[72a] But lo, [consider by way of contradiction to this the case of] a foetus and midwife that resembles [in its legal implications] the case of two rings. [The woman whose foetus died in her womb, and [that foetus] the midwife put in her hand and touched — the midwife is unclean with a seven-day uncleanness, and the woman is clean until the foetus will emerge [M. 4:3 F-G].] And yet the foetus does render unclean the midwife!
W. Rabbah [would have] said, “The case of the foetus is different since it is destined to come forth.” [The rule concerning contained uncleanness does not apply to it.]
X. Said Raba, “[You say that] the foetus is destined to come forth. Is not the ring also destined to come forth [from the animal through the natural process of elimination]?”
Y. Rather, said Raba, “A Pumbeditan knows the basis for this matter. And who is he? R. Joseph.” For said R. Joseph, said R. Judah, said Samuel, “This uncleanness was not ordained on the authority of the Torah, but [it was ordained] on the authority of the scribes.”
Z. What does it mean: [This uncleanness] was not ordained on the authority of the Torah, but [it was ordained] on the authority of the scribes? It means that you should not maintain [that the law in our Mishnah follows] in accord with the view of R. Aqiba who said, “A [dead] foetus in the womb of a woman is unclean.” But [the law may follow] even in accord with the view of R. Ishmael who said, “A [dead] foetus in the womb of a woman is clean.” [Because in our case] they decreed for her [the midwife] uncleanness based on the authority of the rabbis.
AA. What is the basis for this decree? Said R. Hoshaia, “They decreed it lest the foetus bring forth its head out of the birth canal.”
BB. If this is the case then even the [pregnant] woman [herself should be deemed unclean]! [We say however that] the woman feels it [if the head of the foetus projects forth]. Then why would she not tell the midwife [that the head had emerged]? She is distracted [by the labor].
A. What is the view of R. Ishmael and what is the view of R. Aqiba [that we refer to above, I.1 Z]? As it was taught on Tannaite authority: “`Whoever in the open field touches [one who is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days]' (Num. 19:16) — this [reference to an open field] excludes the case of a [dead] foetus in the womb of a woman,” the words of R. Ishmael. R. Aqiba says, “This [reference] comes to include [in the law] the covering and sides [boards of the coffin or stones of the grave].”
B. And R. Ishmael [will say that the references to] the covering and sides are derived from a received tradition [and not from the words of the verse].
C. And from what source does R. Aqiba derive that a [dead] foetus in the womb of a woman is unclean based on the authority of the Torah? Said R. Hoshaia, “The verse said, `Whoever touches a dead person, [the body of any man who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him]' (Num. 19:13) — what is a dead thing that is in a person [— playing on the words of the verse]? You will have to say that is a foetus that is in the womb of a woman.”
D. And R. Ishmael [will say that this phrase in the verse] is needed [to teach] that a quarter-log of blood that comes from a corpse renders unclean. For it says, “Whoever touches a dead person, the body of any man.” What is it from the body of any man that renders unclean? You will have to say that is a quarter-log of blood.
E. And R. Aqiba [does not need to derive this from the verse because he follows] in accord with his own view. For he said, “Even a quarter-log of blood derived from two corpses renders unclean in a tent.” For it was taught on Tannaite authority: What is the source of the rule that a quarter-log of blood derived from two corpses renders unclean in a tent? As it says, “He shall not go in to any dead body [plural in the Hebrew], [nor defile himself, even for his father or for his mother]” (Lev. 21:11) — [this implies that the rule pertains to a case of the blood of] two dead bodies that constitute one full measure [of a quarter-log].
I.1 identifies the principle behind the rule of Mishnah, seeks its scriptural basis, enters into a sustained inquiry of its premises and extends the discussion to related principles and their logical bases. I.2 enters into a second-level of the issue deriving from the preceding.
A. A beast that is in hard labor, and the young put forth its hoof (and) that one cut off, and afterward one slaughtered its dam —
B. [the hoof is unclean as carrion but] the meat [of the offspring in the womb] is clean.
C. [If] he slaughtered its mother and afterward cut it off —
D. “the meat [of the offspring] is in the status of that which has touched carrion [namely, the hoof, which, located outside the womb, is unaffected by the slaughter of the mother],” the words of R. Meir.
E. And sages say, “[It is in the status of that which has] touched terefah that has been slaughtered.”
F. [72b] [They said to R. Meir,] “Just as we find in the case of the terefah that slaughtering it renders it clean, so the slaughtering of a beast should render the limb clean.”
G. Said to them R. Meir, “No. If the slaughtering of a terefah animal has rendered it clean, it is something which is part of its body. But should it render the limb clean, which is not part of its body?”
H. How do we know concerning a terefah animal that slaughtering it renders it clean?
I. An unclean beast is prohibited to be eaten, so too a terefah beast is prohibited to be eaten. Just as [in the case of] an unclean beast slaughtering it does not render it clean, so in the case of a terefah beast, slaughtering it should not render it clean.
J. No. If you have so stated in the case of an unclean beast, that never had a moment when it was valid, will you say so in the case of a terefah beast, that had a moment when it was valid.
K. Take for yourself what you have brought [the implications of your own logic]!
L. Lo, what is born as a terefah from the womb — how should we know [the rule that slaughtering it renders it clean]?
M. No. If you have so stated in regard to the unclean beast, the species of which [animal] is not subject to slaughter, will you say so in the case of terefah, the species of which [animal] is subject to slaughter?
N. As to a live eight-month's birth, slaughtering it does not render it clean, because the like [of it] is not subject to slaughtering.
A. Why [in D-F do they rule it the foetus is unclean]? This should come under the principle of uncleanness that is concealed from view. And uncleanness that is concealed from view does not render unclean.
B. R. Meir [in D says it is unclean because he] follows in accord with his own view. As it was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority: Three-by-three [finger-sized-cloth] that was divided is clean from midras-uncleanness but is unclean from the contact with midras-uncleanness [— the words of R. Meir (the Talmud adds this attribution)]. Said R. Yosé, “And with what midras did this have contact? But only if a zab has touched it is it unclean, on account of contact with the zab” [M. Kel. 27:11].
C. It was stated concerning this: Said Ulla,“This rule was taught only for a three-by-three cloth that was divided. But for three-by-three cloths that come from a larger garment, at the time they are separated from their source, they contract uncleanness from their source. Here too at the time it separates from the limb, [the animal] contracts uncleanness from the limb.”
D. Rabina said, “[The cases are not comparable.] A garment does not stand ready to be cut up. A foetus does stand ready to be cut up. [And we have the principle that] anything that stands ready for cutting [73a] is deemed to be already cut.”