D. Or perhaps it is only [correct to interpret as follows]: “That creeps” — all [creatures] that reproduce, render unclean. [Creatures] that do not reproduce, do not render unclean. I will exclude from this a mouse, half of which is flesh and half dirt that does not reproduce by breeding.
E. But it is logical [to argue that this is not the case as follows]: [The Torah] declared the weasel unclean and declared the mouse unclean. What is the case regarding the weasel? [The rule applies to] all that are called “weasel.” So too [regarding the] mouse [the rule applies to] all that are called “mouse.” I will include [on this basis] a mouse, half of which is flesh and half dirt.
F. Or you may follow this line of reasoning: What is the case regarding a weasel? It reproduces by breeding. So too [regarding the] mouse [the rule applies to those] that reproduce by breeding. It comes to teach us, “Among the creeping things” [to include in the rule a mouse, half of which is flesh and half dirt].
G. Said one of the rabbis to Raba: You may maintain that, “Among the creeping things” encompasses in the rule a mouse, half of which is flesh and half dirt. “That creeps” [encompasses in the rule] anything that creeps which encompasses in the rule even the mouse of the sea. And if you [argue that I should exclude that] because of [the language] “upon the earth” [I will say that implies that] while it is “on the earth” it renders unclean. When it goes down to the sea it does not render unclean.
H. He [Raba] said to him, “After you depict the sea as a place of uncleanness [since the sea mouse is unclean], what difference does it make to me if [a creature] is here [on land] or there [in the sea]? [It should render unclean in any instance!] And we need this [language] `upon the earth' to exclude [from the rule the case of] doubt about uncleanness [caused by a creeping thing] that is floating [in the sea].”
I. For said R. Yitzhak bar Abdimi, “`Upon the earth' excludes [from the rule the case of] doubt about uncleanness [caused by a creeping thing] that is floating [in the sea].”
J. [The rabbi could respond to Raba]: “On the earth” is written twice [i.e., and could be used once to teach your exclusion and once to teach mine. Cf. Lev. 11:29 and 11:41: “Every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth is an abomination; it shall not be eaten.”]
A. Our rabbis taught on Tannaite authority: “[And these are unclean to you among the swarming things that swarm upon the earth: the weasel, the mouse,] the great lizard according to its kind” (Lev. 11:29) — this includes in the rule the watersnake, the skink, and the salamander (Cashdan, citing Lewysohn).”
B. And when R. Aqiba reached this verse he used to say, “`O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures' (Ps. 104:24). You have creatures that grow in the sea and you have creatures that grow on the dry land. Those that are in the sea, if they ever come up on dry land they immediately die. And those that are on dry land, if they ever go down into the sea they immediately die. You have creatures that grow in the fire and creatures that grow in the air. Those that are in the fire, if they ever go out to the air they immediately die. Those that are in the air, if they ever go down to the fire they immediately die. `O Lord, how manifold are thy works!'”
A. Our rabbis taught on Tannaite authority: Every [kind of creature] that there is on dry land, there is in the sea except for the weasel. Said R. Zira, “What scriptural basis is there for this? `Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world (hld)' (Ps. 49:1).” [The similarity of the words for world and weasel (hld) suggests that the creature lives only on dry land.]
B. Said R. Huna the son of R. Joshua, “The beavers of Naresh do not make their habitat in the settlement [i.e., on land].”
C. Said R. Pappa, “A ban is in effect for [products from] Naresh — its fat, its hide and its tails.”
D. “O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord!” (Jer. 22:29). Said R. Pappa, “The residents of Naresh were not able to hear the word of the Lord.”
E. Said R. Giddal, said Rab, “If a Nareshite kissed you, count your teeth. If a person from Nehar Peqod comes along with you, it is on account of the fine cloak he sees you wearing [that he wants to steal from you]. If a person from Pumbedita comes along with you, change your accommodations [before he steals from you].”
F. Said R. Huna bar Torta, “One time I went to Wa`ad and I saw a snake coiled around a great lizard [crossbreeding]. After some days a watersnake came forth from them. And when I came before R. Simeon the Pious, he said to me, `The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “They brought a creature that I did not create into my world [by crossbreeding]. Hence I will bring upon them that creature that I did not create in my world. [The watersnake is poisonous and a danger to them.]”'”
G. But lo did not the master say, “All creatures whose copulation and gestation are identical may breed with one another. And all creatures whose copulation and gestation are not identical may not breed with one another.” [Cashdan: the gestation periods of the two creatures differed so they should not have been able to breed.]
H. Said Rab, “It was a miracle in a miracle [that they were able to crossbreed].”
I. But this was a punishment [for the people. How can you call it a miracle?] What then does it mean when you say, “A miracle in a miracle”? It means it was for punishment [that the miracle happened].
I.1 discusses the sources in scripture for the first rule of the M.-passage. II.1 provides a gloss to M.'s rule of Joshua b. Levi and considers its application to the rules of M. Unit III.1 defines the category “mouse” of the M.-passage based on logic and on scripture. IV.1 presents secondary materials independent of the M.-passage. IV.2 gives us an assortment of second-level issues regarding creeping creatures.
A. The dangling limb and flesh in the case of cattle impart food uncleanness [when they are] in their place [attached].
B. And they require preparation [i.e., wetting down, to receive uncleanness].
C. [127b] “[If] the cattle is slaughtered, they are deemed prepared through its blood [to receive uncleanness],” the words of R. Meir.
D. And R. Simeon says, “They are not deemed prepared [to receive uncleanness, since the act of slaughter, not blood, renders meat susceptible, and these are unaffected by slaughter (M. 2:5)].”
E. “[If] the cattle died,
F. “the flesh requires preparation [to receive uncleanness].
G. “The limb imparts uncleanness as a limb cut from a living beast, and it does not impart uncleanness as a limb of carrion,” the words of R. Meir.
H. And R. Simeon declares clean.
A. [According to the passage, a dangling limb is subject to] uncleanness of foods, yes. Uncleanness of carrion, no. [Why not?]
B. What are the circumstances? If they will form a scab and heal up [if put back], then they should not even be subject to food uncleanness. And if they will not form a scab and heal up, then they should be subject to the uncleanness of carrion.
C. Invariably [the case is that] they will not form a scab and heal up. And the [rule for] the uncleanness of carrion is special. For the Torah stated, “And if any part of their carcass falls upon [any seed for sowing that is to be sown, it is clean]” (Lev. 11:37) — [it is not subject to the uncleanness of carrion] until it falls off [the animal].
D. There is another Tannaite tradition in accord with this rule: The limb and flesh that are dangling from an animal and are connected with a skin the breadth of a strand of hair — you might infer that they are subject to the uncleanness of carrion. It comes to teach, “And if any part of their carcass falls upon [any seed for sowing that is to be sown, it is clean]” (Lev. 11:37) — [it is not subject to the uncleanness of carrion] until it falls off [the animal].
E. And even so they are subject to food uncleanness.
F. And this supports to view of R. Hiyya bar Ashi. For said R. Hiyya bar Ashi, said Samuel, “Figs that dried out on their branches are subject to the uncleanness of foods. But one who plucks them off on the Sabbath is liable to bring a sin-offering.”
G. Let us say this supports his view: Vegetables that dried up in their roots, such as, the carob and the gourd that dried up in their roots [while still attached to the ground-root], do not receive uncleanness as food. [If] one gathered them in, and they then dried out, they do (not) receive uncleanness as food [T. Uqsin 2:11].
H. [If] one gathered them in, and they then dried out — can you conclude that this is the case? They would have the status of ordinary wood [and not be considered food at all]!
I. And said R. Yitzhak, “[The case is one where he gathered them] so as to dry them.” [But they are not yet dried out.]
J. The basis [for this caveat is] that carobs and gourds, as soon as you dry them out, they are no longer edible. Lo, other produce is subject to uncleanness [after it is dried out]. What are the circumstances? If they themselves dried out and their stems [also dried out], it is obvious [that they are subject to food uncleanness and considered plucked with regard to the Sabbath prohibition].
K. Rather it is the case that [they dried out but] their stems did not. [No.] Invariably they themselves dried out and their stems [also dried out]. And [for the rule for where] he gathered them in order to dry them out it was necessary to teach [that in this case they are subject to food uncleanness].
L. Come and take note: A tree whose limb broke off and on it were fruits, lo they are like plucked fruits. If they dried out, lo they are like fruit that is attached. Is it not the case that just as [in the former case] they are deemed plucked in all respects, so too [in the latter case] they are deemed attached in all respects [contrary to Samuel at F]? Is this a basis on which to specify that conclusion? [We must explain] this one [case of a broken limb] as it stands on its merits and this one [case of dried attached produce] as it stands on its merits [and in accord with the view of Samuel].
A. “[If] the cattle is slaughtered, they are deemed prepared through its blood [to receive uncleanness],” the words of R. Meir. And R. Simeon says, “They are not deemed prepared [to receive uncleanness]” [M. 9:7 C-D]. Concerning what principle do they dispute? Said Rabbah, “They dispute concerning the principle of whether the animal becomes a handle to the limb. One master [Meir] reasons in accord with the view that the animal does not become a handle to the limb. And the other master [Simeon] reasons in accord with the view that the animal does become a handle to the limb.”
B. Abayye said, “They dispute concerning the principle of whether [the parts have the same status even where] one may take hold of the smaller section and the larger section does not come along with it. One master [Meir] reasons in accord with the view that where one may take hold of the smaller section and the larger section does not come along with it, but lo it has the same status. And the other master [Simeon] reasons in accord with the view that it does not have the same status.”
C. And even R. Yohanan reasons in accord with the view that they dispute concerning the principle of whether [the parts have the same status even where] one may take hold of the smaller section and the larger section does not come along with it. But R. Yohanan raised a contradiction between one view of R. Meir and another view of R. Meir. Does R. Meir [in fact] say that where one may take hold of the smaller section and the larger section does not come along with it, but lo it has the same status?