Keritot, Chapter Two, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

Generally a person who is impure and then immerses in a mikveh can begin to eat sacrifices after immersion. However, there are four categories of people who must first bring sacrifices before they can eat other sacrifices. This process is called “a ceremony of atonement.”

Our mishnah also mentions another category, but since tomorrow’s mishnah discusses it more fully, we shall explain it tomorrow.

 

Mishnah One

1)      There are four persons who require a ceremony of atonement, and there are four who bring a sacrifice for willful as well as for inadvertent transgression.  

2)      The following are those who require a ceremony of atonement: the zav, the zavah, the woman who gave birth and the metzora.  

3)      Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob said: also a convert is regarded as a person who still requires a ceremony of atonement until the blood has been sprinkled for him; the same applies to the nazirite with reference to wine, haircutting and uncleanness.

 

Explanation

Section one: This section introduces today’s and tomorrow’s mishnah.

Section two: A “zav” is a man who has an abnormal genital discharge (see Leviticus 15:15) and a “zavah” is a woman with an abnormal genital discharge (see Leviticus 15:29-30). Both must bring sacrifices before they complete their purification process. So must a woman who gave birth (as we learned in 1:3) and a person who had some type of skin disease (Leviticus 14:10ff).

Section three: Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob adds two more to this list. A convert who has already been circumcised (if he is a man, of course) and immersed in the mikveh, must bring a sacrifice. He cannot eat sacrifices until the blood from the olah that he brings is sprinkled on the altar. Similarly, a nazirite cannot drink wine, cut his hair or become impure from contact with a dead body until he brings his sacrifices (see Numbers 6:14 and Mishnah Nazir 6:9). Both of these are also cases where a person needs to bring a sacrifice to complete the process of purification.    

 

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