Mikvaot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Ten



Today’s mishnah deals with a mikveh whose forty seahs are a mixture of mud and water.


Mishnah Ten

1)      A mikveh which contains forty seahs of water and mud [combined]:

a)      Rabbi Eliezer says: one may immerse objects in the water but one may not immerse them in the mud.

b)      But Rabbi Joshua says: in the water and also in the mud.

2)      In what kind of mud may objects be immersed?

a)      Mud over which water floats.  

3)      If the water was on one side only, Rabbi Joshua agrees that objects may be immersed in the water but may not be immersed in the mud.  

4)      Of what kind of mud have they spoken?  

a)      Mud into which a reed will sink of itself, the words of Rabbi Meir.

b)      Rabbi Judah says: [mud] in which a measuring-rod will not stand upright.   

c)      Abba Elazar ben Dulai says: [mud] into which a plummet will sink.

d)      Rabbi Eliezer says: such as will go down into the mouth of a jar.  

e)      Rabbi Shimon says: such as will enter into the tube of a water- skin.  

f)        Rabbi Elazar bar Zadok says: such as can be measured in a log measure.



Section one: Rabbi Eliezer says that one may immerse only in the water, but not in the mud. Rabbi Joshua is again lenient. He allows one to use such a mikveh.

Section two: Rabbi Joshua allows one to immerse in such a mikveh only if the water floats on top of the mud. If the mud floats on top of the water he agrees that it is not usable.

Section three: Furthermore, if the water is not mixed up with the mud, he can’t just immerse in the mud. He can immerse only in the water and it would seem that in such a case, the mud doesn’t join together with the water.

Section four: There are six different opinions as to what type of mud can be mixed in with the water such that it counts to bring the total to forty seahs, even for Rabbi Eliezer.

Rabbi Meir says that the mud must be loose enough to let a reed sink into it on its own without being pushed down.

Rabbi Judah says the mud must be loose enough such that measuring-rod won’t stand on its own.

Abba Elazar ben Dulai (never heard of him before) says that the mud must be thin enough so that a plummet will sink due to its weight.

Rabbi Eliezer refers to a type of jar used to clean out a cistern. Such a jar has a thin mouth. If the mud will flow into such a jar, then it does not disqualify the water in the cistern.

Rabbi Shimon refers to a water skin whose mouth is even narrower. The mud must be loose enough to flow into such a water skin.

Rabbi Elazar bar Zadok says it must be measurable in a log measuring instrument. This also means it must be relatively loose mud.