'Are you perchance of the same opinion as R. Akiba that the woman1 carries uncleanness to the man who had intercourse with her?'2 'We', they answered him, 'have not heard his ruling'.3 'Thus', he said to them, 'did the Sages at Jamnia enunciate the ruling: If the woman did not delay more than the time in which she can descend from the bed and wash her face,4 this5 is regarded as 'within the time limit' and both are unclean on account of the doubt,6 and exempt from bringing a sacrifice but they are subject to the obligation of a suspensive guilt-offering. If she delayed for such a time during which she could descend from the bed and wash her face,7 this8 is regarded as being 'after the time',9 Similarly if she delayed10 for twenty-four hours11 or for a period between her previous and her present examination,12 the man who had intercourse with her is unclean on account of his contact,13 but not on account of his intercourse.14 R. Akiba ruled: He also contracts uncleanness on the ground of his intercourse.15 R. Judah son of R. Johanan b. Zakkai ruled: Her husband may enter the Temple and burn incense.16 Now according to R. Hisda17 one can well see why the Rabbis declare the man clean, but according to R. Ashi18 why do the Rabbis declare him clean? And should you reply that this is a case where she did not have the rag in her hand19 [it could be retorted:] Should not then20 a distinction have been made explicitly between the case where the woman had a rag in her hand and where she had no rag in her hand?21 — This is a difficulty.
'R. Judah son of R. Johanan b. Zakkai ruled: Her husband may enter the Temple and burn incense'. But why should not a prohibition be imposed22 on the ground that the man came in contact with a menstruant during the twenty-four hours of her retrospective uncleanness? — He23 holds the same view as Shammai who ruled: For all women it suffices to reckon their period of uncleanness from the time of their discovering the flow.24 But should not a prohibition be imposed21 on the ground that the man has experienced an emission of semen? — This is a case where his intercourse was not consummated.25
THE SAGES, HOWEVER, AGREE WITH R. AKIBA THAT ONE WHO OBSERVED A BLOODSTAIN. Rab explained: [She conveys UNCLEANNESS] retrospectively and the ruling is that of R. Meir.26 Samuel, however, explained: [She conveys UNCLEANNESS] from now27 onwards and the ruling is that of the Rabbis. 'From now onwards'! Would not this28 be obvious? — It might have been presumed that, since retrospective uncleanness for a period of twenty-four hours is only a Rabbinical measure and the uncleanness of bloodstains at all times29 is also only a Rabbinical measure, as during the twenty-four hours' period a woman does not convey uncleanness to the man who had intercourse with her so also in the case of a stain29 does she not convey uncleanness to the man who had intercourse with her, hence we were informed [that she does convey uncleanness to the man]. Might it not, however, be suggested that the law is so indeed?30 — [No, since] in the former case there is no slaughtered ox in your presence31 but here there is a slaughtered ox in your presence.32 Resh Lakish also explained in the same way33 [that uncleanness is conveyed] retrospectively and that the ruling is that of R. Meir. R. Johanan explained: [The uncleanness is conveyed] from now onwards and the ruling is that of the Rabbis.
MISHNAH. ALL WOMEN ARE IN THE CONDITION OF PRESUMPTIVE CLEANNESS FOR THEIR HUSBANDS.34 FOR THOSE WHO RETURN FROM A JOURNEY THEIR WIVES ARE IN THE CONDITION OF PRESUMPTIVE CLEANNESS.
GEMARA. What need was there35 to state,36 THOSE THAT RETURN FROM A JOURNEY? — It might have been presumed that this37 applies only to a husband who was in the town, since in such a case the woman thinks of her duties38 and duly examines herself, but not to a husband who was not in town since the question of [marital] duty does not occur to her, hence we were informed [that the law applies to the latter case also). Resh Lakish in the name of R. Judah Nesi'ah39 observed: But this40 applies only where the husband came and found her within her usually clean period.41 R. Huna observed: This42 was learnt only of a woman who had no settled period, but if she had a settled period intercourse with her is forbidden.43 Topsy turvy!44 Does not, on the contrary, the reverse stand to reason, since in the case of a woman who has no settled period it might well be assumed that she experienced a discharge, but where she has a settled period [she should be presumed to be clean] since her period was fixed? — Rather, if the statement was at all made it was made in the following terms: R. Huna said, This45 was learnt only in the case of a woman the time of whose settled period had not arrived46 but if that time had arrived47 she is forbidden,43 for he47 is of the opinion that [the laws of] settled periods48 are Pentateuchal. Rabbah b. Bar Hana said: Even if the time of her settled period has arrived she is also permitted,49 for he is of the opinion that [the laws relating to] settled period are only Rabbinical.50 R. Ashi reported thus: R. Huna said,
Original footnotes renumbered.
- For a period of twenty-four hours retrospectively.
- This (cf. prev. n.) being the only time limit recognized.
- Sc. his time limit. Consequently they could not possibly have adopted it.
- Sc. the time elapsed was no longer than that during which she can examine herself while still in bed.
- The discovery of a discharge within that space of time (cf. prev. n.).
- In agreement with R. Hisda supra.
- A period of time which is longer than the former (cf. supra n. 1).
- The discharge discovered after the period mentioned (cf. prev. n.).
- I.e., 'the interval following this interval' as R. Hisda explained (supra 14b).
- Longer than the periods mentioned.
- After intercourse.
- When the discharge was discovered.
- With the woman. Such a contact with a menstruant within the twenty-four hours' period only subjects him to one day's uncleanness until nightfall and the uncleanness is only Rabbinical and of an uncertain character.
- With a menstruant; sc. the uncleanness, even in its uncertain character, does not extend over seven days as would have been the case with one who had intercourse with a confirmed menstruant.
- Cf. prev. n. mut. mut.
- This is explained infra.
- Who explained supra that the interval within which SHE CAN DESCEND FROM THE BED is regarded as the 'interval after this interval'.
- Who maintained supra that 'the former and the latter represent the same length of time'.
- So that after she descended from the bed she spent some more time in taking up the rag.
- In order to avoid the possible mistake that even within the shorter interval, when the woman had the rag in her hand, the Rabbis hold the man to be clean.
- Of course it should. Since no such distinction, however, is made it is obvious, is it not, that the Rabbis hold the man to be clean even if the discharge was discovered after the interval in which the woman can descend from the bed with the rag in her hand?
- Lit., 'and let (the prohibition) be inferred'.
- R. Judah.
- Supra 2a.
- R. Akiba, however, maintains that the first stage of intercourse with a menstruant is regarded as its consummation, and consequently uncleanness is conveyed even in such a case (Rashi).
- Who in regard to bloodstains adopts (supra 5a and infra 52b) the more restrictive view.
- The time of the discovery of the stain.
- That the Rabbis agree she conveys uncleanness after the discovery of a stain (cf. prev. n.).
- Even after discovery.
- That she does not convey uncleanness to the one who had intercourse with her after the discovery of a bloodstain just as she does not render him unclean retrospectively during the twenty-four hours prior to her having observed a discharge.
- Metaphor. Within the twenty-four hours prior to her having observed a discharge.
- Sc. the bloodstain had actually been discovered.
- As Rab supra.
- In respect of intercourse; sc. no examination is required for the purpose. It is necessary only for determining the condition of any clean objects the woman may have handled.
- Lit., 'wherefore to me'.
- After the ruling in the first clause which applies to all husbands.
- The ruling in the first clause.
- Lit., 'she throws upon herself' —
- The Prince, R. Judah II.
- The ruling in the final clause.
- I.e., within thirty days after her last observation of a discharge. After the thirty days, since most women have monthly periods, intercourse must be preceded by an examination.
- That 'within her usually clean period' no examination is required.
- Unless there was previous examination.
- Lit., 'towards where' or towards the tail' (cf. B.B. (Sonc. ed.) p. 435, n. 17).
- That 'within her usually clean period' no examination is required.
- During the husband's absence from town.
- R. Huna.
- Sc. that when the date of a settled period arrives the woman is presumed to be in a state of doubtful uncleanness.
- No previous examination being required.
- Sc. the Rabbis required a woman to examine herself when the date of her settled period arrives in order to ascertain whether there was a discharge or not. If, however, her husband was out of town and on his return it was unknown to him whether she did or did not examine herself she is not to be regarded as being in a condition of doubtful uncleanness.
This1 was learnt only of a woman who had no settled period that was determinable by days alone but one that was determinable by both days and leaps, so that since the period depends on some specific act it might well be presumed, that she did not leap and that, therefore, did not observe any discharge. Where, however, she has a settled period that was determinable by the days alone, she must have no intercourse, for he is of the opinion that the restrictions relating to settled periods are Pentateuchal. Rabbah b. Bar Hana ruled: Even if she has a settled period that was determined by the days alone, she is permitted intercourse, for he holds the opinion that [the restrictions relating to] settled periods are only Rabbinical.
R. Samuel citing R. Johanan ruled: If a woman has a settled period, her husband2 may3 calculate the days of that period and4 come in unto her.5 Said R. Samuel b. Yeba to R. Abba: Did R. Johanan refer also to a young wife who6 is too shy to perform immersion? — The other replied: Did then R. Johanan speak of one who had actually7 observed a discharge? It may [in fact be held] that R. Johanan spoke8 only of a case where it is doubtful whether or not the woman did observe a discharge and where, [so that] even if some reason could be found for assuming that she did observe one, it may also be assumed that she had since performed immersions,9 but in a case where it is certain that she had observed a discharge, who could say that she had since performed immersion? And, seeing that it is a question of a doubt10 being opposed by a certainty11 [she must be deemed unclean] since a doubt cannot take one out of a certainty. But does it not? Was it not in fact taught: If a haber12 died and left a store-room full of fruits, even if they were only then due to be tithed,13 they are presumed to have been properly prepared.14 Now here it is a case of certain tebel15 and there is only the doubt as to whether or not it was tithed, and the doubt nevertheless sets aside the certainty? — No, there it is a case of a certainty against a certainty, in agreement with a statement of R. Hanina of Hozae,16 for R. Hanina of Hozae said: It is presumed with a haber that he does not allow anything to pass out of his control unless it has been duly prepared. And if you prefer I might say: It is a case of doubt against doubt, since [the man might have acted] in accordance with a suggestion of R. Oshaia, for R. Oshaia said: A man17 may resort to a device with his produce and store it18 together with its chaff19 so that20 his cattle may eat of it21 and it is exempt from the tithe.22
But does not a doubt set aside a certainty? Surely it has been taught: It once happened that the handmaid of a certain tax-collector in Rimmon23 threw the body of a premature child into a pit, and a priest24 came and gazed into it to ascertain whether it was male or female,25 and when the matter came before the Sages26 they pronounced him clean because weasels and martens are commonly found there.27 Now here, surely, it is a certainty that the woman had thrown a premature child into the pit and a doubt whether they had dragged it away or not, and yet does not the doubt set aside the certainty? — Do not read, 'Threw the body of a premature child into a pit' but
Original footnotes renumbered.
- That the woman is presumed to be clean even if the date of her settled period had already arrived.
- Having been out of town for seven days after that period.
- On returning home during the days in which she had the opportunity of performing immersion and attain cleanness.
- Without asking her whether she had made use of her opportunity (cf. prev. n.).
- On the assumption that she had duly performed immersion and is now clean.
- Unless urged by her husband.
- Lit., 'certainly'.
- That the woman need not be asked.
- And since R. Johanan's ruling is based on the existence of these doubts there can be no distinction between a younger and an older woman.
- As to whether there was immersion in consequence of which she would be clean.
- Of a discharge which renders her unclean.
- V. Glos.
- Lit., 'sons of their day'.
- A.Z. 41b; i.e., that the priestly and levitical dues have been duly set aside for them.
- V. Glos. Since the fruit had reached a stage when it was liable to the dues (cf. prev. n.).
- A district on the eastern side of the Tigris.
- Desirous of avoiding tithes.
- Lit., 'and brings it in'.
- Only corn that had been winnowed before it was brought into the store-room within the house is liable to tithe.
- Since it was brought in unwinnowed (cf. prev. n.).
- Even after its subsequent winnowing. A human being, though permitted to eat it in accordance with Pentateuchal law, may not do so in accordance with a Rabbinic measure.
- Even Rabbinically. Now since it is possible that the produce was taken to the store-room in accordance with R. Oshaia's suggestion (a case of doubtful tebel) and it is also possible that it had been duly tithed, we have here a case of doubt against doubt. As a haber is presumed not to allow anything to pass out of his hand unless it had been duly prepared the Rabbis in this case waived aside their restriction and allowed a human being also to eat of the produce.
- A town near Jerusalem.
- Who was ignorant of the laws of uncleanness (cf. Rashi's fourth interpretation and Tosaf.) and unaware that by bending over the pit just above the embryo he would contract uncleanness.
- The period of a woman's uncleanness after childbirth is twice as long in the case of the latter as in that of the former (cf. Lev. XII, 2ff).
- To decide whether the priest contracted uncleanness by bending over the pit and thus 'overshadowing' the dead body.
- In pits. Tosef. Oh. XVI. These creatures might be presumed to have devoured or dragged away the body so that there was no 'overshadowing' on the part of the priest.