What is the first Tanna's reason?1 R. Isaac b. Abudimi said: Scripture says. [Ye shall not mistake yourselves abominable] with any swarming thing that swarms,2 signifying no matter where it swarms,3 and says further, 'On the earth'.4 How are these verses to be reconciled? Where there is no doubt that he touched it he is [always] unclean, but if there is a doubt he remains clean.5
And what is R. Simeon's reason? — 'Ulla said: Scripture says, Nevertheless a fountain [… shall be clean]6 and continues [But he who toucheth their case] shall be unclean.7 How are we to reconcile these? Whilst floating in a vessel [a doubtful object] is treated as unclean, but on the earth it is treated as clean.
Our Rabbis taught: Where there are doubts concerning any [source of defilement] that is carried8 or dragged along, the objects are regarded as unclean, because it is as though they are at rest,9 but where the doubt concerns things that are thrown,10 they are treated as clean, with the exception of an olive's bulk of a corpse, one who overshadows a source of defilement, and all [other] things that propagate defilement upwards as well as downwards,11 [This last expression] serves to include sufferers from gonorrhoea, male and female.12
Rami b. Hama propounded: What is the law concerning a corpse13 lying in a vessel floating on the surface of the water. Is the vessel the criterion,14 or the corpse?15 Should it be decided that the vessel is the criterion,16 what would be the law if the [fragment of] a corpse was lying on a [dead] reptile?17 Seeing that the latter defiles only until evening and the former for seven days, are we to consider it as though it were lying in a vessel,18 or should it perhaps be considered a compact source of defilement?19 Should it be decided [further] that this is considered as though it were lying in a vessel, and therefore is treated as though defilement were certain, what would be the law if a [dead] reptile were lying on a floating animal carcase? Seeing that both defile only until evening, are they to be regarded as a compact source of defilement, or should we consider rather that of the one an olive's bulk is necessary,20 whilst of the other a lentil's bulk is sufficient? [Further] what would be the law if one reptile lay on the other? Here certainly the measure is the same,21 but perhaps, seeing that they are distinct, we should regard it as lying in a vessel? Again, should it be decided that in the case of one reptile lying on another, it is regarded as though it lay in a vessel because the [two reptiles] are distinct, what would be the law regarding a reptile floating on a liquefied animal carcase?22 Seeing that it has been liquefied is it to be regarded as liquid,23 or do we perhaps say that after all it is [now] a solid?24 [Again], should you decide that it is a solid, what would be the law regarding a reptile [floating] on an effusion of semen? Should you decide that the latter, because it originates by detachment [from the human body] is a solid, what would be the law regarding a reptile floating on Water of Cleansing,25 that was floating on the surface of [ordi nary] water?26 — We do not know. All these problems remain unsolved.
R. Hamnuna said: A nazirite or a celebrant of the passover who walks over a grave of the depth on his seventh day [of purification after defilement]1 is clean,2 the reason being that defilement of the depth is not potent enough to render void [the naziriteship or the passover]. Raba objected: IF IT WAS TO PURIFY HIMSELF AFTER DEFILEMENT3 THROUGH CONTACT WITH THE DEAD HE REMAINS UNCLEAN, BECAUSE WHERE THE STATUS QUO IS ONE OF DEFILEMENT THE DEFILEMENT REMAINS, BUT WHERE IT IS ONE OF PURITY HE REMAINS CLEAN?4 — [R. Hamnuna] replied: I admit you are right in the case of a nazirite who needs polling.5 Raba [then] said to him: And I admit you are right in the case of a celebrant of the passover who has completed all preliminaries.6 Abaye said [to Raba]: But has he not still to wait for the sun to set?7 — He replied: The sun sets of its own accord.8
Abaye, too, gave up this opinion, for it has been taught: If it is on the day of fulfilment,9 she must bring [a further sacrifice], but if during fulfilment she need not bring one.10 It might be thought that she is not required to bring [a sacrifice] for a birth occurring during the fulfilment, but must bring one for a birth occurring after the fulfilment,11 and discharge her obligation for both births,12 and so Scripture says, And when the days of her purification are fulfilled,13 which signifies that if it occurs on the day of fulfilment she must bring [a sacrifice] but not if it occurs during the fulfilment. [Whereon] R. Kahana explained that the difference14 was due to the fact that she needed to bring a sacrifice.15 Now, in the other case, has she not still to wait for the sun to set?16 — Abaye replied: the sun sets of its own accord.17
MISHNAH. IF A MAN FINDS A CORPSE FOR THE FIRST TIME18 LYING IN THE USUAL POSITION,19 HE MAY REMOVE IT TOGETHER WITH THE SOIL THAT IT OCCUPIES.20 [IF HE FINDS] TWO, HE MAY REMOVE THEM TOGETHER WITH THE GROUND THEY OCCUPY. IF HE FINDS THREE, THEN IF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE FIRST AND THE LAST IS FROM FOUR TO EIGHT CUBITS,21 THIS IS A GRAVEYARD SITE.22
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