Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.

Makshirin

Introduction to Tractate Makhshirin

Introduction to Tractate Makhshirin   Our tractate is about liquids that come into contact with produce and thereby make it susceptible to impurity (I know, a topic you’ve been dying to learn about).   Leviticus 11:34 reads: As to any food that may be eaten, it shall become unclean if it came into contact with […]

Makshirin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Makshirin, Chapter One, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      Any liquid which was desired at the beginning  though it was not desired at the end, or which was desired at the end though it was not desired at the beginning, comes under the law of “if water be put.”  2)      Unclean liquids render unclean whether […]

Makshirin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Makshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      If one shook a tree in order to cause food or something unclean  to fall down from it, [the rain water dropping down from it] does not come  under the law of ‘if water be put.’ 2)      If [he shook the tree] in order to cause […]

Makshirin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Makhshirim, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      If one shook a tree  and it fell on another tree, or a branch and it fell on another branch, and under them were seeds or vegetables [still] joined to the ground: a)      Bet Shammai say: this comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. […]

Makshirin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Makhshirin, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      If one shook a bundle of vegetables and [water] dropped down from the upper [side] to the lower [side]: a)      Bet Shammai say: this comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. b)      But Bet Hillel say: this does not come under the law of […]

Makshirin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5

Makhshirin, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five If one rubbed a leek or pressed his hair or his garment, Rabbi Yose says: the liquid which came out comes under the law of ‘if water be put’, but the liquid that remained does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’, because his […]

Makshirin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6

Makhshirin, Chapter One, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      If one blew on lentils in order to test whether they were good: a)      Rabbi Shimon says: this does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’. b)      But the sages say: this does come under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah deals with sweat—when does it cause something to be susceptible to uncleanness and when does it not.   Mishnah One 1)      The sweat of houses, of cisterns, of ditches and caverns does not cause  susceptibility to uncleanness. 2)      A man’s perspiration does not cause susceptibility to […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 10

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Ten   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with finding produce in the mixed city and determining whether it needs to be tithed or not. Produce that has not been tithed generally may not be eaten once it is brought into one’s home. However, under certain circumstances one may eat it while on […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 11

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction During the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the sabbatical cycle second tithe is taken out from produce. This tithe must be consumed in Jerusalem, or at least exchanged for money and separated in Jerusalem. In the third and sixth years the poor tithe is taken out […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      The sweat of an unclean bath is unclean, 2)      But that of a clean bath comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. 3)      If there was a pool in a house, the house sweats because of it—if the pool was unclean, the sweat of […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      Two pools, the one clean and the other unclean: a)      The sweat near the unclean pool is unclean, b)      And the sweat near the clean pool is clean, c)      And what is at equal distance [from both pools] is unclean.   2)      Unclean iron was smelted with […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 4

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If one flattened out his roof or washed his garment and rain came down upon it: 2)      If the greater part consisted of the unclean water, it is unclean; a)      If the greater part consisted of the clean water, it is clean; b)      But if there […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Five   Introduction A Jew is not permitted to benefit from work done for another Jew on Shabbat, but a Jew can benefit from work done for a non-Jew on Shabbat. If a Jew does forbidden work on Shabbat and another Jew wants to benefit from that work, he/she must wait […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 6

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Six   Introduction Our mishnah is a continuation of yesterday’s mishnah, dealing with a city in which Jews and Gentiles live mixed.   Mishnah Six 1)      If one found in that city vegetables sold [on Shabbat]: 2)      If the majority [of the inhabitants] were non-Jews, one may buy them immediately   [after […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 7

Makshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      If one found [an abandoned] child there: 2)      If the majority [of the inhabitants] were non-Jews, it is considered a non-Jew;   3)      If the majority were Israelites, it is considered an Israelite; 4)      If they were half and half, it is also considered an Israelite. 5)      […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 8

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      If one found there lost property, 2)      If the majority [of the inhabitants] were non-Jews, he need not proclaim it; 3)      If the majority were Israelites, he must proclaim it; 4)      If they were half and half, he must [also] proclaim it. 5)      If one found […]

Makshirin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 9

Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      If one found meat there, we follow the majority of the butchers. 2)      If it was cooked meat, we follow the majority of those who eat cooked meat.   Explanation Section one: A piece of meat is found lying somewhere in this mixed city. Today, most […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction Chapter three (finally) returns to the subject of our tractate—when does contact with liquid cause food to be susceptible to impurity?   Mishnah One 1)      If a sack full of produce was put by the side of a river or by the side of the mouth of a […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      A jar full of produce which was put into liquids, or a jar full of liquids was put into produce and [the produce] absorbed, all [the produce] which absorbed comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      Concerning what liquids were they speaking? Water, […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      One who drew hot bread off the side of an oven and put it upon the mouth of a jar of wine: 2)      Rabbi Meir declares it susceptible to uncleanness;   3)      But Rabbi Judah declares it insusceptible.   4)      Rabbi Yose declares it insusceptible in the case […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If one sprinkled [the floor of] his house [with water] and put wheat therein and it became moist: a)      If [the moisture came] from the water, it comes under the law of ‘if water be put’; b)      But if [the moisture came] from the stones [on […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      If one moistened [produce] with drying clay: a)      Rabbi Shimon says: if there was still in it dripping liquid, it comes under the law of ‘if water be put’; b)      But if there was not, it does not come under the law of ‘if water be […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      If his olives were put on the roof and rain came down upon them and he was glad of it, it comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      Rabbi Judah said: one cannot help being glad of it. a)      Rather, [it comes under […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 7

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Today’s mishnah continues to deal with situations in which Rabbi Judah says that one can’t help but be happy about his produce getting wet.    Mishnah Seven 1)      If donkey-drivers were crossing a river and their sacks [filled with produce] fell into the water and they were happy […]

Makshirin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 8

Makhshirin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      If one lowered wheels or the gear of oxen into water at the time of the hot east wind in order that they might become tightened, this comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      If one took down a beast to drink, the […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Makhshirim, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      If one bent down to drink,  the water which came up on his mouth or on his moustache comes under the law of ‘if water be put’;  a)      But [what came up] on his nose or on his head or on his beard does not come […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 10

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Ten   Mishnah Ten 1)      If [unclean] liquids fell upon wood and rain came down upon it and [the rain water] exceeded [the liquids] in quantity, they are clean. 2)      If he took [the wood out] so that rain would come down upon it, they are unclean   even though [the rain […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      If rain came down upon a person, even if he was unclean with a father of impurity, it does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’; 2)      But if he shook it off, it does come under the law of ‘if water be […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      If one inclined a dish against a wall that it might be rinsed [by rainwater], it comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      But if in order that the wall might not be damaged, it does not come under the law of ‘if […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      A jar into which a leak [from a roof] fell: a)      Bet Shammai say: it should be broken.   b)      But Bet Hillel say: it may be emptied out.   2)      But they agree that one may put out his hand and take produce from it and they […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 5

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Five   Introduction Yesterday’s mishnah dealt with water from a roof that falls into a jar of produce. Today’s mishnah deals with water that falls into a tub.   Mishnah Five 1)      A tub into which a like [from a roof] fell, the water which splashed out or ran over does […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 6

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      A basket full of lupines placed in a mikveh, one may put out his hand and take lupines from it and they remain clean.   2)      But if he lifted them out of the water, those that touch the basket are unclean, but the rest of the […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 7

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      If produce fell into a channel of water, and one whose hands were unclean put out his hands and took it, his hands become clean and the produce [also] remains clean.   2)      But if his intention was that his hands should be rinsed, his hands become […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 8

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      If a pot full of water was placed in a mikveh, and a person who was unclean by a father of impurity put his hand into the pot, it becomes unclean.   2)      But if [he was unclean] by a “touch of defilement,” the pot remains clean. […]

Makshirin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 9

Makhshirin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      If one drew water through a kilon (a pump-beam), it causes susceptibility to uncleanness for three days. 2)      Rabbi Akiva says: if it was dried, it at once does not cause susceptibility to uncleanness; but if it was not dried, it causes susceptibility even for thirty […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      One who immersed himself in a river and then there was in front of him another river and he crossed it, the second [water] purifies the first [water]. 2)      If his fellow pushed him in during exercise or his beast [pushed him in], the second [water] […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 10

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Ten   Introduction Today’s mishnah continues to deal with the purity of clean water that is being poured into impure water.   Mishnah Ten 1)      One who pours hot water into hot water, or cold water into cold water, or hot water [poured] into cold water remains clean; a)      But from […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 11

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eleven   Mishnah Eleven 1)      If a woman whose hands were clean stirred an unclean pot and her hands perspired, they become unclean.   2)      If her hands were unclean and she stirred a clean pot and her hands perspired the pot becomes unclean.   a)      Rabbi Yose says: only if her hands […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      One who swam in water, the water that splashed out does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’; a)      But if it was his intention to splash his friend, this comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      If one made […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 3

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      Produce onto which a leak [from a roof] fell and he mixed it up in order that it might become dry [quickly]: a)      Rabbi Shimon says: it comes under the law of ‘if water be put’. b)      But the sages say: it does not come   under […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Four   Introduction Our mishnah discusses one who uses a stick to measure a cistern. Does the water that comes up with the stick cause produce to be susceptible to impurity?   Mishnah Four 1)      One who measures a cistern whether for its depth of for its breadth, it comes under […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      If one put his hand or his foot or a reed into a cistern in order to check whether it had any water, it does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’; a)      But if to ascertain how much water it had, it […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      One beats upon a hide:   a)      If outside the water, it comes under the law of ‘if water be put’; b)      Inside the water, it does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      Rabbi Yose says: even inside the water it comes […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 7

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      The water that comes up into a ship or into the bilge or on the oars does not come   under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      The water that comes up in snares, nets, or in fishing nets does not come under the law […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      [Water on] the covering of tables or on the matting of bricks does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’; 2)      But if they were shaken, it does come under the law of ‘it water be put’.   Explanation Section one: A person […]

Makshirin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 9

Makhshirin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah deals with the case of liquid being poured from a top vessel to a lower vessel. The lower vessel has impure liquids, or liquids that cause susceptibility. The mishnah rules that with a few exceptions the impurity of the lower vessel’s liquids does not flow upwards […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      One who carries his produce up to the roof because of maggots, and dew came down upon it, it does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’; a)      But if he intended for this to happen, it does come under the law of […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 2

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      One who carries up to the roof bundles [of vegetables] or cakes of figs or garlic so as to keep them fresh, it does not come under the law of ‘if water be put’. 2)      All bundles [of vegetables] in the market places are unclean.  a)      […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      All eggs are presumed to be clean except those of sellers of liquids. a)      But if they sold with them dry produce, they are clean.   2)      All fish are presumed unclean.   3)      Rabbi Judah says: pieces of aylatit and Egyptian fish which arrives in a basket, […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Four   Introduction Finally, when we’re at last nearing the end of the tractate Makhshirin, the Mishnah lists the liquids that cause susceptibility to impurity. This is the subject of the remainder of the tractate. I should note that there are various midrashim and explanations as to why some liquids cause […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with sub-categories of the seven arch-categories found above in mishnah four.   Mishnah Five 1)      Derivatives of water are: the liquids that come from the eye, from the ear, from the nose and from the mouth, and urine, whether of adults or of children, whether […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 6

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      The following cause uncleanness and also susceptibility [to uncleanness]; 2)      The flow of a zav, his spittle, his semen and his urine; 3)      A quarter-log of blood from a corpse, and the blood of a menstruant. 4)      Rabbi Eliezer says: semen does not cause susceptibility. 5)      […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 7

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      The following cause neither uncleanness nor susceptibility to uncleanness: 2)      Sweat, rotten secretion, excrement, blood issuing with any of these, liquid [issuing from a child born in the] eight month. a)      Rabbi Yose says: except its blood.   3)      [The discharge from the bowels of] one who […]

Makshirin, Chapter 6, Mishnah 8

Makhshirin, Chapter Six, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Last mishnah of Makhshirin and the longest! The argument here is over whether cow’s milk renders produce susceptible even when its flow wasn’t desired.   Mishnah Eight 1)      A woman’s milk renders unclean whether [its flow is] desired or is not desired, but the milk of cattle renders […]

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