Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. The skin [of a slaughtered animal], 1 the broth, the meat dissolved by boiling, that which adheres to the bottom of a saucepan, 2 the fragments of meat adhering to the skin 3 when it is removed from the animal, bones [containing marrow], sinews, horns and hoofs, are computed together to form [with the edible matter or flesh in them] the quantity of the size of an egg, when they are liable to contract and communicate pollution to other edibles, but not the pollution of Nebelah. Thus also, if a person slaughters an unclean animal for a heathen, it pollutes edibles while it struggles, but it does not communicate the pollution of a dead body till life is extinct, or, if its head had been quite chopped off. There are consequently more cases in which edibles contract pollution than there are in respect to pollution by Nebelah. R. Jehudah saith, in reference to the fragments of meat adhering to the skin, "If any of these, when computed together, are of the size of an olive in any one place, guilt is thereby incurred." 4
§ 2. In the following instances the skin is to be considered as flesh:—human skin, that of the domestic swine, 5 and, according to R. José, also that of wild swine, the tender skin on the hump of a young camel, 6 and that of the head of a young calf, the skin [between] the split hoofs, that over the matrix, and that of an animal fœtus in embryo, also that under the tail, and those of the ferret, the chameleon, the lizard, and the snail. R. Jehudah saith, "That of a lizard must be considered like a weasel[’s skin]." 7 If any of these had been tanned or converted into leather, or that they had been sufficiently trodden [in the process of converting the skin into leather], they are clean, excepting human skin. R. Jochanan ben Nouri saith, "The eight creeping things have skins." 8
§ 3. When a person removes the skin of a domestic or wild animal, whether clean or unclean, 9 large or small, in order to cover himself therewith, 10 pollution is contracted and communicated when as much skin is removed as can be taken hold of, 11 and if to make a bottle of skin, 12 until the skin over the breast is removed. 13 If the skinning was commenced from the legs, the whole is considered as connecting, and subject to contract and communicate pollution. The skin covering the neck is not considered as connecting by R. Jochanan ben Nouri, but the sages do so consider it until the whole skin is removed.
§ 4. When there is the size of an olive of flesh on a skin in one spot, any person who-touches the filaments proceeding therefrom, or the hairs on the skin which are opposite [and touch the said flesh], is unclean. If there were two pieces of flesh of the size of two half olives each, it pollutes by being carried, but not by the mere touching it. Such is the dictum of R. Ishmael, but R. Akivah holds "That they do not pollute either by being carried or touched," but he admits, "That if the size of two half olives were stuck on a skewer and moved, it is unclean." Why, then, does [R. Akivah], in respect to the skin, hold it to be clean? Because the skin prevents their contact.
§ 5. Whoever touches a marrow-bone of a dead body, 14 or of a consecrated sacrifice, 15 whether the said bones are open or closed, is unclean. Whoever touches a marrow-bone of an animal that is Nebelah, or of creeping animals, is clean when the bone is closed, but if it is open ever so little, pollution is contracted by contact with it. Whence is it proved that [the marrow-bone of a Nebelah] does also pollute the person carrying it? Because it is said [Lev. xi. 24, 25], "Whoever toucheth [the carcase]," and "Whoever beareth aught of the carcase," &c., which proves that whatever communicates by
being touched, does also communicate it by being carried, and that which cannot communicate pollution by contact, cannot communicate it by being carried.
§ 6. The egg of a creeping animal, in which the young animal is already developed, is clean, but when it has the smallest perforation it renders unclean. In respect to a mouse which is yet half flesh and half earth, 16 if the flesh is touched it renders unclean, but not if only the earth thereof had been touched. R. Jehudah saith, "Whoever touches the earth which immediately adjoins the fleshy part is also unclean."
§ 7. Members, 17 or pieces of flesh which had been forcibly torn off a [live] animal, 18 but which are yet pendant to it, are subject to contract and communicate pollution like other edibles, while they remain thus pendant in their place, 19 but require the susceptibility of contracting pollution to be communicated to them, 20 before they contract it. When the animal was slaughtered they may contract pollution by its blood, according to R. Meir, but R. Simeon saith, "They do not thereby contract it." When the animal dies of itself, it requires the susceptibility of contracting pollution to be communicated to it before it is unclean. 21 The [pendulous] member does, however, pollute as a member taken off an animal while yet alive, but not as Nebelah. Such is the dictum of R. Meir; but R. Simeon saith, "That member or the pieces of flesh [above mentioned] are clean."
§ 8. A limb or piece of flesh torn from a human body, but yet pendant to it, is clean [if the person is alive], 22 but should he die, the flesh is clean, but the limb pollutes as a limb severed from a living being, but not as a part of a dead body. Such is the dictum of R. Mein; but R. Simeon holds the said limb to be clean.
347:1 Containing a piece of meat of less size than that of an egg.
347:2 Or, as Maimonides explains the original expression, קייפה, the spice put in to render the meat palatable.
347:3 The original word אלל, is variously explained. (See זבחים, chap. III. § 4, and the Commentary of Bartenora.) The rendering we have given is corroborated by the end of this Mishna, and appears the most plausible.
347:4 Pollution is communicated by Nebelah when of the size of an olive only.
347:5 Because it is soft and edible.
347:6 Which has not yet carried any burden.
347:7 Whose skin does not contract pollution.
347:8 And their skin, not being deemed the same as their flesh, does not contract pollution, even as that of the weasel.
348:9 That is, whether the animal and he that skins it is clean, or that the animal is unclean, and he that skins it is clean.
348:10 Or, to spread it over a bed or table.
348:11 Viz., two handbreaths.
348:12 For this purpose the skin is not cut open the whole length of the animal, but is cut round, from the neck to the tail, so as to form a bag, which in eastern countries is used to put liquids in.
348:13 Because the breast is the most difficult part of the operation.
348:14 When a person touches or carries any part of a dead body, should it even be so small as a grain, he contracts pollution in consequence.
348:15 Which remained after the third day [פיגול and נותר]. These render the person who touches them unclean. (See Treatise Yadaim.)
349:16 It was anciently supposed that some species of mice were produced on dunghills, &c., from the soil, so that one part of the body was animated before the other.
349:17 That is, pieces consisting of flesh, bone, and sinews, are thus called.
349:18 In a manner that it will never heal nor grow again.
349:19 That is, it is not unclean of itself, as Nebelah, but it can contract pollution by coming in contact with a שרץ, or creeping animal.
349:20 By being moistened.
349:21 Because, as it was torn off while the animal was alive, it cannot be considered as Nebelah.
349:22 Because the expression of the text is, "When a man dieth within a tent," &c. (Numbers xix. 15.)