The following question was asked: If there is no dust, how is it about putting ashes there? According to the view of Beth Shammai, the question does not arise because they said that we never find ashes called dust; but the question does arise according to the view of Beth Hillel because they said that we do find ashes called dust.5 How is it then? Although the word 'dust' is used, it is here written 'on the floor of the tabernacle';6 perhaps, however, the phrase 'on the floor of the tabernacle' is intended to be understood according to the interpretation of Issi b. Judah and Issi b. Menahem?7 — Come and hear: for R. Johanan said in the name of R. Ishmael: In three places the halachah crushes the Scriptural text under heel:8 the Torah states with dust,9 whereas the halachah allows [the blood to be covered] with anything; the Torah states no razor,10 whereas the legal decision is [that a Nazirite may not shave] with anything; the Torah states a book,11 whereas the legal decision [allows] any [form of document]. Now if this12 is so, it should also have been enumerated! — He taught [some instances] and omitted others. What else, then, did he omit?13 — He omitted [the shaving] of a leper;14 for it has been taught: And it shall be on the seventh day that he shall shave all his hair — that is a generalization; off his head and his beard and his eyebrows — that is a particularization; even all his hair he shall shave off15 — that is again a generalization. Now [the rule of exegesis is]: when there is a general proposition, followed by the enumeration of particulars, and this is followed by a general proposition, include only that which resembles the particulars.16 As the particulars refer to a part [of the body] where the hair grows and is visible, so every place where the hair grows and is visible [comes within the scope of the law]. What does it include? It includes the hair on the private part. What does it exclude? It excludes that of the arm-pit and the whole body [which is normally covered]. The halachah, however, is: he shaves himself as smooth as a gourd.17 For we have learnt: When [the priest] comes to shave the leper, he passes a razor over all his flesh;18 and it continues,19 On the seventh day he shaves20 the second shaving after the manner of the first.21 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: [R. Johanan] enumerated instances where the halachah crushes the Scriptural text under heel; but here it crushes a Rabbinical teaching22 under heel.23 R. Papa said: [R. Johanan] enumerated instances where the halachah crushes the Scriptural text under heel and overthrows it; but here it crushes the text under heel and extends it.24 R. Ashi said: According to whom is this teaching [that only the visible parts of the body are to be shaved]? It is R. Ishmael who expounds [the Torah] by the rule of generalization and particularization.25
Sotah 16bAccording to whom [is the teaching that he must be shaved the second time] as smooth as a gourd? It is R. Akiba who expounds [the Torah] by the rule of amplification and limitation; for it has been taught: 'And it shall be on the seventh day that he shall shave all his hair' — that is an amplification; 'off his head and his beard and his eyebrows' — that is a limitation; 'even all his hair he shall shave off — that is again an amplification. Now [the rule of exegesis is]: Where there is an amplification, followed by a limitation, and this is followed by an amplification, the amplification applies to the whole. In which respect is there an amplification? It includes all the body [to be shaved]. In which respect is there a limitation? It excludes the hair which grows inside the nostril. How is it, then, with our original question [whether ashes may be used when there is no dust]? — Come and hear: For R. Huna b. Ashi said in the name of Rab: If there is no dust there, he brings decayed herbage and hallows it! — But this is no proof. Decayed herbage may indeed be [called] dust but not ashes.
JUST SUFFICIENT TO BE VISIBLE ABOVE THE WATER. Our Rabbis have taught: Three things must be visible, viz., the dust in the ceremony of the suspected woman, the ashes in the ceremony of the red heifer1 and the spittle in the ceremony of Halizah.2 They said in the name of R. Ishmael, Also the blood of the bird.3 What is R. Ishmael's reason? — Because it is written: And shall dip them in the blood of the bird etc.;4 and it has been taught: 'in the blood' — it is possible [to think that they must be dipped] in blood and not in water; therefore the text declares '[over the running] water'. If Scripture [had only mentioned] 'water', it would be possible [to think that they must be dipped] in water and not in blood; therefore the text declares 'in the blood'. What, then, was the procedure? He brings water in which the blood of the bird is recognisable. What is the quantity? A quarter [of a log]. And [why is this instance not included in their enumeration by] the Rabbis? — That is part of the subject-matter; for thus said the All-Merciful, Dip in blood and water.5 [How is this argument met by] R. Ishmael? — In that case, the All-Merciful should have written: 'And he shall dip in them'; so why [is it stated] in blood and in water? That [the blood] must be recognisable. And [how is this argument met by] the Rabbis? — If the All-Merciful had written: 'And he shall dip in them', I might have imagined [that he was to dip] in each separately; therefore He wrote 'in blood and in water' to indicate that they must be mixed. [How does] R. Ishmael [answer this point]? That they are to be mixed [is learnt from] another verse; it is written: And kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water.6 [How do] the Rabbis [answer this point]? — If [we had to learn it] from that passage, we might have thought that he is to kill it near a vessel, press the jugular veins,7 and receive the blood in another vessel. Hence we are informed [by this verse that the killing must be done over the vessel containing the water].
R. Jeremiah asked R. Zera, How is it if [the bird] was so big that [its blood] effaced [all trace of] the water, or if it was so small that [all trace of its blood] was effaced by the water? He answered: Have I not told thee not to take thyself beyond the legal decision?8 The Rabbis estimated [the quantity of a quarter of a log] by a free bird;9 and this is never so big that [its blood] should efface [all trace of] the water, nor so small that [all trace of its blood] should be effaced by the water.
Our Rabbis have taught: If he put the dust [in the bowl] before the water, it is invalid; but R. Simeon allows it. What is the reason of R. Simeon? — Because it is written: And for the unclean they shall take of the dust of the burning of the sin-offering;10 and it has been taught: R. Simeon said: Was it dust and not ashes? The text changes the expression to indicate that a conclusion was to be drawn from it by the rule of analogy: it is mentioned here 'dust', and there [in the ceremony of the suspected woman] it is also mentioned 'dust'; as in the second instance the dust had to be placed over the water,11 so also here the dust had to be placed over the water; and further, as it is valid here if he put the dust on before the water, so also there [in the ceremony of the suspected woman] it is valid if he put the dust on before the water.12 Whence is this derived there [in the rite of the red heifer]? — There are two texts: It is written thereto,13 consequently the ashes are first; and it is written running water in a vessel, consequently the water is first. So what was the procedure? He can put either in first. [How is this interpretation answered by] the Rabbis?14 — 'In a vessel' — precisely so;15 'thereto'- that they are to be mixed. But say rather that 'thereto' means precisely so;16 and 'in a vessel' means that the water must be poured directly into the vessel from the spring!17 — As we find that everywhere it is the qualifying element which is on top,18 so also here19 the qualifying element must be on top.
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