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TOHOROT (Heb. טָהֳרוֹת; lit. "cleannesses"), the last of the six orders of the Mishnah, according to the traditional arrangement mentioned in the homily of *Simeon b. Lakish (Shab. 31a), but the fifth order according to R. *Tanḥuma (Num. R. 13:15). Tohorot discusses the halakhot of the different categories of ritual purity and impurity.

It contains 12 tractates, arranged in descending order according to the number of chapters: *Kelim, containing 30 chapters, on vessels susceptible to impurity; *Oholot, 18 chapters, on ritual impurity arising from the overshadowing of a dead person; *Nega'im, 14 chapters, on uncleanness relating to leprosies; *Parah, 12 chapters, on the *red heifer; *Tohorot, ten chapters, mainly on conditions rendering foods unclean; *Mikva'ot, ten chapters, on the pools for ritual immersion; *Niddah, ten chapters, on uncleanness relating to the menstruant; *Makhshirim, six chapters, on the fluids rendering food susceptible to becoming ritually impure; *Zavim, five chapters, on uncleannesss from gonorrhea; *Tevul Yom, four chapters, on uncleanness, lasting until the sunset, of one who has gone through ritual immersion during the day; *Yadayim, four chapters, on the uncleanness of unwashed hands and their purification; and *Ukẓin, three chapters, on the uncleanness transferred by the stalks or husks of fruits or plants – 126 chapters in all. Because of its length, some divided Kelim into three bavot ("gates"), namely Bava Kamma, Bava Meẓia, and Bava Batra, each containing ten chapters, as was done with *Nezikin (see *Bava Kamma). In the Tosefta of Tohorot, Kelim Bava Kamma has seven chapters, Kelim Bava Meẓia 11, and Kelim Bava Batra, seven chapters; Oholot has 18, Nega'im nine, Parah 12, Niddah nine, Mikva'ot seven (or eight), Tohorot 11, Makhshirim three, Zavim five, Yadayim two, Tevul Yom two, and Ukẓin three chapters. Apart from the tractate Niddah, Tohorot has no Gemara in either the Jerusalem or Babylonian Talmud.


Epstein, Mishnah, 980ff.; Ḥ. Albeck (ed.), Shishah Sidrei Mishnah, Seder Tohorot (1959), 9f.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.