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Nidah 54

    • Question: The Mishnah rules that Nidah blood and the flesh of a Mes are Metamei whether they are still moist or dried out. Zov, various forms of saliva, Sheretz, Neveilah and Shichvas Zera are only Metamei if they are still moist. The Mishnah concludes that if one of these became re-hydrated after having been soaked in lukewarm water for a period of 24 hours, then they are not considered dried out and they are also Metamei. The Gemara questions, what is the source for that which we have learned in a Mishnah, "If a woman aborted a scablike piece of dry blood... if it will dissolve in water it is Metamei."

      Based on our Mishnah's maxim that anything which dissolves in water is considered a liquid, it is obvious that this should be Metamei. What is the Gemara's question as to why it should be Tamei?

    • Answer:
      1. TOSFOS (Zevachim 79b DH Af b'Rotbo) discusses a similar case and suggests that the Mishnah quoted by our Gemara is referring to a case where the objects are so dry, that they only re-hydrate after more than 24 hours. This is clearly not in keeping with our Mishnah that only considers a dry object to Halachically be considered moist if it can re-hydrate within 24 hours.

      2. The RAN (Chiddushim) explains that the rule of our Mishnah that an object which re-hydrates within 24 hours is considered moist only applies to a Neveilah and a Sheretz. It does not apply to Zov, the various forms of saliva and Shichvas Zera. The Mishnah cited by our Gemara is referring to dried blood, which we do not consider to be a liquid if it re-hydrates after soaking.

      3. The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Tumas Mishkav u'Moshav 2:1) rules that we only allow 24 hours for re-hydration in the case of Sheretz and Neveilah. His words imply that all substances are to be considered liquids if they re-hydrate, but with the following difference: Sheretz and Neveilah are given 24 hours to re-hydrate. The other substances are give only a shorter period. Thus the Mishnah cited by the Gemara might be referring to a situation where the dried blood dissolved in water within 24 hours, but only after its allotted times.

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