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Chukat

  
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 19:14
 19:15
19:14 When a man dies in a tent, this is the law: Everything that comes into the tent or was [originally] in the tent shall be unclean for seven days.
Zot hatorah adam ki-yamut be'ohel kol-haba el-ha'ohel vechol-asher ba'ohel yitma shiv'at yamim.
19:15 Every open vessel that does not have an airtight seal shall be unclean.
Vechol kli fatuach asher eyn-tsamid patil alav tame hu.



Commentary:

man
  Only an Israelite. Although even a gentile defiles on contact, only an Israelite can defile the entire tent or house (Yad, Tumath Meth 1:13; see Numbers 19:11).

vessel
  Only a vessel that cannot become unclean if touched on the outside, and therefore, a clay vessel (Sifri; Yad, Tumath Meth 5:6; see Leviticus 11:33). This rule also applies in the case of vessels that cannot be ritually defiled at all, such as those made of stone or aquatic animals. In such cases, if they are sealed, articles inside them do not become unclean (Kelim 10:1; Yad, Tumath Meth 21:1).

airtight
  (See Yad, Tumath Meth 22:9). This seems to be required by the law (cf. Ohaloth 10:2,4; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Tzamid in Hebrew, denoting a bracelet and an airtight seal. In general, tzamad denotes tight attachment (Numbers 25:3, 2 Samuel 20:8, Psalms 50:19), and hence, tzamid denotes something that is tightly attached (Saadia, Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Janach; Bertenoro on Kelim 10:2; Eliahu Rabbah, Kelim 9:7; Adereth Eliahu). Some say that it denotes something that is sealed tightly to something else, such as when two things are melted together (Rashi, Sanhedrin 64a, s.v. HaNitzmadim; Rash, Kelim 10:2; Yad, Tumath Meth 22:8; cf. Bava Kama 105a). According to others, it denotes 'tight' (Rashi, Chullin 25a, s.v. Hah Yash). Some sources, however, indicate that a tzamid is a cap or stopper (Sifri; Septuagint).

seal
  (Rashi; Ibn Janach; Rambam on Kelim 10:2). Pethil in Hebrew, which denotes a thread or a cap (cf. Genesis 38:18, Exodus 28:37). Or, 'tight' (Rosh, Kelim 10:2); 'stopper' (Rashi, Chullin 25a, s.v. Pethil); 'all around it' (Sifri; Saadia); 'bound to it' (Septuagint); or 'cloth' (Radak, Sherashim; but see Kelim 10:4).

Tzamid Pethil can thus denote 'a tight cover,' 'a tight stopper,' 'a sealed-on cover,' 'a seal all around it,' 'a covering bound on it,' 'a cloth attached to it,' or, as we have it, 'an airtight seal.'

If a clay vessel has a tzamid pethil on it, it does not become defiled if it is in the same tent or house as a corpse. Moreover, anything inside it also does not become defiled.





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