Kelim, Chapter Twelve, Mishnah One

 

Mishnah One

1)      A man’s ring is susceptible to impurity.

2)      A ring for cattle or for vessels and all other rings are clean. 

3)      A beam for arrows is susceptible to impurity, but one for prisoners is clean. 

4)      A prisoner’s collar is susceptible to impurity.

5)      A chain that has a lock-piece is susceptible to impurity.

a)      But that used for tying up cattle is clean.

6)      The chain used by wholesalers is susceptible to impurity. 

a)      That used by householders is clean.  

b)      Rabbi Yose said: When is this so? When it attaches to one door, but if it attaches to two doors or if it had a snail[-shaped] piece at its end it is susceptible to impurity. 

 

Explanation

Section one: The ring that a man wears is susceptible to impurity, just as is a ring worn by a woman.

Section two: On its own and not used as jewelry, a ring is not considered a vessel. Therefore, if it is used for cattle or for other vessels, the ring is clean.

Section three: The beam described here is made of metal, and is used as a target for shooting arrows. It is susceptible because it is considered a vessel. On the other hand, the beam used to shackle prisoners is not considered a vessel and is therefore not susceptible.

Section four: The collar which is put on the necks of multiple prisoners is susceptible because it is considered a vessel.

Section five: A chain that has a place for a lock is susceptible, but if it is just used to tie up cattle it is not susceptible.

Section six: Albeck explains that the chain used by the wholesalers was used to lock up their storehouses. It is susceptible because it is used as a means of locking up something. In contrast, the chain used by householders is only decorative and therefore it is not susceptible.

Albeck explains that according to Rabbi Yose, if this chain attaches to only one door, then it is merely decorative, but if it attaches to multiple doors, it is susceptible. It is also susceptible if it has a vessel at its end (the snail-shaped piece). This vessel gives the entire chain the status of vessel.

[I should note that I have explained this mishnah according to Albeck. There are other interpretations of the last section].

 

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