1

When a person was digging in a field and he found many corpses in a one pit, one on top of the other or one next to the other, or he found the bodies of people who were slain, or he found a corpse sitting or with its head between its knees, he need not be concerned that perhaps this was a cemetery. Instead he should take the corpses and all the soft earth beneath it and then dig down three fingerbreadths He should then take all of this away. The remainder of the field is considered as pure just as it was before the corpse was discovered. This earth and the three fingerbreadths of virgin soil is called the tevusah of the corpse.

א

מִי שֶׁהָיָה חוֹפֵר בְּשָׂדֶה וּמָצָא מֵתִים רַבִּים בְּגֻמָּא אַחַת זֶה עַל גַּב זֶה אוֹ זֶה בְּצַד זֶה אוֹ שֶׁמָּצָא הֲרוּגִים אוֹ שֶׁמָּצָא מֵת יוֹשֵׁב אוֹ רֹאשׁוֹ בֵּין בִּרְכָּיו אֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא מָקוֹם זֶה בֵּית הַקְּבָרוֹת הָיָה אֶלָּא נוֹטֵל הַמֵּת שֶׁמָּצָא וְנוֹטֵל כָּל הֶעָפָר הַתִּחוֹחַ שֶׁתַּחְתָּיו וְחוֹפֵר בִּבְתוּלַת קַרְקַע שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת וּמוֹצִיא הַכּל וּשְׁאָר הַשָּׂדֶה בְּחֶזְקַת טָהֳרָה כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּמְצָא. וְעָפָר זֶה עִם שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת שֶׁחוֹפֵר הוּא הַנִּקְרָא תְּבוּסַת הַמֵּת:

2

When the bodies of slain corpses are found in a field, one should collect all the bones from the field and then, it is pure. Similarly, when one disinters a corpse from a grave in his field, he should gather all the bones one by one and then it is pure. Similarly, a pit into which miscarried fetuses or slain corpses are cast, one should gather all the bones one by one and then it is pure.

ב

שָׂדֶה שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ בּוֹ הֲרוּגִים מְלַקֵּט כָּל הָעֲצָמוֹת שֶׁבָּהּ וַהֲרֵי הִיא טְהוֹרָה. וְכֵן הַמְפַנֶּה קִבְרוֹ מִתּוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ מְלַקֵּט כָּל הָעֲצָמוֹת עֶצֶם עֶצֶם וַהֲרֵי הִיא טְהוֹרָה. וְכֵן בּוֹר שֶׁמְּטִילִים בְּתוֹכוֹ נְפָלִים אוֹ הֲרוּגִים מְלַקֵּט כָּל הָעֲצָמוֹת שֶׁבּוֹ עֶצֶם עֶצֶם וַהֲרֵי הוּא טָהוֹר:

3

If one was digging and he discovered a corpse buried in an ordinary manner, he should remove it and the earth of their tevusah. Similarly, if he discovered two corpses buried in an ordinary manner, he should remove both of them and the earth of their tevusah, and the entire field is pure. More stringent laws apply when one finds three corpses, each one lying in the manner in which corpses are usually buried. If there are between four and eight cubits between one grave and the other - i.e., the space for a bier and the buriers - it is necessary to check an additional twenty cubits - i.e., the space for two burial crypts and the open space between them from the last grave. If he does not find another corpse in this space, those twenty cubits that he checked are pure, even though they are in an area close to graves.

If he finds another corpse at the end of the 20 cubit area, it is necessary to check another twenty cubits from it, for there is a basis for the assumption that other graves will be found.

If one of the corpses that was found originally or ultimately had been slain, was sitting, or lying in an unordinary manner, e.g., its head was between its knees, it is not necessary to check another twenty cubits. Instead, one must merely remove the remains of the corpse and its tevusah, The rationale is that we operate on the presumption that the corpses are of gentiles.

ג

הָיָה חוֹפֵר וּמָצָא מֵת מֻשְׁכָּב כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁקּוֹבְרִין הַמֵּתִים נוֹטְלוֹ וְאֶת תְּבוּסָתוֹ. וְכֵן אִם מָצָא שְׁנַיִם נוֹטֵל כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן וּתְבוּסָתוֹ עִמּוֹ וְכָל הַשָּׂדֶה טְהוֹרָה. מָצָא שְׁלֹשָׁה מֵתִים כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן מֻטָּל כְּדֶרֶךְ הַנִּקְבָּרִין אִם יֵשׁ בֵּין זֶה לָזֶה מֵאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת וְעַד שְׁמוֹנֶה כִּמְלוֹא מִטָּה וְקוֹבְרֶיהָ הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא בֵּית הַקְּבָרוֹת הוּא זֶה וְצָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק מִן הָאַחֲרוֹן עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה שֶׁהֵן כִּשְׁתֵּי מְעָרוֹת וְחָצֵר שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶן. וְאִם לֹא מָצָא שָׁם מֵת אַחֵר הֲרֵי אוֹתָן הָעֶשְׂרִים שֶׁבָּדַק טְהוֹרוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן שְׁכוּנַת קְבָרוֹת. מָצָא מֵת אֶחָד בְּסוֹף עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק מִמֶּנּוּ עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה אֲחֵרוֹת לְפִי שֶׁרַגְלַיִם לַדָּבָר. וְאִם הָיָה אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ שֶׁמָּצָא בַּתְּחִלָּה אוֹ בַּסּוֹף הָרוּג אוֹ יוֹשֵׁב אוֹ מֻשְׁכָּב שֶׁלֹּא כְּדַרְכּוֹ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רֹאשׁוֹ בֵּין יַרְכוֹתָיו אֵינוֹ בּוֹדֵק עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה אֶלָּא נוֹטְלָן וְאֶת תְּבוּסָתָן בִּלְבַד שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן עַכּוּ''ם:

4

The laws governing the impurity of graves do not apply to those of gentiles since the impurity of ohel does not apply with regard to them. One who touches their graves is pure unless he touches the corpse itself or carries it.

ד

הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵין לָהֶם טֻמְאַת קְבָרוֹת הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָן מְטַמְּאִין בְּאֹהֶל הֲרֵי הַנּוֹגֵעַ בְּקִבְרָן טָהוֹר עַד שֶׁיִּגַּע בְּעַצְמָהּ שֶׁל טֻמְאָה אוֹ יִשָּׂאֶנָּה:

5

When a corpse is lacking a limb or an organ that, were it to be removed from a living person, he would die, there is no requirement to remove the tevusah, nor is there an obligation to check the area around the grave. When corpses are found lying openly on the surface of a field, there is no requirement to remove the tevusah, nor is there an obligation to check the area around the grave. Instead, one should merely gather bone after bone, and the area is pure.

When a corpse is buried without permission of the owner of the field, there is a requirement to remove the tevusah, but there is no obligation to check the area around the grave.

ה

מֵת שֶׁחָסֵר אֵיבָר שֶׁאִם יִנָּטֵל מִן הַחַי יָמוּת אֵין לוֹ תְּבוּסָה וְלֹא שְׁכוּנַת קְבָרוֹת. וּמֵתִים הַנִּמְצָאִים גְּלוּיִים עַל פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה אֵין לָהֶם שְׁכוּנַת קְבָרוֹת וְלֹא תְּבוּסָה אֶלָּא מְלַקֵּט עֶצֶם עֶצֶם וְהַכּל טָהוֹר. וְהַנִּקְבָּר שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת יֵשׁ לוֹ תְּבוּסָה וְאֵין לוֹ שְׁכוּנַת קְבָרוֹת:

6

When one finds three corpses buried in an ordinary manner at the outset, three hollows in the wall of a cave, or a hollow, a grave, and a crypt, it is considered as a burial area.

If one finds two and the existence of one had been known previously, there is a requirement to remove the tevusah, but there is no obligation to check the area around the grave. The rationale is that a grave whose existence is known does not cause a place to be considered as a burial area. It was said only that when one finds three graves at the outset, then an inspection is required.

How should the inspection of the twenty cubits mentioned be carried out? One should dig until he reaches a rock or virgin earth, i.e., earth that appears that it has never been tilled. If one dug even 100 cubits deep and discovered earth that was plowed, the original requirement remains and one must dig deeper until he reaches virgin earth. If one reaches water, it is as if he reached virgin earth.

ו

אֶחָד הַמּוֹצֵא שְׁלֹשָׁה מֵתִים כְּדַרְכָּן בַּתְּחִלָּה אוֹ שֶׁמָּצָא שְׁלֹשָׁה כּוּכִין אוֹ כּוּךְ וּנְקִיעַ וּמְעָרָה הֲרֵי זוֹ שְׁכוּנַת קְבָרוֹת. מָצָא שְׁנַיִם וְאֶחָד הָיָה יָדוּעַ יֵשׁ לָהֶם תְּבוּסָה וְאֵין לָהֶם שְׁכוּנַת קְבָרוֹת שֶׁהַקֶּבֶר הַיָּדוּעַ אֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה שְׁכוּנָה. וְלֹא אָמְרוּ אֶלָּא הַמּוֹצֵא שְׁלֹשָׁה בַּתְּחִלָּה הוּא שֶׁצָּרִיךְ בְּדִיקָה. כֵּיצַד בּוֹדֵק הָעֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ. חוֹפֵר עַד שֶׁהוּא מַגִּיעַ לְסֶלַע אוֹ לִבְתוּלָה. וְהִיא הַקַּרְקַע שֶׁנִּרְאֵית שֶׁאֵינָהּ עֲבוּדָה. הֶעְמִיק אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה אַמָּה וּמָצָא חֶרֶשׂ הֲרֵי זוֹ כְּבַתְּחִלָּה וְצָרִיךְ לְהַעֲמִיק עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לִבְתוּלָה. הִגִּיעַ לְמַיִם הֲרֵי זוֹ כִּבְתוּלָה:

7

When making this inspection, a person does not have to dig a trench extending from the beginning of the twenty cubits until their end. Instead, it is sufficient for him to dig a trench one cubit by one cubit, leave a cubit as is, and dig another cubit by cubit trench, continuing this pattern until the end. The rationale is that there is never less than a cubit between one grave and another.

ז

אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחְפֹּר תֶּלֶם אֶחָד מִתְּחִלַּת הָעֶשְׂרִים עַד סוֹפָן אֶלָּא חוֹפֵר אַמָּה עַל אַמָּה וּמַנִּיחַ אַמָּה וְחוֹפֵר אַמָּה עַל אַמָּה וּמַנִּיחַ אַמָּה וְכֵן עַד סוֹפָן שֶׁאֵין בֵּין קֶבֶר לְקֶבֶר פָּחוֹת מֵאַמָּה:

8

If while one was checking, within the twenty cubits, he reached a river, an irrigation channel, or a public thoroughfare, he should cease. There is no need to search further, because the burial area has been interrupted.

ח

הָיָה בּוֹדֵק וְהִגִּיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הָעֶשְׂרִים לְנָהָר אוֹ לִשְׁלוּלִית אוֹ לְדֶרֶךְ הָרַבִּים יַפְסִיק וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק שֶׁהֲרֵי נִפְסְקָה שְׁכוּנַת הַקְּבָרוֹת:

9

The person who removes the earth which is searched is considered as pure unless impurity is discovered in the place which was dug up. Before it is discovered, he may partake of terumah.

One who is digging up a landslide may not partake of terumah, for it is certain that there are corpses under the landslide. It is only that he is not aware of their location.

ט

הַמּוֹצֵא עָפָר זֶה שֶׁל בְּדִיקָה טָהוֹר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן מָצָא טֻמְאָה בַּמָּקוֹם שֶׁחָפַר. אֲבָל קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּמְצָא אוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה. וְהַמְפַקֵּחַ בְּגַל אֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה שֶׁהֲרֵי יוֹדֵעַ וַדַּאי שֶׁהַמֵּתִים שָׁם תַּחַת הַגַּל אֶלָּא שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַכִּיר מְקוֹמָן:

10

The following laws apply when an impure landslide becomes intermingled with two pure landslides. If one inspected one of them and found it to be pure, it is considered pure and the others impure. If he inspected two of them and found them to be pure, they are considered pure and the other impure. If he inspected all three and found them to be pure, they are all presumed to be impure until he inspects the three of them to the extent that he reaches a stone or virgin earth and discovers all three to be pure.

י

גַּל טָמֵא שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בִּשְׁנֵי גַּלִּין טְהוֹרִין בָּדַק אֶחָד מֵהֶן וּמְצָאוֹ טָהוֹר הוּא טָהוֹר וְהַשְּׁנַיִם טְמֵאִין. בָּדַק שְׁנַיִם וְנִמְצְאוּ טְהוֹרִים הֵן טְהוֹרִים וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי בְּחֶזְקַת טָמֵא. בָּדַק שְׁלָשְׁתָּן וּמָצָא טָהוֹר כֻּלָּן בְּחֶזְקַת טֻמְאָה עַד שֶׁיִּבְדֹּק שְׁלָשְׁתָּן עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לְסֶלַע אוֹ לִבְתוּלָה וְיִהְיוּ שְׁלָשְׁתָּן טְהוֹרִין:

11

When there is a pit into which miscarried fetuses are cast, one who stands over it is impure according to Scriptural Law. Although moles and hyenas are found there, a mere possibility does not change the definitive ruling based on prior conditions. If, however, a woman cast a miscarried fetus there and it was not determined whether she miscarried something which imparts impurity or not, since there are moles and hyenas there, the multiple doubts cause the place to be deemed pure.

יא

בּוֹר שֶׁמְּטִילִין לְתוֹכוֹ נְפָלִים הַמַּאֲהִיל עָלָיו טָמֵא דִּין תּוֹרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחֻלְדָּה וּבַרְדְּלָס מְצוּיִין שָׁם אֵין סָפֵק מוֹצִיא מִידֵי וַדַּאי. אֲבָל אִם הִפִּילָה שָׁם אִשָּׁה נֵפֶל וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם הִפִּילָה דָּבָר הַמְטַמֵּא אוֹ לֹא הִפִּילָה הוֹאִיל וְחֻלְדָּה וּבַרְדְּלָס מְצוּיִין שָׁם הֲרֵי סְפֵקוֹ טָהוֹר:

12

It is well known that all these and other similar instances which are ruled impure although there is a doubt involved are Rabbinic safeguards. According to Scriptural Law, only one who has definitely contracted impurity is deemed impure. All stringencies stemming from doubt, whether with regard to ritual impurity, forbidden foods, forbidden intimate relations, or the observance of the Sabbath, are only Rabbinic in origin, as we explained in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah and in other places. Nevertheless, when there is a situation where one would be liable for karet for an intentional violation, it is forbidden by Scriptural Law to act in a manner that allows for the possibility that one committed such a violation, as evidenced by the fact that one who performs such an act is obligated to bring a provisional guilt-offering, as stated in Hilchot Shegagot.

יב

דָּבָר יָדוּעַ שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ הַטֻּמְאוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁהֵן מִשּׁוּם סָפֵק הֲרֵי הֵן שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶן. וְאֵין טָמֵא מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא מִי שֶׁנִּטְמָא טֻמְאַת וַדַּאי אֲבָל כָּל הַסְּפֵקוֹת בֵּין בְּטֻמְאוֹת בֵּין בְּמַאֲכָלוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת בֵּין בַּעֲרָיוֹת וְשַׁבָּתוֹת אֵין לָהֶם אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים [וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן דָּבָר שֶׁחַיָּבִין עַל זְדוֹנוֹ כָּרֵת סְפֵקוֹ אָסוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי הָעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתוֹ חַיָּב אָשָׁם תָּלוּי] כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת אִסּוּרֵי בִּיאָה וּבְכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת: