Zavim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Nine



Today’s mishnah talks about a person who eats the nevelah (carrion) of a clean bird. In Toharot 1:1 we learned that this carrion defiles him once it is in his gullet. There are more details about the laws governing the carrion of a clean bird in that mishnah, for those of you who are very interested.


Mishnah Nine

1)      He who ate nevelah of a clean bird, and it still is in his gullet, defiles at two [removes], and disqualifies [terumah] at one [more remove].

2)      If he put his head within the air-space of an oven, the oven remains clean.

3)      But if he vomited or swallowed it, he defiles at one [remove] and disqualifies [terumah] unfit at one [more remove].  

4)      But as long as it is still in his mouth, until he swallows it, he remains clean.



Section one: When the nevelah of the clean bird is in his gullet, he is a father of impurity.

Section two: Despite the fact that he is a father of impurity, if he puts his head into the air-space of an oven, he doesn’t defile the oven. This is because a person who is defiled such that he must wash his clothes does not defile earthenware vessels. Note that the oven can generally be defiled by something impure entering its air space.

Furthermore, once the carrion is in the gullet of the person, it only defiles the person. Because it’s inside him it doesn’t go out of him and defile the oven.

Section three: The nevelah only makes him into a father of impurity when in it is in his gullet. If he expels it, or swallows it, he goes down a notch in impurity to having only first degree impurity.

Section four: When it’s just in his mouth, he is clean. It only begins to defile him once it has entered his gullet.