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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Metamme'ey Mishkav uMoshav - Chapter 7

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Metamme'ey Mishkav uMoshav - Chapter 7


A zav imparts impurity to articles on which one lies, sits, or rides in five ways: by standing above them, sitting above them, lying above them, hanging from them, or leaning on them.

What is implied? When there is an article on which one lies, sits, or rides - even if it is under a stone - if one of the persons who imparts impurity to articles on which one lies stands, sits, lies on the stone, hangs from it, or leans on it, since he was in someway supported by the article, it becomes a primary source of impurity. Any of these five acts is included in the term midras whenever it is used.


הַזָּב מְטַמֵּא אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּב וְהַמּוֹשָׁב וְהַמֶּרְכָּב בַּחֲמִשָּׁה דְּרָכִים. עוֹמֵד. יוֹשֵׁב. שׁוֹכֵב. נִתְלֶה. וְנִשְׁעָן. כֵּיצַד. כְּלִי הֶעָשׂוּי לְמִשְׁכָּב אוֹ לְמוֹשָׁב אוֹ לְמֶרְכָּב אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה תַּחַת הָאֶבֶן אִם עָמַד אֶחָד מִמְּטַמְּאֵי מִשְׁכָּב עַל הָאֶבֶן אוֹ יָשַׁב עָלֶיהָ אוֹ שָׁכַב אוֹ נִשְׁעַן עָלֶיהָ אוֹ נִתְלָה בָּהּ הוֹאִיל וְנִתְנַשֵּׂא עַל הַכְּלִי הַזֶּה מִכָּל מָקוֹם נִטְמָא וְנַעֲשָׂה אַב טֻמְאָה. וְכָל אֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה דְּרָכִים אֵלּוּ הוּא הַנִּקְרָא מִדְרָס בְּכָל מָקוֹם:


Similarly, an object on which one lies and rides imparts impurity to a person in seven ways, in the five listed in the previous halachah, by touching and by carrying.

What is implied? When a zav was supported by an article on which one lies or rides and thus imparted impurity to it, if a person touches or carries that article, he contracts impurity. Similarly, one contracts impurity if one sits on it, stands on it, lies on it, hangs from it, or leans on it, even if there is a stone separating between the person who was pure and the impure support, as Leviticus 15:6 states: "One who sits on the article on which the zav had sat." According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that the place on which a zav sits and imparts impurity causes a person who is pure who sits there to contract impurity. Now just as a zav imparts impurity to an object on which one rides or sits that is beneath a stone, so too, a pure person can contract impurity from an object on which one rides or sits that is beneath a stone, even though the zav is not on the object on which one sits. A person who contracts impurity who is above the midras imparts impurity to his garments as long as he does not separate from the article that imparted impurity to him, as we explained.


וְכֵן הַמִּשְׁכָּב וְהַמֶּרְכָּב מְטַמְּאִין אֶת הָאָדָם בְּשִׁבְעָה דְּרָכִים. בַּחֲמִשָּׁה דְּרָכִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁמָּנִינוּ. וּבְמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא. כֵּיצַד. מִשְׁכָּב אוֹ מֶרְכָּב שֶׁדָּרַס עָלָיו הַזָּב וְנִטְמָא בְּמִדְרָסוֹ. הַנּוֹגֵעַ בּוֹ אוֹ הַנּוֹשְׂאוֹ טָמֵא. וְכֵן הַיּוֹשֵׁב עָלָיו אוֹ הָעוֹמֵד אוֹ הַשּׁוֹכֵב אוֹ הַנִּתְלֶה אוֹ הַנִּשְׁעָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיְתָה אֶבֶן מַבְדֶּלֶת בֵּין הַטָּהוֹר וּבֵין הַמִּדְרָס הֲרֵי זֶה נִטְמָא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו ו) "וְהַיּשֵׁב עַל הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר יֵשֵׁב עָלָיו הַזָּב" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁמָּקוֹם שֶׁהַזָּב יוֹשֵׁב וּמְטַמֵּא אִם יָשַׁב שָׁם הַטָּהוֹר נִטְמָא. מָה הַזָּב מְטַמֵּא מֶרְכָּב וּמוֹשָׁב שֶׁתַּחַת הָאֶבֶן אַף הַטָּהוֹר מִתְטַמֵּא מִן הַמִּשְׁכָּב אוֹ הַמֶּרְכָּב שֶׁהוּא מִתַּחַת הָאֶבֶן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הַזָּב שָׁם עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּב וְאָדָם זֶה שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מִן הַמִּדְרָס מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים כָּל זְמַן שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


A zav does not impart impurity to an object upon which one lies until the majority of his body is supported by the object upon which one lies, sits, or rides. Similarly, when a pure person is supported by a midras made impure by a zav, he does not contract impurity because of the midras until the majority of his body is supported by it. If, however, only the lesser portion of his body is supported by it, since he did not touch it, he remains pure.

What is implied? If the lesser portion of an impure person's body is on a surface on which one lies and the lesser portion of the pure person's body is on that same surface, the surface is pure and the pure person whose body was supported in part by it is pure. When the majority of the impure person's body was supported by the lesser portion of the surface on which one lies or rides, that surface becomes impure in its entirety. Similarly, if the majority of a pure person's body was supported by the lesser portion of an impure midras, he becomes impure even though he was supported only by the lesser portion of the object on which one sits.


אֵין הַזָּב מְטַמֵּא אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּב עַד שֶׁיִּנָּשֵׂא רֻבּוֹ עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּב אוֹ עַל הַמּוֹשָׁב אוֹ עַל הַמֶּרְכָּב. וְכֵן הַטָּהוֹר שֶׁדָּרַס עַל מִדְרַס הַזָּב אֵינוֹ מִתְטַמֵּא מֵחֲמַת הַמִּדְרָס עַד שֶׁיִּנָּשֵׂא רֻבּוֹ עָלָיו. אֲבָל אִם נִשָּׂא מִעוּטוֹ הוֹאִיל וְלֹא נָגַע הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. כֵּיצַד. מִקְצָת טָמֵא עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּב וּמִקְצָת הַטָּהוֹר עַל אוֹתוֹ מִשְׁכָּב הַמִּשְׁכָּב טָהוֹר וְהַטָּהוֹר שֶׁנָּשָׂא מִקְצָתוֹ עָלָיו טְהוֹרִין. הַטָּמֵא שֶׁנִּשָּׂא רֻבּוֹ עַל מִקְצָת הַמִּשְׁכָּב אוֹ הַמֶּרְכָּב נִטְמָא הַמִּשְׁכָּב כֻּלּוֹ אוֹ הַמֶּרְכָּב כֻּלּוֹ. וְכֵן הַטָּהוֹר שֶׁנִּשָּׂא רֻבּוֹ עַל מִקְצָת הַמִּדְרָס נִטְמָא וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָשָׂא אֶלָּא עַל מִקְצָת הַמּוֹשָׁב:


When a zav was sprawled over five benches that are positioned lengthwise, they are all impure, because each one of them supported the majority of his body. If they were positioned widthwise, they are pure, because the majority of his body was not supported by any of them. If he slept upon the benches, they are all impure, because maybe he turned over and each one supported the majority of his body at a given time.

If he was sprawled over six supports, each of his two hands on one, each of his two feet on one, his head on one and his trunk on one, the only one which is impure as a surface on which one lies is the one under his trunk, because the majority of his body is supported by it.

If he is standing on two supports, one foot on one and the other on the second, they are both impure.


זָב שֶׁהָיָה מֻטָּל עַל חֲמִשָּׁה סַפְסָלִין שֶׁהֵן מֻנָּחִין לְאָרְכָּן טְמֵאִים שֶׁהֲרֵי נִשָּׂא רֻבּוֹ עַל כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן. הָיוּ מֻנָּחִין לְרָחְבָּן טְהוֹרִין שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נִשָּׂא רֻבּוֹ עַל כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן. וְאִם יָשַׁן עֲלֵיהֶם בֵּין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ טְמֵאִים שֶׁמָּא נִתְהַפֵּךְ עֲלֵיהֶם וְנִמְצָא רֻבּוֹ עַל כָּל אֶחָד. הָיָה מֻטָּל עַל שִׁשָּׁה כֵּלִים הָעֲשׂוּיִים לְמִשְׁכָּב. שְׁתֵּי יָדָיו עַל שְׁנַיִם. וּשְׁנֵי רַגְלָיו עַל שְׁנַיִם. וְרֹאשׁוֹ עַל אֶחָד. וְגוּפוֹ עַל אֶחָד. אֵין טָמֵא מִשּׁוּם מִשְׁכָּב אֶלָּא זֶה שֶׁתַּחַת גּוּפוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי נִשָּׂא רֻבּוֹ עָלָיו. עָמַד עַל שְׁנֵי מִשְׁכָּבוֹת רַגְלוֹ אַחַת עַל אֶחָד וְרַגְלוֹ שְׁנִיָּה עַל הַשֵּׁנִי שְׁנֵיהֶן טְמֵאִין:


If a person was sitting on a bed and there were four surfaces, each one under one of the four legs of the bed, they are all impure. The rationale is that the bed cannot stand merely on three.


הָיָה יוֹשֵׁב עַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּטָּה וְאַרְבָּעָה מִשְׁכָּבוֹת תַּחַת אַרְבַּע רַגְלֵי הַמִּטָּה כֻּלָּן טְמֵאוֹת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לַעֲמֹד עַל שָׁלֹשׁ:


If a zav was riding on an animal and there were four surfaces, one under each of the animal's four feet, they are all pure. The rationale is that the animal can stand on three feet. Thus the fourth is merely an assist and an assist is not significant. Thus each of the legs is fit to be considered as merely an assist. Since we do not know which forefoot or hindfoot the animal was not using for support, none of them are considered as impure. Hence they all remain pure.

Therefore if one support was under the two forefeet of the animal, its two hindfeet, or a forefoot and a hindfoot, the support is impure, for this support definitely served as a base for the zav, for an animal cannot stand on only two feet.


הָיָה רוֹכֵב עַל גַּבֵּי בְּהֵמָה וְאַרְבָּעָה מִשְׁכָּבוֹת תַּחַת אַרְבַּע רַגְלֶיהָ כֻּלָּן טְהוֹרוֹת. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַבְּהֵמָה יְכוֹלָה לַעֲמֹד עַל שָׁלֹשׁ וְנִמְצֵאת הָרְבִיעִית מְסַיֵּעַ וּמְסַיֵּעַ אֵין בּוֹ מַמָּשׁ. וְהוֹאִיל וְכָל אַחַת רְאוּיָה לִהְיוֹת מְסַיֵּעַ וְאֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים אֵי זוֹ יָד וְאֵי זוֹ רֶגֶל הִיא שֶׁלֹּא הָיְתָה נִשְׁעֶנֶת עָלֶיהָ הֲרֵי לֹא הֻחְזְקָה טֻמְאָה בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן וּלְפִיכָךְ כֻּלָּן טְהוֹרוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה מִשְׁכָּב אֶחָד תַּחַת שְׁתֵּי יְדֵי הַבְּהֵמָה אוֹ תַּחַת שְׁתֵּי רַגְלֶיהָ אוֹ תַּחַת יָדָהּ וְרַגְלָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא שֶׁהֲרֵי וַדַּאי נִשָּׂא הַזָּב עַל מִשְׁכָּב זֶה. שֶׁאֵין הַבְּהֵמָה יְכוֹלָה לַעֲמֹד עַל שְׁתַּיִם:


When an impure person sat on the beam in an olive press, all of the keilim in the net are impure, for they are pressed directly under the beam. When, by contrast, a person sits on a launderer's press, the garments under the board in the press are pure. The press rests on its own feet and not on the garments that are under it. Thus if a person would desire to insert a knife or the like between the garments that are under the press and the press, he would be able to, even though the press is tied close.


יָשַׁב הַטָּמֵא עַל קוֹרַת בֵּית הַבַּד כָּל הַכֵּלִים שֶׁבָּעֵקֶל טְמֵאִים. שֶׁהֲרֵי הֵם רְצוּצִים תַּחַת הַקּוֹרָה. אֲבָל אִם יָשַׁב עַל מַכְבֵּשׁ שֶׁל כּוֹבֵס הֲרֵי הַכֵּלִים שֶׁתַּחַת לוּחַ הַמַּכְבֵּשׁ טְהוֹרִים. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא רָפוּי וְנִמְצֵאת מִשְׁעֶנֶת הַמַּכְבֵּשׁ עַל רַגְלָיו לֹא עַל הַכֵּלִים שֶׁתַּחְתָּיו. שֶׁאִם יִרְצֶה אָדָם לְהַכְנִיס סַכִּין וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ בֵּין הַכֵּלִים שֶׁתַּחַת הַמַּכְבֵּשׁ וּבֵין הַמַּכְבֵּשׁ מַכְנִיס אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא קָשׁוּר:


When a zav used for support an implement that was not made for one to lie, sit, or ride on, since he did not touch it, it is pure even though it could have been used to lie on. The rationale is that we tell him: "Stand up and let us perform our work with this article."

What is implied? If one turned over a measuring container for grain or a kneading trough and sat on it, or sat on a curtain or the sail of a ship, they are pure, as implied by Leviticus 15:4 which states "that he sits upon," indicating an article set aside for sitting and not one concerning which would be said: "Stand up and let us perform our work," for this article was not made for sitting.

If the article was used to be sat upon together with the purpose it was made, it can contract impurity as a midras, for example, a veil, a cloak, an outer garment, a drinking pouch, and a carrying bag. Even though none of these entities were made to lie upon, if such an article could be used to lie upon together with the purpose for which it was made. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. In Hilchot Keilim, I will explain which keilim can contract impurity through midras and which do not, which keilim are fit for sitting, which are fit for lying, and which are fit for riding.


זָב שֶׁדָּרַס עַל כְּלִי שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה לְמִשְׁכָּב אוֹ לְמוֹשָׁב אוֹ לְמֶרְכָּב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא רָאוּי לְמִשְׁכָּב הוֹאִיל וְלֹא נָגַע בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמְרִים לוֹ עֲמֹד וְנַעֲשֶׂה מְלַאכְתֵּנוּ בִּכְלִי זֶה. כֵּיצַד. כָּפָה סְאָה וְיָשַׁב עָלֶיהָ כָּפָה עֲרֵבָה וְיָשַׁב עָלֶיהָ אוֹ שֶׁיָּשַׁב עַל פָּרֹכֶת אוֹ עַל קֶלַע שֶׁל סְפִינָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ טְהוֹרִים. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו ד) "אֲשֶׁר יֵשֵׁב עָלָיו" הַמְיֻחָד לִישִׁיבָה לֹא שֶׁאוֹמְרִים לוֹ עֲמֹד וְנַעֲשֶׂה מְלַאכְתֵּנוּ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכְּלִי זֶה לֹא נַעֲשָׂה לִישִׁיבָה. הָיָה הַכְּלִי מְשַׁמֵּשׁ לִישִׁיבָה עִם מְלַאכְתּוֹ שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה לָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה מִתְטַמֵּא בְּמִדְרָס. כְּגוֹן הָרְדִיד. וְהֶחָלוּק. וְהַטַּלִּית. וְהַתּוּרְמָל. וְהַחֵמֶת. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן לֹא נַעֲשָׂה מִתְּחִלָּה לְמִשְׁכָּב הֲרֵי הוּא מְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּב עִם מְלַאכְתּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ. וּבְהִלְכוֹת כֵּלִים אֲבָאֵר כָּל הַכֵּלִים הַמִּטַּמְּאִין בְּמִדְרָס וְכֵלִים שֶׁאֵין מִטַּמְּאִין בְּמִדְרָס. וְאֵי זֶה כְּלִי רָאוּי לִישִׁיבָה. וְאֵי זֶה רָאוּי לִשְׁכִיבָה. וְאֵי זֶה רָאוּי לִרְכִיבָה:

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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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