְעֲכוּ הַבֵּיצִים שֶׁלּוֹ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. אוֹ נִכְתְּתוּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. אוֹ נִתְּקוּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. אוֹ נִכְרְתוּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא בֵּיצָה אַחַת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁנֵי כִּיסִין. מִי שֶׁשְּׁתֵּי בֵּיצָיו בְּכִיס אֶחָד. הַטֻּמְטוּם. הָאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס:

9

There are six involving the hands and the feet:

a) one who limps;20 b) one whose hip has been displaced. This is the meaning of the term serua used by the Torah;21

c) one who has one hip attached at a higher place than the other;

d) one whose arm-bone is broken,22 provided it is apparent;

e) one whose leg-bone is broken,23 provided it is apparent. Even if it is not apparent when he stands, if it is apparent when he walks, it is a blemish;

f) one whose legs are swollen congenitally, as part of the structure of his body. If, however, they are swollen because of the wind, it is not considered a blemish.

ט

שִׁשָּׁה בַּיָּדַיִם וּבָרַגְלַיִם וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַפִּסֵּחַ. וּמִי שֶׁנִּשְׁמְטָה יְרֵכוֹ הוּא (ויקרא כא יח) (ויקרא כב כג) "שָׂרוּעַ" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה. מִי שֶׁאַחַת מִיַּרְכוֹתָיו גְּבוֹהָה מֵחֲבֶרְתָּהּ. מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּר עֶצֶם יָדוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִכָּר. מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּר עֶצֶם רַגְלוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִכָּר. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִכָּר כְּשֶׁעוֹמֵד אִם נִכָּר כְּשֶׁיְּהַלֵּךְ הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם. מִי שֶׁרַגְלָיו מְבֻלָּמוֹת מֵחֲמַת עַצְמָן וּבְרִיָּתָן. אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ מְבֻלָּמוֹת מֵחֲמַת הָרוּחַ אֵינוֹ מוּם:

10

There are four [types of blemishes] that may occur in any place in the body. They are:

a) one who has a dry skin eruption of even the slightest size. This is the meaning of the term gerev mentioned in the Torah;24
b) a growth that has a bone. This is the meaning of the term yabelet mentioned in the Torah;25

c) one who has an Egyptian boil26 of the slightest size. It is a type of boil which is firm and of distasteful appearance. This is the meaning of the term yafelet mentioned in the Torah.27

י

אַרְבָּעָה רְאוּיִין לִהְיוֹת בְּכָל הַגּוּף וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ גָּרָב יָבֵשׁ כָּל שֶׁהוּא וְזֶהוּ הַ (ויקרא כא כ) (ויקרא כב כב) "גָּרָב" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ יַבֶּלֶת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ עֶצֶם וְזֶה הוּא (ויקרא כב כב) "יַבֶּלֶת" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ חֲזָזִית מִצְרִית כָּל שֶׁהִיא וְהִיא חֲזָזִית קָשָׁה וּכְעוּרָה וְזוֹ הוּא (ויקרא כא כ) (ויקרא כב כב) "יַלֶּפֶת" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה:

11

d) Whenever there is a groove made in any bone that is apparent,28 it is considered a blemish. It is included in the category charutz mentioned in the Torah.29 The ribs are not considered as bones that are apparent.

יא

כָּל עֶצֶם שֶׁבְּגָלוּי שֶׁנֶּחְרַץ בּוֹ חָרִיץ הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם וְהוּא בִּכְלַל (ויקרא כב כב) "חָרוּץ" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה. וְאֵין הַצְּלָעוֹת בִּכְלַל עֲצָמוֹת שֶׁבְּגָלוּי:

12

There are also three other types of blemishes:30

a) an elderly man who has reached the stage that he quivers and trembles when he stands;

b) a person who is sick and trembles because of his illness and the weakening of his strength.

A treifah31 is acceptable among humans, but is disqualified among animals.32 Similarly, one born through Caesarian section is acceptable among humans, but is disqualified among animals.33

יב

וְעוֹד יֵשׁ שָׁם שְׁלֹשָׁה מוּמִין אֲחֵרִים וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַזָּקֵן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לִהְיוֹת רוֹתֵת וְרוֹעֵד כְּשֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד. הַחוֹלֶה כְּשֶׁהוּא רוֹעֵד מִפְּנֵי חָלְיוֹ וְכִשְׁלוֹן כֹּחוֹ. אֲבָל הַטְּרֵפָה כָּשֵׁר בָּאָדָם וּפָסוּל בִּבְהֵמָה. וְכֵן יוֹצֵא דֹּפֶן כָּשֵׁר בָּאָדָם וּפָסוּל בִּבְהֵמָה:

13

c) One who is foul-smelling. A priest who has a foul-smelling odor because of sweat may wash and rub perfume on his flesh and serve. If he has a foul odor emanating from his mouth, he may put pepper, ginger, or the like in his mouth and serve. If, however, he serves while his body is foul-smelling due to sweat or he had bad breath, he desecrates his service like one who has any of the other blemishes.

יג

הַמְזֹהָם וְכֹהֵן שֶׁהוּא מְזֹהָם בְּזֵעָתוֹ רוֹחֵץ וְשָׁף כָּל גּוּפוֹ בְּבשֶֹׁם וְעוֹבֵד. הָיָה רֵיחַ פִּיו רַע נוֹתֵן בְּפִיו פִּלְפֵּל אוֹ זַנְגְּבִיל וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וְעוֹבֵד. וְאִם עָבַד בְּזִהוּם זֵעָתוֹ אוֹ בְּזִהוּם פִּיו הֲרֵי חִלֵּל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כִּשְׁאָר אֵלּוּ הַבַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין כֻּלָּם:

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Footnotes
1.

I.e., its substance has been diminished.

2.

I.e., if one would run his nail over the lobe of this person's ear, like one runs his nail over a ritual slaughterer's knife, the progress of his nail would be held back by the blemish. See Rashi, Bechorot 37b.

3.

A small bean about the size of a lentil (ibid.).

4.

I.e., it appears as if he has two ears, one inside the other.

5.

Although the Rambam's version of the source for this ruling, Bechorot 6:9 differs from the standard printed text of the Mishnah, the interpretation of both versions is the same.

6.

I.e., its substance has been diminished.

8.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:18.

9.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's version of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 6:3).

10.

Due to a retinal infection (ibid.:2).

11.

This refers to the term chilazon nachash mentioned in the Mishnah (ibid.).

13.

Due to a retinal infection (ibid.:2).

14.

If, however, the cartilage between the nostrils is perforated and it is not visible externally, it is not considered as a blemish [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 6:4)].

15.

Because the swelling comes from an external factor.

16.

Our translation is taken from Rashi's commentary (Bechorot 40a).

17.

This is the meaning of the term miruach eshef in Leviticus 21:20.

18.

This refers to the inner sacs within the larger scrotum.

19.

More details regarding the individuals in the latter two categories are found in Hilchot Ishut 2:25-26; Hilchot Nizirut 2:11; et al. See also Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 3:3.

20.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:18.

21.

Leviticus 21:18; 22:23. The Rambam's interpretation is based on the Sifra. Rashi in his commentary to the Torah explains the term differently.

22.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:19.

23.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:19.

26.

A moist skin eruption reminiscent of the boils visited upon the Egyptians in the Ten Plagues. Its external layer is moist, but its internal layer is dry and it is also very distasteful in appearance.

28.

E.g., an arm or a leg (Bechorot 40b).

30.

The laws pertaining to animals with these three blemishes are slightly different than those pertaining to animals with other blemishes. See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 2:6.

31.

A man or an animal that has a physical infirmity that will cause him to die within twelve months. See Chapter 6, Halachah 7.

32.

See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 3:1.

33.

See ibid.:4.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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