Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. He who introduces his hands into a house that is smitten 1 [with leprosy, thereby causes] his hands [to become unclean in a] primary 2 [degree]. Such is the dictum of R. Akivah; but the sages
decide, "[He causes] his hands [to become unclean in a] secondary 3 [degree]." Whatever renders garments unclean 4 at the time of [coming into] contact therewith, causes the hands to become unclean [in a] primary degree. Such is the dictum of R. Akivah; but the sages decide, "[It causes the hands] to become [unclean in a] secondary [degree]." They [the sages, moreover] said to R. Akivah, "When do we ever find [that] the hands [become unclean in a] primary [degree]?" He answered them, "How is it possible that they [the hands] can become [unclean in a] primary [degree] unless the whole body has [previously] become unclean, except in the present instance." 5 Articles of food, and vessels which have become unclean through liquids, cause the hands to become unclean [in a] secondary [degree]. Such is the dictum of R. Joshua; but the sages decide, "That which is become unclean through an Ab Hatoomah 6 makes the hands unclean; [but that winch is become] unclean through a Ab Hatoomah 7 does not make the hands unclean." R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said, "It happened that a woman came before my father, and stated to him, 'My hands got into the empty space of an [unclean] earthen vessel:' he asked her, 'My daughter, from what [cause] did the uncleanness arise?' but I did not hear what she said to him." The sages replied, "The case is clear; 8 that which is become unclean through an Ab Hatoomah makes the hands unclean, [but that which is become unclean] through a Ab Hatoomah does not make the hands unclean."
§ 2. Whatever disqualifies heave 9 causes the hands to become
[paragraph continues] [unclean in a] secondary [degree]. One hand makes the other hand unclean. Such is the dictum of R. Joshua; but the sages decide, "That no secondary can make a secondary." 10 R. Joshua [objected and] said to them [the sages], "Are not sacred scriptures secondaries, and [nevertheless they do] make the hands unclean?" 11 [But] they answered him, "The commandments of the [written] law cannot be subjected to conclusions drawn from the dicta of the Sopherim [scribes], nor these dicta to those commandments, nor yet dicta of the Sopherim to others of their dicta."
§ 3. Leather straps of Tephilin, with the Tephilin [attached thereto] make the hands unclean. R. Simeon saith, "The straps of Tephilin do not make the hands unclean."
§ 4. The margin in a book of the Law, at the top and at the bottom, at the beginning and at the end [thereof], makes the hands unclean. R. Jose saith, "[The margin] at the end does not make the hands unclean until the roller is attached to it."
§ 5. A book [of the Law, in] which [the writing] is obliterated, but which still contains eighty-five letters, [a number] equal to the Parasha ויהי בנסוע הארון, 12 makes the hands unclean. Any Megillah 13 which contains eighty-five letters, [a number] equal to the above named Parasha, makes the hands unclean. All sacred scriptures make the hands unclean. 14 The Canticles and Ecclesiastes make the hands unclean. R. Jehudah saith, "Canticles make the hands unclean, but Ecclesiastes is [subject to] a dispute [difference of opinion]." R. José saith, "Ecclesiastes does not make the hands unclean, but the Canticles are [subject to] a dispute." R. Simeon saith, "Ecclesiastes is one of [those observances in which] Beth Shammai [are] less strict, and Beth Hillel more rigid." 15 R. Simeon ben Azai said, "I have it as a tradition from the mouths of seventy-two elders, on the day they inducted R. Eleazar ben Azariah into the president's seat, that Canticles and Ecclesiastes [both] make
the hands unclean." R. Akivah said, "Mercy forbid! no man in Israel ever disputed that the Canticles make the hands unclean, as the whole [history of the] world does not [offer an epoch] equal to the day on which the [book] Canticles was given to Israel; for all the Kethoobim [Hagiographers] are holy, but the Canticles are holy of holies. The dispute [in question, therefore,] referred to Ecclesiastes [only]." R. Jochanan ben Joshua, the son of R. Akivah's father-in-law, said, "Even as Ben Azai stated, so was the dispute, and so was [also] the decision."
360:1 Vide Leviticus xiv. 33–48.
360:2 So as by their touch to render Cholin [common food], unfit for use; to render heave unclean, and what comes into contact therewith unfit for use; to p. 361 render sacred things and what comes into contact therewith unclean, and whatever touches the last named unfit for use.
361:3 Which only renders unfit for use in heave, but renders such sacred things unclean as come in direct contact therewith.
361:4 Such as the spittle or discharge of a person having a running issue [menorrhagia].
361:5 Because the hands only having been introduced into the house smitten with leprosy, the rest of the body remains clean.
361:6 אב הטמאה, the parent stock, or generator of uncleanness; whatever contains the principle of uncleanness in itself, and does not derive it from any other object, but communicates it to whatever comes in contact therewith, as a human corpse, a dead reptile, &c. (Vide Treatises Oholoth, Negaim, and Mikvaoth.)
361:7 ולד הטמאה, the offspring or product of uncleanness; whatever does not contain the principle of uncleanness in itself, but has derived or contracted it from some other object. (Vide Treatises Kelim, Taharoth, and Ukzin.)
361:8 R. Gamaliel's question as to the nature of the uncleanness supports and confirms our decision.
361:9 So that it becomes Cholin and must not be eaten by priests.
362:10 One object unclean in a secondary degree cannot cause another object, with which it comes in contact, to become unclean in the same degree.
362:11 One of the eighteen decisions adopted the day Beth Shammai had the majority (Vide Treatise Sabbath, chap. 1.) is, that whoever touches the sacred scriptures disqualifies heave until his hands are washed.
362:12 Numbers x. 35, 36. The rabbies consider these two verses as forming a distinct book of the Law.
362:13 A parchment roll, containing a portion of the sacred scriptures.
362:14 So as to disqualify heave. (Vide note 11 of this chapter.)
362:15 Contrary to the usual practice of these two great schools.