Ohalot, Chapter Fifteen, Mishnah Six



Today’s mishnah deals with a house that has basically been filled in, in this case with straw. It is treated similarly to the case in yesterday’s mishnah, where a partition was built above the floor.


Mishnah Six

1)      [With regard to] a house filled with straw, without a space of a handbreadth [being left] between [the straw] and the roof beams:

a)      If there is uncleanness within [the straw], vessels at the exit become unclean.  

2)      [In the case where] the uncleanness was outside [the area of the straw], with regard to the vessels within:

a)      If they are in a space of a cubic handbreadth, they remain clean,

b)      But if not they become unclean.  

c)      If there is a space of a handbreadth between the straw and the roof beams, in either case the vessels become unclean.



Section one:  In this case the uncleanness is within the straw, which is similar to the situation in yesterday’s mishnah were the uncleanness was below the partition placed above the floor. Any vessels that are at the exit, meaning they are in the area that is not filled in with straw, will be defiled because the impurity escapes through that area.

Section two: If the uncleanness is outside the area of the straw and the vessels are within the straw and within an empty space that is one cubic handbreadth, they are protected by being in an ohel.

If they are in a space that is less than a cubic handbreadth, then it is as if they are in the floor of the house and they are impure (as was the case in yesterday’s mishnah).

If there is a space of a handbreadth above, in the place where the impurity is found, then the straw is not considered a barrier to the impurity, even if the empty space is a cubic handbreadth. The vessels in the straw are impure in both cases.