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Metamme'ey Mishkav uMoshav - Chapter 1

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Metamme'ey Mishkav uMoshav - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos Metamme'ey Mishkav uMoshav

Included in this text are four positive commandments. They comprise the following:
1) the laws of the impurity of a woman in her menstrual state;
2) the laws of the impurity of a woman who gave birth;
3) the laws of the impurity of a zavah;
4) the laws of the impurity of a zav.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות מטמאי משכב ומושב - הקדמה הלכות מטמאי משכב ומושב יש בכללן ארבע מצות עשה וזהו פרטן:
(א) דין טומאת נדה
(ב) דין טומאת יולדת
(ג) דין טומאת זבה
(ד) דין טומאת זב
וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:


A zav, a zavah, a woman in the nidah state, and a woman after childbirth: all these four types of individuals are primary sources of impurity. They impart impurity to implements through touching them and impart impurity to other persons by touching them or carrying them. They impart impurity to the objects on which they lie, sit, or ride and cause them to also be considered as a primary source of impurity. And they impart impurity to the objects above them.


הַזָּב וְהַזָּבָה וְהַנִּדָּה וְהַיּוֹלֶדֶת כָּל אֶחָד מֵאַרְבַּעְתָּן אָב מֵאֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת. מְטַמְּאִין כֵּלִים בְּמַגָּע. וּמְטַמֵּא אָדָם בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא. וּמְטַמֵּא מִשְׁכָּב וּמוֹשָׁב וּמֶרְכָּב מִתַּחְתָּיו וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן אַב טֻמְאָה. וּמְטַמֵּא מַדָּף עַל גַּבּוֹ:


Whether a woman is a minor zavah or a major zavah, whether her bleeding is natural or comes as a result of an outside cause, and whether a zav experienced two zav emissions or three, her or his impurity is the same with regard to imparting impurity to others.


אֶחָד זָבָה קְטַנָּה וְאֶחָד זָבָה גְּדוֹלָה. וְאֶחָד זָבָה מֵחֲמַת עַצְמָהּ אוֹ מֵחֲמַת אֹנֶס. וְאֶחָד זָב בַּעַל שְׁתֵּי רְאָיוֹת אוֹ בַּעַל שָׁלֹשׁ. טֻמְאַת כֻּלָּן שָׁוָה לְטַמֵּא אֲחֵרִים:


An infant girl one day old can contract nidah impurity. At ten days old, she can contract zivah impurity. A female of three years old can impart impurity to a man with whom she engages in relations, as will be explained.


קְטַנָּה בַּת יוֹם אֶחָד מְטַמָּא בְּנִדָּה. בַּת עֲשָׂרָה יָמִים בְּזִיבָה. בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד מְטַמְּאָה אֶת בּוֹעֲלָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:


A male minor can contract zav impurity at the age of one day. Converts, servants, and natural-born Jews are all the same with regard to contracting the impurity of nidah and zivah.


קָטָן בֶּן יוֹם אֶחָד מְטַמֵּא בְּזִיבָה. וְאֶחָד גֵּרִים וַעֲבָדִים וְאֶחָד יִשְׂרָאֵל מְטַמְּאִין בְּנִדָּה וּבְזִיבָה:


A person who was castrated or one who is born sexually impotent may contract impurity because of a zav discharge like other men.


סְרִיס אָדָם סְרִיס חַמָּה מְטַמְּאִין בְּזִיבָה כִּשְׁאָר הַבְּרִיאִין:


A woman does not contract impurity because of a zav discharge, nor does a man contract impurity because of reddish discharge. Instead, only a woman contracts impurity because of reddish discharge, and a man, because of a zav discharge.


אֵין הָאִשָּׁה מִטַּמְּאָה בְּלֹבֶן וְלֹא הָאִישׁ בְּאֹדֶם אֶלָּא הָאִשָּׁה בְּאֹדֶם וְהָאִישׁ בְּלֹבֶן:


The stringencies applying to both males and females are applied to a tumtum and an androgynus. They contract impurity because of a zav discharge like a man and because of uterine bleeding like a female. Their impure status is a matter of question. Hence terumah or sacrificial food that that they touch is not burnt, nor are they held liable for entering the Temple or partaking of sacrificial food in a state of impurity. If a zav discharge and uterine bleeding is secreted from such a person at the same time, terumah or sacrificial food that that they touch is burnt. Nevertheless, they are not held liable for entering the Temple or partaking of sacrificial food in a state of impurity, as Numbers 5:3: "Male and female alike shall you send forth." Implied is that the impurity of a male must be definitive and the impurity of the female must be definitive.

Similarly, even if one touches a zav discharge and uterine bleeding from such a person simultaneously, he is not liable for entering the Temple in a state of impurity or for partaking of sacrificial foods in such a state. If a tumtum and an androgynus himself touched both a zav discharge and uterine bleeding that secreted from him, he is liable for entering the Temple in a state of impurity.


טֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְרוֹגִינוּס נוֹתְנִין עֲלֵיהֶם חֻמְרֵי הָאִישׁ וְחֻמְרֵי הָאִשָּׁה. מִטַּמְּאִין בְּלֹבֶן כְּאִישׁ וּבְאֹדֶם כְּאִשָּׁה. וְטֻמְאָתָן בְּסָפֵק לְפִיכָךְ אֵין שׂוֹרְפִין עֲלֵיהֶן תְּרוּמָה וְקָדָשִׁים וְאֵין חַיָּבִין עֲלֵיהֶן עַל טֻמְאַת מִקְדָּשׁ וְקָדָשָׁיו. רָאָה לֹבֶן וְאֹדֶם כְּאַחַד שׂוֹרְפִין עֲלֵיהֶן אֶת הַתְּרוּמָה וְאֶת הַקָּדָשִׁים אֲבָל אֵין חַיָּבִין עֲלֵיהֶן עַל בִּיאַת מִקְדָּשׁ וְקָדָשָׁיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה ג) "מִזָּכָר עַד נְקֵבָה תְּשַׁלֵּחוּ" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַטֻּמְאָה טֻמְאַת זָכָר וַדַּאי אוֹ טֻמְאַת נְקֵבָה וַדָּאִית. וְכֵן הַנּוֹגֵעַ בַּלֹּבֶן וְאֹדֶם שֶׁלּוֹ כְּאַחַת אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַל טֻמְאַת מִקְדָּשׁ וְקָדָשָׁיו. נָגַע הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ בְּלֹבֶן וְאֹדֶם שֶׁרָאָה הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב עַל בִּיאַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ:


Even the slightest amount of the blood of nidah, the blood of zivah, or the blood of a woman who gave birth imparts impurity when touched or carried, as implied by Leviticus 15:33: "A woman who suffers because of her nidah state and one who experiences a flow...." According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught her secretion imparts impurity like she does.

We already explained with regard to the prohibition of a nidah, that there are five shades of impure bleeding experienced by a woman. If, however, she secretes a green blood-like discharge, it is pure. It does not resemble her saliva or other fluids that she discharges. The difference is that saliva collects and is discharged as drops, while this flows out and descends.


דַּם הַנִּדָּה אוֹ דַּם הַזָּבָה אוֹ דַּם הַיּוֹלֶדֶת מְטַמֵּא בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו לג) "וְהַדָּוָה בְּנִדָּתָהּ וְהַזָּב" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁמַּדְוֶה כָּמוֹהָ. וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּעִנְיַן אִסּוּר נִדָּה שֶׁחֲמִשָּׁה דָּמִים טְמֵאִים בָּאִשָּׁה אֲבָל אִם רָאֲתָה דָּם יָרֹק הֲרֵי הוּא טָהוֹר וְאֵינוֹ כְּמוֹ רֻקָּהּ וּשְׁאָר מַשְׁקִין הַיּוֹצְאִין מִמֶּנָּה שֶׁהָרֹק מִתְעַגֵּל וְיוֹצֵא וְזֶה שׁוֹתֵת וְיוֹרֵד:


When a woman gives birth to a child through Cesarean section and uterine blood was released from her body together with the child, that blood is a primary source of impurity like the blood of nidah, childbirth, or zivah. The rationale is that the uterus is a place of impurity for all blood that emerges from it. The woman is ritually pure unless the blood flows out through her vaginal channel.


אִשָּׁה שֶׁיָּצָא הַוָּלָד מִדָּפְנָהּ וְיוֹצֵא עִמּוֹ דָּם מִן הַדֹּפֶן הֲרֵי אוֹתוֹ דָּם אָב מֵאֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת כְּדַם הַנִּדָּה וְהַלֵּדָה וְהַזִּיבָה שֶׁהַמָּקוֹר מְקוֹמוֹ טָמֵא. וְהָאִשָּׁה טְהוֹרָה עַד שֶׁיֵּצֵא מִמֶּנָּה דָּם דֶּרֶךְ הָרֶחֶם:


When the uterus of a woman is ripped away from its place and falls to the earth, the woman is impure until the evening. Similarly, if the uterus discharged two pearl-like drops of fluid, the woman is impure until the evening. She is, however, not a nidah unless she discharges one of the five types of blood that render her impure.


מְקוֹר הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנֶּעֱקַר וְנָפַל לָאָרֶץ הָאִשָּׁה טְמֵאָה טֻמְאַת עֶרֶב וְכֵן מָקוֹר שֶׁהִזִּיעַ כִּשְׁנֵי טִפֵּי מַרְגָּלִיּוֹת הָאִשָּׁה טְמֵאָה טֻמְאַת עֶרֶב. אֲבָל אֵינָהּ נִדָּה עַד שֶׁתִּרְאֶה אֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה דָּמִים הַמְטַמְּאִין אוֹתָהּ:


If a woman discharged one drop of a white fluid, she remains pure, for that certainly comes from outside the uterus.


הֵזִיעָה טִפָּה אַחַת הֲרֵי הָאִשָּׁה טְהוֹרָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מִחוּץ לַמָּקוֹר:


The discharge of a zav is considered as a primary source of impurity like a zav himself, as implied by Leviticus 15:2: "His discharge is impure." Even the slightest amount of it imparts impurity when touched or when carried.

The first discharge of a zav does not impart impurity when carried. It is considered like semen. This applies whether it was discharged by an adult man or a male child. Similarly, any bed or seat on which such a person sat between the first discharge and the second discharge is pure, for one is not categorized as a zav until he experiences two discharges, as we explained in Hilchot Mechusrei Kapparah. If he experiences one discharge that lasts as long as two, only one who moves the last drop contracts impurity.


זוֹבוֹ שֶׁל זָב אָב מֵאֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת כְּזָב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טו ב) "זוֹבוֹ טָמֵא הוּא" וּמְטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. רְאִיָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁל זָב אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה בְּמַשָּׂא וַהֲרֵי הִיא כְּשִׁכְבַת זֶרַע בֵּין מֵאִישׁ גָּדוֹל בֵּין מֵאִישׁ קָטָן וְכֵן הַמִּשְׁכָּבוֹת וְהַמּוֹשָׁבוֹת שֶׁיָּשַׁב עֲלֵיהֶם מִשֶּׁרָאָה רְאִיָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה עַד שֶׁרָאָה הַשְּׁנִיָּה טְהוֹרִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ קָרוּי זָב אֶלָּא אַחַר רְאִיָּה שְׁנִיָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מְחֻסְּרֵי כַּפָּרָה. רָאָה אַחַת מְרֻבָּה כִּשְׁתַּיִם אֵין טָמֵא אֶלָּא הַמֵּסִיט טִפָּה אַחֲרוֹנָה:


The first zav discharge of a person afflicted by tzara'at imparts impurity when touched or when carried, as implied by Numbers 5:2: "All those afflicted with tzara'at, every zav, and all those impure because of contact with a corpse." The verse establishes an association between a person afflicted with tzara'at and zav in the complete sense of the term. Just as the discharge of a zav in the complete sense of the term imparts impurity when carried, so too, even the first discharge of a person afflicted with tzara'at imparts impurity.


רְאִיָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁל מְצֹרָע מְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה ב) "כָּל צָרוּעַ וְכָל זָב וְכל טָמֵא לָנָפֶשׁ" הֲרֵי הַצָּרוּעַ כְּזָב גָּמוּר מַה זָּב גָּמוּר זוֹבוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא אַף מְצֹרָע רְאִיָּתוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה מְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא:


The saliva, semen, and urine of a zav - all three of them are primary source of impurity according to Scriptural Law. Even the smallest amount of each of them imparts impurity when touched or carried. These concepts are derived as follows. With regard to the saliva of a zav, Leviticus 15:8 states: "When a zav will spit upon a pure person,... he shall be impure until the evening." And it is impossible that the urine or the semen of a zav will not have some drops of his zav discharge.


רֹק הַזָּב וְשִׁכְבַת זַרְעוֹ וּמֵימֵי רַגְלָיו כָּל אֶחָד מִשְּׁלָשְׁתָּן אַב טֻמְאָה דִּין תּוֹרָה. וּמְטַמֵּא בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּרֹק (ויקרא טו ח) "וְכִי יָרֹק הַזָּב בַּטָּהוֹר". וּמֵימֵי רַגְלָיו וְשִׁכְבַת זַרְעוֹ אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה בָּהֶם צִחְצוּחֵי זִיבָה כָּל שֶׁהוּא:


The same laws that apply to a zav apply also to a nidah, a woman after childbirth, and a zavah. The saliva and the urine of each of them is a primary source of impurity like that of a zav. Similarly, whenever the term zav is used in these laws, the intent is either a zav or one of the other three.


אֶחָד זָב וְאֶחָד נִדָּה וְיוֹלֶדֶת וְזָבָה כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן רֻקּוֹ וּמֵימֵי רַגְלָיו אַב טֻמְאָה כְּזָב. וְכֵן כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּהֲלָכוֹת אֵלּוּ הַזָּב אֶחָד הַזָּב וְאֶחָד שְׁאָר הָאַרְבָּעָה:


There are nine types of fluids produced by a zav. Three of them are primary sources of impurity: his saliva, his semen, and his urine. Even the slightest amount of them imparts ritual impurity to a person or an implement, as we explained.

Three of them are considered as a derivative of impurity: tears, blood from a wound, and a woman's milk. Each one of these is considered as an impure fluid that does not impart impurity to humans, but does impart to implements according to Rabbinic Law, as will be explained. And there are three which are pure: sweat, puss, and feces. The laws that apply to these three fluids from a zav and the others like him are the same as when these fluids that are discharged by an ordinary person who is pure.

His phlegm, spittle, and mucus are considered like saliva in all contexts and they are included in the term saliva. When blood flows from the male organ or from the mouth, it is considered as the blood of a wound. If a person sucks a wound and spits out the blood, it imparts impurity like saliva does. For it is impossible that the blood that he sucks will not have drops of saliva.


תִּשְׁעָה מַשְׁקִין בְּזָב שְׁלֹשָׁה מֵהֶן אָב טֻמְאָה וְהֵן רֻקּוֹ וְשִׁכְבַת זַרְעוֹ וּמֵימֵי רַגְלָיו. כָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ מְטַמֵּא אָדָם וְכֵלִים בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. שְׁלֹשָׁה מֵהֶן כִּוְלַד הַטֻּמְאָה וְאֵלּוּ הֵן דִּמְעַת עֵינוֹ וְדַם מַגַּפְתּוֹ וַחֲלֵב הָאִשָּׁה. כָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ כְּמַשְׁקִין טְמֵאִין שֶׁאֵין מְטַמְּאִין אָדָם אֲבָל מְטַמְּאִין כֵּלִים מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וּשְׁלֹשָׁה מֵהֶן טְהוֹרִין וְאֵלּוּ הֵן זֵעָתוֹ וְלֵחָה סְרוּחָה הַיּוֹצְאִים מִמֶּנּוּ וְהָרֵעִי. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה מִן הַזָּב וַחֲבֵרָיו כְּמוֹתָן מִשְּׁאָר הָאָדָם. כִּיחוֹ וְנִיעוֹ וְרִירוֹ וּמֵי הָאַף שֶׁלּוֹ הֲרֵי הֵן כְּרֻקּוֹ לְכָל דָּבָר וּבִכְלַל הָרֹק הֵן חֲשׁוּבִין. דָּם הַיּוֹצֵא מִפִּי אַמָּה וְדָם הַשּׁוֹתֵת מִפִּיו הֲרֵי הֵן בִּכְלַל דָּם מַגַּפְתּוֹ. הָיָה מוֹצֵץ וְרוֹקֵק דָּם הֲרֵי זֶה מְטַמֵּא כְּרֹק. שֶׁהַדָּם שֶׁמּוֹצֵץ אִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ בְּלֹא צִחְצוּחֵי רֹק:

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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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