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Mishnayos Oholos Perek 1 Mishnah 6

אהלות פרק א׳ משנה ו׳


A person does not defile [as a corpse] until he dies. Even he is cut up or even if he is about to die, he [still] makes levirate marriage obligatory and exempts from levirate marriage, he feeds [his mother] terumah and disqualifies [his mother] from eating terumah. Similarly in the case of cattle or wild animals, they do not defile until they die. If their heads have been cut off, even though they are moving convulsively, they are unclean, like a lizard's tail, which moves convulsively.

אָדָם אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא, עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא נַפְשׁוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ מְגֻיָּד, וַאֲפִלּוּ גוֹסֵס. זוֹקֵק לַיִּבּוּם וּפוֹטֵר מִן הַיִּבּוּם, מַאֲכִיל בַּתְּרוּמָה וּפוֹסֵל בַּתְּרוּמָה. וְכֵן בְּהֵמָה וְחַיָּה אֵינָן מְטַמְּאִין, עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא נַפְשָׁם. הֻתְּזוּ רָאשֵׁיהֶם, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּפַרְכְּסִים, טְמֵאִים, כְּגוֹן זָנָב שֶׁל לְטָאָה שֶׁהִיא מְפַרְכָּסֶת:


עד שתצא נפשו – as it is written (Numbers 19:13): “Whoever touches a corpse, the body of a person who has died, [and he does not purify himself, defiles the LORD’s Tabernacle; that person shall be cut off from Israel. Since the water of lustration was not dashed on him, he remains impure; his impurity is still upon him],” that Scripture comes to teach that a person does not defile until he dies.

מגוייד (he who had his arteries opened, bled to death) – cut piecemeal, the language of (Daniel 4:11): “Hew down the tree.”

זוקק ליבום – all the while that he is rapidly passing away/lying on his deathbed, his sister-in-law (i.e., widow of his brother who died without issue) is forbidden to get married

ופוטר מן היבום – if he (i.e., the brother-in-law) died, and he left a son who is rapidly passing away. His wife is exempt from Halitzah/the ceremony that frees the widow of a man who died without children from the obligation to marry one of her deceased husband’s brothers and allows her to remarry [through the removal of a special sandal from the foot of one of her deceased husband’s brothers].

ומאכיל תרומה – if the mother of his mother is an Israelite who was married to a Kohen (see also Mishnah Tractate Yevamot, Chapter 9, Mishnah 5).

ופוסל – he invalidates his mother from [partaking of] the heave-offering/priest’s due if she is the daughter of a Kohen married to an Israelite.

וכן בהמה וחיה אין מטמאין- the ritual impurity imparted by an unslaughtered carcass, until their souls depart

כזנב הלטאה (like the tail of a species of lizard) – meaning to say, what is this spasmatic movement (jerking motion) similar to? To the tail of a species of lizard.

עד שתצא נפשו. דכתיב (במדבר י״ט:י״ג) כל הנוגע במת בנפש האדם אשר ימות. למדך הכתוב שאינו מטמא עד שימות:

מגויד. מחותך. לשון גודו אילנא (דניאל ד׳):

זוקק ליבום. כל זמן שהוא גוסס יבמתו אסורה להנשא:

ופוטר מן היבום. אם מת והניח בן גוסס, אשתו פטורה מן החליצה ומן היבום:

ומאכיל בתרומה. את אמו, אם היא בת ישראל שנישאת לכהן:

ופוסל. את אמו מן התרומה, אם בת כהן לישראל היא:

וכן בהמה וחיה אין מטמאין. טומאת נבילות, עד שתצא נפשם:

כזנב הלטאה. כלומר למה פרכוס זה דומה, לזנב הלטאה: