Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah One

 

Mishnah One

1)      Cloth is susceptible to five categories of uncleanness;

2)      Sack-cloth is susceptible to four;

3)      Leather to three;

4)      Wood to two;

5)      And an earthenware vessel to one.

6)      An earthenware vessel is susceptible to uncleanness [only] as a receptacle; any earthen vessel that has no inner part is not susceptible to uncleanness from its outer part.  

7)      Wood is subject to an additional form of uncleanness in that it is also susceptible to uncleanness   as a seat.  

a)      Similarly a tablet which has no rim is susceptible to uncleanness if it is a wooden object and insusceptible if it is an earthenware one.

8)      Leather is susceptible to an additional form of uncleanness in that it is also susceptible to the uncleanness of a tent.      

9)      Sack-cloth has an additional form of uncleanness in that it is susceptible to uncleanness as woven work.    

10)  Cloth has an additional form of uncleanness in that it is susceptible to uncleanness when it is only three by three fingerbreadths.

 

Explanation

Section one: There are five different ways in which cloth can become impure, and each way differs from the other in respect to how large a piece of cloth there needs to be for it to be susceptible. The first is a piece of cloth that has a receptacle. In such a case even the smallest piece of cloth is susceptible. The second is cloth that is either sat or laid upon. Such cloth is susceptible if it is three handbreadths. The third is a piece of cloth that functions as a “tent,” meaning an overhanging. In such a case, the smallest piece of cloth is sufficient. The fourth is a woven piece of cloth; again, the smallest piece is susceptible. The fifth is that a piece of cloth that is three by three handbreadths is susceptible.

Sections two-five: Below, the mishnah will explain these categories.

Section six: If an earthenware vessel does not have a receptacle, meaning an “inside,” then even its outside is not susceptible to impurity.

Section seven: Wood can become impure by having a receptacle, like earthenware. Even without a receptacle, it is impure if it is made for sitting.

If one makes a wood tablet without a frame it is susceptible to impurity, whereas an earthenware tablet without a frame is pure because it does not have a receptacle.

Section eight: Leather that hangs over a dead body is impure, but if a wood or earthenware vessel hangs over a dead body, the vessel remains pure.

Section nine: If sack-cloth is woven, even the smallest piece is susceptible to impurity.

Section ten: As explained in section one, a piece of cloth is susceptible to impurity if it is three handbreadths by three handbreadths.

 

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