Ohalot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Four


Mishnah Four

1)      If a person was looking out of a window and overshadowed a funeral procession:  

a)      Bet Shammai says: he does not bring uncleanness.  

b)      But Bet Hillel says: he does bring the uncleanness.

2)      They agree that if he was dressed in his clothes or if there were two persons, one above the other, they bring the uncleanness.    



Section one: The positions stated by Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel in this mishnah follow their opinions in yesterday’s mishnah. According to Bet Shammai, if a person leans out the window and overshadows a dead body, there is no “ohel” to bring the uncleanness into the house. The person’s body is right up against the bottom of the window, so there is no way for the impurity to get into an ohel and then into the house. Bet Hillel says we look at his abdomen as if it was an empty cavity. The top part is the ohel, and through the cavity formed underneath, the impurity is able to enter into the house.

Section two: Bet Shammai agrees that if a person has his clothes on (bet you didn’t realize he was hanging out the window naked in section one!), his clothes they can be considered the upper part of the ohel for they at least a handbreadth above the bottom of the window. The same is true if there is a person above the first person. The top person is at least a handbreadth above the bottom of the window, and therefore he can count as an ohel.