Ohalot, Chapter Twelve, Chapter One

 

Mishnah One

1)      A board placed over the mouth of a new oven,  overlapping it on all sides to the extent of a handbreadth,

a)      If there is uncleanness beneath [the board], vessels above it remain clean;

b)      If there is uncleanness above it, vessels beneath it remain clean. 

2)      In the case of an old oven, they become unclean. 

a)      Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri declares them clean. 

3)      [If the board] is placed over the mouth of two ovens, if there is uncleanness between them, they become unclean.

a)      Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri declares them clean.

 

Explanation

Section one: The oven referred to here is new and its manufacturing has not been completed. Therefore it is not susceptible to impurity (see Kelim 5:1). The board on top of it overshadows a source of impurity. However, the board acts as an ohel and prevents the impurity from going above or, if the source of impurity is above, from going below.

Section two: If the oven is one that has been used, it is susceptible to impurity. In this case the vessels above and below are impure. This is because the board is supported by a vessel that can become impure and in such cases an ohel is not formed (see 4:1). The oven is also impure.

According to the Tosefta Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri holds that the oven is pure, but he agrees that the vessels above and below the board are unclean.

Section three: In this case one board is placed over the top of two ovens. There is a source of uncleanness in between them. Even if the ovens are new, they are impure because we don’t look at the walls of the oven as being the outsides of the ovens. Rather we look at them as being the walls of a tent which do become impure.

Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri still holds that the ovens are pure. Evidently, he does look at the walls of the ovens as being the outsides of the ovens and since the oven does not become impure by contact with impurity on its outside, the ovens are pure.

 

 

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