Kelim, Chapter Sixteen, Mishnah Four
Today’s mishnah begins to deal with leather vessels and when they become susceptible to impurity.
When do leather vessels become susceptible to impurity?
1) A leather pouch, as soon as its hem has been stitched, its rough ends trimmed and its straps sewn on.
i) Rabbi Judah says: so soon as its ears have been sewn on.
2) A leather apron [becomes susceptible to impurity] as soon as its hem has been stitched, its rough end trimmed and its strings sewn on.
a) Rabbi Judah says: as soon as its loops have been sewn on.
3) A leather bed cover [becomes susceptible] as soon as its hem has been stitched and its rough ends trimmed.
a) Rabbi Judah says: as soon as its straps have been sewn on.
4) A leather cushion or mattress [becomes susceptible] as soon as its hem has been stitched and its rough ends trimmed.
a) Rabbi Judah says: as it has been sew up and less than five handbreadths remained open.
Section one: A leather pouch’s manufacturing is completed once its hem has been stitched, its rough ends trimmed and the straps used to cinch it up are sewn on. Note that this is similar to the rule regarding baskets that we learned in yesterday’s mishnah.
Rabbi Judah says that the processing is complete once its two “ears” or handles have been sewn on. Throughout this mishnah Rabbi Judah seems to give a later stage as the time when the item is susceptible to impurity. This means his opinion is more lenient.
Section two: The rule and the debate between the first opinion and Rabbi Judah concerning a leather apron are nearly identical to that which was in section one.
Section three: The straps to which Rabbi Judah refers are used to attach the bed cover to the bed.
Note that leather bed covers, cushions and mattresses do not have receptacles and therefore we would think that they should not be susceptible to impurity (see 15:1). However, they are susceptible because a vessel made for sitting or lying is susceptible even without a receptacle.
Section four: Rabbi Judah says that the cushion or mattress is not susceptible until most of it has been sewn up so that it can be stuffed with whatever cushioning will go inside.