Regulations regarding in what cases sacred things are more rigorous than heave-offerings, and vice versa
MISHNA: More rigorous rules hold in sacred things than in a heave-offering, for we may dip vessels in the midst of vessels for a heave-offering, but not for sacred things. The outside and the inside and the place for laying hold are reckoned as distinct in the heave-offering, but not in the sacred things. One who takes up that which has been made unclean by pressure, may offer the heave-offering, but not the sacred things. The garments of those that eat the heave-offering are unclean through pressure in regard to sacred things. The manner of the heave-offering is not as the manner of the sacred things. For in the case of sacred things, one loosens a knot and wipes and dips and afterwards ties up again, but in the case of a heave-offering he ties up and afterwards dips.
Vessels finished in purity need dipping for sacred things, but not for a heave-offering. The vessel includes what is within it for sacred things, but not for heave-offering.
The unclean in the fourth degree in the case for sacred things is disqualified, but in the third degree in the case of heave-offering.
Though one of his hands be unclean in the case of heave offering, its fellow is clean; in the case of sacred things, how ever, both are dipped, for the hand makes its fellow unclean in the case of hallowed things, but not in the case of heave-offering. One may eat dry food with ordinary (not ceremonially clean) hands in the case of heave-offering, but not in the case of sacred things.
A mourner, before the burial of the dead (who has not defiled himself yet on the dead), and one who lacks atonement, need dipping in a legal bath for sacred things, but not for heave-offering.
GEMARA: "In sacred things." Why are sacred things more rigorous? Said R. Aila: Because the weight of the inside vessel intervenes. Shall we assume, that as the reason for the statement in the latter part of the Mishna is because of intervention, the first part has another reason? (For if both have one and the same reason, why state both? One would suffice.) Nay, both the earlier and the later cases are because of intervention, and still it was necessary that they should be separately mentioned, for if he had taught us the first only, one should say, this is the reason for the rigorousness of sacred things, viz.: because of the vessel's weight, which actually exists. But in the latter case, where the vessel's weight is not an element, one should say, in regard to sacred things, that it is not considered an intervention; and if he had taught us the latter only, one should say, the reason why it is not allowed for sacred things is because a knot in water is drawn tighter, while in the former case the water makes the vessel to swim, and so the intervention is not considered. Thus it was necessary that they should be separately mentioned. R. Aila is in accordance with his theory elsewhere, who said in the name of R. Hanina bar Papa: Ten degrees of superior excellence are taught here. The first five refer alike to sacred things, and to ordinary things which are treated with the observance of the law of purification. belonging to sacred things; the latter refer to sacred things only. Why so? Because the former five could constitute a biblical defilement (when he dips one vessel in another vessel, and an intervention would be discovered). The rabbis have ordained that they apply to both. The later one, however, in which there can be no biblical defilement, the rabbis did not care to ordain.
Rabha, however, said: Since the later portion of the Mishna is on account of intervention, the former is not on that account, but because it is a precautionary measure, in order that needles and pipes should not be dipped in a vessel, the mouth of which is not of the size of the pipe of a wine-skin bottle. (This will be explained in Mikwooth, VI., P And Rabha holds in this case, as R. Na'hman said elsewhere in the name of Rabba bar Abuhu, viz.: Eleven features of superior excellence are taught here. The first six refer alike to sacred things and to ordinary things which are treated with the observance of the laws of purification belonging to sacred things. The latter ones refer to sacred things only. What real difference is there between Rabba and R. Aila? It is this: In the case of a basket and a wine-strainer which are filled with vessels and dipped. According to the one who says, the prohibition is because of intervention, there is an intervention; but according to the one who says, that it is a precautionary measure, lest haply needles and pipes should be dipped in a vessel, the mouth of which is not of the size of the pipe of a wine-skin bottle, there is no such thing in a basket and a wine-strainer.
"The outsides and the insides," etc. What is meant by this? As we have learned in a Mishna [Kelim, XXV., 6]: In the case of a vessel the outside of which is defiled by beverages, its outside is defiled, but its inside, its rim, and its short handles, and its long handles are clean; but if its inside is defiled, it is all defiled.
"And the place for laying hold," etc. What is meant by Beth Hazibtah? Said R. Jehudah in the name of Samuel: The part by which he reaches it, as it is written [Ruth ii. 14]: "And he reached her parched corn" (Vaitzboth). R. Asi in the name of R. Johanan said: It means that part of the dish of which fastidious persons lay hold.
"One that takes up that which has been made unclean," etc. Why not sacred things? Because of the following occurrence: R. Jehudah in the name of R. Samuel said: It happened to a certain man, who was carrying a cask of wine from one place to another, and the thong of his sandal came off, and he took it up and placed it on the mouth of the cask, and it fell into the inside of the cask, and it was made unclean. And thereupon it was ordained: One that taketh up that which has been made unclean by pressure may offer the heave-offering, but not the sacred things. If so, why not also the heave-offering? This is in accordance with R. Hananiah b. Aqabia, who said: This restriction was made only as regards Jordan or a ship, and in accordance with the matter that occurred. What was that? It was that which R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: It happened with a man who was carrying the sprinkling water and the ashes of the red cow over Jordan in a ship, and a piece of a dead body as large as an olive was found fixed in the bottom of the ship; thereupon it was ordained that such a thing should not happen again.
"Vessels finished in purity," etc. Finished by whom? If a learned man has finished them, why should they be dipped? If a learned man has finished them, how is it that the Mishna calls them "finished in purity"? Said Rabba bar Shila in the name of R. Mothnah quoting Samuel: The case is, that a learned man has finished, yet because of a drop of spittle of a common man which may have fallen upon it, it is treated as unclean. "May have fallen upon it" when? Should we assume, before it is completed, then it is not yet a vessel; if after, then he takes good care of it? The case may be, before it is completed, yet perhaps at the moment it was made, it was still liquid (and it may be defiled).
"The vessel includes what is within," etc. Whence do we know that? Said R. Hanin: It is written [Num. vii. 14, etc]: "One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense." The Scripture makes everything that is in the spoon one. R. Kahana objected: We have learned, that R. Aqiba added to the teaching, which immediately follows, the flour and the incense, and the frankincense and the coals, for if the person, in the course of purification, touch the extremity of it, he disqualifies the whole. Now, this addition of R. Aqiba is certainly rabbinical, as the first part of the Mishna states (Edeoth, viii., 1): R. Simeon b. Bathyra bore testimony with reference to the ashes of the red cow, that if an unclean person touch the extremity of them, he makes all of them unclean; and immediately he says, that R. Aqiba added this? (And R. Hanin says, it is rabbinical.) Said Resh Lakish in the name of Bar Kapara: The addition was only necessary for the rest of the meat-offering, For, biblically, what stands in need of a vessel, the vessel includes it; what does not stand in need of a vessel, the vessel does not include it; but the rabbis went further and ordained that, although a thing does not necessarily belong to a vessel, the vessel, nevertheless, includes it.
"The unclean in the fourth degree," etc. We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Jose said: Whence do we deduce the case of the unclean in the fourth degree, that in the matter of sacred things he is disqualified? By an a fortiori argument. For he who has entered on the last stage of his atonement, while he is free as regards heave-offering, he is disqualified as regards sacred things, so much the more when one is unclean in the third degree who defiles heave-offering that he should become disqualified as regards sacred things if unclean in the fourth degree. We have learned, however, that he who is unclean in the third degree is disqualified as regards sacred things, biblically, and that he who is in the fourth degree--by an a fortiori argument, namely: It is written [Lev. vii. 9]: "And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten." Are we not here treating of the touching of a thing of secondary uncleanness? And nevertheless the Scripture says, it shall not be eaten? That which is unclean in the fourth degree is proved to be disqualified by the a fortiori argument stated above.
"And though one of his hands be unclean." R. Shezbi said: It is only in the case of contact, but not otherwise. Abayi objected: We have learned: A wiped hand renders its fellow unclean so far as to make unclean for sacred things, but not for heave-offering. Such is the dictum of Rabbi. R. Jose b. R. Jehudah says: This is the case so far as to disqualify, but not to render unclean. It is correct if the Mishna treats of a case where it did not come in contact, and therefore the importance of "wiped" hand? But if the case is only when there is contact, but not otherwise, where is the importance of "wiped" hand? It was taught also that Resh Lakish said the Mishna refers only to his own hand, but not to the hand of his companion (R. Johanan, however, says both his own hand and his companion I s hand), with the same hand he may only disqualify, but not render unclean. Whence did he learn this? From the fact that it has been taught in the latter portion of the Mishna. For the hand makes its fellow unclean in the case of sacred things, but not in the case of heave-offering. Why the repetition? Was it not taught in the preceding clauses of the same Mishna? We must therefore say, it comes to teach us that the hand of the companion is included. And Resh Lakish himself retracted his decision, as R. Jonah said in the name of R. Ami that Resh Lakish said, whether it be his own hand, or the hand of his companion, with that same hand he may disqualify, but not render unclean.
"We may eat dry food", etc. We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Hanina b. Antigonus said: Does such a question as to whether a thing be dry or wet exist as regards sacred things? Does not love for the sacred things make men cautious in regard to defilement? The Mishna treats of a case, that a man's companion put a piece of the sacred things into his mouth, or he put it into his own mouth with a spindle or with a skewer, or attempted to eat along with these an onion or garlic taken from unconsecrated things. As to sacred things the rabbis ordained so, but as to heave-offering they did not.
"The mourner and he who lacks atonement." Why so? Because they were under restriction, the sages ordained that they shall dip.
MISHNA: More rigorous rules, on the other hand, hold in a heave-offering, for in Judea people are believed with regard to, purity of wine and oil all the days of the year, but at the time of the vintage and the oil-pressing, with regard to heave-offering also.
When the vintage and the oil-pressing are over, and a cask of wine for heave-offering was brought, it must not be received, but it may be left for the next vintage. But if he say to him, I have separated and put into the midst of it a fourth part of something consecrated for sacred things, he is believed. In the case of jugs of wine and jugs of oil which are mixed, men are believed with regard to them at the time of vintage and oil-pressing and for seventy days before the vintage.
GEMARA: In Judea, yes; but in Galilea, no? Why so? Said Resh Lakish: Because there is a strip of the Gentiles making a separation between them. But let him bring it in a box, a chest, or in a balloon? This is in accordance with Rabbi, who said: A tent projected is not a real tent. But let one bring it in an earthenware vessel tied round with a line of thread? Said R. Eliezer: We have learned in a Boraitha: Sacred things are not preserved from uncleanness by a line of thread.
"But at the time of vintage," etc. There is a contradiction from the following Boraitha: He who finishes his olives shall leave aside one box and place it before the eyes of the priest (in order that he shall examine it as to whether they are not ripe yet, and the priest shall place them in cleanness when they become ripe. Hence we see that even at that time they were not believed?) Said R. Nahman: This presents no difficulty. The one is the case of those early in season, the other of those late in season. Said R. Ada bar Ahba to him: For instance, things like those belonging to the house of thy father. R. Joseph, however, said, the Mishna (in Taaroth) refers to Galilea.
"When the vintage and the oil-pressing are over," etc. The schoolmen questioned of R. Shesheth: Suppose that it is over, and yet he receives it, what about the law that he shall leave it for the next vintage? He answered them: This we have already learned in the following Mishna (Dmai, VI., i): A learned man and a common person who are their father's joint heirs. The common person may say to him: Take thou the wheat that is in such a place, and I will take the wheat that is in such a place; take thou the wine that is in such a place, and I will take the wine that is in such a place. But he may not say to him: Take thou the liquid and I will take the dry; take thou the wheat and I will take the barley. And in regard to this we have learned: That same learned man burns the liquid and leaves the dry. Why? Let him leave it for the next vintage? It may be one of the things that have no vintage. But let him leave it for one of the feasts? It may be one of the things which will not keep till the feast.
"But if he say, I have separated for sacred things, he is believed." We have learned in a Mishna (Choloth, XVIII., 4): Both the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel agree that we are to investigate a field in which a person is buried for those who are to bring the paschal lamb, but not for those who desire to eat heave-offering. What is the meaning of investigate? Said R. Jehudah in the name of Samuel: A man blows upon the unclean land as he walks along. 1 And R. Hyya bar Abha in the name of Ula said: An unclean place of this sort that is trodden is clean for those who bring their paschal lambs; as it is a case of Kareth, they did not insist upon their decisions, but for those who desired to eat heave-offering, they did insist on their decisions, as it is a case of death penalty (by Heaven).
"In the case of vessels of wine," etc. There is a Boraitha: They are not believed, either about the cans or about the heave-offering. Cans belonging to what? If they belong to sacred things, then if he is believed about the sacred things, he is believed also about their cans? If the cans belonging to heave-offerings are meant, then it is self-evident. About heave-offering he is not believed--shall he be believed about cans that belong to it? It is a case of sacred cans which are empty, and it is during the remaining days of the year. And the same is the case of those full of heave-offering, and at the time of the vintage they are believed. (And although no precautionary measure was ordained as to their heave-offering, in order not to cause any loss to the priests, still they were not believed as to the cans, and the priests receive from them the heave-offering with the cans, but place the heave-offering in other cans of their own.)
"For seventy days before the vintage." Abayi said: Infer from this that the law is, that the farmer shall go up to dip the casks seventy days before the time of the presses.
MISHNA: From Modiim and inwards men are believed with regard to earthenware vessels; from Modiim and outwards they are not believed. How so? The potter who is selling the pots goes inwards from Modiim. That is the potter, and those are the pots, and those are the buyers. He is believed. If he goes out he is not believed.
GEMARA: We have learned in a Boraitha: The place of Modiim itself is sometimes considered within and sometimes without. How so? When the potter goes out, and the merchant goes in, it is considered within. Both go in, or both go out, it is considered without. Said Abayi: We have learned the same in our Mishna, viz.: The potter who sells the pots and goes inwards from Modiim. What about Modiim itself? Is it not believed? Then how is the latter part: When he goes out he is not believed? From this we may infer that Modiim. itself is believed. Hence the case is as stated in the Boraitha. Infer therefrom.
MISHNA: The tax collectors who have gone into the midst of a house, and so too the thieves that have restored the vessels, are believed when they say: We have not touched. And in Jerusalem they are believed as regards sacred things, and at the time of a feast as regards heave-offering also.
GEMARA. There is a contradiction from the following Boraitha: In the case of the tax collectors who have gone into the midst of the house, the whole house is unclean? There is no difficulty. The one is when there is a Gentile with them; the other is when there is not a Gentile with them. For there is another Mishna: If there is a Gentile with them, they are believed when they say, We did not enter; but they are not believed when they say, We entered, but we did not touch. And if there is a Gentile with them, what of it? R. Johanan and R. Elazar: One says that they fear that the Gentile should not punish them, and the other says that they fear that the stranger should not give them away to the government. What is the difference between them? A Gentile who is not of importance.
"And so too the thieves," etc. There is a contradiction from the following Boraitha: In the case of the thieves who have gone into the midst of the house, only the place where the thieves' feet trod is unclean. Said R. Pinhas in the name of Rabh: They are to be believed only in the case they have repented. It seems that our Mishna intended the same thing, for the statement is: Who have restored the vessels. Infer from this.
"And in Jerusalem they are believed," etc. We have learned in a Boraitha: They are believed as regards large earthen vessels for sacrifice. And the reason is, because they do not make ovens in Jerusalem.
"And at the time of the feast," etc. Whence is this deduced? Said R. Joshua b. Levi: Because it is written [Judg. xx. 11]: "So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, associated together as one man." The Scripture makes them all equal.
MISHNA: One that opens his cask, and one that commences his dough at the time of a festival, R. Jehudah says: He shall finish it, but the sages say he shall not.
GEMARA: R. Ami and R. Itz'hak of Naph'ha sat at the portico of the latter. One began and said: According to the sages, may he keep it for another festival? He answered: Every one's hand has been handling it, and dost thou say, he shall keep it for another festival? He said to him: But hitherto as well, has not every one's hand been handling it? He rejoined: What comparison is that? Hitherto the uncleanness of a common person in a festival, the Law makes him clean, but now it is a case of uncleanness.
MISHNA: As soon as the festival is over, they make them pass on to the cleansing of the court. But if the festival is over on a Friday, they do not make them pass on, on account of the honor of the Sabbath. R. Jehudah said: Also not on Thursday, for the priests are not at leisure.
GEMARA: And the Boraitha adds: That the priests are not at leisure because of the removing of the fat.
MISHNA: How is that made out, that they make them pass on to the cleaning of the court? They dip the vessels which were in the Temple, and say to them: Be ye clean that ye touch not the table. All the vessels that were in the Temple had second and third sets, so that if the first became unclean they might bring the second instead of them. All the vessels which were in the Temple were subject to dipping, except the altar of gold and the altar of bronze, because they were like the floor. Such is the dictum of R. Eliezer. But the sages say, because they were overlaid.
GEMARA: We have learned in a Boraitha: Be ye clean lest ye touch the table or the candelabrum. Why did our Mishna not mention the candelabrum? Because the table is called in the Scripture perpetual; the candelabrum is not perpetual. Resh Lakish said: It is written [Lev. xxiv. 6]: "Upon the pure table." From this it may be inferred that it may be defiled. Why? Is it not a vessel of wood made to rest, and as such is not subject to defilement? Infer from this that the table was raised up and exhibited the shewbread on it to the pilgrims, and they were told: See how beloved you are before the Lord, that the shewbreads are as warm now as they were when placed on the table. For R. Joshua b. Levi said: A great miracle was wrought in the shewbread. As its placing was miraculous so was its end, for it is written [1 Sam. xxi. 7]: "So as to put down hot bread on the day when it was taken away." It is written [Ezek. xli. 22]: "The latter was of wood, three cubits high, and its length was two cubits, and its corners and its top-piece and its walls were of wood, and he spoke unto me: This is the table that is before the Lord." He began with "altar" and he ended with "table." R. Johanan and Resh Lakish both say: At the time that the Temple was set up an altar made atonement for a man; now a man's table makes atonement for him.
"All the vessels that were in the Temple had second and third sets," etc. The altar of bronze, because it is written [Ex. xx. 21]: "An altar of earth shalt thou make unto me." The altar of gold, because it is written [Num. iii. 31]: "The candlestick and the altars." The altars are placed in comparison one with the other.
"Because they are overlaid." On the contrary, since they are overlaid they may become unclean. Said the rabbis to R. Eliezer: Why do you think them capable of defilement, because they are covered over? Their covering is of no avail in respect of them.
R. Abuhu in the name of R. Eliezer said: As to the scholars, the flame of Gehenna has no power over them. For this is shown by an a fortiori argument drawn from the salamander. As only the creature of fire, and still he that anoints himself with its blood, flame has no power over him, how much more then that the flames have no power over the scholars, whose whole body is fire, as it is written [Jer. xxiii. 29]: "Is not thus my word like fire? saith the Lord." Resh Lakish said the flame of Gehenna has no power over the transgressors of Israel, as is shown by an a fortiori argument from the altar of gold. For the altar of gold, upon which is only about the thickness of a denarius of gold, it lasted so many years and was not affected by fire; how much less can flame have power over the transgressors of Israel, who are full of the commandments as a pomegranate is full of seeds, as it is written [Song of Songs iv. 3]: "Like the half of a pomegranate is the upper part of thy cheek," etc. Read not "the upper part of thy cheek," but "the vain fellows that are in thee."
50:1 I.e., one who is on the way, bringing the paschal lamb, and comes across a field in which a human body was buried, he may examine it by blowing as he walks, along; and if there is a bone of the size of a barley, and he notices it and avoids to walk over it, he does not contract uncleanness, as it does not communicate uncleanness unless by contact.
Sources: Sacred Texts