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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah
Rabbah b. Shila citing R. Mattena who had it from Samuel stated: It once happened that a placenta was attributed to an embryo as late as6 ten days [after the latter's birth].7 [The law, however, that it] is to be attributed [to the existing embryo] applies only8 where the expulsion of the placenta followed the birth of the embryo.9 Rabbah b. Bar Hana citing R. Johanan stated: It once happened that a placenta was attributed to an embryo as late as10 twenty-three days [after the birth of the latter]. 'You once told us', said R. Joseph to him, 'as late as twenty-four days'. R. Aha son of 'Awira citing R. Johanan11 stated: It once happened that the birth of an embryo was delayed for thirty-three days after that of its predecessor. 'You', said R. Joseph to him, 'have in fact told us thirty-four days.' [Such an incident may be explained] satisfactorily according to him who holds that a woman who bears at nine months does not necessarily complete the full number,12 since in such circumstances it is possible that the features of one embryo were completed at the end13 of seven months14 and those of the other at the beginning13 of the ninth month,15 but according to him who maintains that a woman who bears at nine months does complete the full number,12 what can be said [in explanation of the incident]?16 — Reverse the statements:17 Thirty-three days in the case of the placenta18 and twenty-three days in that of the embryo.19
R. Abin b. R. Adda citing R. Menahem of Kefar She'arim or, as some say, Beth She'arim, stated: It once happened that a child was born three months later than its predecessor and lo, both sit before us in the schoolhouse. And who are they? — Judah and Hezekiah the sons of R. Hiyya. But did not a Master say that a woman in conception cannot conceive again?20 — Abaye replied: It was the same drop but it was divided in two sections; the features of one of these were completed at the beginning of the seventh month and those of the other were completed at the end of the ninth month.
IF A PLACENTA IS WITHIN A HOUSE, THE HOUSE IS UNCLEAN. Our Rabbis taught: If a placenta is in a house, the house is unclean; not because a placenta is a child but because generally there can be no placenta with which there is no child; so R. Meir. R. Jose, R. Judah and R. Simeon regard [the house] as clean. 'Do you not agree', they said to R. Meir, 'that if it had been carried out in a bowl into an outer room it would be clean?' 'Indeed', he replied. 'But why?'21 'Because it22 is no longer in existence'. 'As', they retorted, 'it is not in existence in the outer room so is it not in existence in the inner room'.23 'What was mashed once', he replied, 'is not like that which was mashed twice.'24
R. Papa once sat behind R. Bubi in the presence of R. Hamnuna and in the course of the session he observed: What is R. Simeon's reason?25 He is of the opinion that any uncleanness with which anything of a different kind of uncleanness has been mixed is neutralized. Said R. Papa to them: 'Is this also the reason of R. Judah and R. Jose?'26 They laughed at him. 'Is not this obvious', they said, 'why should there be any difference?'27 — 'Even such a question',28 said R. Papa, 'a man should submit to his Master29 and not be content with silence;30 for it is said, If thou hast done foolishly31 thou art32 lifting up thyself;33 but34 if thou hast planned devices,35 lay thy hand upon thy mouth.36
R. Simeon37 follows the view he expressed elsewhere. For it was taught: If some earth fell into a ladleful of corpse-mould [the latter remains] unclean, but R. Simeon holds it to be clean. What is R. Simeon's reason? — Raba38 replied: 'I met the Rabbis of the schoolhouse while they were sitting at their studies and explaining that39 it is impossible that [somewhere in the mixture] two particles of earth to one of the corpse-mould should not represent the larger portion, so that40 something is missing',41 and I said to them, 'On the contrary! It is impossible that [somewhere in the mixture] two particles of the corpse-mould should not represent a part greater than
Niddah 27bone particle of earth,1 so that2 the quantity is increased'.3 The fact, however, is, said Raba,4 that this is the reason of R. Simeon: Its final stage5 is treated as its first stage.6 As in its first stage any other matter7 becomes its antidote8 so also in its final stage5 any other matter9 becomes its antidote,8 What is that law?10 — It was taught: In what circumstances is a corpse subject to the uncleanness of11 corpse-mould and in what circumstances is a corpse not subject to the uncleanness of corpse-mould? If a corpse was buried naked in a marble sarcophagus or on a stone floor12 it is one that is subject to the uncleanness of corpse-mould. And in what circumstances is a corpse not subject to the uncleanness of corpse-mould? If it was buried in its shroud,13 or in a wooden coffin,14 or on a brick floor14 it is one that is not subject to the uncleanness of corpse-mould.15 And [the Sages] spoke of the uncleanness of corpse-mould only in the case of one who died, thus excluding a killed person who16 is not [subject to this law].17
[To turn to] the main text, 'If some earth fell into a ladleful of corpse-mould [the latter remains] unclean, but R. Simeon holds it to be clean. If a ladleful of corpse-mould was scattered in a house the house is unclean,18 but R. Simeon holds it to be clean'.19 And both these rulings were required. For if we had been informed of the first one only20 it might have been presumed that only in that case do the Rabbis maintain their view,21 since it22 is collected together but that where it was scattered they agree with R. Simeon, since a succession of incomplete overshadowings23 is of no consequence.24 And if we had been informed of the latter only25 it might have been presumed that only in that case does R. Simeon maintain his view,26 since a succession of incomplete overshadowings23 is of no consequence,27 but that in the former case28 he agrees with the Rabbis.21 Hence both were required.
Elsewhere we learnt:29 A ladleful and more of the earth of a graveyard30 is unclean,31 but R. Simeon regards it as clean.32 What is the reason of the Rabbis? — Because it is impossible to have 'a ladleful33 and more' of the earth of a graveyard in which there is not contained a ladleful of corpse-mould.34
Now that you have explained that R. Simeon's reason is because 'its final stage is treated as its first stage',35 what could be his reason in the case of a PLACENTA?36 — R. Johanan replied: Because the law of neutralization in the larger quantity37 has been applied to it.38 R. Johanan in fact follows here39 a view he expressed elsewhere. For R. Johanan stated: R. Simeon and R. Eliezer b. Jacob laid down the same ruling.40 R. Simeon laid down the ruling we have just spoken of.41 R. Eliezer [also laid down the same ruling] for we learnt:42 R. Eliezer b. Jacob ruled, If a beast43 of the class of large cattle discharged a clot of blood, this44 shall be buried45 and [the beast] is exempt from the law of the firstling;46 and in connection with this R. Hiyya taught: It44 does not convey uncleanness either through touch or through carriage.47 But since it conveys no uncleanness either through touch or through carriage48 why49 should it be buried? — In order to publish the fact that [the beast] is exempt from the law of the firstling. It thus clearly follows that it44 is deemed to be a proper embryo,50 then why did R. Hiyya teach, 'It does not convey uncleanness either through touch or through carriage'? — R. Johanan replied: Because the law of neutralization in the larger quantity51 has been applied to it.52
R. Ammi citing R. Johanan stated: R. Simeon, however,53 agrees that its mother is unclean by reason of childbirth. Said a certain old man to R. Ammi: 'I will explain to you R. Johanan's reason:54 For Scripture says, If a woman conceived seed55 and bore a man-child etc.,56 which implies: Even if she bore in the same manner only as she 'conceived seed'57 she is unclean by reason of childbirth.
Resh Lakish ruled: A sac that was beaten up in its fluid assumes the same status as a corpse whose shape was destroyed.58 Said R. Johanan to Resh Lakish: Whence do we infer that a corpse whose shape had been destroyed is clean? If it be suggested, From the following statement which R. Shabthai cited in the name of R. Isaac of Magdala or, as others say, R. Isaac of Magdala cited in the name of R. Shabthai, 'If a corpse has been burnt but its shape remained59 it is unclean. It once happened that on account of such a corpse60 the big61 doors62 were declared unclean63
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