Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah One

Introduction

Most of chapter twenty-five deals with the differences between cases in which an impure liquid touched the inside of a vessel and cases in which the liquid touched the outside of a vessel. Mishnah six will teach this rule explicitlyif the liquid touched the outside of the vessel, the inside remains pure. But if it touches the inside of the vessel, the outer side is impure as well. Our mishnah, as well as the subsequent ones discuss which vessels are deemed to have “insides” and “outsides” such that these rules apply.

Mishnah One

1)      All vessels have [different laws] for outer and inner sides, as for instance, cushions, coverings, sacks and packing-bags, the words of Rabbi Judah.

a)      Rabbi Meir says: any vessel that has loops has [different laws] for inner and outer sides   but one that has no loops does not have different laws for outer and inner sides.

2)      A table and a side-board  have [different laws] for outer and inner sides, the words of Rabbi Judah.

a)      Rabbi Meir says: they do not have a different law for their outer sides.

3)      The same applies to a frame.

Explanation

Section one: According to Rabbi Judah all vessels have different laws depending on whether the impure liquid touched them on the inside or the outside.  This includes even cushions etc, which might not seem to have insides and outsides because they can be reversed. Rabbi Meir however limits the distinction to cases where the vessel has loops on the outside through which one can put a belt or something else. If a vessel has loops sewn on the outside, then it is clear what side is supposed to face out and what side is supposed to face in. However, if there are no loops than the vessel could be turned inside out and used either way. In such a case there is no way to determine what is inside and what is outside. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what side the impure liquid comes into contact with. It is impure.

Section two: According to Rabbi Judah, the side of a table or side-table that is used is considered to be the inside. If an impure liquid touches this side, both sides are impure. However, the back side is the outside and if the liquid touches there, the inside remains pure. Rabbi Meir rules that such rules do not apply tables.

Section three: Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Meir have the same argument concerning a tray. Rabbi Judah says that the face of the tray is considered its “inside” whereas Rabbi Meir holds that both sides are considered “inside.”