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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

She'ar Avot haTum'ah - Chapter 17

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She'ar Avot haTum'ah - Chapter 17

1

When there is an olive-sized portion of a human corpse in the mouth of a raven and there is a doubt whether or not it flew over a person or keilim in a private domain, the person is impure because of the doubt, provided he has the knowledge to respond to questions. The keilim are pure, because they do not have the capacity to respond to questions.

Similarly, when a person was drawing water with one container and pouring it into ten others and the carcass of a creeping animal was found in one of the ten, that container is impure and the others are pure. Although there is a question whether they are all impure, for perhaps the the carcass of the creeping animal had been in the container used to draw water, we rule leniently, because keilim are involved and they do not have the capacity to respond to questions. If the container with which he drew the water possessed a rim, since it is possible for the water to have been poured out, but for the carcass of the creeping animal to have remained, they are all impure.

Similarly, when one draws water with ten buckets, one after the other, and pours the water into ten containers, each bucket into a separate container, and it is not known which container was first and which was last, if the carcass of a creeping animal was found in one of them, the other nine containers and the ten buckets are pure, for one could say perhaps the carcass of the creeping animal was in the container originally. If the buckets have rims, all of the buckets and all of the containers are impure.

When one pours from one container to another and the carcass of a creeping animal is found in the lower container, the upper container is pure. We do not say that it fell from the upper container. Instead, it is possible that it had been in the lower container. The rationale for this leniency is that keilim are involved and they do not have the capacity of responding to questions. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

א

כְּזַיִת מִן הַמֵּת בְּפִי הָעוֹרֵב סָפֵק הֶאֱהִיל עַל הָאָדָם וְעַל הַכֵּלִים בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד סָפֵק שֶׁלֹּא הֶאֱהִיל הֲרֵי הָאָדָם טָמֵא מִסָּפֵק וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בּוֹ דַּעַת לִשָּׁאֵל וְהַכֵּלִים טְהוֹרִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶן דַּעַת לִשָּׁאֵל. וְכֵן הַמְמַלֵּא בִּכְלִי וְנָתַן בַּעֲשָׂרָה כֵּלִים וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בְּאֶחָד מֵהֶן הוּא טָמֵא וְהַכֵּלִים טְהוֹרִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכֻּלָּן סָפֵק שֶׁמָּא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בַּכְּלִי שֶׁמִּלֵּא בּוֹ הָיָה תְּחִלָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כֵּלִים וְאֵין בָּהֶן דַּעַת לִשָּׁאֵל. וְאִם הָיָה לַכְּלִי שֶׁמִּלֵּא בּוֹ אָזְנַיִם הוֹאִיל וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיֵּצְאוּ הַמַּיִם וְיִתְאַחֵר בּוֹ הַשֶּׁרֶץ כֻּלָּן טְמֵאִים. וְכֵן הַמְמַלֵּא בַּעֲשָׂרָה דְּלָיִים זֶה אַחַר זֶה וְנָתַן בַּעֲשָׂרָה כֵּלִים מִדְּלִי אֶחָד לִכְלִי אַחֵר וְאֵין יָדוּעַ הָרִאשׁוֹן מִן הָאַחֲרוֹן וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בִּכְלִי אֶחָד מֵהֶן הֲרֵי הַתִּשְׁעָה כֵּלִים עִם עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּלָיִים טְהוֹרִין שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁמָּא בִּכְלִי זֶה הָיָה הַשֶּׁרֶץ מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ. וְאִם יֵשׁ לַדְּלָיִים אָזְנַיִם הֲרֵי כָּל הַדְּלָיִים עִם כָּל הַכֵּלִים טְמֵאִין. הַמְעָרֶה מִכְּלִי לִכְלִי וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בַּתַּחְתּוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן טָהוֹר. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין מֵהָעֶלְיוֹן נָפַל אֶלָּא שֶׁמָּא בַּתַּחְתּוֹן הָיָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כֵּלִים וְאֵין לָהֶן דַּעַת לִשָּׁאֵל. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

2

The following laws apply when there was a container that was used for pure substances and the carcass of a creeping animal was found in it. If it has a base or it has a rim, even if it does not have a base, all of the pure substances that were contained in it are impure. This applies even if it was checked before the substances were placed in it and covered afterwards, lest the the carcass of the creeping animal fell there when he lifted up his hand after checking.

Even if one used it for pure substances in one corner and then moved it to another corner and the carcass of the creeping animal was discovered inside, all the pure substances are impure. For the assumption that impurity was present in an article is not changed when that article is moved from place to place. All the above applies with regard to holding the status of the pure substances in abeyance, but not to burn them.

ב

קֻפָּה שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהּ בְּטָהֳרוֹת וְנִמְצָא בָּהּ שֶׁרֶץ אִם יֵשׁ לָהּ שׁוּלַיִם אוֹ אָזְנַיִם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לָהּ שׁוּלַיִם הֲרֵי כָּל הַטָּהֳרוֹת שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּמְּשׁוּ בָּהּ טְמֵאוֹת. אֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה בְּדוּקָה וּמְכֻסָּה שֶׁמָּא עִם הַגְבָּהַת יָדוֹ מִן הַבְּדִיקָה נָפַל הַשֶּׁרֶץ. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהּ בְּטָהֳרוֹת בְּזָוִית זוֹ וְטִלְטְלָהּ לְזָוִית אַחֶרֶת וְנִמְצָא בָּהּ הַשֶּׁרֶץ כֻּלָּן טְמֵאוֹת לְפִי שֶׁמַּחֲזִיקִין טֻמְאָה מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם לִתְלוֹת אֲבָל לֹא לִשְׂרֹף:

3

The following laws apply when a person draws liquids from a cistern and fills barrels from them. If he would immerse each and every barrel in the cistern to fill them and a carcass of a creeping animal was found in the first one, they are all impure. If it was found in the last one, it alone is impure and all the others are pure. The rationale is that we surmise that the creeping animal fell into the cistern after the first barrels were filled.

If he was drawing the liquids with one container and pouring them into barrels until they were full and a carcass of a creeping animal was found in one of them, it alone is impure and all the others and the cistern are pure. The rationale is that it can be said that the carcass of the creeping animal fell into this one alone or it was there before the liquid was poured into it. Accordingly, if the person checked all the barrels, then poured wine into them, and covered them afterwards and the carcass of a creeping animal was found in one of them, they are all impure. Similarly, if the carcass of a creeping animal was found in the cistern or the container used to draw from it, everything is impure.

ג

הַזּוֹלֵף אֶת הַבּוֹר וּמְמַלֵּא מִמֶּנּוּ חָבִיּוֹת אִם הָיָה מַשְׁקִיעַ כָּל חָבִית וְחָבִית בַּבּוֹר וּמְמַלֵּא אוֹתָן וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה כֻּלָּן טְמֵאוֹת. נִמְצָא בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה הִיא טְמֵאָה וְכֻלָּן טְהוֹרוֹת שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר אַחַר שֶׁמִּלֵּא אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת נָפַל שֶׁרֶץ לַבּוֹר. הָיָה זוֹלֵף בִּכְלִי וְנוֹתֵן לְתוֹךְ הֶחָבִיּוֹת עַד שֶׁמִּלְּאָן וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן הִיא בִּלְבַד טְמֵאָה וְכֻלָּן טְהוֹרוֹת שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר בְּזוֹ בִּלְבַד נָפַל הַשֶּׁרֶץ אוֹ הָיָה בָּהּ עַד שֶׁלֹּא זִלֵּף לְתוֹכָהּ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה בּוֹדֵק כָּל חָבִית מֵהֶן וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹתֵן בָּהּ הַיַּיִן וּמְכַסֶּה אוֹתָהּ אַחַר שֶׁזּוֹלֵף לְתוֹכָהּ וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן כֻּלָּן טְמֵאוֹת. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בַּבּוֹר אוֹ בַּכְּלִי שֶׁזּוֹלֵף בּוֹ הַכּל טָמֵא:

4

When one would gather olives from the pit in which they were stored and bring them up to a roof to dry, if the carcass of a creeping animal was found on the roof, the olives in the pit are pure. If it was found in the pit, the pit and the olives contained there are impure. If the carcass was found in the pit between the wall and the olives, the olives are pure.

The following laws apply if the creeping animal was found in a mound of olives and the mound was on the roof. If this occurred within three days of the olives being placed there, the pit is also impure, for it can be said that the mound was taken from the pit with the creeping animal in it. If the creeping animal was found three days after the mound had been taken to the roof, the pit is pure, because maybe the olives became compressed and formed a mound within these three days.

ד

הָיָה קוֹצֶה זֵיתִים מִן הַמַּעֲטָן וּמַעֲלֶה אוֹתָן לַגַּג וְנִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בַּגַּג זֵיתִים שֶׁבַּמַּעֲטָן טְהוֹרִים. נִמְצָא בַּמַּעֲטָן הַמַּעֲטָן טָמֵא. נִמְצָא בֵּין כֹּתֶל לַזֵּיתִים הַזֵּיתִים טְהוֹרִים. נִמְצָא הַשֶּׁרֶץ בְּתוֹךְ גּוּשׁ שֶׁל זֵיתִים וְהַגּוּשׁ בַּגַּג אִם בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים אַף הַמַּעֲטָן טָמֵא. שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר גּוּשׁ זֶה מִן הַמַּעֲטָן עָלָה וְהַשֶּׁרֶץ בְּתוֹכוֹ. וְאִם נִמְצָא אַחַר שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים מִשֶּׁהֶעֱלָה זֵיתִים לַגַּג הֲרֵי הַמַּעֲטָן טָהוֹר שֶׁמָּא בַּגַּג נִתְקַבְּצוּ וְנַעֲשׂוּ גּוּשׁ בְּתוֹךְ הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים:

5

When a person breaks off a piece of dough from a larger quantity and the carcass of a creeping animal was found on the smaller piece, that piece alone is impure. If the carcass was found in the larger dough, only that dough is impure. If it was found in the midst of the smaller portion of dough, even the larger portion is impure.

ה

הַקּוֹרֵץ מִקְרֶצֶת מִן הָעִסָּה וְנִמְצָא שֶׁרֶץ בַּמִּקְרֶצֶת הַמִּקְרֶצֶת לְבַדָּהּ טְמֵאָה. נִמְצָא בָּעִסָּה הָעִסָּה לְבַדָּהּ טְמֵאָה. נִמְצָא בְּתוֹךְ הַמִּקְרֶצֶת אַף הָעִסָּה טְמֵאָה:

6

When the seed of an impure food was found in a loaf [of bread] or on hot food, [the loaf or the food] are impure, even if there is no liquid present on it. [The rationale is that] it can be said that the entire [piece of impure] food fell there, but was dissolved – in the loaf or the food because of the boiling – and only the seed remained.

If the seed was found on top of a loaf or in the midst of cold food, [the loaf or the food] are pure, even if there is liquid present. [The rationale is that] it can be said that the seed alone fell into [the loaf or the food] after the [impure food] was removed from it and [the seed] does not impart impurity.

ו

אֹכֶל טָמֵא שֶׁנִּמְצָא גַּרְעִינָה שֶׁלּוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הַכִּכָּר אוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי תַּבְשִׁיל רוֹתֵחַ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עָלֶיהָ מַשְׁקֶה טוֹפֵחַ הֲרֵי הֵן טְמֵאִים. שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר הָאוֹכֵל כֻּלּוֹ נָפַל שָׁם וְנִמּוֹחַ בְּתוֹךְ הַכִּכָּר אוֹ מֵחֲמַת הָרְתִיחָה וְנִשְׁאֲרָה גַּרְעִינָתוֹ. נִמְצֵאת הַגַּרְעִינָה עַל גַּבֵּי הַכִּכָּר אוֹ בְּתוֹךְ תַּבְשִׁיל צוֹנֵן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ טְהוֹרִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלֶיהָ מַשְׁקֶה שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר גַּרְעִינָה זוֹ לְבַדָּהּ נָפְלָה אַחַר שֶׁאָבַד הָאוֹכֵל מֵעָלֶיהָ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה:

7

If there was pure food and impure food in a home and a seed was found inside a loaf of bread or in boiling food, the determination of its status is made according to the majority. Similarly, if there was pure blood and impure blood in a home and blood was found on food, the determination of its status is made according to the majority. An incident occurred with a loaf of bread that was terumah upon which blood was found. The incident was brought before the Sages and they ruled that the loaf was pure. For even if it could be said that the blood was that of a creeping animal, it is possible to say that it was the blood of a living creeping animal which is pure.

ז

הָיוּ בַּבַּיִת אֳכָלִין טְמֵאִין וָאֳכָלִין טְהוֹרִים וְנִמְצֵאת גַּרְעִינָה בַּבַּיִת הוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָרֹב. וְכֵן אִם הָיוּ דָּמִים טְהוֹרִים וְדָמִים טְמֵאִים בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת וְנִמְצָא דָּם עַל הָאֹכֶל הוֹלְכִים אַחַר הָרֹב. מַעֲשֶׂה הָיָה בְּכִכָּר שֶׁל תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנִּמְצָא עָלָיו דָּם וּבָא מַעֲשֶׂה לִפְנֵי חֲכָמִים וְטִהֲרוּהוּ. שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ נֹאמַר דַּם שֶׁרֶץ הוּא הֲרֵינִי אוֹמֵר דַּם שֶׁרֶץ חַי הוּא שֶׁהוּא טָהוֹר:

8

When there are carcasses of both animals that died without ritual slaughter and slaughtered animals in a city, if meat is found in the streets of the city, the determination of its status is made according to the majority.

Similarly, if the carcass of an animal was found and there is a doubt whether it is a creeping animal or a frog, the determination of its status is made according to the majority of animals in that town at that time. This is the general principle: When a questionable entity is found, the determination of its status is made according to the majority.

ח

עִיר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ נְבֵלוֹת וּשְׁחוּטוֹת. בָּשָׂר הַנִּמְצָא בָּהּ הוֹלְכִים אַחַר הָרֹב. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה הַנִּמְצָא בָּהּ סְפֵק שֶׁרֶץ סְפֵק צְפַרְדֵּעַ הוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָרֹב שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּאוֹתָהּ הָעִיר בְּאוֹתוֹ הַזְּמַן. זֶה הַכְּלָל בְּנִמְצָא הַלֵּךְ אַחַר הָרֹב:

9

When a woman was collecting fertilizer in a courtyard and the carcass of a creeping animal is found in the fertilizer, she is pure, because the carcass of a creeping animal does not impart impurity when carried. If it was found on top of the fertilizer, she is impure, for perhaps she touched it.

If she was sifting kernels of grain with a sieve and the carcass of a creeping animal was found in the kernels in the sieve, she is pure. If it is found on top of the sieve, she is considered impure because of the doubt, for perhaps she touched it. We follow the principle: whenever a question of impurity arises in a private domain, the person or object in question is deemed impure, as we explained.

ט

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁמְּגַבֶּבֶת גְּבָבָה בֶּחָצֵר וְנִמְצָא שֶׁרֶץ בְּתוֹךְ גְּבָבָה הֲרֵי זוֹ טְהוֹרָה שֶׁאֵין הַשֶּׁרֶץ מְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא. נִמְצָא עַל גַּבֵּי גְּבָבָה הֲרֵי זוֹ טְמֵאָה שֶׁמָּא נָגְעָה בּוֹ. הָיְתָה כּוֹבֶרֶת בִּכְבָרָה וְנִמְצָא שֶׁרֶץ בְּתוֹךְ הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁבַּכְּבָרָה הֲרֵי זוֹ טְהוֹרָה. נִמְצָא עַל גַּבֵּי הַכְּבָרָה הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק טְמֵאָה שֶׁמָּא נָגְעָה בּוֹ וְכָל סָפֵק בִּרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד טָמֵא כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

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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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