HE MUST THEN SEARCH BEYOND FOR A DISTANCE OF TWENTY
CUBITS.1 IF HE FINDS A SINGLE [CORPSE]
AT THE END OF TWENTY CUBITS, HE MUST SEARCH BEYOND FOR ANOTHER TWENTY CUBITS.
THE REASON2 IS THAT THERE IS [NOW]
A PRESUMPTION,3 WHEREAS IF HE HAD FOUND
IT FIRST, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO REMOVE IT TOGETHER WITH THE SOIL IT
GEMARA. Rab Judah said: IF A MAN FINDS, but not if [he knows]
it is to be found there;5 A CORPSE,
but not one who had been killed;6 LYING,
but not seated;7 IN THE USUAL POSITION,
but not with its head lying between its
thighs.7 'Ulla b. Hanina taught: A
defective corpse8 does not acquire
the ground it occupies, nor does it help to form a graveyard site.
Why does not [the law of the Mishnah] apply to all these? — Because we say
that perhaps it is [the body of] a
If he finds two [corpses]
with the head of one beside the feet of the second, and the head of the second
beside the feet of the first, they do not acquire the soil which they occupy
and do not help to form a graveyard
site.10 If he finds three [corpses]
one of which was known to be there while the others [were found] for the
first time, or if two [were found] for the first time and two were known
[to be there] they do not acquire the soil they
occupy11 and do not form a graveyard
It is related that R. Yeshobab once searched [a certain spot] and found two
[bodies] which were known to be there and one [which was discovered] for
the first time, and he wanted to declare them a graveyard
site.12 R. Akiba said to him: All
your trouble was for nothing. [The Rabbis] did not declare a graveyard site
save where three [corpses] were known to be there, or three [were found]
for the first time.13
[IF HE FINDS] TWO, HE MAY REMOVE THEM TOGETHER WITH THE SOIL THEY OCCUPY:
Where is this law of the soil [a corpse] occupies to be
found?14 — R. Judah said: The verse
says, Thou shalt carry me out of
Egypt,15 [signifying] carry with me
[some Egyptian soil].16 And what is
the quantity of earth] which it occupies? — R.
Eleazar17 explained that he takes
the loose earth18 and digs up three
finger-breadths of the virgin
The following objection was raised — [It has been taught:] And what quantity
[of earth] are we to understand by 'the ground which it occupies?' R. Eleazar
b. R. Zadok explained that he takes the chips [of the
coffin]20 and the lumps of
earth,21 discarding what certainly
[did not belong to the body] and leaving whatever was doubtful [for
removal].22 The remainder adds together
to form the major part of the structure of the corpse, the quarter [kab]
of bones and the spoonful of corpse —
mould?23 — [R. Eleazar] agrees with
the following Tanna. For it has been taught: What quantity of [earth is meant
by] 'the ground which it occupies?' R.
Johanan,24 citing Ben 'Azzai, said:
He takes the loose earth and digs up three finger-breadths of virgin soil.
HE MUST THEN SEARCH BEYOND IT:
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
For other vaults.
That he must continue to search if he finds one only.
That the field is a graveyard site; since twenty cubits
would not be an abnormal distance between two vaults; cf. supra p. 237, n.
Oh. XVI, 3. On the measurements v. B.B. (Sonc. ed.)
p. 426 and notes.
In that case he may not remove it (Tosaf.).
In which case it is assumed that it was buried there
for convenience and not that there was an old cemetery there.
Jewish bodies were always buried prostrate; hence this
cannot be an old Jewish cemetery. In these last three cases, he removes the
body for reburial elsewhere.
A corpse lacking a member essential to life. (Tosef.
Oh. XVI, 2).
Hence the site is not declared a Jewish cemetery and
the bodies can be removed for burial elsewhere.
Jews were not buried in this manner.
Thus our text and Rashbam in B.B. 101b; but this as
it stands contradicts our Mishnah, and it is therefore better to read with
Tosef. Oh. XVI, 2 'Or if one (was found) for the first time and two were
known, they are entitled to the ground they occupy, but do not form a graveyard
This would entail examining for twenty cubits.
And whilst they may not be removed, they do not form
a graveyard site. V. Tosef. Oh. XVI, 2 where the last paragraph occurs
[So Aruch; cur. edd. 'What means the ground it occupies'?]
Gen. XLVII, 30; spoken by Jacob to Joseph.
Interpreting the verse, 'carry with me of Egypt'.
R. Eleazar b. Pedath. Our texts have in error R. Eleazar
b. R. Zadok.
Formed through the decomposition of the body.
This being the depth to which any blood etc., coming
from the body would penetrate.
Which was usually of stone (Tosaf.). Aliter The chips
of spices put in with the body; cf. II Chronicles XVI, 14.
Into which the decomposing corpse congealed.
When the body was removed. Hence the part to be removed
contained no virgin soil, contrary to the opinion of R. Eleazar.
Required to propagate uncleanness in a tent. (V. supra
49b, 50a). Tosef. Oh. II, 2 with variations.
R. Johanan b. Nuri.
Raba said: If he searched, [found a
corpse]1 and removed it, searched [again
and found another] and removed it, [and then] searched [again] and found
[a third corpse], he must not remove this one [for reburial] with the other
two,2 nor the other two [for reburial]
with this one.3
Others say that Raba
said: As permission had been given to remove [the
others],4 he may remove them
[all].5 But why should not [the field]
become a graveyard site?6 — Resh Lakish
said: [The Rabbis] seized upon any pretext to declare the Land of Israel
Suppose he searched [beyond it]8 for
twenty cubits [in one direction
only]9 and did not find [another corpse],
what is the law?10 — R. Monashya
b. Jeremiah, citing Rab, replied: This is the graveyard
site.11 What is the reason [that we
say this?]12 — Resh Lakish said:
They seized on any pretext to declare the Land of Israel clean.
MISHNAH. EVERY DOUBTFUL CASE OF [LEPROUS]
DISEASE13 ENCOUNTERED FOR THE FIRST
TIME BEFORE UN CLEANNESS HAS BEEN
CLEAN.15 AFTER UNCLEANNESS HAS BEEN
ESTABLISHED DOUBTFUL CASES ARE
GEMARA. How do we know
this?17 — Rab Judah citing Rab, said:
The verse says, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it
unclean.18 Scripture mentions cleanness
first.19 In that case even after
uncleanness has been established, doubtful cases should be
clean?20 — We must therefore say
that this dictum of Rab, quoted by R. Judah was uttered in connection with
the following.21 [A Mishnah says:]
If the bright spot22 appears before
the white hair,23 he is unclean, but
if the white hair appears before the bright spot he is clean. If there is
a doubt, he is unclean. R. Joshua said: It is
doubtful.24 What is meant by 'it is
doubtful'? — Rab Judah25 replied:
It is doubtful and [consequently]
clean.26 May it not mean that it is
doubtful and [consequently] unclean? — Rab Judah citing Rab said: The verse
says, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it
unclean;27 Scripture mentions cleanness
MISHNAH. A PERSON SUFFERING FROM A FLUX IS EX AMINED REGARDING
SEVEN THINGS,29 BEFORE THE PRESENCE
OF GONORRHOEA HAS BEEN
ESTABLISHED,30 VIZ.: — WITH REGARD
TO FOOD,31 DRINK,
LEAPING,33 SICKNESS, A
VISION34 OR AN IMPURE
THOUGHT.35 ONCE GONORRHOEA IS ESTABLISHED,
HE IS NO LONGER EXAMINED. [FLUX RESULTING] FROM AN
ACCIDENT36 TO HIM, DOUBTFUL
[FLUX].37 AND HIS ISSUE OF SEMEN ARE
UNCLEAN, FOR THERE IS A PRESUMPTION [OF
IF A MAN GIVES ANOTHER A BLOW FROM WHICH HE WAS EXPECTED TO DIE AND HE PARTIALLY
RECOVERED AND THEN GREW WORSE AND DIED [THE OTHER] IS LIABLE [FOR MURDER].
R. NEHEMIAH EXEMPTS HIM SINCE THERE IS A PRESUMPTION [IN HIS
GEMARA. How do we know
this?40 — Nathan said: The verse
says. And of the gonorrhoeic41 that
have the issue,42 [whether it be a
man or a woman].43 [The male] at his
third experience of issue is compared to the
female.44 But have we not been taught:
R. Eliezer Says: At the third [issue] we examine him but not at the
fourth?45 In point of fact they disagree
on [the question of stressing the particle]
'the'.46 R. Eliezer lays stress on
[the particle] 'the', whilst the Rabbis do not do so.
[FLUX RESULTING] FROM AN ACCIDENT TO HIM, DOUBTFUL FLUX:
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
For the first time.
Since the region is now revealed as a graveyard site.
Once removed legally they need not be brought back.
I.e., since the removal of the two was legal.
The third corpse counts as newly found.
Since three bodies have been uncovered in it.
I.e. in order to declare a region in the land of Israel
clean, the least pretext was considered sufficient. Rashi suggests another
rendering, viz.: 'They found a rib and declared the Land of Israel clean';
i.e., the Jews on entering Palestine found a human rib buried and thereupon
declared the whole of the rest of Palestine clean, no further search after
graveyard sites being necessary. Hence any pretext to avoid declaring parts
of Palestine unclean will do.
Referring to the Mishnah that he must search beyond
the three corpses found to a distance of twenty cubits.
Tosaf. v. next note.
Must he search in other directions or not? (Tosaf.).
Aliter. Do these three alone form a graveyard site or not? (Rashi). Aliter:
If he has searched in all directions and found nothing, must he search more
thoroughly and dig more deeply? (Asheri).
But no other part of the field.
I.e., why are we not stricter in our requirements?
Referring to a doubt that has arisen as to whether
an affected spot has spread or not (v. Lev. XIII), e.g., two persons are
examined by a priest and have different-sized areas of disease. The following
week both 'areas are the size of the larger of the two and the priest is
uncertain which one has increased, v. Neg. V, 4.
Lit., 'so long as he has not become bound to the
uncleanness'. Before the patient has been declared unclean.
Both men remain clean.
If a similar doubt arises as to whether the diseased
part has diminished in size.
That there is any difference between the two cases
quoted in the Mishnah.
Lev. XIII, 59, concluding the chapter on the symptoms
of leprous disease.
Hence doubtful cases should also be regarded as clean.
Thus there is no ground for basing the distinction
on this verse.
And the law of the Mishnah is not derived from a verse,
but follows from the fact that in the first case there is no presumption
of uncleanness and in the second case there is.
Of leprous disease, v. Lev. XIII, 2.
The symbol of uncleanness. Ibid. v. 3.
Neg. IV, 11. The word rendered 'doubtful' is the technical
term for 'dim' used of a diseased spot, (v. Lev. XIII, 6). For a discussion
of the reading here v. Tosaf. Sanh. 87b, I.v.
Parallel passages (Sanh. 87b) have Rabbah.
I.e., it is considered to have become dim and is therefore
Lev. XIII, 59.
The disease is to be pronounced clean unless it certainly
has the symptoms of uncleanness described in that chapter.
To determine whether any of these seven things was
not the cause of the flux, as it would not then be evidence of gonorrhoea.
I.e., before there has been a flux on three occasions,
v. Zabim II, 2.
Whether he had eaten too much.
Whether he had carried heavy loads.
Any kind of strain through physical exercise might
The sight of two people in coition.
A similar thought.
I.e., after one of the seven things mentioned.
See the Gemara.
V. Zabim II, 2.
The recovery creates a presumption that death was not
caused by the blow. [Maim. Yad., Rozeah, IV, 5 explains contrariwise: The
fact that he ultimately died creates a presumption that death was caused
by the blow, the last clause being thus explanatory of the views of the Rabbis.]
That after gonorrhoea is established, he is not questioned
as to possible causes.
E.V. 'And of them'. Indicating the first issue.
Expressed in Heb. by the nota accusativi, 'eth'. Indicating
the second issue.
Indicating the third issue; Lev. XV, 33.
Who becomes gonorrhoeic whatever the cause. Hence at
the third issue gonorrhoea is established whatever its cause.
And on the present interpretation of the verse, he
is not examined for the third issue.
The Hebrew particle governing the accusative. This
particle can be omitted and so its presence is taken by R. Eliezer to indicate
another issue before the comparison is made of man with woman.