A. Raba inspected [the sharp edge] of an arrow for R. Jonah bar Tahlifah and he slaughtered with it a bird in flight. [We may object]: but perhaps it slaughtered through thrusting [into the neck between the organs]. [No.] We could see that [31a] the feathers around the neck were cut.
B. But lo it must [have its blood] covered. And if you say that he covered [the blood that fell to ground] did not R. Zira say in the name of Rab, “He who slaughters must put dust below [on the blood on the ground, which he could not have done] and above [which he could go and do after shooting the bird with the arrow].”
C. As it says, “And cover it with dust” (Lev. 17:13). It does not say “dust” but “with dust [b-`pr].” This teaches us that he who slaughters must put dust below and dust above [that it be between two coverings].
D. [Nevertheless you could say that he could have fulfilled that obligation.] He could prepare the dust of the entire valley [for use for covering the blood of this bird so that it fell upon dust that had been designated for the performance of the obligation. There would then be dust below and above designated for the purposes of covering the blood of the bird.]
A. [If] one was engaged in the act of slaughter and chopped off the head with a single stroke, if the knife is [as long again as] the width of the neck, it is valid [M. 2:3 B-C]. Said R. Zira, “As wide as the neck and [again as long] outside of the neck.” They posed a question: “As wide as the neck and outside of the neck” [does this mean that the amount outside is] as wide as the neck so you would have [to have a knife] two necks wide? Or rather, “As wide as the neck and outside of the neck” [that the knife be] any amount [wider than the neck]?
B. Come and take note: [If] one was engaged in the act of slaughter and chopped off two heads simultaneously, if the knife was [as long again as] the width of the neck of one [of them], it is valid [M. 2:3 D-E]. What does the width of the neck of one mean? If you say it means the width of the neck of one and no more, here with regard to one beast we require [that the knife be] as wide as the neck and outside of the neck, for two beasts does it suffice for them [to use a knife that is] the width of one neck?
C. Rather it is obvious [that it means] the width of the neck of one outside of the two widths of the necks. You may derive the conclusion [that it means] the width of the neck outside of the neck, you may derive the conclusion.
A. Under what circumstances? When [the slaughterer moved the knife] forward but not backward, or backward but not forward. But if he moved it forward and backward, however short [the knife], even with a scalpel, it is valid [M. 2:3 F-K]. Said R. Menasheh, “A scalpel that does not have projections.”
B. Said to him R. Aha b. R. Avya to R. Menasheh, “What is the rule for [slaughter with] a needle?” He said to him, “A needle surely tears [but does not cut and so is invalid for slaughter].”
C. [He asked], “What is the rule for a needle of a shoemaker [Cashdan: awl]?” He said to him, “It has been taught, however short [the knife]. Does this not include [the needle of] a shoemaker?” “[No, it refers to a] scalpel.” “But a scalpel is taught plainly [in M].” “No. It spells out [the previous line in M.]. What does it mean, however short? A scalpel.”
D. It also makes good sense. For if you conclude [that it implies we accept slaughter by] a shoemaker's needle, now if a shoemaker's needle is permitted, why do we need to specify [in M.] a scalpel?
E. We need to specify a scalpel. You might have concluded that it makes sense to say that you decree that a scalpel that has no projections [is not permitted] on account of [the concern that a person not come to use] a scalpel that has projections. It makes the point to tell us [that it is permitted].
I.1 examines the familiar issue of scriptural sources for the rules of Mishnah. No. 2 explores Mishnah's operative principle with a colorful case example. II clarifies Mishnah's terminology. III explains the intent of one rule of Mishnah.
L. [If] the knife fell and effected the act of slaughter,
M. even if it effected the act of slaughter properly,
N. it is invalid.
O. As it is said, “And you will slaughter...and you will eat...” (Deut. 12:21) —
P. just as you effect the act of slaughter, so do you eat.
A. The reason [it is invalid] is because it fell. Lo, if he threw it, it is valid and even if he did not intend it [to slaughter when he threw it].
B. Who is the Tanna who holds the view that you do not need to have intention for the act of slaughter? Said Raba, “It is R. Nathan.”
C. For so taught Oshaia, the youngest of the fellows [alt.: Zira of Haberya (Cashdan)], “He who threw a knife to impale it on a wall, and it went [and on its path] it slaughtered [an animal] in a proper fashion, R. Nathan declares it fit. And the sages declare it unfit.” He [Oshaia] taught [the pericope] and he said concerning it that the law follows the view of R. Nathan.
D. But lo, did not Raba say this one time [in connection with M. 1:1, IV.1]: as it was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority, But all of them who performed an act of slaughter, with others watching them — their act of slaughter is valid. And we said there, Who is the Tanna who holds the view that you do not need to have intention for the act of slaughter? Said Raba, “It is R. Nathan.”
E. It is necessary [to state the matter in both places]. For if we had been instructed there [that slaughter without intention is valid, you might have argued that it was valid only] because he had intention for some act of cutting. But here since he did not have intention to perform any act of cutting, it would make sense to say that it is not [a valid act of slaughter].
F. And if we had been instructed here [that without intention it is valid, you might have argued that it is valid] because the act is performed by a competent person [capable of intention]. But there the act is not performed by a competent person, it would make sense to say no, [the act is not valid]. It is necessary [therefore to state the matter in both places].
A. It was stated: A menstruating woman who was forced to immerse [in a miqvah, i.e., did so against her will or by accident without intention to do so] — said R. Judah, said Rab, “She is deemed clean with regard to her marital relations, but she is not permitted to eat heave-offering.”
B. And R. Yohanan said, “Even with regard to her marital relations she is not deemed clean.”
C. Said Raba to R. Nahman, “According to Rab who said, `She is deemed clean with regard to her marital relations, but she is not permitted to eat heave-offering,' [how is it that] you have permitted her to [perform an action, i.e., marital relations while a menstruant, whose violation is] a sin punishable by excision? For a prohibition [i.e., eating heave-offering while unclean] that is punished by death [at the hands of heaven, considered a lesser form of punishment than excision], must you specify [that it is permitted for her to perform that]?”
D. He said to him, “[Marital relations with] her husband is an unconsecrated action. And for an unconsecrated action you do not need to have intention [so if she immersed without intending to, it is valid for that purpose but not for the purpose of eating sancta].”
E. And based on what source do I make this assertion? As it was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority, A wave that was detached from the sea, and it contained a volume of forty seahs of water, and it fell upon a person or upon utensils, they are clean [M. Miq. 5:6 A-C]. Why not say [based on this source] that a person is compared to a utensil. Just as a utensil has no intention [to be immersed by the water] so too a person need not have intention [for the immersion to be effective]? But why [must you draw this conclusion]? Perhaps we are dealing with a case where he was sitting [on the beach] waiting for the wave to detach [and come and immerse him in the water].
F. [31b] And [we could argue the opposite, that is the circumstance and rule for] utensils must be compared to a person. Just as a person must have intention [to be there so that the water can wash over him] so to for the utensils a person must have intention [for them to be there so the water can wash over them].
G. And if you should say that a case of [a person on the beach] sitting and waiting [is obviously going to result in an effective immersion], so why state it at all? [You can respond] it would have made sense to say that you make a special decree [not to allow immersion in a wave] on account of the possibility that someone would mistakenly presume you could immerse in a downpour of rain! Or that you make a special decree [not to allow immersion] in the crest of the wave on account of the possibility that someone would mistakenly presume you could `immerse' in the hollow arch of the wave! It makes the point that they do not make such a decree.
H. And based on what source do I make the assertion that they do not `immerse' in the hollow arch of a wave? As was taught on Tannaite authority, They immerse in the crest of a wave but they do not immerse in the hollow arch of a wave for they do not immerse in air [T. Miq. 4:5 C].
I. But what is the basis for the assertion that for unconsecrated things one does not need intention [for immersion to be effective]? As it was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority, Pieces of fruit that fell into a water channel — he whose hands were unclean reached out and took them — his hands are clean, and the pieces of fruit are insusceptible to uncleanness. And if he gave thought that his hands should be rinsed off, his hands are clean, and the pieces of fruit are under the law, If water be put [M. Miq. 4:7].
A. Raba objected to R. Nahman, “[We have a rule]: if he immersed [to be clean so as to eat] unconsecrated things, and he attained a status [of cleanness] with regard to unconsecrated things, he is forbidden [to eat] tithes. [This implies], if he attained a status, yes, [he may eat unconsecrated foods], and if he did not attain a status, no, [he may not eat].”
B. [Nahman would respond], This is how you should state matters, “Even though he attained a status with regard to unconsecrated things, he is forbidden [to eat] tithes.”
C. He raised an objection: [We have a rule]: if he immersed and did not attain a status [of cleanness] it is as if he did not immerse. What then! Is it as if he did not immerse at all? No. It is as if he did not immerse for [the purpose of eating] tithes, but as if he did immerse for unconsecrated things.
D. He [Raba] reasoned that [Nahman] was just pushing off his objection. He went and inquired and found that it was taught on Tannaite authority, If he immersed and did not attain a status [of cleanness for tithes] he is permitted [to eat] unconsecrated things and forbidden [to eat] tithes.
E. Said Abayye to R. Joseph, “Shall we say that this stands as a contradiction to R. Yohanan [above, II.1 B, a woman who immerses against her will]?”He said to him, “R. Yohanan holds in accord with the view of R. Jonathan b. Joseph. For it was taught on Tannaite authority, R. Jonathan b. Joseph says, [Scripture says concerning a garment that has a spot of the plague], “[But the garment, warp or woof, or anything of skin from which the disease departs] when you have washed it, [shall then be washed a second time, and be clean]” (Lev. 13:58). Why does it state, “a second time”? It juxtaposes the first washing and the second washing [to tell us that they have the same rule]. Just as the first washing must be done with intent [to remove the plague] so too the second washing must be done with intent.
F. If [you wish to take this further and say] just as there [for the first washing] it must be done with the knowledge of the priest, here too [for the second] it must be done with the knowledge of the priest. Scripture tells us [that is not the case with the words], “and be clean” [implying] in any case [with or without the knowledge of the priest it will be clean].
A. R. Shimi bar Ashi posed an objection: And did R. Yohanan say this [that for immersion for unconsecrated things you need intention]? Did not R. Yohanan say, “The law follows in accord with an anonymous rule in the Mishnah.” And it was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority, [If] the knife fell and effected the act of slaughter, even if it effected the act of slaughter properly, it is invalid [M. 2:3 L-N]. And we argued concerning this: the reason [it is invalid] is because it fell. Lo, if he threw it, it is valid and even if he did not intend it [to slaughter when he threw it]. And we said: who is the Tanna who holds the view that you do not need to have intention for the act of slaughter? Said Raba, “It is R. Nathan.”[The anonymous view contradicts Yohanan.]
B. [To respond you can make a distinction as follows.] Regarding the act of slaughter [R. Yohanan and] even R. Jonathan b. Joseph [would agree] that since the Torah revealed that a spontaneous act [without intention] in connection with Holy Things is invalid, that implies that in general for unconsecrated things they do not need to have intention [to properly perform the actions].
C. And the rabbis [will explain] that it is the case that they do not need to have intention to perform the slaughter, but they do need to have intention to make an incision.
D. Said Raba, “In this matter R. Nathan bested the rabbis. Is it ever written, `And you may cut (wtkt)'? It is written, `Then you may kill (wzbt)' (Deut 12:21). [This implies that] if you need to have intention to make an incision, you must also have intention to perform the slaughter. And if you do not need to have intention to perform the slaughter, you do not need to have intention to make an incision.
A. What is the circumstance of, A menstruating woman who was forced to immerse [in a miqvah, i.e., did so against her will or by accident without intention to do so, II.1 A, above]?
B. If you say that her companion forced her to immerse, the intention of her companion is a perfectly good form of intention. And furthermore [in such a case] she would also be permitted to eat heave-offering. As was taught on Tannaite authority, The deaf-mute, and the imbecile, and the blind, and the unconscious [or: confused] woman — if there are women of sound sense, they care for them, and they eat heave-offering [M. Nid. 2:1 B-C].
C. Said R. Pappa, “According to R. Nathan [the circumstance was] she fell off a bridge [i.e., she had no intention to immerse]. And according to the rabbis she went into the water to cool off [i.e., she had intention to immerse but not for the sake of purification].”
A. Said Raba, “If he slaughtered the red cow and he slaughtered another animal along with it, according to everyone it is invalid.” [Performing any extraneous labor while preparing the cow invalidates the cow.]