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Tum'at Met - Chapter 1

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Tum'at Met - Chapter 1

"God, create for me a pure heart and renew within me an upright spirit" (Psalms 51:12).

The Tenth Book


It includes eight halachot. They are:

Hilchot Tum'at Meit - The Laws of the Impurity Imparted by a Human Corpse

Hilchot Parah Adumah - The Laws of the Red Heifer

Hilchot Tum'at Tzara'at - The Laws of the Impurity Imparted by Tzara'at

Hilchot Metamei Mishkav UMoshav - The Laws of the Sources of Impurity

that Impart Impurity to the Places Where One Lies and Sits

Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah - The Laws of Other Primary Categories of Impurity

Hilchot Tum'at Ochalin - The Laws of the Impurity Contracted by Foods

Hilchot Keilim - The Laws of the Impurity Contracted by Keilim

Hilchot Mikveot - The Laws Governing Mikveot

In the name of the Lord, the God of the world.
Create for me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

The tenth book which is The Book of Ritual Purity

It contains eight sets of Halachot and this is their order:

The Laws of Tum'at Meit
The Laws of Parah Adumah
The Laws of Tum'at Tzara'at
The Laws of Metamei Mishkav UMoshav
The Laws of Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah
The Laws of Tum'at Ochalin
The Laws of Keilim
The Laws of Mikveot

Introduction to Hilchos Tum'as Mes

Included in this text is one positive commandment: the laws governing the impurity imparted by a human corpse.

This mitzvah is explained in the ensuing chapters.

בְּשֵׁם יי אֵל עוֹלָם (בראשית כא לג)
לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא לִי אֱלֹהִים, וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי (תהלים נא יב)

ספר עשירי והוא ספר טהרה

הלכותיו שמונה, וזה הוא סידורן:

טומאת מת
הלכות פרה אדומה
הלכות טומאת צרעת
הלכות מטמאי משכב ומושב
הלכות שאר אבות הטומאות
הלכות טומאת אוכלים
הלכות כלים
הלכות מקואות

הלכות טומאת מת - הקדמה

הלכות טומאת מת מצות עשה אחת והוא דין טומאת מת וביאור מצוה זאת בפרקים אלו:


A human corpse imparts ritual impurity that persists for a minimum of seven days when it is touched or carried or when one is under the same structure (ohel). The impurity imparted by touching a corpse or being under the same structure is explicitly mentioned in the Torah, as Numbers 19:11 states: "One who touches a corpse of any human being will be impure for seven days" and ibid.:14 states: "Anyone who enters the tent and anything in the tent will be impure for seven days.


הַמֵּת מְטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא וּבְאֹהֶל טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה. וְטֻמְאַת מַגָּע וְאֹהֶל מְפֹרָשִׁין בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט יא) "הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵת לְכָל נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם וְטָמֵא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים". וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר יט יד) "כָּל הַבָּא אֶל הָאֹהֶל וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּאֹהֶל יִטְמָא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים":


The impurity stemming from carrying a human corpse is derived from the Oral Tradition. It is based on an inference from a lesser matter to a more severe one. If the carcass of animal makes a person impure only until the evening, but does not cause a person to incur ritual impurity when under the same shelter, and yet causes him to incur impurity when carrying it, as Leviticus 11:40 states: "One who carries their carcasses," how much more so should this apply with regard to a human corpse. And the process of reasoning continues: if touching an animal carcass causes one to become impure until the evening and carrying it causes a person to be impure until the evening, so too, since touching a corpse causes a person to be impure for seven days, it should cause him to be impure for seven days if he carries it. The impurity resulting from carrying a corpse is not considered of Rabbinic origin, but is instead, a Scriptural Law. It appears to me that Scripture remained silent concerning this type of impurity in the same way that it remained silent concerning the prohibition against relations with one's daughter, because it explicitly forbade relations with the daughter of one's daughter. And it remained silent concerning the prohibition against partaking of meat cooked with milk, because it explicitly forbade cooking it. Similarly, Scripture did not mention the impurity incurred by carrying a human corpse because it explicitly mentioned that one who was under the same shelter as a corpse incurs impurity. Thus one can infer that this certainly applies to one who carries it.


טֻמְאַת מַשָּׂא מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה. וְקַל וָחֹמֶר הַדְּבָרִים אִם נְבֵלָה שֶׁהִיא טֻמְאַת עֶרֶב וְאֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה בְּאֹהֶל מְטַמְּאָה בְּמַשָּׂא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יא כח) "וְהַנּשֵֹׁא אֶת נִבְלָתָם" הַמֵּת לֹא כָּל שֶׁכֵּן. וּמַה נְּבֵלָה שֶׁמַּגָּעָהּ טֻמְאַת עֶרֶב מַשָּׂאָהּ טֻמְאַת עֶרֶב אַף הַמֵּת שֶׁמַּגָּעוֹ טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה מַשָּׂאוֹ טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה. אֵין טֻמְאַת מַשָּׂא בְּמֵת מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים אֶלָּא דִּין תּוֹרָה. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁשָּׁתַק מִמֶּנָּה הַכָּתוּב כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁשָּׁתַק מֵאִסּוּר הַבַּת לְפִי שֶׁאָסַר בְּפֵרוּשׁ אֲפִלּוּ בַּת הַבַּת. וְשָׁתַק מֵאִסּוּר אֲכִילַת בָּשָׂר בְּחָלָב לְפִי שֶׁאָסַר בְּפֵרוּשׁ אֲפִלּוּ בִּשּׁוּלוֹ. כָּךְ שָׁתַק מִטֻּמְאַת מַשָּׂא בְּמֵת לְפִי שֶׁטִּמֵּא בְּפֵרוּשׁ אֲפִלּוּ טֻמְאַת אָהֳלוֹ כָּל שֶׁכֵּן מַשָּׂאוֹ:


The impurity incurred by touching mentioned in all situations, whether involving a human corpse or another source of impurity, is brought about by a person touching the source of impurity itself. Whether he touches it with his flesh, his hand, his foot, or any other portion of his body, even with his tongue, he becomes impure. Similarly, it appears to me that if a person touches a source of impurity with his nails or with his teeth, he becomes impure. The rationale is since they are connected to the body, they are considered as the body itself. If, however, a person took a source of impurity, skewered it with a weaving needle, and inserted it into the throat of a person who is ritually pure without it touching his tongue or inserted it within the womb of a woman from below without touching her flesh, the person who swallowed the source of impurity does not become impure because his inner organs came in contact with the source of impurity. The rationale is that contact between a source of impurity and one's inner organs is not considered as touch.


טֻמְאַת מַגָּע הָאֲמוּרָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם בֵּין בְּמֵת בֵּין בִּשְׁאָר הַמְטַמְּאִים הוּא שֶׁנָּגַע הָאָדָם בִּבְשָׂרוֹ בַּטֻּמְאָה עַצְמָהּ. בֵּין בְּיָדוֹ בֵּין בְּרַגְלוֹ בֵּין בִּשְׁאָר בְּשָׂרוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ בִּלְשׁוֹנוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נִטְמָא. וְכֵן נִרְאֶה לִי שֶׁאִם נָגַע בְּצִפָּרְנָיו אוֹ בְּשִׁנָּיו נִטְמָא כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵם מְחֻבָּרִים לַגּוּף הֲרֵי הֵם כְּגוּף. אֲבָל אִם תָּחַב אָדָם טֻמְאָה בְּכוּשׁ וְהִכְנִיסָהּ לְתוֹךְ גְּרוֹנוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם טָהוֹר וְלֹא נָגְעָה בִּלְשׁוֹנוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁהִכְנִיסָהּ לְתוֹךְ מְעִי שֶׁל אִשָּׁה מִלְּמַטָּה וְלֹא נָגְעָה בִּבְשָׂרָהּ. לֹא נִטְמָא הַבּוֹלֵעַ מִשּׁוּם מַגָּע זֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נָגְעָה בִּבְשָׂרוֹ. שֶׁנְּגִיעַת פְּנִים אֵינָהּ נְגִיעָה:


A scab over a bruise is considered as skin with regard to touching sources of impurity. The underdeveloped body hair of a child, by contrast, is not considered as skin.

What is implied? If a source of impurity touches a person on the scab over a bruise, he is impure; it is as if it touched his flesh. Conversely, if it touched the thin hair on the body of a child, he does not become impure.

Similarly, if an impure person has a bruise and a pure person touched the scab on the bruise, he becomes ritually impure. If a minor was impure and a pure person touched the underdeveloped hair on his body, he does not become impure. This applies both with regard to impurity stemming from a human corpse or other types of impurity.

Similarly, blotches of filth, mud, or similar things that are not considered as intervening substances or dried pieces of filth and things that are considered as intervening substances are not considered as flesh, neither to impart ritual impurity to others, nor to contract ritual impurity.


קְרוּם שֶׁעַל הַמַּכָּה הֲרֵי הוּא כְּעוֹר הַבָּשָׂר לְעִנְיַן מַגַּע טֻמְאוֹת. וּכְשׁוּת שֶׁעַל הַקָּטָן אֵינָהּ כְּעוֹר הַבָּשָׂר. כֵּיצַד. מִי שֶׁנָּגְעָה טֻמְאָה בִּקְרוּם מַכָּתוֹ נִטְמָא כְּאִלּוּ נָגְעָה בְּעוֹרוֹ. נָגְעָה בְּשֵׂעָר הַדַּק שֶׁעַל בְּשַׂר הַקָּטָן לֹא נִטְמָא. וְכֵן אָדָם טָמֵא שֶׁהָיְתָה בּוֹ מַכָּה וְנָגַע הַטָּהוֹר בִּקְרוּם מַכַּת הַטָּמֵא נִטְמָא. אִם הָיָה קָטָן טָמֵא וְנָגַע הַטָּהוֹר בַּכְּשׁוּת שֶׁלּוֹ לֹא נִטְמָא בֵּין בְּטֻמְאַת מֵת בֵּין בִּשְׁאָר טֻמְאוֹת. וְכֵן לִכְלוּכֵי צוֹאָה אוֹ טִיט וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם מִדְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵין חוֹצְצִין עַל הַגּוּף וְכֵן גִּלְדֵי צוֹאָה מִן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁחוֹצְצִין עַל הַגּוּף אֵינָם כְּעוֹר הַבָּשָׂר לֹא לְטַמֵּא וְלֹא לְהִתְטַמֵּא:


Just as a person becomes impure when he comes into contact with a source of impurity, so too, keilim become impure when a source of impurity touches them with the exception of an earthenware utensil that incurs ritual impurity only when a source of impurity enters its inner space, as will be explained in Hilchot Keilim.

This is an inclusive general principle that applies with regard to ritual impurity: Whatever causes a person to contract ritual impurity when touching him, causes keilim to contract ritual impurity. Whatever does not cause a person to contract ritual impurity when touching him, does not cause keilim to contract ritual impurity. A person and keilim contract ritual impurity only from a primary source of ritual impurity.


כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָדָם מִתְטַמֵּא בִּנְגִיעָתוֹ בְּטֻמְאָה כָּךְ הַכֵּלִים מִתְטַמְּאִים בִּנְגִיעַת הַטֻּמְאָה בָּהֶן. חוּץ מִכְּלִי חֶרֶס שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְטַמֵּא אֶלָּא מֵאֲוִירוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת כֵּלִים. [וְזֶהוּ כְּלָל גָּדוֹל בַּטֻּמְאָה. כָּל הַמְטַמֵּא אָדָם בְּמַגָּע מְטַמֵּא כֵּלִים. וְכָל שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא אָדָם בְּמַגָּע אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא כֵּלִים. וְאֵין אָדָם וְכֵלִים מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה אֶלָּא מֵאַב הַטֻּמְאָה]:


The impurity incurred by carrying mentioned in all situations - whether involving a human corpse or another object that conveys impurity by carrying - is brought about by a person carrying a source of impurity even though he did not touch it. Even if there is a stone between the person and the source of impurity, since he carried it, he becomes impure.

The above applies whether he carries it on his head, his hand, or another portion of his body. And it applies whether the person lifted up the source of impurity himself or another person lifted it up and put it on him; since he carried it on his person in any way, he becomes impure. Even if the source of impurity was hanging on a string or a hair and he hung the string from his hand and lifted the source of impurity to the slightest degree, he is considered to have carried it and he becomes impure.


טֻמְאַת מַשָּׂא הָאֲמוּרָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם בֵּין בְּמֵת בֵּין בִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַמְטַמְּאִים בְּמַשָּׂא. הוּא שֶׁיִּשָּׂא הָאָדָם הַטֻּמְאָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָגַע בָּהּ. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ אֶבֶן הוֹאִיל וְנָשָׂא נִטְמָא. וְאֶחָד הַנּוֹשֵׂא עַל רֹאשׁוֹ אוֹ עַל יָדוֹ אוֹ עַל שְׁאָר גּוּפוֹ. וְאֶחָד הַנּוֹשֵׂא הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ אוֹ שֶׁנְּשָׂאָהּ אַחֵר וְהִנִּיחָהּ לְמַעְלָה מִזֶּה הוֹאִיל וְנִשֵּׂאת עָלָיו מִכָּל מָקוֹם נִטְמָא וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה הַטֻּמְאָה תְּלוּיָה בְּחוּט אוֹ בִּשְׂעָרוֹ וְתָלָה הַחוּט בְּיָדוֹ וְהִגְבִּיהַּ הַטֻּמְאָה כָּל שֶׁהוּא הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹשֵׂא וְנִטְמָא:


Moving an article is considered as carrying it. Any article that imparts impurity when it is carried imparts impurity when moved.

What is implied? There was a beam resting on a wall and on its side was a human corpse, an animal carcass, or the like. A pure person came to the other end of the beam and moved it. Since he moved the impurity at the other end of the beam, he becomes impure for carrying the source of impurity. Needless to say, this applies if he pulled the other end of the beam toward the earth until the source of impurity was lifted up or he dragged it on the ground, for this is certainly considered as carrying. The above situation and anything similar refers to the activity of moving that imparts ritual impurity, as mentioned in all instances.


מֵסִיט בִּכְלַל נוֹשֵׂא הוּא. וְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁמְּטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא מְטַמֵּא בְּהֶסֵּט. כֵּיצַד. קוֹרָה שֶׁהִיא מֻנַּחַת עַל הַכֹּתֶל וְעַל צִדָּהּ מֵת אוֹ נְבֵלָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וּבָא הַטָּהוֹר לִקְצֵה הַקּוֹרָה הַשֵּׁנִי וְהֵנִידוֹ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵנִיד אֶת הַטֻּמְאָה שֶׁבַּקָּצֶה הַשֵּׁנִי טָמֵא מִשּׁוּם נוֹשֵׂא. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם מָשַׁךְ אֶת הַקָּצֶה הַשֵּׁנִי כְּנֶגֶד הָאָרֶץ עַד שֶׁהִגְבִּיהַּ הַטֻּמְאָה אוֹ שֶׁגָּרַר הַטֻּמְאָה עַל הָאָרֶץ. שֶׁזֶּה נוֹשֵׂא וַדַּאי. וְזֶה וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ הִיא טֻמְאַת הֶסֵּט הָאֲמוּרָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם:


When a person carries a source of impurity in a hidden part of his body, he becomes impure. Even though touching such portions of the body is not considered as touch, carrying an article there is considered as carrying unless the source of impurity is swallowed up in the person's digestive system. Once a source of impurity reaches a person's stomach, it is not considered as if he touched or carried it. If such a person immerses in a mikveh he regains purity, even though the source of impurity is in his digestive system.


הַנּוֹשֵׂא בְּתוֹךְ בֵּית הַסְּתָרִים נִטְמָא שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הַנְּגִיעָה שָׁם נְגִיעָה הַנּוֹשֵׂא שָׁם נוֹשֵׂא הוּא. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִבְלַע הַטֻּמְאָה בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָיו שֶׁמֵּאַחַר שֶׁהִגִּיעָה לְתוֹךְ בִּטְנוֹ אֵינוֹ לֹא נוֹגֵעַ וְלֹא נוֹשֵׂא. וְאִם טָבַל טָהוֹר וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַטֻּמְאָה בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָיו:


Only a human being becomes impure for carrying a source of impurity, not keilim.

What is implied? Ten containers were placed on a person's hand, one on top of the other, and the carcass of an animal or another source of impurity was placed in the uppermost container. The person is considered impure, because he carried the carcass of an animal. The containers on his hand, by contrast, are all pure except for the uppermost one which was touched by the source of impurity. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


אֵין מִתְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא אֶלָּא הָאָדָם בִּלְבַד לֹא הַכֵּלִים. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיָה מֻנָּח עַל יָדוֹ עֲשָׂרָה כֵּלִים זֶה עַל גַּבֵּי זֶה וְהַנְּבֵלָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ בַּכְּלִי הָעֶלְיוֹן הָאָדָם טָמֵא מִשּׁוּם נוֹשֵׂא נְבֵלָה וְהַכֵּלִים שֶׁעַל יָדוֹ כֻּלָּן טְהוֹרִים חוּץ מִכְּלִי הָעֶלְיוֹן שֶׁנָּגְעָה בּוֹ הַטֻּמְאָה. וְכֵן כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


The ritual impurity of ohel does not apply with regard to other sources of impurity, only with regard to a human corpse. Whether a person and/or a k'li, even a needle, was extended over a corpse, a corpse was extended over a person and/or a k'li, or a corpse and a person and/or a k'li were under one shelter, they are impure.


טֻמְאַת אֹהֶל אֵינָהּ בִּשְׁאָר טֻמְאוֹת אֶלָּא בְּמֵת בִּלְבַד. וּבֵין שֶׁהֶאֱהִיל הָאָדָם אוֹ הַכְּלִי אֲפִלּוּ מַחַט שֶׁהֶאֱהִילָה עַל הַמֵּת אוֹ שֶׁהֶאֱהִיל הַמֵּת עַל הָאָדָם אוֹ עַל הַכֵּלִים אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה הַמֵּת עִם הָאָדָם אוֹ עִם הַכֵּלִים תַּחַת אֹהֶל אֶחָד הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ טְמֵאִים:


The impurity of ohel mentioned in all places refers to impurity imparted by a source of impurity to a person or keilim in one of these three ways.

Whether a person enters entirely to the shelter where a corpse is located or part of his body enters, he becomes impure because of the ohel. Even if he inserted merely his hand, his fingertips, or his nose into the shelter where a corpse is located, his entire person becomes impure. If he joined his hand to the lintel of the doorway of such a shelter, he becomes impure as if part of his body entered. If he touched the doorframe from a handbreadth and below above the ground, he is pure. From a handbreadth and above, he is impure. It appears to me that this impurity is of Rabbinic origin.


וְטֻמְאַת אֹהֶל הָאֲמוּרָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם הוּא שֶׁתְּטָמֵּא אוֹתָהּ טֻמְאָה הָאָדָם אוֹ הַכֵּלִים בְּאַחַת מִשָּׁלֹשׁ דְּרָכִים אֵלּוּ. אֶחָד הַבָּא כֻּלּוֹ לְאֹהֶל הַמֵּת אוֹ הַבָּא מִקְצָתוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נִטְמָא בְּאֹהֶל אֲפִלּוּ הִכְנִיס יָדוֹ אוֹ רָאשֵׁי אֶצְבְּעוֹתָיו אוֹ חָטְמוֹ לְאֹהֶל הַמֵּת הֲרֵי זֶה נִטְמָא כֻּלּוֹ. נָגַע בַּמַּשְׁקוֹף וְצֵרֵף יָדוֹ עִם הַמַּשְׁקוֹף נִטְמָא כְּאִלּוּ בָּא מִקְצָתוֹ. נָגַע בָּאַסְקֻפָּה מִטֶּפַח וּלְמַטָּה קָרוֹב לָאָרֶץ טָהוֹר. וּמִטֶּפַח וּלְמַעְלָה טָמֵא. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁדָּבָר זֶה מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:


Corpses of both Jews and gentiles impart impurity through touch or through carrying.


אֶחָד הַמֵּת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם מְטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא:


The corpse of a gentile does not impart ritual impurity through ohel. This matter was conveyed by the Oral Tradition. With regard to the war with Midian, Numbers 31:19 states: "All who touch a corpse...", but does not mention an ohel.

Similarly, a gentile does not contract the impurity connected with a corpse. Instead, if a gentile touches a corpse, carries it, or stands over it, it is as if he did not touch it. To what can the matter be compared? To an animal that touched a corpse or stood over a corpse.

Not only the impurity imparted by a human corpse, but all types of impurity do not cause gentiles and animals to become impure.


וְאֵין הָעַכּוּ''ם מְטַמֵּא בְּאֹהֶל וְדָבָר זֶה קַבָּלָה הוּא וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּמִלְחֶמֶת מִדְיָן (במדבר לא יט) "כּל נֹגֵעַ בֶּחָלָל" וְלֹא הַזְכִּיר שָׁם אֹהֶל. וְכֵן הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵינוֹ נַעֲשֶׂה טְמֵא מֵת אֶלָּא עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁנָּגַע בְּמֵת אוֹ נְשָׂאוֹ אוֹ הֶאֱהִיל עָלָיו הֲרֵי הוּא כְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא נָגַע. הָא לְמָה זֶה דּוֹמֶה לִבְהֵמָה שֶׁנָּגְעָה בְּמֵת אוֹ הֶאֱהִילָה עַל הַמֵּת. וְלֹא בְּטֻמְאַת הַמֵּת בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא בְּכָל הַטֻּמְאוֹת כֻּלָּן אֵין הָעַכּוּ''ם וְלֹא הַבְּהֵמָה מִתְטַמְּאִין בָּהֶן:


According to Rabbinic Law, gentiles are considered as zavim, According to Scriptural Law, there is no type of living being that contracts ritual impurity while alive or imparts ritual impurity while alive, except a human, and even then, only when he is Jewish.

Both a Jewish adult and a minor can contract all forms of ritual impurity, even the impurity stemming from a corpse, concerning which Numbers 19:20 states: "A man who shall become impure." Nevertheless, both an adult and a minor can contract this impurity, for ibid.:18 states: "for all the souls that were there." Even a newborn infant that touched, carried, or extended a limb over a corpse becomes impure and he is considered impure because of contact with a human corpse.

The above applies provided the baby was born after a nine month pregnancy. If he is born after an eight month pregnancy, he is considered as a stone and he does not contract ritual impurity.


וּמִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁיְּהוּ הָעַכּוּ''ם כְּזָבִין לְכָל דִּבְרֵיהֶן. וְאֵין לְךָ בְּכָל מִינֵי נֶפֶשׁ מַה שֶּׁמִּתְטַמֵּא וְהוּא חַי אוֹ מְטַמֵּא וְהוּא חַי חוּץ מִן הָאָדָם בִּלְבַד. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. אֶחָד גָּדוֹל וְאֶחָד קָטָן מִתְטַמְּאִין בְּכָל הַטֻּמְאוֹת אֲפִלּוּ בְּטֻמְאַת הַמֵּת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּהּ (במדבר יט כ) "אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִטְמָא" אֶחָד הָאִישׁ וְאֶחָד הַקָּטָן שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר שָׁם (במדבר יט יח) "וְעַל כָּל הַנְּפָשׁוֹת אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ שָׁם". אֲפִלּוּ קָטָן בֶּן יוֹמוֹ שֶׁנָּגַע אוֹ נָשָׂא אוֹ הֶאֱהִיל עַל הַמֵּת נִטְמָא וַהֲרֵי הוּא טְמֵא מֵת. וְהוּא שֶׁנּוֹלַד לְתִשְׁעָה. אֲבָל בֶּן שְׁמוֹנָה הֲרֵי הוּא כְּאֶבֶן וְאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה:


A corpse does not impart ritual impurity until the person actually dies. Even if one's veins have been cut, or he is in his death-throes, even if his two vital signs have been slit, he does not impart ritual impurity until his soul expires, as ibid.:13 states: "The soul of a man who dies...."

If his backbone is broken together with most of the surrounding flesh, he was torn apart like a fish from his back, he was decapitated, or he was cut in half from his stomach, he imparts impurity, even though some of his limbs are still making convulsive movements.


הַמֵּת אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא נַפְשׁוֹ אֲפִלּוּ מְגֻיָּד אוֹ גּוֹסֵס. אֲפִלּוּ נִשְׁחֲטוּ בּוֹ שְׁנֵי הַסִּימָנִים אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא נַפְשׁוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יט יג) "בְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר יָמוּת". נִשְׁבְּרָה מִפְרַקְתּוֹ וְרֹב בְּשָׂרָהּ עִמָּהּ אוֹ שֶׁנִּקְרַע כְּדָג מִגַּבּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁהֻתַּז רֹאשׁוֹ אוֹ שֶׁנֶּחְלַק לִשְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים בְּבִטְנוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְטַמֵּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן הוּא מְרַפְרֵף בְּאֶחָד מֵאֵיבָרָיו:

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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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