Everyone can become impure due to tzara'at blemishes, even a new-born baby or servants, but not gentiles or resident aliens. Anyone is acceptable to inspect such blemishes. A person can inspect all blemishes except his own.


הַכּל מִתְטַמְּאִין בִּנְגָעִים אֲפִלּוּ קָטָן בֶּן יוֹמוֹ וְהָעֲבָדִים אֲבָל לֹא עַכּוּ''ם וְלֹא גֵּר תּוֹשָׁב. וְהַכּל כְּשֵׁרִין לִרְאוֹת אֶת הַנְּגָעִים. וְכָל הַנְּגָעִים אָדָם רוֹאֶה אוֹתָן חוּץ מִנִּגְעֵי עַצְמוֹ:


Even though everyone is acceptable to assess blemishes, the designation of a person as impure or pure is dependent on a priest.

What is implied? If there is a priest who does not know how to assess blemishes, a sage should observe them and instruct him: "Say 'You are impure,'" and the priest says: "You are impure;" "Say 'You are pure,'" and the priest says: "You are pure." "Isolate him," and he isolates him. The pronouncement must be made by a priest, because Deuteronomy 21:5 states: "Their statements will determine every quarrel and every blemish." Even if a priest is a minor or intellectually or emotionally incapable, the sage instructs him and he declares the person definitively impure, releases him from the inspection process, or isolates him.

When does the above apply? When the priest relies on the words of the sage. If, however, the priest assesses the blemish and relies on his own understanding, it is forbidden for him to assess any blemish unless he is instructed by a master and is thoroughly versed in all the blemishes and their names, including the blemishes that affect a person and those that affect clothes and houses.


אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַכּל כְּשֵׁרִין לִרְאוֹת נְגָעִים הַטֻּמְאָה וְהַטָּהֳרָה תְּלוּיָה בְּכֹהֵן. כֵּיצַד. כֹּהֵן שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִרְאוֹת הֶחָכָם רוֹאֵהוּ וְאוֹמֵר לוֹ אֱמֹר טָמֵא וְהַכֹּהֵן אוֹמֵר טָמֵא. אֱמֹר טָהוֹר וְהַכֹּהֵן אוֹמֵר טָהוֹר. הַסְגִּירוֹ וְהוּא מַסְגִּירוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא ה) "וְעַל פִּיהֶם יִהְיֶה כָּל רִיב וְכָל נֶגַע". וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן קָטָן אוֹ שׁוֹטֶה הֶחָכָם אוֹמֵר לוֹ וְהוּא מַחְלִיט אוֹ פּוֹטֵר אוֹ סוֹגֵר. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהָיָה הַכֹּהֵן סוֹמֵךְ עַל דִּבְרֵי הֶחָכָם. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן רוֹאֶה וְסוֹמֵךְ עַל עַצְמוֹ אָסוּר לוֹ לִרְאוֹת נֶגַע מִכָּל נְגָעִים עַד שֶׁיּוֹרֶנּוּ רַבּוֹ וְיִהְיֶה בָּקִי בְּכָל הַנְּגָעִים וּבִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶן בְּנִגְעֵי אָדָם כֻּלָּם וּבְנִגְעֵי בְּגָדִים וּבְנִגְעֵי בָּתִּים:


A priest who declared a person who was pure as impure or a person who was impure as pure does not affect his status, as can be inferred from Leviticus 13:44: "He is impure and the priest shall deem him impure" and ibid.:37: "He is pure and the priest shall declare him pure." When a person who contacted tzara'at is healed, either after isolation or after having been deemed definitively impure, he remains impure even for several years,until a priest tells him: "You are pure."


כֹּהֵן שֶׁטִּמֵּא אֶת הַטָּהוֹר אוֹ טִהֵר אֶת הַטָּמֵא לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג מד) "טָמֵא הוּא" (ויקרא יג מד) "וְטִמְּאוֹ הַכֹּהֵן" (ויקרא יג לז) "טָהוֹר הוּא" (ויקרא יג לז) "וְטִהֲרוֹ הַכֹּהֵן". וּמְצֹרָע שֶׁנִּרְפָּא בֵּין מִתּוֹךְ הֶסְגֵּר בֵּין מִתּוֹךְ הֶחְלֵט אֲפִלּוּ אַחַר כַּמָּה שָׁנִים הֲרֵי זֶה בְּטֻמְאָתוֹ עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר לוֹ כֹּהֵן טָהוֹר אַתָּה:


A priest is not permitted to deem a person impure until he focuses his sight on the blemish when compared to the flesh outside of it. The priest who inspected a blemish initially should be the one who inspects it at the end of the first week and at the end of the second week. He is the one who places the person in isolation, deems him definitively impure, or releases him from the inspection process.

If the priest who initially inspected the blemish dies or becomes sick, another priest should inspect it. The second priest cannot deem it impure because its size increased, because only the first priest can tell whether it increased or not.

A priest's word is accepted if he says: "This blemish increased in size" or "This blemish did not increase in size," "This white hair preceded the blemish," or "This blemish preceded the white hair."


אֵין הַכֹּהֵן רַשַּׁאי לְטַמֵּא אֶת הַטָּמֵא עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֵינָיו בִּמְקוֹם הַנֶּגַע בְּעוֹר הַבָּשָׂר שֶׁחוּצָה לוֹ. וְכֹהֵן שֶׁרָאָה הַנֶּגַע בַּתְּחִלָּה הוּא שֶׁרוֹאֵהוּ בְּסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן וּבְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ שֵׁנִי וְהוּא שֶׁמַּסְגִּירוֹ אוֹ מַחְלִיטוֹ אוֹ פּוֹטְרוֹ. מֵת הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁרָאָהוּ תְּחִלָּה אוֹ שֶׁחָלָה רוֹאֵהוּ כֹּהֵן אַחֵר וְאֵין הַשֵּׁנִי יָכוֹל לְטַמְּאוֹ בְּפִשְׂיוֹן שֶׁאֵין יוֹדֵעַ אִם פָּשָׂה אִם לֹא פָּשָׂה אֶלָּא רִאשׁוֹן. וְנֶאֱמָן כֹּהֵן לוֹמַר נֶגַע זֶה פָּשָׂה וְנֶגַע זֶה לֹא פָּשָׂה. וְשֵׂעָר לָבָן זֶה קָדַם אֶת הַבַּהֶרֶת אוֹ בַּהֶרֶת זוֹ קָדְמָה אֶת שֵׂעָר לָבָן:


A challal is not acceptable to inspect blemishes, as can be inferred from Leviticus 13:2: "One of the descendants of Aaron, the priests," i.e., when their priestly status is intact. One who is disqualified from serving in the Temple because of physical blemishes is fit to inspect blemishes, provided he is not blind, even in one eye. Indeed, even a priest whose eyesight has become impaired should not inspect blemishes, as is derived from ibid:12: "the entire vision of the eyes of the priest."


חָלָל פָּסוּל לִרְאִיַּת נְגָעִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג ב) "אֶחָד מִבָּנָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים" בִּכְהֻנָּתָם. אֲבָל בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין כְּשֵׁרִים לִרְאִיַּת נְגָעִים וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה סוּמָא וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּאַחַת מֵעֵינָיו. וַאֲפִלּוּ כֹּהֵן שֶׁכָּהָה מְאוֹר עֵינָיו לֹא יִרְאֶה אֶת הַנְּגָעִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג יב) "לְכָל מַרְאֵה עֵינֵי הַכֹּהֵן":

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


Blemishes may be inspected only during the day, whether to isolate a person, to deem him definitively impure, or to release him from the inspection process as pure, for throughout the passage the term "on the day" is used.

A blemish should not be inspected in the early morning, nor towards evening, nor inside a building, nor on a cloudy day, because then a darker hue of white will look brighter. Nor should it be inspected at noon, because then a brighter hue of white will look darker.

When should it be inspected? In the fourth hour after sunrise, in the fifth hour, in the eighth hour, and in the ninth hour. This applies to blemishes on a person's body, those on garments, and those on buildings.


אֵין רוֹאִין אֶת הַנְּגָעִים אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם בֵּין לְהַסְגִּיר בֵּין לְהַחְלִיט בֵּין לִפְטֹר. שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּכָל הָעִנְיָן הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּיּוֹם וּבַיּוֹם. וְאֵין רוֹאִין לֹא בְּשַׁחֲרִית וְלֹא בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם וְלֹא בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת וְלֹא בַּיּוֹם הַמְעֻנָּן לְפִי שֶׁכֵּהָה נִרְאֵית עַזָּה. וְלֹא בַּצָּהֳרַיִם לְפִי שֶׁעַזָּה נִרְאֵית כֵּהָה. אֵימָתַי רוֹאִין אוֹתָן בְּשָׁעָה רְבִיעִית וּבַחֲמִישִׁית וּבַשְּׁמִינִית וּבַתְּשִׁיעִית. בֵּין נִגְעֵי אָדָם בֵּין נִגְעֵי בְּגָדִים וּבָתִּים:


Blemishes can be inspected on any day with the exception of the Sabbath and the holidays. If the seventh day of a person's isolation falls on the Sabbath or a holiday, the inspection is postponed. This leads to both leniencies and stringencies. For it is possible that the blemish would have been deemed impure on the Sabbath and, on the following day, the signs of impurity will have disappeared. Conversely, it is possible that, on the Sabbath, the blemish would have been deemed pure and on the following day, signs of impurity will appear. The determination of one's status is made only at the time of the inspection after the Sabbath.


בְּכָל יוֹם רוֹאִין אֶת הַנְּגָעִים חוּץ מִשַּׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב. חָל יוֹם שְׁבִיעִי שֶׁלּוֹ לִהְיוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת אוֹ בְּיוֹם טוֹב מַעֲבִירִין לַאֲחוֹרָיו. וְיֵשׁ בַּדָּבָר לְהָקֵל וּלְהַחְמִיר. שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּיוֹם שַׁבָּת זֶה שֶׁהוּא יוֹם הָרָאוּי לִרְאוֹת טָמֵא וּלְמָחָר יֵלְכוּ לָהֶן סִימָנֵי טֻמְאָה. וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּהְיֶה טָהוֹר וּלְמָחָר יִוָּלְדוּ לוֹ סִימָנֵי טֻמְאָה. וְאֵין דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת רְאִיָּתוֹ לְאַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת:


When a blemish appears on a bridegroom, he is given all seven days of celebration. Similarly, if a blemish appears on his garments or his home, it is not inspected until after the seven days of his celebration. Similarly, during a festival, he is given all the days of the festival before an inspection is made, as indicated by Leviticus 14:36: "And the priest shall give a command and they will empty the home." Now if the Torah postponed the matter for the sake of concerns that are merely permitted, i.e., so that one's utensils not be deemed impure, the inference can certainly be made, that judgment should be postponed for a mitzvah.


חָתָן שֶׁנִּרְאָה בּוֹ נֶגַע נוֹתְנִין לוֹ כָּל שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַמִּשְׁתֶּה. וְכֵן אִם נִרְאָה בִּבְגָדָיו אוֹ בְּבֵיתוֹ אֵין רוֹאִין אוֹתָן עַד לְאַחַר הַמִּשְׁתֶּה. וְכֵן בָּרֶגֶל נוֹתְנִין לוֹ כָּל יְמוֹת הָרֶגֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יד לו) "וְצִוָּה הַכֹּהֵן וּפִנּוּ אֶת הַבַּיִת" וְגוֹ' אִם הִמְתִּינָה תּוֹרָה לִדְבַר הָרְשׁוּת שֶׁלֹּא יִטַּמְּאוּ כֵּלָיו קַל וָחֹמֶר לִדְבַר מִצְוָה:


A person should not be isolated, deemed definitively impure, or sent away except on the day the blemish was first inspected, the seventh day afterwards, or the thirteenth. This applies with regard to blemishes for which the isolation period is two weeks, because the seventh day is counted when calculating the first week and the second week. It is valid for all blemishes, those on a person's body, those on garments, and those on buildings.


אֵין מַסְגִּירִין וְלֹא מַחְלִיטִין וְלֹא פּוֹטְרִין אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם שֶׁיִּרְאֶה בּוֹ בַּתְּחִלָּה אוֹ בַּשְּׁבִיעִי אוֹ בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר בִּנְגָעִים שֶׁמַּסְגִּירִין בָּהֶן שְׁנֵי שָׁבוּעוֹת. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיּוֹם שְׁבִיעִי עוֹלֶה לְמִנְיַן שָׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן וּלְמִנְיַן שָׁבוּעַ שֵׁנִי בְּכָל הַנְּגָעִים בֵּין בְּנִגְעֵי אָדָם בֵּין בְּנִגְעֵי בָּתִּים וּבְגָדִים:


A person should not be isolated a second time in the midst of a period of isolation. Nor is one deemed definitively impure if a sign of impurity appears during the days of isolation. Nor is one who has been deemed definitively impure deemed definitively impure for another blemish that appeared, nor is he sent into isolation for a blemish that is fit to require isolation if it appears in the time he is definitively impure.

If, however, a person has two blemishes and a priest sees one and then the other, it is permitted for him to say: "You are isolated because of this one and deemed definitively impure because of the other one" or "You are deemed definitively impure because of this one and isolated because of the other one." This applies whether at the time of the initial examination, at the conclusion of the first week or at the conclusion of the second week.

Two blemishes should not be seen at the same time, whether on one person or on two people, as implied by Leviticus 13:3: "And the priest shall see the blemish."


אֵין מַסְגִּירִין בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי הֶסְגֵּר וְלֹא מַחְלִיטִין בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי הֶסְגֵּר אִם נוֹלַד לוֹ סִימַן הֶחְלֵט. וְלֹא מַחְלִיטִין הַמֻּחְלָט אִם נוֹלַד לוֹ נֶגַע אַחֵר. וְלֹא מַסְגִּירִין אוֹתוֹ בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי חִלּוּטוֹ אִם נוֹלַד לוֹ נֶגַע אַחֵר שֶׁרָאוּי לְהֶסְגֵּר. אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ בּוֹ שְׁנֵי נְגָעִים וְרָאָה זֶה וְחָזַר וְרָאָה זֶה הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לוֹמַר לוֹ הֲרֵי אַתָּה מֻסְגָּר בָּזֶה וּמֻחְלָט בָּזֶה אוֹ מֻחְלָט בָּזֶה וּמֻסְגָּר בָּזֶה בֵּין בַּתְּחִלָּה בֵּין בַּסּוֹף בֵּין בְּסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן בֵּין בְּסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ שֵׁנִי. וְאֵין רוֹאִין שְׁנֵי נְגָעִים כְּאַחַת בֵּין בִּשְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים בֵּין בְּאִישׁ אֶחָד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג ג) "וְרָאָה הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַנֶּגַע":


When a blemished person comes to a priest for an examination, he should not tell him: "Go and return." Instead, he should attend to him immediately. If two people come before him, he should examine the first and then isolate him, release him from the inspection process, or deem him definitively impure and then examine the second person.


נָגוּעַ שֶׁבָּא לַכֹּהֵן לַרְאוֹתוֹ לֹא יֹאמַר לוֹ לֵךְ וְשׁוּב אֶלָּא נִזְקָק לוֹ מִיָּד. בָּאוּ לְפָנָיו שְׁנַיִם רוֹאֶה אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹן מַסְגִּירוֹ אוֹ פּוֹטְרוֹ אוֹ מַחְלִיטוֹ וְחוֹזֵר וְרוֹאֶה אֶת הַשֵּׁנִי:


It is not necessary for a priest to look carefully at the blemished person's underarms, between his testicles, or in the creases of his flesh, lest there be a blemish there, as implied by Leviticus 13:12: "the entire vision of the eyes of the priest." This also applies when a person has become entirely white.

How should a person with a blemish stand before a priest to be inspected? If male, he is inspected while naked, standing like one who is hoeing and like one who is harvesting olives. If female, she is inspected while naked, sitting on the ground like one who is kneading dough, like one who nurses her child, or like one who weaves with a standing loom, in which instance she raises her right hand until she reveals her underarm.

If a blemish can be detected when a man or a woman is in these positions, he or she is impure. If it cannot be detected in such a position, no attention is paid to it. Just as a person appears for the inspection of his blemish, so must he appear for his shaving. If hair could be found on any portion of his flesh when a man is standing naked like one who is hoeing or like one who is harvesting olives or a woman is sitting in the position described, the shaving is acceptable. The priest is not required to search in other places to see if hair remains, even though he is required to remove all the person's hair, as will be explained.


אֵין הַכֹּהֵן זָקוּק לְבַקֵּשׁ תַּחַת אַצִּילֵי יָדָיו שֶׁל נָגוּעַ אוֹ בֵּין פְּחָדָיו אוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הַקְּמָטִים שֶׁמָּא שָׁם נֶגַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג יב) "לְכָל מַרְאֵה עֵינֵי הַכֹּהֵן". וְכֵן בְּהוֹפֵךְ כֻּלּוֹ לָבָן. וְכֵיצַד יַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי הַכֹּהֵן. אִם אִישׁ הוּא נִרְאֶה עָרֹם וְעוֹמֵד כְּעוֹדֵר וּכְמוֹסֵק זֵיתִים. וְאִם אִשָּׁה הִיא נִרְאֵית עֲרֻמָּה וְיוֹשֶׁבֶת כְּעוֹרֶכֶת וּכְמֵינִיקָה אֶת בְּנָהּ וּכְאוֹרֶגֶת בְּעוֹמְדִים שֶׁמַּגְבַּהַת יָדָהּ הַיְמָנִית עַד שֶׁיִּגָּלֶה בֵּית הַשֶּׁחִי. אִם הָיָה הַנֶּגַע נִרְאֶה בָּהֶן בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵן עוֹמְדִין הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא וְאִם אֵינוֹ נִרְאָה בָּהֶן כְּשֶׁהֵן עוֹמְדִין כָּךְ אֵין נִזְקָקִין לוֹ. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָאָדָם נִרְאֶה לְנִגְעוֹ כָּךְ הוּא נִרְאֶה לְתִגְלַחְתּוֹ שֶׁאִם לֹא יֵרָאֶה שֵׂעָר בְּכָל בְּשָׂרוֹ כְּשֶׁיַּעֲמֹד עָרֹם כְּעוֹדֵר וּכְמוֹסֵק אוֹ כְּשֶׁתֵּשֵׁב הָאִשָּׁה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּגְלַחַת כְּשֵׁרָה וְאֵין כֹּהֵן זָקוּק לְחַפֵּשׂ בִּשְׁאָר מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁמָּא נִשְׁאַר בָּהֶן שֵׂעָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לְגַלֵּחַ הַכּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר: