Kelim, Chapter Twenty-One, Mishnah Two
Today’s mishnah is similar to yesterday’s except that it discusses instruments connected to the plow.
1) One who touches the yoke, the crossbar, the collar-piece, or the thick ropes, even when they are being used, he remains clean.
2) If he touched the tail piece, knee or handle, he becomes unclean.
3) If he touched the metal rings, the guides, or the flanks, he becomes unclean.
a) Rabbi Judah says that he remains clean if he touched the guides since they only serve to increase the soil.
Section one: These are all pieces of the plow that are not considered to be connected to it, so if the plow is impure, the person who touches one of them is still pure.
Section two: These are all pieces of the plow itself, and not just things that connect the plow to something else. Therefore one who touches them is unclean.
Section three: The “guides” are two pieces of wood used to bring the soil into contact with the plow, to “increase the soil” in the words of Rabbi Judah. The “flanks” are made to crush the soil. With regard to the metal rings and the flanks, all sages agree that one who touches them is unclean. There is a debate with regard to the “guides.” The first opinion holds that they are considered connected to the plow, whereas Rabbi Judah says that they are not really part of the plow. Their sole function is put more soil into contact with the plow. Therefore, one who touches them remains pure.