Keritot, Chapter One, Mishnah Four



In today’s mishnah we learn of cases in which a woman brings a sacrifice but the sacrifice is not eaten. In all of these cases there is doubt whether she is liable for a sacrifice: therefore she brings (just in case she was liable) but the sacrifice cannot be eaten (in case she was not liable).


Mishnah Four

The following bring an offering which is not eaten:

1)      A woman who miscarries but does not know what the miscarriage was,

2)      Or if two women who have a miscarriage, one of a kind which did not render her liable [to an offering], and the other of a kind that does render her liable [to an offering].

3)      Rabbi Yose said: When is this so? This applies only if one went towards the east and the other towards the west, but if both remained together they bring [together] one offering which is eaten.



Section one: If she doesn’t know whether the form of the fetus which she miscarried is something over which one must bring a childbirth sacrifice (see yesterday’s mishnah) or not, then she brings a sacrifice but it is not eaten.

Section two: In this case two women miscarry; one miscarries a fetus that renders her liable for a sacrifice and one miscarries something that does not render her liable. However, the women don’t know who miscarried what (I know—this sounds really absurd). Both women are in the category mentioned in section one (doubtful whether they are liable), and therefore both bring a sacrifice and neither sacrifice may be eaten.

Section three: Rabbi Yose modifies what was stated in section two. That ruling applies only to a case where two women gave their sacrifices to a priest and he is not sure which of the sacrifices came from the woman who was really liable. If they are not around to ask them who gave birth to what, then neither sacrifice can be eaten. However, if they remain together, then together the two of them can bring one sacrifice and stipulate that it is brought on behalf of the woman who is actually obligated.