Kelim, Chapter Eighteen, Mishnah Seven
Today’s mishnah deals with a bed leg that has a high level of impurity that is attached to a clean bed and then removed from the bed. Commentators explain that the leg was leaned or sat upon by the zav while it was separate from the bed.
1) If a [bed] leg that had contracted midras uncleanness was joined to a bed, all the bed contracts midras uncleanness.
a) If it was subsequently taken off, it retains its midras uncleanness while the bed is unclean from contact with midras.
2) If a bed leg that was subject to a seven-day uncleanness was joined to a bed, all the bed contracts seven-day uncleanness.
a) If it was subsequently taken off it remains subject to seven-day uncleanness while the bed is only subject to evening-uncleanness.
3) If a leg that was subject to evening uncleanness was joined to a bed, all the bed contracts evening uncleanness.
a) If it was subsequently taken off it is still subject to evening uncleanness while the bed becomes clean.
4) The same law applies also to the prong of a mattock.
Section one: Once the leg with the midras uncleanness becomes part of the bed the whole bed contracts midras uncleanness.
However, if he removes the leg, the midras uncleanness, the higher level of impurity, is removed from the bed. The bed continues to retain the status of unclean by virtue of contact with midras because it was once in contact with the leg. This, as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, is a lower level of impurity.
Section two: “Seven day uncleanness” is contracted by coming into contact with a dead body. If the leg had seven day uncleanness and then it was attached to the bed, the bed is also considered to have seven day uncleanness. When the leg is removed, it still has seven day uncleanness, but the bed only has the lesser uncleanness of “evening uncleanness” (uncleanness that only lasts until night). When the bed came into contact with the leg the bed was defiled, but only for one day.
Section three: In this case, the leg only has a lower state of impurityevening uncleanness. When the leg is attached to the bed, the bed takes on the status of the leg. But when the leg is removed, the bed becomes fully clean. A vessel that only has evening uncleanness does not defile other vessels.
Section four: The same relationship between leg and bed would also apply in similar situations to the prong of a mattock. The mattock is a tool used for loosening the soil and cutting through roots. The prong is equivalent to the leg of the bed and the mattock is equivalent to the bed.