What is meant by minor, and what is meant by major? Is it not the case that minor [means] a dead creeping thing and a zab, and that major [means] a corpse? No. Minor [means] a dead creeping thing, and major [means] a zab. [And liquid from a corpse is not included in the rule.]
E. What is the difference with regard to the law between the zab for whom the rabbis issued a decree [regarding the liquids that issue from him], and a corpse for which the rabbis did not issue a decree? For a zab, because people do not avoid contact with him, the rabbis issued a decree. For a corpse, because people do avoid contact with it, the rabbis did not issue a decree.
A. Blood that splashes and that is on the knife, [one is liable to cover it up] [M. 6:6 A-B]. Our rabbis taught on Tannaite authority: “And cover it with dust” (Lev. 17:13) — this teaches us that, Blood that splashes and that is on the knife, one is liable to cover it up. Said R. Judah, “Under what circumstances? When there is there only that blood. But [if] there is there blood other than that, he is free [of the liability] to cover it up.”
B. Another Tannaite teaching: “And cover it with dust” (Lev. 17:13) — this teaches us that he is liable to cover up all of its blood. Based on this they said, Blood that spurts and that is on the sides [of the neck where it is slaughtered], one is liable to cover it up.
C. Said Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, “Under what circumstances? Where he did not cover the life-blood [that spurts out at the time of slaughter]. But where he did cover the life-blood, he is exempt from the obligation to cover [this other blood].”
D. Concerning what interpretation of law do they dispute?The rabbis reason that [when the Torah says], “its blood” it means every bit. And Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel reasons that “its blood” means the special blood [that spurts out at the time of slaughter].
I.1 clarifies the premises of Mishnah. I.2 progresses to a second-level issue, but II.1 reverts to the Mishnah-text and sets forth the scriptural and logical bases for the rules.
A. With what do they cover up [the blood], and with what do they not cover up the blood?
B. They cover up the blood (1) with fine dung and (2) with fine sand and (3) with lime and (4) with [pieces of] potsherd and (5) with brick and (6) with the plug of a jar [both (5,6)] of which one has crushed.
C. But they do not cover up the blood either (1) with coarse dung or (2) with coarse sand or (3) with a brick or (4) with the plug of a jar neither [(3,4)] of which one has crushed.
D. And one should not turn a utensil over on it.
E. A general principle did Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel state: “With something in which one grows plants, they cover it up, and with something in which one does not grow plants, they do not cover it up.”
A. What is the definition of “fine sand”? Said Rabbah bar bar Hannah, said R. Yohanan, “Any [sand] that the potter does not have to crush up [before using it].”
B. And there is a version that teaches this regarding the last text of the Mishnah [C]: But they do not cover up the blood either (1) with coarse dung or (2) with coarse sand. What is the definition of “coarse sand”? Said Rabbah bar bar Hannah, said R. Yohanan, “Any [sand] that the potter does have to crush up [before using it].”
C. What is the difference between the versions? The difference between them is where he doesn't really have to [crush it up] because it crumbles on its own. [According to the first version they may use it. According to the second, they may not (Rashi).]
A. Our rabbis taught on Tannaite authority: “And cover it [with dust]” (Lev. 17:13) — you might infer that he may cover it with stones or that he may overturn a vessel on it. It comes to teach us, “With dust.” I only have [derived from this that he may cover it] with dust. What is the source that includes [in the rule that he may cover it with, (1) with fine dung and (2) with fine sand and with crushings of stones, and crushings of shards, and fine scrapings of flax, [88b] and fine sawdust, and (3) with lime and (4) with [pieces of] potsherd and (5) with brick and (6) with the plug of a jar [both (5,6)] of which one has crushed? It comes to teach, “And cover it.”
B. You might infer that I include even, (1) with coarse dung or (2) with coarse sand or with crushings of metal vessels, or (3) with a brick or (4) with the plug of a jar neither [(3,4)] of which one has crushed, or with flour or bran or coarse bran. It comes to teach, “With dust.”
C. And why would you see fit to include these and exclude those? After Scripture included some with its usage and excluded others with its usage I see fit to include all those [substances] that are a kind of “dust.” And I see fit to exclude all those [substances] that are not a kind of “dust.”
D. It makes sense to maintain as follows: “And cover it” is a general rule; “With dust” is a specification. Where there is a general rule and a specification we only have in the general rule what is found in the specification. What is [a kind of] “dust” is [included]. Any other substance is not [included].
E. Said R. Mari, “Because we have here a general rule that must be qualified by a specification [your conclusion is not warranted]. For the principle is that any general rule that must be qualified by a specification is not subject to [the ordinary method of] interpretation of a general rule and a specification.”
A. R. Nahman bar R. Hisda expounded, “They may cover [the blood] only with a substance in which you may plant and things will grow.”
B. Said Raba, “What a boorish thing to say!” Said R. Nahman bar Yitzhak to Raba, “What is so boorish about that? I said it and I said it based on this Tannaite teaching: If one was travelling in the wilderness and had no dust to cover it — he should scrape a gold denar and cover it [with the scrapings]. [The desert sand is not valid.] If one was travelling on a ship and had no dust to cover it — he should burn his cloak and cover it [with the ashes].”
C. Now we do find that ashes are called “dust.” [Cf. Num 19:17, “For the unclean they shall take some ashes (the word is `dust') of the burnt sin offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel.”] But what is the source of the assertion that [scrapings of] a gold denar [are called dust]? Said R. Zira, “[It is based on the verse], `[Its stones are the place of sapphires], and it has dust of gold' (Job 28:6).”
A. Our rabbis taught on Tannaite authority: “They may cover [the blood] only with dust,” the words of the House of Shammai. And the House of Hillel say, “We find ashes that are called dust. As it says, `For the unclean they shall take some ashes (the word is `dust') of the burnt sin-offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel' (Num. 19:17).”
B. And [how do we interpret this in accord with the view of] the House of Shammai? [They would say that ashes might be called] “the dust of the burnt sin-offering” but they would not be called ordinary dust.
A. It was taught on Tannaite authority: Add to them [that may be used to cover the blood] soot, stibium, and dust from chiselling [Rashi: from the grindstone]. And some say, “Even orpiment.”
A. Said Raba, “As a reward for what Abraham our forefather said, `[Abraham answered, Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord], I who am but dust and ashes' (Gen. 18:27), his descendants merited two commandments, the ashes of the Red Heifer and the dust given to the sotah-woman.”
B. And why do we not include with them [that on his merit they were given the commandment] to cover the blood with dust? For that there it is valid [to eat the animal even if he does not cover the blood. Accordingly] there is a commandment [to cover it]. But there is no benefit [directly derived from the action].