Kelim, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Eight

 

Introduction

Today’s mishnah deals with the purity of weapons and jewelry. It is interesting to note that the Mishnah often juxtaposes these topics, as if to create an analogy—weapons are adornments to men, as jewelry is an adornment to women.

 

Mishnah Eight

1)      A helmet is susceptible to impurity but the cheek-pieces are clean,

a)      But if they have a receptacle for water they are susceptible to impurity.

2)      All weapons of war are susceptible to impurity: a javelin, a spear-head, metal boots, and a breastplate are susceptible to impurity.

3)      All women’s ornaments are susceptible to impurity: a golden city (a tiara), a necklace, ear-rings, finger-rings, a ring whether it has a seal or does not have a seal, and nose-rings.

4)      If a necklace has metal beads on a thread of flax or wool and the thread broke, the beads are still susceptible to impurity, since each one is a vessel in itself.

5)      If the thread was of metal and the beads were of precious stones or pearls or glass, and the beads were broken while the thread alone remained, it is still susceptible to impurity.

6)      The remnant of a necklace [is susceptible] as long as there is enough for the neck of a little girl.

a)      Rabbi Eliezer says: even if only one ring remained it is unclean, since it also is hung around the neck.

 

Explanation

Section one: The helmet has its own name and is therefore susceptible to impurity, but the cheek-pieces do not have their own name, and therefore they are not susceptible unless they also have a receptacle for water.

Section two: Weapons of war are all susceptible to impurity because they are made of metal.

Section three: Similarly, women’s jewelry is made of metal and therefore it too is susceptible to impurity. The ring need not have a receptacle for a seal for it to be susceptible. Note that “a golden city”—this refers to a “Yerushalayim shel Zahav,”  or any other city.

Section four: A whole the necklace is susceptible, as we learned in section three. If the thread breaks, the beads are still susceptible because each is considered its own vessel.

Section five: If the thread is metal, it is susceptible even if the beads that served as its adornments broke and fell off.

Section six: If a chain necklace breaks, it is still susceptible as long as enough remains to serve as a necklace for a young girl. If it is smaller than that, it is not susceptible.

Rabbi Eliezer says that as long as one ring in the chain remains it is still usable because a person might hang that ring on another chain around her neck. Therefore it is still susceptible.     

 

 

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