The new masechet discusses the laws relating to a tevul yom. After a person immerses in a mikveh to purify themselves from regular forms of tumah, the purification process does not end there. Granted that he may eat chulin (regular food), if this person is a kohen he may not eat trumah until nightfall (recall Brachot 1:1). Until then he is considered a sheini le’tumah.
The Mishnah (2:1) discusses the status of fluids that were either touched by a tevul yom or emitted from him. Ordinarily, if the case involved any other tameh person, the fluids that he emits, would be no different to the fluid he touches. They would be a rishon le’tumah with the exception of a few cases where they are an av ha’tumah. The Mishnah explains that in our case the liquids would not make anything else tameh (לא מטמאין). Exactly what the Mishnah means however is the subject of debate.
The Bartenura explains that the liquid would not be able to make kodesh tameh, yet it would pasul it. In other words the liquids could make kodesh into a revi’i le’tumah. This would mean that the liquids themselves must be a sh’lishi le’tumah. For that to be so, as the Bartenura suggests, the liquid that the tevul yom is described as touching in our Mishnah must be trumah since chulin cannot become a sh’lishi le’tumah. (This is also the opinion of the Rash and Tosfot in Chulin 87b.)
The Rosh presents a number of difficulties. Firstly, the Mishnah made no mention of trumah liquids; it only mentioned liquids. Furthermore why should we consider liquids that come from a tevul yom to be like trumah and thus become sh’lishi? The fluid that comes from a tevul yom is chulin! Finally the Mishnah does not write that the liquids cannot make kodesh tameh – there is no mention of kodesh.
The Rosh therefore inserts a critical yud into one word of the Mishnah. The Mishnah therefore reads that the above mentioned liquids cannot become tameh (לא מיטמאין). In other words the Mishnah teaches that a tevul yom cannot make liquids tameh, whether he emitted them or touched them. The Mishnah Achrona explains that this is indeed what we learnt in Nidah (10:7) that if spittle drops from a tevul yom onto trumah, the trumah is tahor as that spittle is tahor.
The Rambam in Hilchot Av Ha’Tumah (10:4) rules like this second explanation. The liquids that come from a tevul are like the chulin that he touches (tahor) and if he touched trumah or kodshim they would be sh’lishi and revi’i respectively.
The Tosfot Yom Tov (Nidah 10:7) asks that the Rambam in Hilchot Mishkav (5:4) appears to contradict this ruling. There he rules that a tevul yom with respect to kodshim only is considered a rishon le’tumah. In other words, if the tevul yom touch kodshim it would be a sheni le’tumah and not a revi’i as explained above. The Tosfot Yom Tov is at a loss why the neither the Raavad or Kesef Mishnah question the Rambam.
The Chazon Nachum answers that the Rambam in the Hilchot Mishkav is referring to a tevul yom of a yoledet (one that has given birth). Such a case is treated much harsher than a regular tevul yom. The reason being is that she is muchzeket be’damim. The Melechet Shlomo answers in a similar manner providing a different reason. A tevul yom, as explained at the start of this article, is only until nightfall. The period of time that a yoledet is considered a tevul yom however is much longer. Thus with respect to kodshim the ruling is more strict.
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