But isn’t it taught in a baraita: With regard to one whose donkey drivers and workers, who were amei ha’aretz, were bearing pure food, without touching the pure food itself but only the earthenware vessels containing them, even if he distanced himself from them as they walked by more than a mil, his pure foods are pure. Since the workers are unaware of his departure, he is still considered to be guarding the food in their possession and need not be concerned that they may have touched the pure foods. But if he said to them: Go, and I will follow behind you, then once they are no longer within his eyesight, his pure foods are impure. וְהָתַנְיָא: הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיוּ חֲמָרָיו וּפוֹעֲלָיו טְעוּנִין טְהָרוֹת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִפְלִיג מֵהֶן יוֹתֵר מִמִּיל — טַהֲרוֹתָיו טְהוֹרוֹת. וְאִם אָמַר לָהֶם: ״לְכוּ וַאֲנִי אָבוֹא אַחֲרֵיכֶם״, כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּתְעַלְּמוּ עֵינָיו מֵהֶן — טַהֲרוֹתָיו טְמֵאוֹת.
The Gemara asks: What is different in the first clause of the baraita, where the food remains pure, and what is different in the latter clause, where the food is impure? Rabbi Yitzḥak Nappaḥa said: The first clause is referring to one who purifies his donkey drivers and workers for this purpose, meaning that he ensured that they immersed and purified themselves beforehand, so that concern for impurity was removed. מַאי שְׁנָא רֵישָׁא וּמַאי שְׁנָא סֵיפָא? אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק נַפָּחָא: רֵישָׁא בִּמְטַהֵר חֲמָרָיו וּפוֹעֲלָיו לְכָךְ.
The Gemara questions this: If so, in the latter clause they should also be pure. The Gemara responds: An am ha’aretz is not particular about the contact of his colleague, and therefore there is concern that they might have encountered another am ha’aretz on the way, who touched the produce and thereby rendered it impure. אִי הָכִי, סֵיפָא נָמֵי! אֵין עַם הָאָרֶץ מַקְפִּיד עַל מַגַּע חֲבֵירוֹ.
The Gemara counters: If so, in the first clause of the baraita there should also be concern that they might have met an am ha’aretz, and despite the employer’s warning to his workers to stay ritually pure, they are not careful with regard to the impurity of another am ha’aretz. The Gemara answers: The first clause is referring to a situation when he comes across them via a circuitous path. Since he is not walking directly behind them but can appear from the sides, they cannot always see him. Consequently, they are concerned that he may return at any moment. Therefore, they are careful not to render themselves ritually impure, and they are also wary of the contact of other amei ha’aretz, although they are not usually particular about the contact of their colleagues. אִי הָכִי, רֵישָׁא נָמֵי! בְּבָא לָהֶם דֶּרֶךְ עֲקַלָּתוֹן.
The Gemara raises a difficulty: If so, in the latter clause, too, since he can arrive from around a corner at any given moment, they should certainly be cautious. The Gemara responds: Since he said to them: Go and I will follow behind you, they rely on this, and they do not consider themselves to be under observation. Consequently, they are not particular about the contact of another am ha’aretz. אִי הָכִי, סֵיפָא נָמֵי! כֵּיוָן דַּאֲמַר לְהוּ ״לְכוּ וַאֲנִי אָבוֹא אַחֲרֵיכֶם״ — מִיסְמָךְ סָמְכָא דַּעְתַּיְיהוּ.

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