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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
BECAUSE THEY MAINTAIN: IT IS POSSIBLE etc. What need again was there for this statement, seeing that it was already taught in the earlier clause? And were you to reply: Because it was desired to lay down an anonymous statement2 in agreement with the Rabbis [it could be objected:] Is not this obvious, since in a dispute between an individual authority and a number of authorities the halachah is in agreement with the majority? — It might have been presumed that R. Meir's reason is more acceptable because Scriptural texts3 provide support for his view, hence we were informed4 [that the halachah is in agreement with the view of the Rabbis]. And if you prefer I might reply: Because it was desired to state,5 'Similarly'.6
MISHNAH. SIMILARLY7 ANY [HOLE IN] AN EARTHEN VESSEL THAT LETS IN A LIQUID8 WILL9 LET IT OUT,10 BUT THERE MAY BE ONE THAT WILL LET IT OUT AND WILL NOT LET IT IN.11 ANY LIMB12 THAT GROWS A NAIL HAS ALSO A BONE IN IT13 BUT THERE MAY BE ONE THAT HAS A BONE IN IT BUT GROWS NO NAIL.14 WHATEVER CONTRACTS MIDRAS-UNCLEANNESS15 ALSO CONTRACTS CORPSE-UNCLEANNESS16 BUT THERE ARE SUCH AS CONTRACT CORPSE UNCLEANNESS17 AND DO NOT CONTRACT MIDRAS-UNCLEANNESS.18
GEMARA. A vessel with a hole THAT LETS IN A LIQUID is unfit for the water of purification19 and is [even more so] unfit20 as a defective vessel;21 one with a hole THAT WILL LET IT OUT22 is fit for the water of purification23 but unfit as a defective vessel.24
R. Assi stated, It was learnt,25 The minimum size [of a hole to render] an earthen vessel [unfit for the consecration of the water of purification] is one that will let a liquid in;26 and one that will let a liquid out22 was mentioned only in respect of a defective vessel.24 What is the reason?27 — Mar Zutra son of R. Nahman replied: Because people do not say,28 'Bring a defective vessel for another defective vessel'.29
Our Rabbis taught: How is an earthen vessel to be tested in order to ascertain whether its perforation is big enough to admit a liquid or not? One brings a tub full of water and puts the pot30 into it. If it absorbs any of the liquid, it may be taken for granted that it lets liquids in; and if not, it may be taken for granted that it only lets liquids out.
Niddah 49bR. Judah1 said: One inverts the handles of the pot into the tub2 and allows water to float over it. If it then absorbs any, it may be taken for granted that it will let liquids in; but if not, it may be taken for granted that it only lets liquids out. Or else, it3 may be put upon a fire. If the fire stops the leakage it is certain that the pot will only let liquids out; but if not it is certain that it also lets liquids in. R. Jose said: One does not put it upon the actual4 fire since the fire stops it,5 but it is put upon embers. If the embers stop it, it is certain that it only lets liquids out, but if not, it is certain that it also lets liquids in. If it drips drop after drop6 it is certain that it lets liquids in. What is the practical difference between the first Tanna7 and R. Judah? — 'Ulla replied: The practical difference between them is a case of absorption under pressure.8
ANY LIMB THAT GROWS A NAIL etc. If it grows a nail9 it10 conveys uncleanness11 by means of touch, carriage and overshadowing. If it contains a bone but grows no nail it conveys uncleanness12 by means of touch and carriage but does not convey it by means of overshadowing.13
R. Hisda stated: The following was said by our great Master,14 may the Omnipresent be his help. A redundant finger that contains a bone but grows no nail conveys uncleanness12 by means of touch and carriage but does not convey it by means of overshadowing. Rabbah b. Bar Hana explained: This is the case only when it15 is not counted in [the row of the fingers of] the hand.16
WHATEVER CONTRACTS MIDRAS — UNCLEANNESS etc. Whatever object is fit for midras contracts corpse-uncleanness, but there are such as contract corpse-uncleanness and do not contract midras-uncleanness. What is this rule intended to include? — It is intended to include a se'ah measure and a tarkab;17 for it was taught: And he that sitteth on any thing;18 as it might have been presumed that if the zab inverted a se'ah measure and sat upon it or a tarkab measure and sat upon it, it shall be unclean,19 it was explicitly stated, Whereon he that hath the issue sat,18 implying20 that the text refers only to a thing that is appointed for sitting;21 but this one22 is excluded, since people would tell him, 'Get up that we may do our work with it'.23
MISHNAH. WHOSOEVER IS FIT TO TRY CAPITAL CASES IS ALSO FIT TO TRY MONETARY SUITS, BUT ONE MAY BE FIT TO TRY MONETARY SUITS AND YET BE UNFIT TO TRY CAPITAL CASES.
GEMARA. Rab Judah stated: This24 was meant to include a bastard.25 Have we not, however, learnt this once before: 'All are eligible to try monetary suits but not all eligible to try capital cases';26 and when the question was raised, 'What was this intended to include?' Rab Judah replied, 'It was intended to include a bastard'?27 — One statement was intended to include a proselyte and the other to include a bastard. And both statements were necessary. For if we had been informed of the proselyte only it might have been presumed that it applied to him alone because he is eligible to enter the Assembly28 but not to a bastard who is not eligible to enter the Assembly.29 And if we had been informed of the bastard only it might have been presumed to apply to him alone because he issues from an eligible source30 but not to a proselyte who issues from an ineligible source.31 Hence the necessity for both rulings.
MISHNAH. WHOSOEVER IS ELIGIBLE TO ACT AS JUDGE IS32 ELIGIBLE TO ACT AS WITNESS, BUT ONE MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO ACT AS WITNESS AND NOT AS JUDGE.
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