Tevul Yom, Chapter One, Mishnah One
The first mishnah in Tevul Yom deals with the issue of whether things that are loosely connected to each other are considered to be one thing, such that if a tevul yom touches one side the whole thing is impure, or many independent things, such that the other side is pure. The issue of “connectives” is something we saw several other times in the Mishnah, including chapters 18-21 of Kelim.
1) If one had collected hallah [portions] with the intention of keeping them separate, but in the meantime they had become stuck together:
a) Bet Shammai say: they are connected in the case of a tevul yom.
b) But Bet Hillel say: they are not connected.
2) Pieces of dough [of terumah] that had become stuck together,
a) Or loaves that had become joined,
b) or one who bakes a batter-cake on top of another batter-cake before it could form a crust in the oven,
c) or the froth on the water that was bubbling,
d) or the first scum that rises when boiling groats of beans,
e) or the scum of new wine (r. Judah says: also that of rice):
i) Bet Shammai say: they are connected in the case of a tevul yom.
ii) But Bet Hillel say: they are not connected.
3) They agree [that they serve as connectives] if they come into contact with other kinds of uncleanness, whether they be of minor or major grades.
Section one: A priest collects pieces of hallah that he has been given by other people. He intends to keep them separate and bake them separately. However, they end up getting stuck together.
According to Bet Shammai, since they are stuck together, if one of them is touched by a tevul yom, then they are all impure. Bet Shammai looks at the situation purely by what is going on physically. Since the pieces of hallah are touching each other, they count as one piece of dough. If the tevul yom touches one of them, they are all disqualified.
Bet Hillel, in contrast, takes the person’s intention into account. Since he intended to bake them separately, the fact that they temporarily made contact with each other does not mean they count as being connected.
Only the piece that the tevul yom actually touched is impure.
Section two: In all of the cases described here there are two or more things that could be looked at as connected or not. In all of these cases, the substance is of terumah and the question is if part was touched by the tevul yom, is it all impure?
Some of these require a bit more explanation:
Or one who bakes a batter-cake on top of another batter-cake before it could form a crust in the oven: This person will definitely separate the cakes because they will form a crust better when they are separate.
Or if there was froth on the water that was bubbling: This refers to a case of a watery dish which is boiling and has bubbles rising from it. Since the dish is watery, the bubbles don’t count as being attached to the dish, at least according to Bet Hillel.
Or the first froth that rises when boiling groats of beans: the beans were crushed and made into groats. When they are boiled for the first time, a froth comes up.
Rabbi Judah says: also that of rice: Boiled terumah rice.
In all of these cases Bet Shammai says that all of the parts are considered to be connected. If a tevul yom touches one part, for instance the froth, the whole thing is disqualified.
Bet Hillel says that they are considered separate and therefore the part that wasn’t touched remains valid terumah.
Section three: The disagreement between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel is with regard to the tevul yom. As I stated in the introduction, the rabbis (at least Bet Hillel) treated a tevul yom somewhat leniently, since he had already been to the mikveh. However, when it comes to other forms of impurity, both serious and lenient forms, all of the things listed in this mishnah are considered to be connected. Bet Hillel was lenient only with regard to the tevul yom.