These are the substances that intervene for a person: the secretion outside the eye, the fluid outside a wound that crusts, dried blood over a wound, a bandage over a wound, crusts of filth on one's flesh, dough or mud under one's nails, particles of mud or dough that collect on one's flesh, thick mud, potters' clay, and mud that is found in the thoroughfares at all times, even in the summer. All of these substances intervene. Other mud does not intervene when wet, because it will dissolve in the water. When it is dry, it is considered as an intervening substance.


אֵלוּ חוֹצְצִין בָּאָדָם. לִפְלוּף שֶׁחוּץ לָעַיִן. וְגֶלֶד שֶׁחוּץ לַמַּכָּה. וְהַדָּם יָבֵשׁ שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּכָּה. וְהָרְטִיָּה שֶׁעָלֶיהָ. וְגִלְדֵי צוֹאָה שֶׁעַל בְּשָׂרוֹ. וּבָצֵק אוֹ טִיט שֶׁתַּחַת הַצִּפֹּרֶן. וְהַמִּלְמוּלִין שֶׁעַל הַגּוּף. וְטִיט הַיָּוֵן וְטִיט הַיּוֹצְרִים וְטִיט שֶׁל דְּרָכִים הַנִּמְצָא שָׁם תָּמִיד אֲפִלּוּ בִּימוֹת הַחַמָּה כָּל אֵלּוּ חוֹצְצִין. וּשְׁאָר כָּל הַטִּיט כְּשֶׁהוּא לַח אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ שֶׁהֲרֵי נִמְחָה בְּמַיִם וּכְשֶׁהוּא יָבֵשׁ חוֹצֵץ:


When the following: honey, ink, milk, blood, and the sap of berry bushes, fig trees, wild fig trees, and carob trees are dry, they are considered intervening substances. When they are moist, they are not. The sap of other fruits are considered as intervening substances whether moist or dry.

Blood that sticks to the flesh, even if it is moist, is considered an intervening substance. A loosely hanging limb or flesh is considered an intervening substance.


הַדְּבַשׁ. וְהַדְּיוֹ. וְהֶחָלָב. וְהַדָּם. וּשְׂרַף הַתּוּת. וְהַתְּאֵנָה. וְהַשִּׁקְמָה. וְהֶחָרוּב. יְבֵשִׁין חוֹצְצִין לַחִין אֵינָן חוֹצְצִין. וּשְׁאָר כָּל הַשְּׂרָפִין בֵּין לַחִין בֵּין יְבֵשִׁין חוֹצְצִין. וְדָם שֶׁנִּסְרַךְ בַּבָּשָׂר אֲפִלּוּ לַח חוֹצֵץ. הָאֵיבָר וְהַבָּשָׂר הַמְדֻלְדָּלִים חוֹצְצִין:


A woman's hidden area is considered to have intervening substances present unless she washes before her immersion, because that portion of the body is always sweaty and dust collects there and intervenes.

To whom does the above apply? To a married woman. Different rules apply for an unmarried woman. Since she is not concerned about the cleanliness of that area, it is not considered to have intervening substances present.


בֵּית הַסְּתָרִים בְּאִשָּׁה חוֹצֵץ עַד שֶׁתָּדִיחַ תְּחִלָּה. שֶׁהַזֵּעָה שָׁם תָּמִיד וְהֶאָבָק מִתְקַבֵּץ וְחוֹצֵץ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּנְשׂוּאָה. אֲבָל בִּפְנוּיָה הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָהּ מַקְפֶּדֶת אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ:


The following rules apply to bandages on a wound, metal plates on a broken bone, necklaces, noserings, choker necklaces, and rings. When they are firm and cling to the flesh, they are considered as intervening substances. If they are loose, they are not considered as intervening substances.


הָאֶגֶד שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּכָּה. וְהַקַּשְׂקַשִּׂין שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי הַשֶּׁבֶר. וְהַשֵּׁירִים וְהַנְּזָמִים וְהַקַּטְלָיוֹת וְהַטַּבָּעוֹת. בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵן חֲזָקִים וּדְבוּקִים בַּבָּשָׂר חוֹצְצִים. רָפִים אֵינָם חוֹצְצִין:


Strands of wool, strands of flax, and straps that women tie to their heads as adornments are intervening substances, because they separate between the body and the water. Strands of hair are not considered intervening substances, because water penetrates through them, even when they are not loose.


חוּטֵי צֶמֶר וְחוּטֵי פִּשְׁתָּן וְהָרְצוּעוֹת שֶׁקּוֹשְׁרוֹת הַנָּשִׁים בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶן לְנוֹי חוֹצְצִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּבְדִּילִין בֵּין הַגּוּף וּבֵין הַמַּיִם. אֲבָל חוּטֵי שֵׂעָר אֵין חוֹצְצִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמַּיִם בָּאִין בָּהֶן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן רָפִין:

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.


Strands tied around one's neck, even of flax, are not considered as intervening substances, because a woman does not strangle herself with them. Tight necklaces, e.g., choker necklaces and necklets, are intervening substances, because a woman chokes herself with them to look fat.


חוּטִין שֶׁבַּצַּוָּאר אֵינָן חוֹצְצִין אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁל פִּשְׁתָּן לְפִי שֶׁאֵין אִשָּׁה חוֹנֶקֶת עַצְמָהּ בָּהֶן. אֲבָל חֲבָקִים שֶׁבַּצַּוָּאר כְּגוֹן קַטְלָיוֹת וַעֲנָקִים חוֹצְצִין לְפִי שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה חוֹנֶקֶת עַצְמָהּ בָּהֶן כְּדֵי שֶׁתֵּרָאֶה בַּעֲלַת בָּשָׂר:


Hair over the heart that became tangled and matted and similarly, matted hairs of the beard are intervening substances.


שֵׂעָר שֶׁעַל הַלֵּב שֶׁנִּתְקַשֵּׁר וְנַעֲשָׂה קִלְקְלֵי. וְכֵן קִלְקְלֵי הַזָּקָן חוֹצְצִין:


When an arrow is stuck in a person's flesh, if it is visible, it is considered an intervening substance. If it is not visible, he may immerse in a mikveh and partake of terumah in the evening even though the arrow itself is impure. Similarly, if a person swallowed an impure ring and immersed, he is pure. If he vomited it out after immersing, he contracts impurity, because of contact with it. For, as we explained, any entities swallowed within the body of a living being, do not impart impurity or contract impurity.

If pebbles or splinters enter the cracks on the soles of a person's feet, they are considered as intervening substances.


חֵץ הַתָּחוּב בְּאָדָם בִּזְמַן שֶׁהוּא נִרְאֶה חוֹצֵץ. וּבַזְּמַן שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִרְאֶה טוֹבֵל וְאוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָתוֹ לָעֶרֶב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא חֵץ טָמֵא. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁבָּלַע טַבַּעַת טָמֵא וְטָבַל הֲרֵי זֶה טָהוֹר. וְאִם הֱקִיאָהּ אַחַר שֶׁטָּבַל נִטְמָא בְּמַגָּעָהּ שֶׁכְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁכָּל הַבְּלוּעִים בְּגוּף הַחַי לֹא מְטַמְּאִין וְלֹא מִתְטַמְּאִין. נִכְנְסוּ צְרוֹרוֹת וְקֵיסָמִין בְּסִדְקֵי רַגְלָיו מִלְּמַטָּה חוֹצְצִין:


When there is a bandage, a compress, or a dressing over the hidden parts of a person's body, they are considered as intervening substances. The rationale is that even though water need not enter these parts, they must be fit for water to enter them and not have any intervening substances upon them, as we explained.

If there was one or two hairs that were outside the wound, but their tips were stuck to the wound, there were two hairs with mud or filth stuck to their tips, or there were two hairs from one's upper eyelashes that were perforated and hairs from one's lower eyelashes were threaded through them, they are considered an intervening substance.


אִסְפְּלָנִית מְלוּגְמָא וּרְטִיָּה שֶׁעַל בֵּית הַסְּתָרִים חוֹצְצִין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּכָּנְסוּ בָּהֶן הַמַּיִם צְרִיכִין שֶׁיִּהְיוּ רְאוּיִין וְלֹא יְהֵא בָּהֶן דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. הָיְתָה בּוֹ שְׂעָרָה אַחַת אוֹ שְׁתַּיִם חוּץ לַמַּכָּה וְרֹאשָׁהּ מֻדְבָּק לַמַּכָּה אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת רֹאשָׁם מֻדְבָּק בְּטִיט אוֹ בְּצוֹאָה אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת בְּרִיסֵי עֵינָיו מִלְּמַטָּה וּנְקָבָן וְהוֹצִיאָן בְּרִיסֵי עֵינָיו מִלְּמַעְלָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חוֹצְצִין:


A person should not immerse with dust on his feet. If, however, he did, the dust is not an intervening substance.


לֹא יִטְבּל אָדָם בֶּעָפָר שֶׁעַל רַגְלָיו וְאִם טָבַל אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ:


When one holds another person or an implement and immerses them, they remain impure. This applies even if he loosens his hand and allows water to reach the person or the article being immersed. This is a decree, lest he not loosen his hand. If he rinses his hand in water first, the immersion is acceptable.


הָאוֹחֵז בְּאָדָם וּבְכֵלִים וְהִטְבִּילָן הֲרֵי הֵן בְּטֻמְאָתָן. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרִפָּה יָדָיו עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ בָּהֶן הַמַּיִם גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא לֹא יַרְפֶּה. וְאִם הֵדִיחַ יָדָיו בַּמַּיִם עָלְתָה לָהֶן טְבִילָה:


When a woman slings her infant son over her back and immerses, the immersion is not acceptable, for perhaps there was mud on the infant's feet or hands and it became attached to his mother at the time of her immersion and intervened between her body and the water, but it fell off after she emerged.


הַמַּפְשֶׁלֶת בְּנָהּ לַאֲחוֹרָהּ וְטָבְלָה לֹא עָלְתָה לָהּ טְבִילָה שֶׁמָּא הָיָה טִיט בְּרַגְלֵי הַתִּינוֹק אוֹ בְּיָדָיו וְנִדְבַּק בְּאִמּוֹ בִּשְׁעַת טְבִילָה וְחָצַץ וְאַחַר שֶׁעָלְתָה נָפַל:


When a woman who was a nidah put her hair in her mouth, clenched her fists, pursed her lips, or a bone was discovered between her teeth, it is as if she did not immerse. This applies to other impure individuals as well.

If she placed coins in her mouth and descended and immersed, she is purified from nidah impurity, but she is impure because of her spittle. Thus she is a primary derivative of impurity, like one who touched the spittle of a nidah. The same laws apply with regard to a zav.


נִדָּה שֶׁנָּתְנָה שְׂעָרָהּ בְּפִיהָ אוֹ שֶׁקָּפְצָה יָדָהּ אוֹ שֶׁקָּרְצָה בְּשִׂפְתוֹתֶיהָ אוֹ שֶׁנִּמְצָא עֶצֶם בֵּין שִׁנֶּיהָ כְּאִלּוּ לֹא טָבְלָה. וְכֵן שְׁאָר כָּל הַטְּמֵאִים. נָתְנָה מָעוֹת בְּפִיהָ וְיָרְדָה וְטָבְלָה טָהֲרָה מִטֻּמְאַת הַנִּדָּה וַהֲרֵי הִיא טְמֵאָה עַל גַּב רֻקָּה וְנִמְצֵאת רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה כְּמִי שֶׁנָּגַע בְּרֹק הַנִּדָּה. וְכֵן הַדִּין בְּזָב:


These are the substances that do not intervene for a human: the matted hair of the head, the arm pits, and the hidden parts of a man, the secretions of the eye, the scab above a wound, moist drops of filth on his skin, filth that is under a nail, a loose-hanging nail, and the thin hair that is on the skin of a child. All of these substances are not considered as intervening.


וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין חוֹצְצִין בְּאָדָם. קִלְקְלֵי הָרֹאשׁ וּבֵית הַשֶּׁחִי וּבֵית הַסְּתָרִים שֶׁבָּאִישׁ. וְלִפְלוּף שֶׁבָּעַיִן. וְגֶלֶד שֶׁהֶעֶלְתָה הַמַּכָּה. וְלִכְלוּכֵי צוֹאָה שֶׁעַל בְּשָׂרוֹ. וְצוֹאָה שֶׁתַּחַת הַצִּפֹּרֶן. וְצִפֹּרֶן הַמְדֻלְדֶּלֶת. וּכְשׁוּת הַקָּטָן וְהוּא הַשֵּׂעָר הַדַּק שֶׁעַל בְּשָׂרוֹ. כָּל אֵלּוּ אֵינָן חוֹצְצִין:


When two or more hairs are knotted in one knot, they are not considered as an intervening substance, because the water can penetrate through them. If one hair is knotted, it is considered an intervening substance, provided the person is particular about it. If, however, he is not particular about it, his immersion is acceptable unless the larger portion of his hair is tied individually hair by hair. This is the ruling of the Geonim.

It appears to me that a person's hair is considered like his body with regard to immersion and is not a separate entity to the extent that it is inappropriate to speak of "the larger portion of his hair." Instead, even though all of a person's hair is tied hair by hair, if the person is not particular about the matter, his immersion is acceptable unless the hairs are combined with another intervening substance on his body and thus there are intervening substances covering the larger portion of his body, as we explained. The laws mentioned here apply equally to a woman in the nidah state and to other impure people who have hair on their heads.


שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת אוֹ יֶתֶר שֶׁהָיוּ קְשׁוּרִין כְּאַחַת קֶשֶׁר אֶחָד אֵינָן חוֹצְצִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמַּיִם בָּאִין בָּהֶן. וּשְׂעָרָה אַחַת שֶׁנִּקְשְׁרָה חוֹצֶצֶת וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מַקְפִּיד עָלֶיהָ. אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד עָלֶיהָ עָלְתָה לוֹ טְבִילָה עַד שֶׁתִּהְיֶה רֹב שְׂעָרוֹ קָשׁוּר נִימָא נִימָא בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ כָּזֶה הוֹרוּ הַגְּאוֹנִים. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁשְּׂעָרוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם כְּגוּפוֹ הוּא חָשׁוּב לְעִנְיַן טְבִילָה וְאֵינוֹ כְּגוּף בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁנֹּאמַר רֹב הַשֵּׂעָר אֶלָּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכָּל שְׂעַר רֹאשׁוֹ קָשׁוּר נִימָא נִימָא אִם אֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד עָלָיו עָלְתָה לוֹ טְבִילָה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִצְטָרֵף לְחוֹצֵץ אַחֵר עַל גּוּפוֹ וְנִמְצָא הַכּל רֹב גּוּפוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְאֶחָד הַנִּדָּה וְאֶחָד שְׁאָר הַטְּמֵאִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּרֹאשָׁן שֵׂעָר:


Ezra ordained that a woman should comb out her hair and then immerse. If it is possible for her to comb out her hair at night and immerse immediately thereafter, it is praiseworthy. In a pressing situation or when there is a question of sickness, she may comb out her hair - say - on Friday and immerse Saturday night.


תַּקָּנַת עֶזְרָא הִיא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה אִשָּׁה חוֹפֶפֶת אֶת שְׂעָרָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּטְבּל. וְאִם אֶפְשָׁר לָהּ לָחֹף בַּלַּיְלָה וְלִטְבּל מִיָּד תֵּכֶף לַחֲפִיפָה הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. וּבִשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק אוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַחלִי חוֹפֶפֶת אֲפִלּוּ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת וְטוֹבֶלֶת לְמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת:


The following rules apply when a woman immersed and then an intervening substance was found upon her that disqualified her immersion. If she immersed on the same day that she prepared herself, she does not have to prepare herself again. Instead, she may remove the intervening substance and immerse again immediately. If not, she must prepare herself a second time and then immerse.


טָבְלָה וְעָלְתָה וְנִמְצָא עָלֶיהָ דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ אִם בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם שֶׁחָפְפָה טָבְלָה אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לָחֹף פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה אֶלָּא חוֹזֶרֶת וְטוֹבֶלֶת מִיָּד בִּלְבַד. וְאִם לָאו צְרִיכָה לָחֹף פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה וְלִטְבּל:


A woman should not comb out her hair with natron, because it causes the hairs to snap, nor with oak sap, because it snarls the hair. Instead, she should use hot water, even water heated in the sun, because it hardens the hair and enables it to be combed out. Cold water, by contrast, tangles the hair and causes it to contract and thus become intertwined.


לֹא תָּחֹף אִשָּׁה בְּנֶתֶר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמְּקַטֵּף אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר. וְלֹא בְּאֹהֶל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּסְרִיךְ אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר. אֶלָּא בְּחַמִּין וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּחַמֵּי חַמָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַחַמִּין מְיַשְּׁרִין אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר וּמְסַלְסְלִין אוֹתוֹ. אֲבָל הַצּוֹנְנִין מְקַלְקְלִין וּמְקַבְּצִין אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר וּמִתְקַשֵּׁר:


When a nidah gave cooked food to her son and then immersed, the immersion is invalid because of the fatty substances on her hand.


נִדָּה שֶׁנָּתְנָה תַּבְשִׁיל לִבְנָהּ וְטָבְלָה לֹא עָלְתָה לָהּ טְבִילָה מִפְּנֵי הַשַּׁמְנוּנִית שֶׁעַל יָדֶיהָ:


The following laws apply if a woman scratched her skin to the extent that it bled and then immersed. If the immersion was within three days of the bleeding, the place of the scratches is not considered as intervening. After three days, it is considered as intervening because the blood coagulates there, like a scab on the wound.

Similar concepts apply with regard to secretion in the eye. If it is dry and has begun to change color, it is considered as an intervening substance for a nidah.


שָׂרְטָה בִּבְשָׂרָהּ וְהוֹצִיא דָּם וְטָבְלָה. בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים אֵין מְקוֹם הַשְּׂרִיטוֹת חוֹצֵץ לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים חוֹצֵץ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַדָּם נִקְפֶּה שָׁם כְּגֶלֶד שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּכָּה. וְכֵן לִפְלוּף שֶׁבָּעַיִן אִם הָיָה יָבֵשׁ וְהוּא שֶׁהִתְחִיל לְהוֹרִיק חוֹצֵץ בְּנִדָּה:


Blue ointment in the eye is not considered as an intervening substance. If it is outside the eye, it is considered as an intervening substance. If her eyes open and close frequently, even the ointment outside the eye is not considered as an intervening substance.


כֹּחַל שֶׁבָּעַיִן אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ. שֶׁעַל גַּב הָעַיִן חוֹצֵץ. וְאִם הָיוּ עֵינֶיהָ פּוֹרְחוֹת אַף עַל גַּבֵּי הָעַיִן אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ:


If, while immersing, a woman opened her eyes to a great extent or closed them very firmly, the immersion is not acceptable.

With regard to what does the above apply? With regard to immersion to partake or touch pure foods. With regard to permitting intimacy with her husband, by contrast, she is permitted even if she gave cooked food to her son, she had an old scratch, there was blue ointment above her eye, or she opened her eyes very widely or closed them tightly. The rationale is that all of these matters and other similar ones are considered as intervening only according to Rabbinic Law and the Sages ordained their decree with regard to pure foods, but not with regard to intimacy.

Whenever a substance is considered as intervening for a nidah with regard to pure foods, it is considered as intervening for other impure people with regard to pure foods and as intervening for a convert when immersing during conversion.


פָּתְחָה עֵינֶיהָ בְּיוֹתֵר אוֹ עִצַּמְתָּן בְּיוֹתֵר לֹא עָלְתָה לָהּ טְבִילָה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים לְעִנְיַן טָהֳרוֹת. אֲבָל לְהַתִּירָהּ לְבַעֲלָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּתְנָה תַּבְשִׁיל לִבְנָהּ אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה בָּהּ שֶׂרֶט יָשָׁן אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה עַל גַּב עֵינָהּ כֹּחַל. וּבֵין פָּתְחָה עֵינֶיהָ אוֹ עִצַּמְתָּן הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעֲלָהּ שֶׁכָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אֵינָן חוֹצְצִין אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן וּלְעִנְיַן טָהֳרוֹת גָּזְרוּ לְעִנְיַן בִּיאָה לֹא גָּזְרוּ. וְכָל הַחוֹצֵץ בְּנִדָּה לְטָהֳרוֹת חוֹצֵץ בִּשְׁאָר הַטְּמֵאִין לְעִנְיַן טָהֳרוֹת. וְחוֹצֵץ בְּגֵר בִּשְׁעַת טְבִילָה:


When a person immersed and after he ascended an intervening substance was found upon his body, even though he was involved with that substance for the entire day after the immersion, he is considered as impure unless he says: "I know with certainty that this substance was not upon me before the immersion." The rationale is that since he was categorized as impure, he is presumed to remain in that state until it is known for certain that he regained purity.


מִי שֶׁטָּבַל וְעָלָה וְנִמְצָא עָלָיו דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּתְעַסֵּק בְּאוֹתוֹ הַמִּין כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא בְּטֻמְאָתוֹ עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר יוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה זֶה עָלַי קֹדֶם הַטְּבִילָה הוֹאִיל וְהֻחְזַק טָמֵא הַעֲמֵד טָמֵא עַל טֻמְאָתוֹ עַד שֶׁתֵּדַע בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁטָּהַר: