1

The impurity of false deities is of Rabbinic origin. There is an allusion to it in the Torah Genesis 35:2: "Remove the foreign gods that are in your midst. Purify yourselves and change your garments."

There are four primary categories of ritual impurity associated with the worship of false deities: the false deities themselves, their accessories, something offered to it, and a wine libation offered to it. The impurity associated with all of these is of Rabbinic origin.

א

טֻמְאַת עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וְיֵשׁ לָהּ רֶמֶז בַּתּוֹרָה (בראשית לה ב) "הָסִרוּ אֶת אֱלֹהֵי הַנֵּכָר אֲשֶׁר בְּתֹכְכֶם וְהִטַּהֲרוּ וְהַחֲלִיפוּ שִׂמְלֹתֵיכֶם". וְאַרְבָּעָה אֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת יֵשׁ בָּהּ. עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה עַצְמָהּ. וּמְשַׁמְּשֶׁיהָ. וְתִקְרֹבֶת שֶׁלָּהּ. וְיַיִן שֶׁנִּתְנַסֵּךְ לָהּ. וְטֻמְאַת כֻּלָּן מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן:

2

A false deity itself imparts impurity to persons and keilim when touched and to an earthenware container, when it enters its inner space. Like the carcass of a teeming animal, it does not impart impurity when carried, as implied by Deuteronomy 7:26: "You shall certainly regard it as disgusting." The minimum measure that imparts impurity is an olive-sized portion; it should not be more stringent than a portion of a corpse. If an image is less than an olive in size, it is pure.

ב

עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה עַצְמָהּ מְטַמְּאָה אָדָם וְכֵלִים בְּמַגָּע וּכְלֵי חֶרֶס בָּאֲוִיר וְאֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה בְּמַשָּׂא כְּשֶׁרֶץ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ז כו) "שַׁקֵּץ תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ". וְשִׁעוּרָהּ כְּזַיִת לֹא תִּהְיֶה זוֹ חֲמוּרָה מִן הַמֵּת. אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה הַצּוּרָה פְּחוּתָה מִכְּזַיִת טְהוֹרָה:

3

If one cut off a limb from it, even if it is as large as the steering rod of a plow, it is pure. The rationale is that a false deity does not impart impurity when separated into limbs, only when the entire image is intact, as can be inferred from Isaiah 30:22: "Cast your idols away like someone impure." Just as the limbs of an impure person do not impart impurity, so too, the limbs of a false deity do not impart impurity.

Its impurity was established according to the leniencies applying to all the primary categories of impurity. Since its impurity is of Rabbinic origin, it was considered as the carcass of a teeming animal in that it does not impart impurity when carried, like a corpse in that an olive-sized portion is required, and like a nidah in that a limb of it does not impart impurity.

ג

קָצַץ אֵיבָר מִמֶּנָּה אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה כְּמַרְדֵּעַ הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר שֶׁעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה לְאֵיבָרִים אֶלָּא הַצּוּרָה כֻּלָּהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא שְׁלֵמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ל כב) "תִּזְרֵם כְּמוֹ דָוָה" מָה דָּוָה אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה לְאֵיבָרִים אַף עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה לְאֵיבָרִים. כְּקֻלֵּי אֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת דָּנוּ בָּהּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁטֻּמְאָתָהּ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם עֲשָׂאוּהָ כְּשֶׁרֶץ שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא וּכְמֵת שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא אֶלָּא בִּכְזַיִת וּכְנִדָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה לְאֵיבָרִים:

4

When a false deity was separated into parts, even though it could be reassembled by an ordinary person and all of its parts are present, it does not impart impurity.

ד

נִתְפָּרְקָה עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַהֶדְיוֹט יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִירָהּ וַהֲרֵי כָּל אֵיבָרֶיהָ קַיָּמִים אֵינָהּ מְטַמְּאָה:

5

All of the accessories of a false deity are like the carcass of a teeming animal. They impart impurity to persons and keilim when touched and to an earthenware container, when they enter its inner space. They do not impart impurity when carried. The minimum measure that imparts impurity is an olive-sized portion. Even if one cut off an olive-sized portion from an implement, it imparts impurity like the carcass of a teeming animal. In this context, the law applying to the accessories of a false deity is more stringent than that applying to the false deity itself.

With regard to a shrine in which a false deity is worshiped: Its stones, its beams, and its earth all impart impurity when an olive-sized portion of them is touched, as all of the other accessories of a false deity.

ה

כָּל מְשַׁמְּשֵׁי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה כְּשֶׁרֶץ מְטַמְּאִין אָדָם וְכֵלִים בְּמַגָּע וּכְלֵי חֶרֶס בַּאֲוִיר וְאֵינָן מְטַמְּאִין בְּמַשָּׂא. וְשִׁעוּר טֻמְאָתָן בִּכְזַיִת וַאֲפִלּוּ קִצֵּץ מִמְּשַׁמְּשֶׁיהָ כְּזַיִת מִן הַכְּלִי מְטַמֵּא כְּשֶׁרֶץ. זוֹ חֹמֶר בִּמְשַׁמְּשֶׁיהָ יוֹתֵר מֵעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה עַצְמָהּ. וּבֵית עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה עַצְמוֹ אֲבָנָיו וְעֵצָיו וַעֲפָרוֹ מְטַמְּאִין בִּכְזַיִת בְּמַגָּע כְּכָל הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין:

6

When a person inserts his head and the majority of his body into a shrine of a false deity, he becomes impure, as if he touched it. Similarly, if the inner space of an earthenware vessel was brought inside a shrine of a false deity, it becomes impure. When the greater portion of a bench or a couch was brought into a shrine of a false deity, it contracts impurity. They are considered as primary derivatives of impurity.

ו

הַמַּכְנִיס רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ לְבֵית עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה נִטְמָא כְּנוֹגֵעַ. וְכֵן כְּלִי חֶרֶס שֶׁהִכְנִיס אֲוִירוֹ לְבֵית עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה נִטְמָא. סַפְסָלִים וְקָתֵדְרָאוֹת שֶׁהִכְנִיס רֻבָּן לְבֵית עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה טְמֵאִים וְכֻלָּן רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה:

7

An offering brought to a false deity imparts impurity when touched and when carried like the carcass of a dead animal. The minimum measure that imparts impurity is an olive-sized portion.

Any entity offered to a false deity, whether meat or other foods or beverages, is considered like an animal carcass, for Scripture Psalms 106:28 refers to them as "sacrifices of the dead." Although foods that were sacrificed to false deities may never be nullified in a manner that enables one to benefit from them, if their connection with the false deity was nullified, it is questionable whether or not they impart impurity. When, by contrast, the connection between an implement offered to a false deity and that deity was nullified, it is pure. Similarly, a false deity and its accessories that were nullified are pure.

ז

תִּקְרֹבֶת עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה מְטַמְּאָה בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא כִּנְבֵלָה וְשִׁעוּרָהּ בִּכְזַיִת. כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁמַּקְרִיבִין לָהּ בֵּין בָּשָׂר בֵּין שְׁאָר אֳכָלִים וּמַשְׁקִין הַכּל כִּנְבֵלָה שֶׁהַכָּתוּב קְרָאָן (תהילים קו כח) "זִבְחֵי מֵתִים". וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין תִּקְרֹבֶת עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה שֶׁל אֳכָלִין בְּטֵלִין לְעוֹלָם לְהַתִּירָהּ בַּהֲנָאָה אִם בִּטְּלָה הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק לְטֻמְאָה. אֲבָל כְּלִי שֶׁהוּא תִּקְרֹבֶת עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה שֶׁבִּטְּלוֹ טָהוֹר וְכֵן עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה וּמְשַׁמְּשֶׁיהָ שֶׁבִּטְּלָן טְהוֹרִין:

8

When wine was poured as a libation to a false deity, it imparts impurity to persons and keilim when touched and to an earthenware container, when it enters its inner space. It imparts impurity to a person when carried, as an animal carcass does. The minimum measure for its impurity is an olive-sized portion, as can be inferred from Deuteronomy 32:38: "Who eat the fat of its sacrifices, who drink the wine of its libations."

This impurity is imparted only by wine that was poured out by hand before a false deity. Ordinary wine belonging to a non-Jew imparts a lesser impurity like all other impure beverages.

ח

יַיִן שֶׁנִּתְנַסֵּךְ לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה מְטַמֵּא אָדָם וְכֵלִים בְּמַגָּע וּכְלֵי חֶרֶס בַּאֲוִיר. וּמְטַמֵּא אָדָם בְּמַשָּׂא כִּנְבֵלָה וְטֻמְאָתוֹ בִּכְזַיִת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב לח) "אֲשֶׁר חֵלֶב זְבָחֵימוֹ יֹאכֵלוּ יִשְׁתּוּ יֵין נְסִיכָם" הֲרֵי יֵין נְסִיכָם כְּחֵלֶב זְבָחֵימוֹ. וְאֵין מְטַמֵּא טֻמְאָה זוֹ אֶלָּא יַיִן שֶׁנִּתְנַסֵּךְ בַּיָּד לִפְנֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה אֲבָל סְתָם יֵינָן שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם מְטַמֵּא טֻמְאָה קַלָּה כִּשְׁאָר כָּל מַשְׁקִין טְמֵאִין:

9

From everything that we have explained from the beginning of this book until here, one may conclude that there are primary categories of impurity, some of Scriptural origin and some of Rabbinic origin.

ט

מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ מִתְּחִלַּת הַסֵּפֶר עַד כָּאן אַתָּה לָמֵד שֶׁאֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת מֵהֶן אָבוֹת שֶׁל תּוֹרָה וּמֵהֶן אָבוֹת שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים:

10

Any entity that contracts impurity from a primary source of impurity of Scriptural origin is considered as a derivative of impurity of Scriptural origin. Any entity that contracts impurity from a primary source of impurity of Rabbinic origin is considered as a derivative of impurity of Rabbinic origin.

י

כָּל הַמִּתְטַמֵּא מֵחֲמַת אָב שֶׁל תּוֹרָה הֲרֵי הוּא וְלַד טֻמְאָה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה וְכָל הַמִּתְטַמֵּא מֵחֲמַת אָב שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם הֲרֵי זֶה וָלָד שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם:

11

Any primary source of impurity - whether of Scriptural or Rabbinic origin - that imparts impurity through touch, but does not impart impurity when carried, does not impart impurity to the clothes a person who touches it is wearing even while he is touching the source of impurity. Nor does he impart impurity to another person or to earthenware utensils even though he has not yet separated himself from the source of impurity. Both after and before he separates himself from the source of impurity, his status is that of a derivative of impurity who imparts impurity to foods and makes them a secondary derivative of impurity, for he is a primary derivative.

יא

כָּל אַב טֻמְאָה שֶׁמְּטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע וְאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּמַשָּׂא בֵּין אָב שֶׁל תּוֹרָה בֵּין אָב שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם אָדָם הַנּוֹגֵעַ בּוֹ אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת מַגָּעוֹ. וְלֹא אָדָם וְלֹא כְּלִי חֶרֶס אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא פֵּרַשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו. וְהִנּוֹ אַחַר שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו אוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּפְרשׁ וָלָד שֶׁהוּא מְטַמֵּא אֳכָלִין וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן שֵׁנִי לְטֻמְאָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא רִאשׁוֹן:

12

When a person touches or carries any primary source of impurity - whether of Scriptural or Rabbinic origin - that imparts impurity through touch or when carried, that person imparts impurity to his clothes at the time he is touching the source of impurity or carrying it. He causes the garments to be considered as a primary derivative of impurity. Similarly, if he touches foods, he makes them a primary derivative of impurity as long as he has not ceased contact with the source of his impurity. If he ceases contact with the source of his impurity, he is considered as a primary derivative of impurity in all contexts and he does not impart impurity to his garments. If he touches foods, they are deemed as secondary derivatives.

When does the above apply? With regard to all the primary sources of impurity with the exception of an animal carcass and a surface on which a zav rides. With regard to these two sources of impurity, even though they impart impurity when touched or when carried, a person who touches them does not impart impurity to his clothes when he is touching them. If he touches foods, they are secondary derivatives of impurity. One who carries such entities imparts impurity to his clothes when carrying them. If he touches foods before he separates from the source of his impurity, they are primary derivatives of impurity, as we explained.

יב

וְכָל אַב טֻמְאָה שֶׁמְּטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא בֵּין אָב שֶׁל תּוֹרָה בֵּין אָב שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם אָדָם הַנּוֹגֵעַ בּוֹ אוֹ הַנּוֹשְׂאוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת מַגָּעוֹ וּבִשְׁעַת נְשִׂיאָתוֹ וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה. וְכֵן אִם נָגַע בָּאֳכָלִין עֲשָׂאָן רִאשׁוֹן כָּל זְמַן שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו. פֵּרַשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו הֲרֵי הוּא רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה לְכָל דָּבָר וְאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים וְאִם נָגַע בָּאֳכָלִין הֲרֵי הֵן שֵׁנִי. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּשְׁאָר כָּל הָאָבוֹת חוּץ מִן הַנְּבֵלוֹת וְהַמֶּרְכָּב. אֲבָל הַנְּבֵלָה וְהַמֶּרְכָּב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּטַמְּאִין בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא הַנּוֹגֵעַ בָּהֶן אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת מַגָּעוֹ וְאִם נָגַע בָּאֳכָלִין הֲרֵי הֵן שֵׁנִי לְטֻמְאָה. וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת נְשִׂיאָתוֹ וְאִם נָגַע בָּאֳכָלִין עַד שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ הִנָּם רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

13

When there is a sufficient amount of water upon which the ashes of the red heifer have been placed to sprinkle it, it is considered like an animal carcass and a surface on which a zav rides and only one who carries it imparts impurity to his garments. Nevertheless, one who touches such water imparts impurity to his garments while touching them, because it is as if he is carrying the water. For it is impossible to touch water without moving it and we have already explained that the laws that apply to carrying a source of impurity also apply when moving it.

Similarly, one who touches the wool of an animal carcass or who touches the strands protruding from a surface on which a zav rides imparts impurity to his clothes when he touches these entities because it is as if he is carrying them. For it is impossible to touch them without moving them. Therefore he imparts impurity to his garments until he separates himself from the source of impurity like one who carries.

יג

מֵי חַטָּאת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן כְּדֵי הַזָּאָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן כִּנְבֵלָה וּכְמֶרְכָּב שֶׁאֵין מְטַמְּאִין בְּגָדִים אֶלָּא הַנּוֹשְׂאָן הֲרֵי הַנּוֹגֵעַ בָּהֶן מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת מַגָּעוֹ מִשּׁוּם נוֹשֵׂא שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּגַּע בַּמַּיִם שֶׁלֹּא יָסִיט אוֹתָן. וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁאֶחָד הַנּוֹשֵׂא וְאֶחָד הַמֵּסִיט. וְכֵן הַנּוֹגֵעַ בְּצֶמֶר הַנְּבֵלָה אוֹ שֶׁנָּגַע בְּנִימֵי הַמֶּרְכָּב מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת מַגָּעוֹ מִשּׁוּם נוֹשֵׂא. שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִנְגֹּעַ בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא יָסִיט אוֹתָן. וּלְפִיכָךְ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים עַד שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ כְּדִין הַנּוֹשֵׂא:

14

When one swallows the carcass of a fowl from a kosher species, he imparts impurity to his garments at the time he swallows it as we explained. They are considered as primary derivatives of impurity. Similarly, if he touches foods at that time, they are primary derivatives of impurity. After he swallows it, he is considered to have separated from the entity that imparted impurity to him.

יד

הַבּוֹלֵעַ נִבְלַת עוֹף הַטָּהוֹר בִּשְׁעַת בְּלִיעָתוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ וְהֵן רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה. וְכֵן אִם נָגַע בָּאֳכָלִין הֲרֵי הֵן רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה. וְאַחַר שֶׁבָּלַע הֲרֵי זֶה פֵּרַשׁ מִמְּטַמְּאָיו:

15

Although all of the following - one who burns the red heifer or the goats that are burnt and one who sends away the goat to Azazel - impart impurity to their garments while performing their tasks, as we explained, if they touched foods, even while performing their tasks, the foods are deemed a secondary derivative of impurity.

טו

הַשּׂוֹרֵף פָּרָה אֲדֻמָּה וּשְׂעִירִים הַנִּשְׂרָפִים וְהַמְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת הַשָּׂעִיר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבִּשְׁעַת מַעֲשֵׂיהֶן מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אִם נָגְעוּ בָּאֳכָלִין אֲפִלּוּ בִּשְׁעַת מַעֲשֵׂיהֶן הֲרֵי הֵן שֵׁנִי לְטֻמְאָה:

16

When a person touches a primary source of impurity that had been cast into a mikveh, e.g., an animal carcass, the carcass of a teeming animal, or a surface on which a zav rides was in a mikveh and a person touched it, he is impure, as can be inferred from Leviticus 11:36: "But a spring and a cistern in which water collects will be pure. One who touches their carcasses contracts impurity." Implied is that even when they are in a mikveh, they impart impurity. When the person who touched the source of impurity immerses and ascends from the mikveh, he is pure.

Similarly, if a zav treads on a surface on which one rides that was pure while it was found in a mikveh, the surface contracts impurity. When the surface is lifted up from the mikveh, it regains purity, for it is considered as if it was immersed.

When an individual who touches an impure surface on which one rides while he was in a mikveh sticks his hand outside the mikveh and touches objects, he imparts impurity to garments. Needless to say, he imparts impurity to foods and beverages.

טז

הַנּוֹגֵעַ בְּאָב מֵאֲבוֹת הַטֻּמְאוֹת הַמֻּשְׁלָךְ בְּתוֹךְ הַמִּקְוֶה. כְּגוֹן נְבֵלָה אוֹ שֶׁרֶץ אוֹ מִשְׁכָּב שֶׁהוּא בְּמִקְוֶה וְנָגַע בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה טָמֵא. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יא לו) "אַךְ מַעְיָן וּבוֹר מִקְוֵה מַיִם יִהְיֶה טָהוֹר וְנֹגֵעַ בְּנִבְלָתָם יִטְמָא" אֲפִלּוּ כְּשֶׁהֵן בְּתוֹךְ הַמִּקְוֶה מְטַמְּאִין. וּכְשֶׁיַּעֲלֶה מִן הַמִּקְוֶה זֶה הַנּוֹגֵעַ יִטְהַר. [וְהַנּוֹשְׂאָן מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בִּשְׁעַת נְשִׂיאָתָן. וְאִם נָגַע בָּאֳכָלִים עַד שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ הֲרֵי הֵן רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ]. וְכֵן זָב שֶׁדָּרַס עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּב שֶׁהוּא מֻנָּח בַּמִּקְוֶה הֲרֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּב טָמֵא. וּכְשֶׁיַּעֲלֶה הַמִּשְׁכָּב מִן הַמִּקְוֶה יִטְהַר שֶׁהֲרֵי עָלְתָה לוֹ טְבִילָה וְזֶה הַנּוֹגֵעַ בַּמִּשְׁכָּב כְּשֶׁהוּא בַּמִּקְוֶה אִם פָּשַׁט יָדוֹ וְנוֹגֵעַ חוּץ לַמִּקְוֶה הֲרֵי זֶה מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁהוּא מְטַמֵּא אֳכָלִין וּמַשְׁקִין: