Kelim, Chapter Seventeen, Mishnah Fourteen

 

Introduction

This fascinating mishnah goes through the six days of creation and discusses whether or not the laws of impurity can apply to the things that were created on each day.

 

Mishnah Fourteen

1)      The laws of uncleanness can apply to what was created on the first day.    

2)      There can be no uncleanness in what was created on the second day.    

3)      The laws of uncleanness can apply to what was created on the third day.    

4)      No there can be no uncleanness in what was created on the fourth day and on the fifth day, except for  the wing of the vulture or an ostrich-egg that is plated.    

a)      Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri said:  why should the wing of a vulture be different from all other wings? 

5)      The laws of uncleanness can apply to all that was created on the sixth day.

 

Explanation

Section one: The earth was created on the first day of creation. Vessels made of earthenware are susceptible to impurity. But the rules of impurity do not apply to vessels made of stone or dirt. Therefore, the mishnah states that the laws of impurity can apply to that which was created on the first day.

Section two: The heavens were created on the second day. Obviously they cannot become impure.

Section three: Trees were created on the third day and vessels made of wood are susceptible to impurity.

Section four: On the fourth day the stars, moon and sun were created—no impurity there. On the fifth day the birds and fish were created. Vessels made of anything that comes from birds or fish are basically not susceptible to impurity, as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah.  There are two exceptions. The first are lasting vessels made from the wings of vultures. The second is a metal-plated ostrich egg. Most commentators explain that these vessels are susceptible to impurity because they are similar to other vessels. In order to prevent confusion, the sages decreed that they too are susceptible. Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri questions why there should be a difference between vulture wings and other wings. Rather all wings are the same; if they are used to make lasting vessels that have receptacles, the vessels are susceptible to impurity.

Section five: On the sixth day land animals were created. Vessels made from their skin or bones is susceptible to impurity.  

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