The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
1. All buildings receive uncleanness in leprosy except the buildings of foreigners. He who buys houses from foreigners must first inspect them. A round house, a three-cornered house, a house built on a ship or on a mast, or one built on four beams, do not receive uncleanness in leprosy. But if the house be square, even though it be built on four pillars, it receives uncleanness in leprosy.
2. "Suppose a house one of whose sides is covered with marble, and one side with flagging, and one with tiling, and one with mortar?" "It is clean." "A house in which there are not stones, and wood, and mortar, and the plague appeared in it, and afterwards there was brought into it stones, and wood, and mortar?" "It is clean." "And also a garment in which there was not weaving three fingers square, and the plague appeared in it, and afterwards it was woven three fingers square?" "It is clean." No house causes
uncleanness in leprosy until there be in it stones, and wood, and mortar.
3. "And how many stones must be in it?" R. Ishmael said, "four." R. Akiba said "eight," then said Rabbi Ishmael "until the leprosy appear the measure of twice three lentils square on two stones, or even on one stone." R. Akiba said, "until the leprosy appear the measure of twice three lentils square on two stones, not on one stone." R. Eleazar, son of R. Simon, said, "until there appear as much leprosy as the measure of twice three lentils square upon two stones in the corner of two walls, its length the measure of twice three lentils square, and its breadth the measure of three lentils square."
4. There must be wood sufficient to put under a lintel. R. Judah said, "sufficient to make a buttress behind a lintel." There must be mortar sufficient to fill up a crack. The walls of a crib and the walls of a shed receive no uncleanness in leprosy. Jerusalem and the regions beyond the Land (of Israel) receive no uncleanness in leprosy.
5. "How is the inspection of the house?" The owner of the house must come and inform the priest, saying, "the resemblance of the leprosy has appeared in my house:" even though he be a learned man, and knows the leprosy with certainty, he should not decide, and say, "a leprosy has appeared in my house," but "the resemblance of the leprosy has appeared in my house." And the priest orders him to clear the house before he shall come to inspect the leprosy, so that all in the house be not unclean, and afterwards the priest shall come to inspect the house, even if it be only bundles of wood, or even bundles of reeds. The words of R. Judah. R. Simon said, "is it the (priest's) business to order the clearing of the house?" R. Meier said, "and what does he pronounce unclean for him, if you shall say vessels of wood, and garments, and metals, they may be washed and they are clean." "On what had the law pity?" "On his earthern vessels, and on his jug, and on his oven." If the law had thus pity on the property of the vulgar, much more on the property of the honourable; if thus the law had pity
on his property, much more (had it pity) on the soul of his sons and his daughters; if it had so much pity for the wicked, much more (had it pity) for the righteous.
6. The priest does not enter into the house and shut it up, nor into the house in which there is the leprosy and shut it up. But he stands at the door of the house in which there is the leprosy and shuts it up, as is said, "Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days: and the priest shall come again the seventh day and shall look: and behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house, then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city." 1 And he shall take other stones and bring them to replace the (first) stones, and he shall take other mortar and plaster the house. He must not take the stones from this side and bring them to that side, nor mortar from this side and bring it to that side, nor take lime from every place. He must not bring one stone instead of two, nor two stones instead of one. But he must bring two instead of two, three instead of three, four instead of four. From whence do they say, "woe to the wicked, woe to his neighbour?" When both have to take away the stones, both to scrape the house, both must bring back other stones, but the owner himself must bring the mortar, as is said, And he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house. 2 His companion need not trouble himself about the plaster.
7. The priest came in the end of the week and inspected the house. If the leprosy returned, he must break down the house, its stones, and its timber, and all the mortar of the house, and he must carry them forth without the city to an unclean place. Spreading of leprosy near its source, however little, and at a distance from its source, the measure of three lentils square, and its return in houses the measure of twice three lentils square (render houses unclean).
292:1 Lev. xiv. 38-40.
292:2 Lev. xiv. 42.