Kelim, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Seven



Our mishnah discusses a case where one oven is within another oven. A note of introduction will help in understanding this mishnah. For a jar (susceptible to impurity) to be protected from impurity when it is found inside a tent with a dead body it must have a tightly fitting lid. However, an inner tent (not susceptible to impurity) can protect its contents from an outer tent with a dead body in it, even if the covering of the inner tent is not “tightly-fitting.” As long as the inner tent is covered, it protects its contents. 


Mishnah Seven

1)      An old oven was within a new one and netting was over the mouth of the old [new] one:

a)      If [it was placed such that if] the old one were to be removed the netting would drop, all [the contents of both ovens] are unclean;  

b)      But if it would not drop, all are clean.  

2)      A new oven was within an old one and netting was over the mouth of the old one—if there was not a handbreadth of space between the new oven and the netting,  all the contents of the new one are clean.  



Section one: In this scenario, the old oven, one that had already been used, was within a new one, which had not been glazed and therefore was not susceptible to impurity (see 5:1). There is netting over the new one (this according to Albeck is how the mishnah should read. The reading “old one” is a mistake.) Concerning “netting” see 9:7.

The first possibility is that when the old one is removed the netting would fall. In such a case the netting is on the old, inside oven, and not on the new outer oven. The mishnah rules that if the old oven is found in a tent with a dead body, it and all of its contents, are impure. The outer oven cannot serve as a tent-covering because its opening is not covered by the netting. And the inner oven is not considered to have a lid, because although the netting is over its opening, it is not considered a tight-fitting lid.

However, if the netting was placed over the outer, new oven, it protects the inner oven because the new oven serves as a “tent.” In other words, the netting is not sufficient to act as a lid for the old oven, but it is sufficient to turn the new oven, one that is not susceptible to impurity, into a “tent” such that the inner oven is not directly in a tent with a dead body. Rather it is inside one tent which is inside another tent with a dead body.

Section two: In this case, the new oven is on the inside and the old, susceptible to impurity oven, is on the outside. The netting is over the old, outer one but if the old one is removed, it won’t fall into the new oven, because its mouth is narrower. The outer one is definitely impure because nothing is protecting it from the impurity in the tent. But if there is less than a handbreadth between the new one and the netting, then the netting turns the new one into a “tent” and it can protect its contents from the impurity found in the larger tent in which it is all found.