Introduction to Tractate Zavim

 

A “zav” is a man who had a non-seminal genital discharge, assumedly do to some illness. When a man has two such discharges, he must count seven days before he can go to the mikveh and become pure, however he is not obligated to bring a sacrifice unless he sees three times in one day or for three days straight.

A zav and a zavah (a woman who had non-menstrual blood), a niddah and a woman who gave birth defile things by contact, by carrying and by shifting. This is true whether the pure person carries or shifts the impure person without contact or vice versa, the impure person carries or shifts the pure person. This is unique to the category of zavim for in other cases of impurity, the impurity is conveyed only if the pure person carries the impure.

The following words will consistently be written in transliteration:

1)      Zav—male with non-seminal genital discharge.

2)      Zavah—female with non-menstrual blood.

3)      Zivah—the discharge itself.

4)      Zov—same as zivah.

 

The verses in the Torah that discuss this are Leviticus 15:1-5:

1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: 2 Speak to the Israelite people and say to them:
When any man has a discharge issuing from his member, he is unclean. 3 The uncleanness from his discharge shall mean the following — whether his member runs with the discharge or is stopped up so that there is no discharge, his uncleanness means this: 4 Any bedding on which the one with the discharge lies shall be unclean, and every object on which he sits shall be unclean. 5 Anyone who touches his bedding shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. 6 Whoever sits on an object on which the one with the discharge has sat shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. 7 Whoever touches the body of the one with the discharge shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. 8 If one with a discharge spits on one who is clean, the latter shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. 9 Any means for riding that one with a discharge has mounted shall be unclean; 10 whoever touches anything that was under him shall be unclean until evening; and whoever carries such things shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. 11 If one with a discharge, without having rinsed his hands in water, touches another person, that person shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. 12 An earthen vessel that one with a discharge touches shall be broken; and any wooden implement shall be rinsed with water.

13 When one with a discharge becomes clean of his discharge, he shall count off seven days for his cleansing, wash his clothes, and bathe his body in fresh water; then he shall be clean. 14 On the eighth day he shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons and come before the Lord at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and give them to the priest. 15 The priest shall offer them, the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. Thus the priest shall make expiation on his behalf, for his discharge, before the Lord.

Good luck learning the Tractate!

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