A person who removes the signs of impurity, whether all of them or part of them, or who burns the healthy flesh in a baheret, whether partially or entirely, or who removes an entire blemish from his flesh, a garment, or a building, violates a negative commandment, as Deuteronomy 24:8 states: "Be very careful with regard to a tzara'at blemish, to watch it carefully, and to act according to everything that the priest, the Levites, will instruct you, as you were commanded, you shall heed." Implied is that one should not remove hair nor cut off any sign. This applies before the priest comes for an initial examination, after the person has been isolated, after he has been deemed definitively impure, or after he has been sent away as pure.

He is not, however, liable for lashes unless his acts are effective. If his acts are not effective, he is not liable for lashes. What is implied? If a person had a baheret with three white hairs and he pulled out one or he burnt a portion of the healthy flesh in a baheret, but a lentil-sized portion remained, he is not liable for lashes, because he is impure, as was his status previously. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. He is, however, given stripes for rebellious conduct.

Similarly, one who shaves the hairs next to a netek is liable for lashes, as Leviticus 13:33 states: "He shall not shave the netek." He is not liable unless he shaves the entire area around the netek with a razor.

It is permitted for a person afflicted with tzara'at to carry a pole on his shoulder on which there is a tzara'at blemish or to tie palm bast on his foot on which there is a blemish. If the signs of impurity are removed, they are removed, provided he does not have the intent of removing them.


הַתּוֹלֵשׁ סִימָנֵי טֻמְאָה בֵּין כֻּלָּן בֵּין מִקְצָתָן. אוֹ הִכְוָה אֶת הַמִּחְיָה כֻּלָּהּ אוֹ מִקְּצָתָהּ. אוֹ הַקּוֹצֵץ הַנֶּגַע כֻּלּוֹ מִבְּשָׂרוֹ אוֹ מִן הַבֶּגֶד אוֹ מִן הַבַּיִת. בֵּין קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּבוֹא לַכֹּהֵן בֵּין בְּתוֹךְ הֶסְגֵּר אוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הֶחְלֵט אוֹ אַחַר הַפִּטּוּר הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ח) "הִשָּׁמֶר בְּנֶגַע הַצָּרַעַת לִשְׁמֹר מְאֹד וְלַעֲשׂוֹת כְּכל אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּ אֶתְכֶם הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִם", תִּשְׁמְרוּ שֶׁלֹּא יִתְלֹשׁ אוֹ שֶׁיָּקֹץ. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה עַד שֶׁיּוֹעִילוּ מַעֲשָׂיו וְאִם לֹא הוֹעִילוּ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה. כֵּיצַד. הָיְתָה בּוֹ בַּהֶרֶת וּבָהּ שָׁלֹשׁ שְׂעָרוֹת לְבָנוֹת וְתָלַשׁ אַחַת. כָּוָה מִקְצָת הַמִּחְיָה וְנִשְׁאַר מִמֶּנָּה כַּעֲדָשָׁה. אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא טָמֵא כְּשֶׁהָיָה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וּמַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת. וְכֵן הַמְגַלֵּחַ אֶת הַנֶּתֶק לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג לג) "וְאֶת הַנֶּתֶק לֹא יְגַלֵּחַ". וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיְּגַלֵּחַ כָּל הַנֶּתֶק בְּתַעַר. וּמֻתָּר לִמְצֹרָע לִשָּׂא בְּמוֹט עַל כְּתֵפוֹ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ הַצָּרַעַת וְלִקְשֹׁר הַסִּיב עַל רַגְלוֹ וְאִם הָלְכוּ סִימָנֵי טֻמְאָה יֵלְכוּ וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן לְכָךְ:


A person who removes signs of impurity or who burns healthy flesh before the inspection performed by a priest is pure. Similarly, if he does so in the days of his isolation, he will be considered pure after the days of his isolation. If, however, he removed them after he was deemed definitively impure because of them, he remains impure as was his status. He cannot regain purity unless the tzara'at covers his entire body or unless his baheret becomes smaller than a gris.


הַתּוֹלֵשׁ סִימָנֵי טֻמְאָה אוֹ שֶׁכָּוָה אֶת הַמִּחְיָה עַד שֶׁלֹּא בָּא אֵצֶל כֹּהֵן הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. וְכֵן אִם עָשָׂה כֵּן בִּימֵי הֶסְגֵּר הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר לְאַחַר יְמֵי הֶסְגֵּר. וְאִם תְּלָשָׁן אַחַר שֶׁהֻחְלַט בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻחְלָט כְּשֶׁהָיָה וְאֵין לוֹ טָהֳרָה עַד שֶׁתִּפְרַח הַצָּרַעַת בְּכֻלּוֹ אוֹ עַד שֶׁתִּתְמַעֵט בַּהַרְתּוֹ מִכִּגְרִיס:


When a person cuts off his entire baheret unintentionally, he is pure. Different rules apply if he cut it off intentionally. If he cut off all the healthy flesh surrounding the baheret, even a hair's width, he can never become pure. If he cut it off exactly, he cannot regain purity unless the baheret covers his entire body.


מִי שֶׁנִּקְצְצָה בַּהַרְתּוֹ כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּכַוָּנָה טָהוֹר. קְצָצָהּ בְּכַוָּנָה אִם קָצַץ כָּל הַבָּשָׂר הַחַי הַמַּקִּיפָהּ אֲפִלּוּ כְּחוּט הַשַּׂעֲרָה אֵין לוֹ טָהֳרָה עוֹלָמִית. קְצָצָהּ בְּצִמְצוּם אֵין לוֹ טָהֳרָה עַד שֶׁתִּפְרַח בְּכֻלּוֹ:


When one pulls out one white hair and the second fell off on its own accord, the person is pure. If there were three and he pulled out two and one fell off on its own, he remains impure.

If there was a portion of healthy flesh in a baheret the size of a lentil and one burnt half of it and half disappeared, he is pure. If the healthy flesh was larger than a lentil, one burnt off the part greater than a lentil and the lentil sized portion disappeared naturally, he is pure. If he burnt off the portion the size of a lentil and the remainder disappeared, he is impure.


הַתּוֹלֵשׁ שְׂעָרָה לְבָנָה אַחַת וְנָשְׁרָה הַשְּׁנִיָּה הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. הָיוּ שָׁלֹשׁ תָּלַשׁ שְׁתַּיִם וְנָשְׁרָה אַחַת הֲרֵי זֶה בְּטֻמְאָתוֹ. הָיְתָה בּוֹ מִחְיָה כַּעֲדָשָׁה כָּוָה חֶצְיָהּ וְהָלַךְ חֶצְיָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. הָיְתָה יְתֵרָה מִכַּעֲדָשָׁה כָּוָה הַמּוֹתָר וְהָלַךְ כַּעֲדָשָׁה הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. כָּוָה כַּעֲדָשָׁה וְהָלַךְ הַמּוֹתָר הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא:


When a person has a baheret on his foreskin, he should be circumcised even though the circumcision is not being performed on the designated day. The rationale is that the performance of a positive commandment supersedes the observance of a negative commandment in all instances.

If the person was circumcised and the removal of the foreskin also caused the removal of the sign that caused him to be deemed impure, he is obligated to bring the sacrifices of a person becoming purified from tzara'at.


מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה בַּהֶרֶת בְּעָרְלָתוֹ יָמוּל וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מִילָה שֶׁלֹּא בִּזְמַנָּהּ שֶׁמִּצְוַת עֲשֵׂה דּוֹחָה אֶת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה בְּכָל מָקוֹם. וְאִם מָל וְהָלַךְ בְּעוֹר הָעָרְלָה סִימָן שֶׁהָיָה מֻחְלָט בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב בְּקָרְבַּן מְצֹרָע:

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.


It is a positive commandment for a man afflicted with tzara'at who was deemed as definitively impure to cover his head throughout the time he is impure, he should be cloaked until his lips like a mourner, his clothes should be torn and he must notify those who pass by him that he is impure, as Leviticus 13:45 states: "And the person afflicted with tzara'at who has the blemish shall...." Even a High Priest who becomes afflicted with leprosy covers his head and tears his clothes, for a positive commandment supersedes a negative commandment.

He is forbidden to greet others throughout the time he is deemed impure, as a mourner is, as can be inferred from the continuation of the above verse: "he shall cover his lips," i.e., his lips shall be closed together. He may, however, read Scripture, study Mishnah, and elucidate Torah teachings.

He is forbidden to have his hair cut and launder his clothes throughout the time he is deemed definitively impure. He must conduct himself with these restrictions even on Sabbaths and holidays. He is, however, permitted to wash, anoint himself, wear shoes, engage in physical intimacy, and have his bed stand upright like other people.


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַמְצֹרָע הַמֻּחְלָט מְכֻסֶּה רֹאשׁ כָּל יְמֵי חִלּוּטוֹ וְעוֹטֶה עַל שָׂפָם כְּאָבֵל וּפוֹרֵם בְּגָדָיו וּמוֹדִיעַ הָעוֹבְרִים עָלָיו שֶׁהוּא טָמֵא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג מה) "וְהַצָּרוּעַ אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ הַנֶּגַע" וְגוֹ'. אֲפִלּוּ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנִּצְטָרֵעַ פּוֹרֵעַ וּפוֹרֵם שֶׁעֲשֵׂה דּוֹחֶה אֶת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. וְאָסוּר בִּשְׁאִילַת שָׁלוֹם כָּל יְמֵי חִלּוּטוֹ כְּאָבֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג מה) "וְעַל שָׂפָם יַעְטֶה" שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׂפָתָיו דְּבוּקוֹת. אֲבָל קוֹרֵא וְשׁוֹנֶה וְדוֹרֵשׁ. וְאָסוּר לְסַפֵּר וּלְכַבֵּס כָּל יְמֵי חִלּוּטוֹ. וְנוֹהֵג בְּכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ אֲפִלּוּ בְּשַׁבָּתוֹת וְיָמִים טוֹבִים. וַהֲרֵי הוּא מֻתָּר בִּרְחִיצָה וּבְסִיכָה וּבִנְעִילַת הַסַּנְדָּל וּבְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה וְזוֹקֵף אֶת מִטָּתוֹ כִּשְׁאָר הָעָם:


The law is that a person afflicted by tzara'at should have a dwelling alone outside the town, as indicated by Leviticus 13:46: "outside the camp where he dwells." This restriction applies only in walled cities in Eretz Yisrael.


דִּין הַמְצֹרָע שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לוֹ מוֹשָׁב לְבַדּוֹ חוּץ לָעִיר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג מו) "מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה מוֹשָׁבוֹ". וְדָבָר זֶה בַּעֲיָרוֹת הַמֻּקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלְבַד:


A woman afflicted by tzara'at does not cover her head, rend her garments, or cloak her face. She does, however, dwell outside her town and inform others that she is impure. Indeed, not only those afflicted by tzara'at, but all those who impart impurity to other people are obligated to inform everyone that they are impure so that they will separate themselves from them, as implied by ibid.:45: "'Impure, impure,' he shall call out." That can be interpreted to mean "The impure person shall inform others that he is impure."


הַמְצֹרַעַת אֵינָהּ פּוֹרַעַת וְאֵינָהּ פּוֹרֶמֶת וְלֹא עוֹטָה עַל שָׂפָם אֲבָל יוֹשֶׁבֶת הִיא מִחוּץ לָעִיר וּמוֹדִיעָה לַאֲחֵרִים שֶׁהִיא טְמֵאָה. וְלֹא הַמְצֹרָעִים בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא כָּל הַמְטַמְּאִים אֶת הָאָדָם חַיָּבִין לְהוֹדִיעַ לַכּל שֶׁהֵן טְמֵאִין כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּפְרְשׁוּ מֵהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג מה) "וְטָמֵא טָמֵא יִקְרָא", הַטָּמֵא מוֹדִיעַ שֶׁהוּא טָמֵא:


A tumtum and an androgynus should cover their heads, rend their garments, and cloak their faces, because their status is in doubt.


וְטֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס פּוֹרֵעַ וּפוֹרֵם וְעוֹטֶה עַל שָׂפָם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק:


The same laws apply to both a person afflicted with tzara'at who is isolated and one who is definitively deemed impure. With regard to impurity, there is no difference between a person afflicted with tzara'at who is isolated and one who is definitively deemed impure except covering one's head, rending one's garments, shaving, and bringing fowl. One who is deemed pure after being isolated is exempt from shaving and bringing fowl, while one who is deemed pure after having been deemed impure has these obligations. Nevertheless, with regard to impurity, they are equal in all matters.


אֶחָד מְצֹרָע מֻסְגָּר וְאַחַד מְצֹרָע מֻחְלָט לְעִנְיַן טֻמְאָה. וְאֵין בֵּין מְצֹרָע מֻסְגָּר לִמְצֹרָע מֻחְלָט לְעִנְיַן טֻמְאָה אֶלָּא פְּרִיעָה וּפְרִימָה וְתִגְלַחַת וְצִפֳּרִים שֶׁהַטָּהוֹר מִתּוֹךְ הֶסְגֵּר פָּטוּר מִן הַתִּגְלַחַת וּמִן הַצִּפֳּרִים וְהַטָּהוֹר מִתּוֹךְ הֶחְלֵט חַיָּב בָּהֶן. אֲבָל טֻמְאַת שְׁנֵיהֶן שָׁוָה בְּכָל דָּבָר:


A person afflicted with tzara'at is a primary source of impurity. He imparts impurity to humans and implements through touching them and to earthenware containers when a portion of his body enters their inner space. He imparts impurity to a person when carried by him and an object over which he lies or sits even if there is a stone intervening between him and their surface, as is the law regarding a zav and a zavah. This is derived from Leviticus 13:6: "He shall launder his garments." According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that he becomes pure with regard to imparting impurity to the objects on which he lies or sits. All of these laws apply equally to one isolated because of tzara'at and one deemed definitively impure].


הַמְצֹרָע אָב מֵאֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת מְטַמֵּא אָדָם וְכֵלִים בְּמַגָּעוֹ וּכְלֵי חֶרֶס בַּאֲוִירוֹ וּמְטַמֵּא אָדָם בְּמַשָּׂא וּמְטַמֵּא מִשְׁכָּב וּמוֹשָׁב אֲפִלּוּ תַּחַת אֶבֶן כְּזָב וּכְזָבָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג ו) "וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְטָהֵר" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁטָּהֵר מִלְּטַמֵּא מִשְׁכָּב וּמוֹשָׁב. וְאֶחָד הַמֻּסְגָּר וְאַחַד הַמֻּחְלָט בְּכָל אֵלּוּ:


There is an additional dimension of severity with regard to a person afflicted by tzara'at. He imparts impurity to a building when he enters it, whether he is in the midst of the time when he has been deemed impure or whether he is during his period of isolation.

What is implied? If he enters a building, everything - whether humans or implements - that is in the building contracts impurity. Even though the afflicted person did not touch them, they become primary derivatives of impurity. The impurity of the building which the afflicted person enters is derived from the phrase, Leviticus 13:46: "outside the camp where he dwells." Implied is that just as he is impure, his dwelling is impure.

If he was standing under a tree and a person who was ritually pure passed under the tree, that person contracts impurity. If a person who was pure was standing under the tree and a person afflicted by tzara'at passed under it, he does not impart impurity to him. If the afflicted person stood, the other person became impure, because the place became the afflicted person's dwelling. If it is unknown whether he stood or not, the other person is pure.

If a person afflicted by tzara'at inserted his head and the majority of his body into a building, everything in the building becomes impure. If he desires to enter a synagogue, a partition that is ten handbreadths high and encompasses an area four cubits by four cubits should be constructed for him. He should enter first and leave last so that he will be dwelling alone and will not stand together with the other people and impart impurity to them.


חֻמְרָא יְתֵרָה יֵשׁ בִּמְצֹרָע שֶׁמְּטַמֵּא בְּבִיאָתוֹ לַבַּיִת בֵּין בִּימֵי הֶחְלֵט בֵּין בִּימֵי הֶסְגֵּר. כֵּיצַד. נִכְנַס לַבַּיִת נִטְמָא כָּל אֲשֶׁר בַּבַּיִת בֵּין אָדָם בֵּין כֵּלִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָגַע בָּהֶן נַעֲשׂוּ רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג מו) "מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה מוֹשָׁבוֹ" מַה הוּא טָמֵא אַף מוֹשָׁבוֹ טָמֵא. הָיָה עוֹמֵד תַּחַת הָאִילָן וְעָבַר אָדָם טָהוֹר תַּחַת הָאִילָן נִטְמָא. הָיָה הַטָּהוֹר עוֹמֵד תַּחַת הָאִילָן וְעָבַר הַמְצֹרָע תַּחְתָּיו לֹא טִמְּאָהוּ וְאִם עָמַד נִטְמָא שֶׁהֲרֵי נַעֲשָׂה לוֹ מוֹשָׁב. סָפֵק עָמַד סָפֵק לֹא עָמַד טָהוֹר. הִכְנִיס הַמְצֹרָע רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ לַבַּיִת נִטְמָא כָּל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּתוֹכוֹ. נִכְנַס לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת עוֹשִׂין לוֹ מְחִצָּה גָּבוֹהַּ עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים וּרְחָבָה אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת וְנִכְנַס רִאשׁוֹן וְיוֹצֵא אַחֲרוֹן. כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מוֹשָׁבוֹ לְבַדּוֹ וְלֹא יַעֲמֹד עִם הָעָם בְּעִרְבּוּב וִיטַמֵּא אוֹתָם: