Oktzim, Chapter One, Mishnah Six
Today’s mishnah is that which gives our tractate its nameit deals with stems (oktzim).
1) Stems of figs and dried figs, kelusim, and carobs are both defiled and defile, and they join together.
a) Rabbi Yose says: also the stalks of the gourd.
2) The stems of pears and krutumelin pears, quinces, and crab-apples, the stalks of the gourd and the artichoke [to the length of] one handbreadth.
a) Rabbi Elazar bar Zadok says: two handbreadths;
i) [All] these are defiled and defile; but do not join together.
3) As for other stems, they are neither defiled nor do they defile.
Section one: The stems of these fruits can be eaten. Therefore they are fully considered part of the fruit.
Rabbi Yose says that the stem of the gourd is edible, but the other sages hold that while it is a handle, it is not edible.
Section two: These stems are used as handles but they are not edible. Therefore, they defile and can be defiled but since they are not food they don’t add to the requisite amount.
Section three: The stems of other types of produce are not used as handles nor are they eaten. Therefore, they are not susceptible to impurity.