Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Four

 

Introduction

Today’s mishnah has two parts, each of which contains three opinions: Bet Shammai, Bet Hillel and Shammai. In both cases, Shammai rules more strictly than Bet Shammai. This is an interesting historical phenomenon. It might demonstrate that in the generation between Shammai and the founding of his eponymous school, his disciples began to be influenced by the leniencies of Bet Hillel. In other words, Bet Hillel’s dominance, which we know of from a later historical period, already influenced the early Shammaites themselves. 

 

Mishnah Four

1)      A bride’s stool which lost the coverings for the seatboards:

a)      Bet Shammai rules that it still susceptible to uncleanness,    

b)      And Bet Hillel rules that it is clean.    

c)      Shammai rules: even the frame of the stool  is susceptible to uncleanness.

2)      A stool which was fixed to a kneading-trough,    

a)      Bet Shammai rules that it susceptible to uncleanness,    

b)      And Bet Hillel rules that it is clean.

c)      Shammai rules: even one made out of it is susceptible to uncleanness.

 

Explanation

Section one: A bride’s stool is made up of a frame and seatboards placed on top of the frame. On top of the seatboards they would place coverings to make it more comfortable. Think of it as an ancient lazyboy (or lazygirl in this case). According to Bet Shammai, the stool without the coverings can still be used by normal people, and therefore it is susceptible to impurity. Bet Hillel disagrees and holds that since it is not fit for a bride, it is clean. Shammai says that even the frame alone is susceptible, because it can be sat upon in time of need.

Section two: The mishnah now deals with a stool attached to a knead-trough. The kneading-trough itself is not susceptible to midras impurity, because it is not meant for sitting. According to Bet Shammai, the stool is not nullified vis a vis the trough and it remains susceptible to midras impurity.  Bet Hillel disagrees, and holds that the stool is part of the trough.

Shammai rules that even if the stool was originally made as an attachment to the kneading-trough, and was never made independently for sitting, it is still susceptible to midras impurity.  Again, Shammai is stricter than Bet Shammai.    

 

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