Mikvaot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Eight

 

Introduction

The last mishnah in Mikvaot! This mishnah deals with purifying things that have been swallowed up in the body.

 

Mishnah Eight

1)      If one ate unclean foods or drank unclean liquids and then he immersed and then vomited them up, they are still unclean because they did not become clean in the body.  

2)      If one drank unclean water and immersed and then vomited it up, it is clean because it became clean in the body.  

3)      If one swallowed a clean ring and then went into the tent of a corpse, if he sprinkled himself once and twice and immersed himself and then vomited it up, behold, it remains as it was before.  

4)      If one swallowed an unclean ring, he may immerse himself and eat terumah.

a)      If he vomited it up, it is unclean and it renders him unclean.  

5)      If an arrow was stuck into a man, it blocks so long as it is visible.

a)      But if it is not visible, he may immerse himself and eat terumah.

 

Explanation

Section one: The unclean foods or liquids that were in a person’s body while he immersed in the mikveh, and then were subsequently vomited up, do not become clean. There are two reasons for this. First of all, they did not come into contact with the waters of the mikveh. Second, unclean food and liquid cannot be purified in a mikveh.

Section two: In contrast, the water that he swallows is purified in his body. This is not because the water came into contact with the mikveh, but rather because water is immediately purified upon swallowing.

Section three: A person has swallowed a pure ring (I’m sure this has happened to someone you know). He then goes into a tent with a corpse in it and becomes impure. He goes through the purification ritual and has the hatat waters sprinkled on him on the third and seventh day, and thereby becomes pure. Then he vomits up the ring. The ring is clean as it was before (well, at least ritually clean, I hope he washes it off first). Not because it was purified in the mikveh, but because it was never defiled in his body.

Section four: The impure ring that he swallowed does not become pure in the mikveh, but neither does it disqualify him from eating terumah. In other words, it is ignored. If he vomits it up, the ring remains unclean and will now disqualify him from eating terumah.

Section five: An arrow stuck in a person blocks him from being able to immerse, as long as it is visible (although he might consider having it removed first). If it has fully entered his body and can no longer be seen from the outside, then he may immerse.

 

Congratulations! We have completed Tractate Mikvaot!

As I always write, it is a tradition at this point to thank God for helping us finish learning the tractate and to commit ourselves to going back and relearning it, so that we may not forget it and so that its lessons will stay with us for all of our lives.

Tractate Mikvaot is one of the tractates of Seder Toharot that does have some practical significance in the modern world. Mikvaot are still used in the modern world, by women immersing after the menstrual periods, by those converting to Judaism and by men who have taken upon various immersion customs. I hope that learning the tractate has given you an appreciation of what a mikveh actually is, what disqualifies a mikveh and what disqualifies a valid immersion in a mikveh. 

As always, a hearty yasher koach upon completing the tractate and keep up the good work. Tomorrow we begin Niddah.   

 

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