Kelim, Chapter Twelve, Mishnah Six
Today’s mishnah is found word for word in Eduyot 3:9. It is brought here due to the fact that it discusses the purity of vessels, and that the first vessel discussed is also mentioned above in mishnah three.
There are four things which Rabban Gamaliel says are susceptible to impurity, and the sages say are not susceptible to impurity.
1) The covering of a metal basket, if it belongs to householders;
2) And the hanger of a strigil;
3) And metal vessels which are still unshaped;
4) And a plate that is divided into two [equal] parts.
a) And the sages agree with Rabban Gamaliel in the case of a plate that was divided into two parts, one large and one small, that the large one is susceptible to impurity and the small one is not susceptible to impurity.
Rabban Gamaliel and the other sages dispute over the susceptibility of four items to impurity.
Section one: See mishnah three for an explanation.
Section two: A strigil was a type of comb used during baths to scrape off dead skin. All agree that the strigil itself is susceptible to impurity. They disagree about the small chain attached to the strigil to hang it on a hook. According to Rabban Gamaliel it too is considered a vessel and therefore receives impurity. According to the sages it does not.
Section three: Generally speaking, unformed vessels cannot receive impurity. However, when it comes to metal vessels that have not been fully finished, meaning they have not been polished, Rabban Gamaliel holds that they are susceptible to impurity, since they can be used. The sages insist that as long as they are not fully finished they cannot receive impurity.
Section four: According to Rabban Gamaliel, a plate broken in two can still receive impurity. The sages hold that broken vessels cannot generally speaking receive impurity. However, they agree with Rabban Gamaliel that if one of the pieces was large, that it still can receive impurity, since it is still useful. The small piece cannot receive impurity.