The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
1. "How was the leper cleansed?" He brought a new earthen vessel, and put into it a quarter of a log of running water, and he brought two tame birds. He killed one of them over the earthen vessel and over the running water. He dug and buried it before him. He took cedar-wood and hyssop, and scarlet (wool), and rolled them in the rest 1 of the piece of wool. And he attached to them the tips of the wings, and the end of the tail of the second bird. The priest dipped them into the earthen vessel, and sprinkled the water and blood seven times on the back of the hand of the leper, and some say on his forehead. And so also was the order of sprinkling on the lintel of the leprous house outside.
2. The priest proceeded to let loose the living bird. He turned his face neither towards the sea, nor the city, nor the wilderness, as is said, "And shall let the living bird out from the city into the open field." 2 He proceeds to shave the leper. He causes the razor to pass over all his flesh. And the leper washes his clothes and bathes. He is clean, so as not to render others unclean by his entrance into a house; but he still causes uncleanness like the creeping thing. He may enter within the city wall. He remains a wanderer from his home seven days, and the use of his bed is forbidden.
3. On the seventh day he undergoes a second shaving like to the first. He washes his clothes and bathes. He is clean from causing uncleanness like the creeping thing; and he is as one daily baptized. He may eat of the tithes. When the sun is setting, he may eat of the heave-offering. When he brought his atonement, he may eat of the holy things. There exist three cleansings for leprosy, and three cleansings for childbirth.
4. Three persons must shave, and they are shaved by legal command, the Nazarite, and the leper, and the Levites;
and all these if they be shaved without a razor, or were left with two hairs, did nothing.
5. The two birds are ordered to be equal in colour, and size, and price, and to be procured at the same time. Even if they be unequal, they are allowed. If one be procured to-day, and the other procured to-morrow they are allowed. "If one be killed, and it be found that it is not tame?" "The leper must take a pair for the second bird." The first bird is lawful for food. "If it be killed, and it be found unlawful?" "He must take a pair for the second bird." The first is lawful for ordinary use. 1 "If its blood be poured away?" "The one to be let loose must die in its stead." "If the one to be let loose die?" "The blood of the one killed must be poured away." 2
6. The cedar is ordered to be a cubit in length, and in breadth the quarter of a bedpost split into halves, and these halves again split into quarters. The hyssop is ordered not to be Greek hyssop, or coloured hyssop, or Roman hyssop, or desert hyssop, or any sort of hyssop with a distinctive name.
7. On the eighth day the leper must bring three sacrifices, the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering, and the burnt-offering; and the poor man must bring a bird for the sin-offering, and for the burnt-offering a bird.
8. He came beside his trespass-offering, and laid both his hands upon it, and slew it, and two priests received its blood; one of them received it in a vessel, and one received it in his hand. He who received it in the vessel came and sprinkled it on the side of the altar; and he who received it in his hand came beside the leper. And the leper bathed in the leper's chamber, and went and stood in the gate of Nicanor. R. Judah said, "the bathing was not necessary."
9. The leper stretched in his head from the gate of Nicanor, and the priest put (the blood) of his trespass-offering
on the tip 1 of his ear; he stretched in his hand, and he put it on the thumb of his hand; he stretched in his foot, and he put it on the great toe of his foot. R. Judah said, "he might stretch in the three at once." If he had no thumb, or great toe, or right ear, he could never be cleansed. R. Eleazar said, "the priest put (the blood) in their places." R. Simon said, "if the priest put it on the left hand members the leper went free. It was well done."
10. The priest took the log of oil, and poured it into the palm of his brother priest, and if he poured it into his own palm, it was well done. He dipped his finger into the oil and sprinkled it seven times before the Holy of Holies. At every sprinkling he dipped in his finger. He came beside the leper. On the place where he put the blood there he put the oil, as is said, "Upon the place of the blood of the trespass-offering." 2 And the remainder of the oil which was on the palm of the priest, he must put on the head of him that is to be cleansed to make an atonement. "If he put it on, he atoned. And if he did not put it on, he made no atonement." The words of R. Akiba. R. Johanan, the son of Nuri, said, "the command is free between putting on the oil or not putting it on." "He has atoned, but without the oil?" "It is not reckoned to him as a complete atonement." "If the log of oil failed before he poured it out?" "He may refill it." "If it failed from the time of pouring it out?" "He must bring another log as in the beginning." The words of R. Akiba. R. Simon said, "if the log failed before the priest sprinkled it he may refill it. If it failed at the time of sprinkling it he must bring another, as in the beginning."
11. "A leper who brought his offering as a poor man, and became rich, or as a rich man, and became poor?" "All depends on the sin-offering." The words of R. Simon. R. Judah said, "on the trespass-offering."
12. "If a poor leper brought the offering of the rich?" "It is well done." "But if a rich one brought the offering of the poor?" "It is nothing." A man may bring for his
son, for his daughter, for his man-servant or for his maidservant the offering of the poor, and they may eat of their sacrifices. R. Judah said, "but for his wife he must bring the offering of the rich, and so likewise every offering for which she is responsible."
13. "Two lepers whose offerings were mixed, and the offering of one of them is already made, and one of them died?" This question the men of Alexandria asked of R. Joshua. He answered them, "the survivor must write his property in the name of another man, and bring the offering of the poor."
296:1 The piece that extended over after the wool was laid parallel with the cedar and hyssop.
296:2 Lev. xiv. 7.
297:1 Some commentators think that the use of the bird was forbidden, but after examining several editions of the Mishna, I have translated as in the text.
297:2 By reference to the tract on the Day of Atonement vi. 1, it will be found that the regulations for the goats are similar in principle to the regulations for the birds of the leper.
298:1 Or on the middle of the inside of his ear.
298:2 Lev. xiv. 28.