There are three categories of wooden implements that are not intended to serve as containers:

a) Any wooden implement that is made solely for human use, e.g., a ladder. It is pure. It is not susceptible to impurity at all, nor did our Sages decree that it should be included among the implements susceptible to impurity.

b) Any wooden implement that is made to be used for other implements and by a human, e.g., a table, a counter-top, a bed and the like. They are susceptible to ritual impurity. How is it known that they serve both a person and his accessories? Because one places plates on the table, cups on the counter-top, and spreads on the bed.

c) Any wooden implement that is made solely for the use of implements; thus it serves entities that serve man. If it only serves other implements during the time work is being performed with them, it is entirely pure, e.g., a wooden candelabrum that serves a lamp while it burns.

Similar laws apply to an implement placed under an implement while it is being used and all molds. If, however, it serves implements during the time work is being performed with them and when work is not being performed with them, they are susceptible to ritual impurity. Examples of such implements are: the covering for a box and the like; a sheath for a sword, a knife, a spear, scissors, a razor, a spoon used for blue eye paint, or a stylus used to write; a well used to store blue eye paint; a case for a writing tablet or a leather placemat, a carrier for arrows, a case for wide arrows, and a case for flutes. All of these and anything like them are susceptible to impurity even though they are only used to serve other implements. The rationale is that they are necessary for the implements both at the time work is being performed with them and also when work is not being performed with them.

There are, by contrast, other somewhat similar implements that are pure, for example: the covering for a wardrobe, the covering for a chest, the covering for a basket, a carpenter's press, a chair placed under a chest or a domed covering for it, the mold over which a leather covering for a Torah scroll is made, a wooden covering for a door bolt, or the covering for a latch or a mezuzah, a case for lyres and harps, a bust on which the makers of turbans wrap that head-covering, a mold on which tefillin are made, a wooden horse used by a singer, rhythm sticks used by mourners, a sun-shield of a poor man, support beams for a bed, the pillars of a bed, and a board used as a support for a bed. All of these and implements like them are pure, because they serve other implements only when they are being used.


שָׁלֹשׁ מִדּוֹת בִּכְלֵי עֵץ שֶׁאֵינָן עֲשׂוּיִין לְקַבָּלָה. כָּל כְּלִי עֵץ הֶעָשׂוּי לְתַשְׁמִישׁ אָדָם בִּלְבַד כְּגוֹן הַסֻּלָּם טָהוֹר וְאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כְּלָל וְלֹא רִבּוּהוּ חֲכָמִים לְטֻמְאָה. וְכָל כְּלִי עֵץ הֶעָשׂוּי לְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַכֵּלִים וְהָאָדָם כְּגוֹן הַשֻּׁלְחָן וְהַטַּבְלָא וְהַמִּטָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהֵן לְתַשְׁמִישׁ אָדָם וְתַשְׁמִישׁ מְשַׁמְּשָׁיו שֶׁהֲרֵי מַנִּיחַ הַקְּעָרוֹת עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן וְהַכּוֹסוֹת עַל הַטַּבְלָא וְהַמַּצָּעוֹת עַל הַמִּטָּה. וְכָל כְּלִי עֵץ הֶעָשׂוּי לְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַכֵּלִים בִּלְבַד שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא מְשַׁמֵּשׁ מְשַׁמְּשֵׁי אָדָם אִם לֹא הָיָה מְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת הַכֵּלִים אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה בִּלְבַד הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר מִכְּלוּם כְּגוֹן מְנוֹרָה שֶׁל עֵץ שֶׁמְּשַׁמֶּשֶׁת הַנֵּר בִּשְׁעַת הַדְלָקָה, וְכַן וְהוּא כְּלִי שֶׁמַּנִּיחִין תַּחַת הַכֵּלִים בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה, וְהַדְּפוּסִין כֻּלָּן. וְאִם הָיָה מְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת הַכֵּלִים בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה וְשֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה הֲרֵי זֶה מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כְּגוֹן כִּסּוּי הַקַּפָצָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ וְתִיק הַסַּיִף וְהַסַּכִּין וְהָרֹמַח וְהַמִּסְפָּרִים וְהַתַּעַר וְהַמִּכְחוֹל וְהַמִּכְתָּב וּבֵית הַכּוֹחַל וְתִיק טַבְלָא וּסְקוּרְטִיָא וּבֵית הַחִצִּים וּבֵית הַפַּגוֹזוֹת וְתִיק חֲלָלִים כָּל אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן אֶלָּא מְשַׁמְּשֵׁי כֵּלִים מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הַכְּלִי צָרִיךְ לָהֶן בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה וְשֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה. אֲבָל כִּסּוּי קַמַטְרָא וְכִסּוּי תֵּבָה וְכִסּוּי טֶנִי וְהַמַּכְבֵּשׁ שֶׁל חָרָשׁ וְהַכִּסֵּא שֶׁתַּחַת הַתֵּבָה וְהַקְּמָתִין שֶׁלָּהּ וְהַקֵּלֶב שֶׁבּוֹנִין עָלָיו תִּיק הַסַּפָּר וּבֵית הַנֶּגֶר וְהַמַּנְעוּל וְהַמְּזוּזָה וְתִיק נְבָלִים וְהַכִּנּוֹרוֹת וְהַקֵּלֶב שֶׁל גּוֹדְלֵי מִצְנֶפֶת וּדְפוּס שֶׁל תְּפִלִּין וְסוּס שֶׁל עֵץ שֶׁל זֶמֶר שֶׁמְּשַׂחֲקִין בּוֹ וּרְבִיעִית הַמְּקוֹנֶנֶת וּגְנוֹנַת הֶעָנִי וְסָמוֹכוֹת הַמִּטָּה וְנַקְלִיטֵי הַמִּטָּה וַחֲמוֹר שֶׁתַּחַת הַמִּטָּה כָּל אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן טְהוֹרִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן מְשַׁמְּשֵׁי הַכֵּלִים בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה בִּלְבַד:


With regard to the headboard of a bed: if it is capped and has legs that are connected to the bed, it contracts impurity together with the bed, because it is placed at the head of the bed and it is considered as one of its components. If it was placed on two of the bedposts, and thus it is higher than the bed, even though the headboard is tied to the bed with cords, since it does not have feet, it is pure. The rationale is that the headboard only serves other implements at the time work is being performed with them, like the hanging boards of the Levites, upon which they would hang their harps and their instruments, which are pure.


מַלְבֵּן הַמִּטָּה אִם הָיָה מְלֻבָּשׁ בְּפִיקוֹת וְיֵשׁ לוֹ רַגְלַיִם שֶׁמְּחַבְּרָן עִם הַמִּטָּה הֲרֵי זֶה מִתְטַמֵּא עִם הַמִּטָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי נוֹתְנִין אוֹתוֹ בִּפְנֵי הַמִּטָּה וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּאֶחָד מֵאֵיבָרֶיהָ. נְתָנוֹ עַל שְׁתֵּי לְשׁוֹנוֹת וַהֲרֵי הוּא גָּבוֹהַּ עַל הַמִּטָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּסֹרָג בַּחֲבָלִים הוֹאִיל וְאֵין לוֹ רַגְלַיִם טָהוֹר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מִמְּשַׁמְּשֵׁי הַכֵּלִים בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה בִּלְבַד כְּמַלְבְּנֵי בְּנֵי לֵוִי שֶׁתּוֹלִין בָּהֶם כִּנּוֹרוֹתֵיהֶן וּכְלֵי הַשֵּׁיר שֶׁהֵן טְהוֹרִין:


A press used by shoemakers over which leather is pulled tightly is pure, because he places the stone in the hollow inside of it and uses it. Thus it is made to serve implements only at the time work is being performed with it. It does not contract impurity because of its receptacle, because the hollow within it is meant to be filled with a stone.


מַכְבֵּשׁ שֶׁל שְׁכַּף שֶׁמּוֹתֵחַ עָלָיו אֶת הָעוֹר טָהוֹר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּנִּיחַ עָלָיו אֶת הָאֶבֶן בַּמָּקוֹם הֶחָקוּק שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ וּמְשַׁמֵּשׁ עָלָיו וְנִמְצָא עָשׂוּי לְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת הַכֵּלִים בִּשְׁעַת מְלָאכָה וְאֵינוֹ מִתְטַמֵּא מִשּׁוּם קִבּוּל שֶׁהֲרֵי הֶחָקָק שֶׁבּוֹ עָשׂוּי לְהִתְמַלְּאוֹת בְּאֶבֶן:


The coating of a bed is pure. Similarly, any ornamental covering - whether it is made from wood, bone, leather, or metal - is pure. This concept is derived from Leviticus 11:32 which states "with which work will be performed with them." This excludes the ornamental covering of implements.

Similarly, a wooden or bone implement that has a receptacle, but which was plated with metal is pure and it is not susceptible to impurity. The rationale is that the plating causes the implement itself to be considered insignificant and the plating itself is pure, as explained.


חִפּוּיֵי הַמִּטָּה טְהוֹרִין וְכֵן כָּל הַחִפּוּיִין בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ שֶׁל עֵץ אוֹ שֶׁל עֶצֶם אוֹ שֶׁל עוֹר אוֹ שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת טְהוֹרִין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יא לב) "אֲשֶׁר יֵעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בָּהֶן" פְּרָט לְחִפּוּיֵי הַכֵּלִים. וְכֵן כְּלֵי עֵץ אוֹ עֶצֶם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן בֵּית קִבּוּל שֶׁצִּפָּם בְּמַתֶּכֶת טְהוֹרִים וְאֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה מֵאַחַר שֶׁצִּפָּם בִּטְּלָן וְהַצִּפּוּי עַצְמוֹ טָהוֹר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


The following rules apply when a person makes a utensil partially of wood and partially of metal. If the wood serves the metal, it is susceptible to impurity. If the metal serves the wood, everything is pure.

What is implied? If a key was made of wood and its teeth - or even one of its teeth - were metal, it is susceptible to impurity. If it was metal and its teeth, wood, everything is pure.


הָעוֹשֶׂה כְּלִי מִקְצָתוֹ מִן הָעֵץ וּמִקְצָתוֹ מִן הַמַּתֶּכֶת אִם הָיָה הָעֵץ מְשַׁמֵּשׁ הַמַּתֶּכֶת מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה וְאִם הָיְתָה הַמַּתֶּכֶת מְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת אֶת הָעֵץ הַכּל טָהוֹר. כֵּיצַד. מַפְתֵּחַ שֶׁל עֵץ וְשִׁנָּיו מִמַּתֶּכֶת אֲפִלּוּ שֵׁן אֶחָד הֲרֵי זֶה מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה. הָיְתָה הִיא מִמַּתֶּכֶת וְשִׁנַּיִם שֶׁלּוֹ מֵעֵץ הַכּל טָהוֹר:

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.


If a ring is made of metal and its signet is of coral, it is susceptible to impurity. If it was made of coral and its signet was of metal, it is not susceptible to impurity.


טַבַּעַת שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת וְחוֹתָמָהּ שֶׁל אַלְמוֹג טְמֵאָה. הָיְתָה שֶׁל אַלְמוֹג וְחוֹתָמוֹ שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ מְקַבֶּלֶת טֻמְאָה:


When there is a tooth from a key or a signet of metal, it is susceptible to impurity independently if it was not connected to wood. Similarly, if one of the wooden teeth of a pitchfork, a farming prong, a winnow or a comb for a girl's head was removed and replaced by a metal one, the implements are susceptible to ritual impurity.


הַשֵּׁן שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת אוֹ הַחוֹתָם מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ אִם לֹא הָיָה מְחֻבָּר לָעֵץ. וְכֵן הַמְעַבֵּד וְהַמַּזְרֶה וְהַמָּגוֹב וְהַמַּסְרֵק שֶׁל רֹאשׁ שֶׁנִּטְּלָה אֶחָד מִשִּׁנֵּיהֶן וַעֲשָׂאָהּ שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה:


When a metal projection shaped like a pomegranate was placed on a wooden staff to use as a handle, it is not susceptible to ritual impurity. If the staff was made with a metal cap so that the earth would not destroy the wood, it is susceptible to impurity.


מַקֵּל שֶׁעָשָׂה בְּרֹאשׁוֹ מַסְמֵר כְּמִין רִמּוֹן כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אוֹחֵז בּוֹ אֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה. עֲשָׂאָהוּ שֶׁלֹּא תִּהְיֶה הָאָרֶץ אוֹכֶלֶת אֶת הָעֵץ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה:


Similarly, if spikes were affixed to a stick to use as a weapon, it is susceptible to ritual impurity, for the wood is serving the metal. If they were placed there for decorative purposes, it is not susceptible to ritual impurity, for the metal is serving the wood.


וְכֵן מַקֵּל שֶׁקָּבַע בּוֹ מַסְמְרִים כְּדֵי לְהַכּוֹת בּוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה שֶׁנִּמְצָא הָעֵץ מְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת הַמַּתֶּכֶת. עֲשָׂאָן לְנוֹי אֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמַּתֶּכֶת מְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת אֶת הָעֵץ:


Similarly, if a tube of metal was affixed to a staff or a door for decorative purposes, it is pure. Similar principles apply in all analogous situations involving other implements.


וְכֵן מְנַקִּיּוֹת שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת שֶׁקְּבָעָן בַּמַּקֵּל אוֹ בַּדֶּלֶת לְנוֹי טְהוֹרוֹת. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה מִשְּׁאָר הַכֵּלִים: