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Mechussarey Kapparah - Chapter 2

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Mechussarey Kapparah - Chapter 2


The term zav used by the Torah refers to a discharge of sperm that is released because of an internal sickness that effects the organs of the body in which it collects. When a zav emission is discharged, it is not released with an erection like semen and its release does not involve any desire or satisfaction. Instead, it is drawn out like a barley dough and is dark like the white of an unfertilized egg. In contrast, viable sperm is white and adhesive like the white of a fertilized egg.


הַזָב הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה הוּא שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע הַבָּא מֵחֳלָיֵי הַחֲלָלִים שֶׁהִיא מִתְקַבֶּצֶת בָּהֶן. וּכְשֶׁיּוֹצֵא הַזּוֹב אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא בְּקֹשִׁי כְּשִׁכְבַת זֶרַע וְאֵין בִּיצִיאָתוֹ תַּאֲוָה וְלֹא הֲנָאָה אֶלָּא נִגְרָר וְיוֹצֵא כְּמוֹ בָּצֵק שֶׁל שְׂעוֹרִים כֵּהֶה כְּלֹבֶן בֵּיצָה הַמּוּזֶרֶת. אֲבָל שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע לְבָנָה קְשׁוּרָה כְּלֹבֶן בֵּיצָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ מוּזֶרֶת:


If a person releases a discharge which would have caused him to be deemed a zav because of another sickness or because of factors beyond his control, he is not deemed a zav, as implied by Leviticus 15:2: "A man who will release discharges from his flesh." That phrase can be interpreted to mean: He will become impure "because of his flesh," and not due to any other factor.

On this basis, our Sages said: we check a zav with regard to seven factors: food, drink, burdens, jumping, infirmity, provocative sights, and thoughts.

What is implied? If a person overate or overdrank or he ate or drank foods or beverages that lead to the discharge of seed, he carried a heavy burden, he jumped from place to place, included in this category is also his being beaten on his back, he was sick, he saw a woman and desired intimacy with her, or he thought about sexual relations even if he did not think specifically about a particular woman whom he knew - if any of these factors preceded his discovery of a zav discharge, we account the discharge to it and it does not render him impure.


הֲרוֹאֶה רְאִיּוֹת הַזּוֹב הַגּוֹרְמוֹת לוֹ לִהְיוֹת זָב מֵחֲמַת חלִי אוֹ אֹנֶס וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אֵינוֹ זָב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו ב) "זָב מִבְּשָׂרוֹ" מֵחֲמַת בְּשָׂרוֹ הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה טָמֵא לֹא מֵחֲמַת דָּבָר אַחֵר. מִכָּאן אָמְרוּ בְּשִׁבְעָה דְּרָכִים בּוֹדְקִין אֶת הַזָּב. בְּמַאֲכָל. וּבְמִשְׁתֶּה. בְּמַשָּׂא. וּבִקְפִיצָה. בְּחלִי. וּבְמַרְאֶה. וּבְהִרְהוּר. כֵּיצַד. אָכַל אֲכִילָה גַּסָּה אוֹ שָׁתָה הַרְבֵּה. אוֹ שֶׁאָכַל אוֹ שָׁתָה אֳכָלִין אוֹ מַשְׁקִין הַמְּבִיאִין לִידֵי שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע. אוֹ שֶׁנָּשָׂא מַשּׂוֹי כָּבֵד. אוֹ שֶׁקָּפַץ מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם וּבִכְלַל דָּבָר זֶה אִם הֻכָּה עַל גַּבּוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה חוֹלֶה. אוֹ שֶׁרָאָה אִשָּׁה וְהִתְאַוָּה שְׁכִיבָתָהּ. אוֹ שֶׁהִרְהֵר בְּעִסְקֵי בְּעִילָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִרְהֵר בִּבְעִילַת אִשָּׁה שֶׁהוּא מַכִּירָהּ. אִם קָדַם אֶחָד מִכָּל אֵלּוּ וְרָאָה רְאִיָּה שֶׁל זוֹב תּוֹלִין בּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא:


When a person has a seminal emission, he is not rendered impure as a zav for an entire 24-hour period, for the zav comes as a result of the seminal emission. Similarly, we attribute a discharge to provocative sights and lustful thoughts for 24 hours afterwards. By contrast, with regard to food, drink, jumping, and a burden, we attribute a discharge to them only for as long as this factor causes discomfort.


הָרוֹאֶה קֶרִי אֵינוֹ מִתְטַמֵּא בְּזוֹב מֵעֵת לְעֵת שֶׁרְאִיָּה זוֹ שֶׁל זוֹב מֵחֲמַת שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע הִיא. וְכֵן לְמַרְאֶה וּלְהִרְהוּר תּוֹלִין בָּהֶן מֵעֵת לְעֵת. אֲבָל לְמַאֲכָל וּלְמִשְׁתֶּה וְלִקְפִיצָה וּלְמַשָּׂא. תּוֹלִין בָּהֶן כָּל זְמַן שֶׁמִּצְטַעֵר:


When a man, whether a gentile or a Jew, becomes circumcised and then sees a discharge, we attribute it to the circumcision as long as he is suffering. When a gentile has a seminal discharge and converts afterwards, he can become impure because of zivah immediately. We do not attribute any discharges in a 24-hour period to the seminal emission.

When a minor has a discharge, we do not attribute it to provocative sights and lustful thoughts, for there are no provocative sights and lustful thoughts that will cause a minor to have a discharge. Therefore we check him only with regard to five factors.


מִי שֶׁמָּל וְאַחַר כָּךְ רָאָה זוֹב בֵּין עַכּוּ''ם בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל תּוֹלִין בַּמִּילָה כָּל זְמַן שֶׁמִּצְטַעֵר. עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁרָאָה קֶרִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִתְגַּיֵּר מְטַמֵּא בְּזִיבָה מִיָּד וְאֵין תּוֹלִין לוֹ מֵעֵת לְעֵת. קָטָן אֵין תּוֹלִין לוֹ לֹא בְּמַרְאֶה וְלֹא בְּהִרְהוּר שֶׁאֵין לְקָטָן מַרְאֶה וְהִרְהוּר הַמֵּבִיא לִידֵי זוֹב. לְפִיכָךְ בּוֹדְקִין אוֹתוֹ בַּחֲמִשָּׁה דְּרָכִים בִּלְבַד:


Just as we attribute the discharges of a minor to his sickness, so too, we attribute his discharges to the sickness of his mother if he is nursing or in need of her care.

When does the statement that we check a zav with regard to these matters apply? With regard to his second discharge of zivah, for that characterizes him as a zav, as will be explained. If, however, he has one discharge due to factors beyond his control and one "because of his flesh," he is impure with the impurity of zivah. Nevertheless, he should also be checked initially, in order to count three discharges so that he will be liable for a sacrifice.

He is not checked for the third discharge. Instead, even if he experiences it due to factors beyond his control, since he was already categorized as impure - because the first two discharges that caused him to be characterized as a zav were "because of his flesh" - he is therefore obligated to bring a sacrifice.


וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁתּוֹלִין לְקָטָן בְּחָלְיוֹ כָּךְ תּוֹלִין לוֹ בָּחֳלִי אִמּוֹ אִם הָיָה יוֹנֵק מִמֶּנָּה אוֹ צָרִיךְ לְאִמּוֹ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁבּוֹדְקִין אֶת הַזָּב בִּדְרָכִים אֵלּוּ בִּרְאִיָּה שְׁנִיָּה שֶׁל זוֹב שֶׁבָּהּ יֵעָשֶׂה זוֹב כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. אֲבָל רְאִיָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה אֲפִלּוּ רָאָה אוֹתָהּ בְּאֹנֶס וּרְאִיָּה שְׁנִיָּה מֵחֲמַת בְּשָׂרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא טֻמְאַת זִיבוּת. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן בּוֹדְקִין אוֹתוֹ בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה כְּדֵי לִמְנוֹת בָּהּ שָׁלֹשׁ רְאִיּוֹת לְחַיְּבוֹ קָרְבָּן. רְאִיָּה שְׁלִישִׁית אֵין בּוֹדְקִין אוֹתוֹ בָּהּ אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ רָאָה אוֹתָהּ מֵחֲמַת אֹנֶס הוֹאִיל וְנִזְקָק לְטֻמְאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי רְאִיּוֹת שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה בָּהֶן זָב מֵחֲמַת בְּשָׂרוֹ הָיָה לְפִיכָךְ יִתְחַיֵּב בְּקָרְבָּן:


When a person experiences one zav discharge, his status is equivalent to that of one who had a seminal emission. If he experiences two discharges, this is a zav condition. He must count seven clean days and immerse in "living water." He is not, however, obligated to bring a sacrifice.

If he experiences three discharges, he is a zav in the full sense of the term and is obligated to bring a sacrifice. There is no difference between a zav who experienced two discharges and one who experienced three except the obligation to bring a sacrifice. All of these matters are part of the Oral Tradition conveyed from Moses from Sinai.


הָרוֹאֶה רְאִיָּה אַחַת שֶׁל זוֹב הֲרֵי הוּא כְּבַעַל קֶרִי. רָאָה שְׁתַּיִם הֲרֵי זֶה זוֹב וְצָרִיךְ סְפִירַת שִׁבְעָה וּבִיאַת מַיִם חַיִּים וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב בְּקָרְבָּן. רָאָה שָׁלֹשׁ רְאִיּוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה זָב גָּמוּר וְחַיָּב בְּקָרְבָּן. וְאֵין בֵּין זָב שֶׁרָאָה שְׁתֵּי רְאִיּוֹת לְרוֹאֶה שָׁלֹשׁ אֶלָּא קָרְבָּן בִּלְבַד. וּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ כֻּלָּן דִּבְרֵי קַבָּלָה מִפִּי משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ מִסִּינַי:


Whether a person experiences two discharges or three in one hour one after the other or experienced one discharge a day for three consecutive days, he is categorized as a zav. For the Torah made the categorization of a zavah dependent on days, as Leviticus 15:25 states: "If she will experience a flow of blood for many days," It did not make the categorization of a zav dependent on days.


אֶחָד הָרוֹאֶה שְׁתֵּי רְאִיּוֹת אוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ בְּשָׁעָה אַחַת זוֹ אַחַר זוֹ אוֹ שֶׁרָאָה רְאִיָּה בְּכָל יוֹם זֶה אַחַר זֶה הֲרֵי זֶה זָב. לְפִי שֶׁתָּלָה הַכָּתוּב אֶת הַזָּבָה בְּיָמִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו כה) "כִּי יָזוּב זוֹב דָּמָהּ יָמִים רַבִּים" וְהַזָּב לֹא תָּלָה אוֹתוֹ בְּיָמִים:


If the zav experienced an interruption of an entire day between one discharge and another, they are not linked together.

What is implied? A man experienced a discharge on the Sabbath and a second discharge on Monday, they are not linked together and he is not categorized as a zav. Similarly, if he experienced a second discharge on Sunday ands experienced a third discharge on Tuesday, he is not obligated to bring a sacrifice, for it is not linked to the first two, for there was an interruption of a day between them. If, however, he experienced a discharge during the day and another, on the following night, they are linked together. Needless to say, if he experienced one discharge at night and the second, on the following day, that they are linked together. Similarly, if he experienced three discharges, one on each of three consecutive nights, they are linked together.


וְאִם הִפְסִיק הַזָּב בֵּין רְאִיָּה לִרְאִיָּה יוֹם גָּמוּר אֵינָן מִצְטָרְפוֹת. כֵּיצַד. רָאָה רְאִיָּה בְּשַׁבָּת וּרְאִיָּה שְׁנִיָּה בְּשֵׁנִי בְּשַׁבָּת אֵינָן מִצְטָרְפוֹת וְאֵינוֹ זָב. וְכֵן אִם רָאָה רְאִיָּה שְׁנִיָּה בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת וְרָאָה רְאִיָּה שְׁלִישִׁית בִּשְׁלִישִׁי בְּשַׁבָּת אֵינוֹ חַיָּב בְּקָרְבָּן שֶׁאֵין זוֹ מִצְטָרֶפֶת לִשְׁתַּיִם שֶׁהֲרֵי הִפְסִיק בֵּינֵיהֶן יוֹם אֶחָד. אֲבָל אִם רָאָה אַחַת הַיּוֹם וְאַחַת בַּלַּיְלָה שֶׁלְּאַחֲרָיו הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מִצְטָרְפוֹת. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁאִם רָאָה אַחַת בַּלַּיְלָה וּשְׁנִיָּה בַּיּוֹם שֶׁהֵן מִצְטָרְפוֹת. וְכֵן אִם רָאָה שָׁלֹשׁ רְאִיּוֹת בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה לֵילוֹת זֶה אַחַר זֶה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מִצְטָרְפוֹת:


There is no minimum measure for the discharge of a zav. Instead, even a discharge of the slightest size renders him impure, as Leviticus 15:3 states: "or whether it seals his flesh." Implied is any discharge that is apparent on his flesh renders him as ritually impure.


רְאִיַּת הַזָּב אֵין לָהּ שִׁעוּר אֶלָּא הָרוֹאֶה כָּל שֶׁהוּא טָמֵא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו ג) "הֶחְתִּים בְּשָׂרוֹ" כָּל שֶׁהוּא. נִכָּר בִּבְשָׂרוֹ מְטַמֵּא:


The following rules apply when a zav discharge flowed without interruption for an extended time. If the time that elapsed from the beginning of the discharge until its end was as long as it takes to immerse oneself and dry or longer, it is considered as two discharges, because it takes as long a time as two would. If it did not take that long, even if it ceased in the middle, and he had a second discharge within that time period, it is considered as one discharge.

Similarly, if one discharge lasted the amount of time that three discharges would take - i.e., from its beginning to its end, there was enough time for a man to immerse himself and dry himself twice - it is considered as three discharges and he must bring a sacrifice.


הָיָה הַזּוֹב נִגְרָר וְיוֹצֵא וְלֹא פָּסַק. אִם יֵשׁ מִתְּחִלַּת הָרְאִיָּה עַד סוֹפָהּ כְּדֵי טְבִילָה וְסִפּוּג אוֹ יֶתֶר הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶחְשֶׁבֶת כִּשְׁתֵּי רְאִיּוֹת הוֹאִיל וְהִיא אֲרֻכָּה כִּשְׁתַּיִם. וְאִם לֹא הָיְתָה אֲרֻכָּה כַּשִּׁעוּר הַזֶּה אֲפִלּוּ פָּסַק הַזּוֹב בֵּינְתַיִם הֲרֵי זוֹ רְאִיָּה אַחַת. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה רְאִיָּה אַחַת אֲרֻכָּה כְּשָׁלֹשׁ רְאִיּוֹת שֶׁנִּמְצָא מִתְּחִלָּתָהּ וְעַד סוֹפָהּ כִּשְׁתֵּי טְבִילוֹת וּשְׁנֵי סִפּוּגִין הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶחְשֶׁבֶת כְּשָׁלֹשׁ רְאִיּוֹת וְיָבִיא קָרְבָּן:


If a person experienced a discharge during the day, it ceased for the amount of time it takes to immerse and dry oneself and afterwards, he experienced another two discharges or one discharge that lasts as long as two or if he experienced two discharges or one discharge that lasts as long as two, and then it ceased for the amount of time it takes to immerse and dry oneself and afterwards, he experienced another discharge, he is a zav in a full sense.


רָאָה רְאִיָּה אַחַת בַּיּוֹם וְהִפְסִיק כְּדֵי טְבִילָה וְסִפּוּג וְאַחַר כָּךְ רָאָה שְׁתַּיִם אוֹ אַחַת אֲרֻכָּה כִּשְׁתַּיִם אוֹ שֶׁרָאָה שְׁתַּיִם אוֹ אַחַת מְרֻבָּה כִּשְׁתַּיִם וְהִפְסִיק כְּדֵי טְבִילָה וְסִפּוּג וְאַחַר כָּךְ רָאָה רְאִיָּה אַחַת הֲרֵי זֶה זָב גָּמוּר:


A discharge is considered as two discharges even though it did not last for the time two discharges last, if part of it was experienced at the end of the day and part at the beginning of the night. The rationale is that the change of dates divides the discharge as it were, and causes it to be considered as two.

Therefore if a man experiences a discharge bein hashamashamot concerning which there is an unresolved doubt whether it is considered as day or as night, there is an unresolved doubt whether he is impure.


רָאָה רְאִיָּה אַחַת מִקְּצָתָהּ בְּסוֹף הַיּוֹם וּמִקְצָתָהּ בִּתְחִלַּת הַלַּיְלָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ אֲרֻכָּה כִּשְׁתַּיִם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שְׁתֵּי רְאִיּוֹת שֶׁהַיָּמִים מְחַלְּקִין הָרְאִיָּה. לְפִיכָךְ הָרוֹאֶה רְאִיָּה אַחַת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק מִן הַיּוֹם וּמִן הַלַּיְלָה הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק לְטֻמְאָה:


If a man experiences one discharge during the day and another bein hashamashot, he has definitely contracted the impurity of a zav, but there is an unresolved doubt whether he must bring a sacrifice. He must bring a set of doves as sacrifices, but the sin-offering is not eaten.


רָאָה רְאִיָּה אַחַת בַּיּוֹם וְאַחַת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה וַדַּאי לְטֻמְאָה וְסָפֵק לְקָרְבָּן וּמֵבִיא קָרְבָּן וְאֵינוֹ נֶאֱכָל:


If a person experienced a discharge during bein hashamashot on the night of the Sabbath and another discharge on the night following the Sabbath there is an unresolved doubt whether he contracted zav impurity and there is an unresolved doubt whether he is obligated for a sacrifice.

There is an unresolved doubt whether he has contracted zav impurity, for perhaps the first discharged took place on Friday and the second on Saturday night. Thus the Sabbath intervened between them and there is no concept of zav impurity at all. And there is an unresolved doubt whether he is obligated to bring a sacrifice, for perhaps one of them took place, partially during the day and partially during the night, in which instance, it is considered as two. Thus he would have experienced three discharges and would be liable for a sacrifice. Therefore he brings a sacrifice, but it is not eaten.


[רָאָה] רְאִיָּה אַחַת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת [שֶׁל שַׁבָּת] וּרְאִיָּה שְׁנִיָּה בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת שֶׁל מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק לְטֻמְאָה וְסָפֵק לְקָרְבָּן. סָפֵק לְטֻמְאָה שֶׁמָּא רְאִיָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה הָיְתָה בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת וּשְׁנִיָּה בְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת וַהֲרֵי הִפְסִיק שַׁבָּת בֵּינֵיהֶן וְאֵין כָּאן זִיבוּת כְּלָל. וַהֲרֵי הוּא סָפֵק לְקָרְבָּן שֶׁמָּא אַחַת מֵהֶן הָיְתָה מִקְּצָתָהּ בַּיּוֹם וּמִקְצָתָהּ בַּלַּיְלָה שֶׁהִיא חֲשׁוּבָה כִּשְׁתַּיִם וַהֲרֵי רָאָה שָׁלֹשׁ רְאִיּוֹת שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בְּקָרְבָּן. וּלְפִיכָךְ מֵבִיא קָרְבָּן וְאֵינוֹ נֶאֱכָל:

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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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