A. When R. Dimi came [from Israel to Babylonia] he said, “[On account of not washing with] water — the first time, they fed swine's flesh [to a person. Rashi: A storekeeper would sell properly slaughtered to Jews and cook it for them and feed it to them. But if a Gentile came into his store he would feed him carrion. One time a Jew came to eat and did not wash before eating. The storekeeper thought he was a gentile and accordingly fed him swine's flesh.] [On account of not washing] the last time, a woman was taken from her husband. [Rashi: Because a man did not wash after eating, swindlers were able to steal money from his wife. When he found out, according to the story in two versions, he either killed or divorced her (cf. b. Yoma 83b).]
B. When Rabin came [from Israel to Babylonia] he stated [another version of the tradition], “[On account of not washing with water —] the first time, they fed carrion [to a person]. [On account of not washing] the last time, they killed a person.
C. Said R. Nahman bar Yitzhak, “Your mnemonic is: R. Dimi came and divorced her. Rabin came and killed her.”
D. R. Abba taught one from this [first version] and one from this [second version], the harsher of both. [Rashi: From the first, that he ate swine's flesh as that involves two prohibitions. From the second, that he killed her.]
A. It was stated: [Concerning washing the first time before eating with:] Water heated over a fire — Hezekiah said, “They do not wash their hands with it.” And R. Yohanan said, “They do wash their hands with it.”
B. Said R. Yohanan, “I asked Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi who ate [unconsecrated foods] in purity [about this matter]. And he said to me that all the great rabbis of the Galilee did [wash with hot water].
C. [Concerning washing before eating with:] Water from the hot springs of Tiberias — Hezekiah said, “They do not wash their hands with them. But they do dip their hands in it.” And R. Yohanan said, “His whole body he may dip in them. But not his face, hands and feet.”
D. Let us now consider this matter: If he may dip his whole body in them, [then it is logical that] his face, hands and feet most certainly [he may dip].
E. Said R. Pappa, “[Water from a hot springs] in their place of origin, they all agree that it is permitted [to wash or dip in them]. If he took them away [from their origin at the hot springs] in a bucket, they all agree that it is prohibited [to wash with that water]. Over what case did they dispute? Where he diverted [the water] into a trench. One authority holds the view that we do prohibit by decree [washing with water in] a trench on account of [the possibility that he would then wash with water from] a bucket. And the other authority holds the view that we do not prohibit that by decree.”
F. This accords with a Tannaite dispute [as follows]: Concerning water that was rendered unfit for drinking even by cattle — when that is in vessels it is unfit [for use for washing]. [But] when it is in the ground [in a pool] it is fit [for washing]. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says, “Even with that [water] in the ground, he may dip his whole body in it. But not his face, hands and feet.”
G. Let us now consider this matter: If he may dip his whole body in them, [then it is logical that] his face, hands and feet most certainly [he may dip].
H. Rather it must be where he diverted [the water] into a trench. One authority holds the view that we do prohibit by decree [washing with water in] a trench on account of [the possibility that he would then wash with water from] a bucket. And the other authority holds the view that we do not prohibit that by decree.
A. Said R. Idi bar Abin, said R. Yitzhak bar Ashian, “[They instituted the ritual of] washing one's hands for unconsecrated foods to maintain adherence [to the ritual of washing for] heave-offering. And moreover [they instituted it] on account of fulfilling a commandment [mswh].”
B. What is the commandment he fulfills? Said Abayye, “It is a commandment to heed the words of the sages.” Raba said, “It is a commandment to heed the words of R. Eleazar b. Arak.”
C. As it is written: “Any one whom he that has the discharge touches without having rinsed his hands in water [shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening]” (Lev. 15:11). Said R. Eleazar b. Arak, “This serves as a source of proof upon which the sages rest their assertion that the obligation to wash one's hands before eating is based on the authority of the Torah.”
D. Said Raba to R. Nahman, “What is to be derived from what is written, `Without having rinsed his hands in water'? Lo, does that mean that if he rinsed them, they are clean? Lo, he must immerse them [for them to be clean]. Rather here is how you should state the matter: [The way the verse states the matter allows us to suggest that regarding] another person who did not rinse, [his hands] are unclean.
A. Said R. Eleazar, said R. Oshaia, “They only stated [an obligation] to wash one's hands for fruit on account of concern for cleanliness.”
B. You may reason based on this that there is no obligation [to wash hands for fruit]. Lo, there is a commandment [that one fulfills by doing it]. Said Raba to him, “There is no obligation and no commandment. Rather it is optional.”
C. And in this he disputes the view of R. Nahman. For said R. Nahman, “One who washes his hands before eating fruits is just trying to be ostentatious.”
D. Said Rabbah bar bar Hannah, “I was standing before R. Ammi and R. Assi. They brought before them a basket of fruit and they ate from it. And they did not wash their hands [before eating]. And they did not give me any. And each one recited the blessing [after eating] by himself.”
E. We derive from this three [rules]. We derive from this that there is no [obligation] to wash one's hands for fruit [before eating it]. And we derive from this that they do not [designate one person to] invite [the others to recite the blessings after eating] for fruits. And we derive from this that two people who ate together are commanded to separate [to recite the blessings after eating by themselves].
F. There is a Tannaite teaching that accords with this view: Two who ate together have an obligation to separate [and recite the blessings after the meal by themselves]. Under what circumstances? Where the two of them were scribes. But if one was a scribe and the other was a boor, the scribe recites the blessings and the boor fulfills his obligation [through the recitation of the other].
A. It was taught on Tannaite authority: [Concerning the ritual of] washing one's hands for unconsecrated foods, [one must wash them] up to the [second finger] joint. For heave-offering, [106b] [one must wash them] up to the [third finger] joint [Cashdan: the junction of the phalanges and the metacarpus]. [Concerning washing from the laver] for sanctification of the hands and feet in the Temple, [one must wash them] up to the [wrist] joint.
B. And any substance [stuck to the skin] that interposes with regard to immersion of one's body [in a miqveh thus rendering the act invalid], interposes also with regard to the washing of one's hands and the sanctification of one's hands and feet in the Temple.
C. Said Rab, “[One must wash] up to here [the second finger joint] for unconsecrated foods. Up to here [the third finger joint] for heave-offering.” And Samuel said, “Up to here [the third finger joint] for both unconsecrated foods and for heave-offering, according to the more stringent alternative.” And R. Sheshet said, “Up to here [the second finger joint] for both unconsecrated foods and for heave-offering, according to the more lenient alternative.”
D. Said Bar Hadaya, “I was standing before R. Ammi and he said, `Up to here [the third finger joint] for both unconsecrated foods and for heave-offering, according to the more stringent alternative.'”
E. And you cannot maintain that R. Ammi said this because he is a priest. Because lo, R. Meyasha the grandson of R Joshua b. Levi, he was a levite, and he said, “Up to here [the third finger joint] for both unconsecrated foods and for heave-offering, according to the more stringent alternative.”
A. Said Rab, “A person may wash both his hands in the morning and rely on them [that this washing remains effective] the entire day.”