The reference numbers below that appear in parentheses (e.g., TY #43) represent vessels or parts of the structure of the Beis ha'Mikdash. The labeling follows that of the diagram of the Tiferes Yisrael. This diagram, which has been included in a separate mailing and can also be found on our site (at, is printed both in the Tiferes Yisrael Mishnayos (Midos Chapter 2 or following Midos) and in Rav P. Kahati's Mishnayos (page 290, at the beginning of Midos).

[44a - 54 lines; 44b - 50 lines]

1)[line 1] MES TOFES ARBA AMOS L'TUMAH- lit. a dead body grabs the four surrounding Amos for Tum'ah; i.e., one who comes within four Amos of a Mes becomes Tamei [mid'Rabanan]

2)[line 1] TANA TUNA- [this ruling] was taught by a Tana [in a Mishnah (Ohalos 15:8) as well]

3)[line 2] CHATZER HA'KEVER- the courtyard of a grave. In the times of the Gemara, the dead were interred in graves set into the sides of subterranean caverns. First, a pit was dug in the ground. The caverns were then hollowed out from the sides of the pit. The central pit, which was open to the sky, is the "courtyard" referred to in our Gemara.

4)[line 3] ARBA AMOS- four [square] Amos [so that it is of a significant enough size to be considered an area separate from the burial cavern]


(a)The Talmud uses the following standards for measuring distance:

1.3 Parsa'os = 24,000 Amos = 90 Ris = 12 Mil

2.1 Parsah = 8,000 Amos = 30 Ris = 4 Mil

3.1 Mil = 2,000 Amos = 7.5 Ris

4.1 Ris (or Rus) = 266.66 Amos

5.1 Amah = 2 Zerasos = 6 Tefachim

6.1 Zeres = 3 Tefachim

7.1 Tefach = 4 Etzba'os

(b)In modern-day units, the Etzba is approximately 2 cm (.8 in.) or 2.4 cm (.94 in.), depending upon the differing Halachic opinions (see Insights to Pesachim 109). Thus, four Amos are approximately equal to 1.92 meters (6' 3.5") or 2.3 meters (7.5 ft.), and four Tefachim are approximately equal to 32 cm (12.6 in.) or 38.4 cm (15.1 in.).

6a)[line 5] PISCHAH MIL'MALA- the opening [of the pit] is above; i.e., the only way in and out of the courtyard is to climb up or down vertically

b)[line 5] PISCHAH MIN HA'TZAD- the opening [of the pit] is from the side; i.e., there is a gradual incline into the courtyard from one side

7)[line 6] ?KELAPEI LAYA?- which way [is this going]? [Just the opposite would appear to be more logical!]

8)[line 7] MIDRID V'NAFIK- he goes out easily

9)[line 8] IY EFSHAR D'LO MA'AHIL - it would be impossible for him not to become Tamei b'Ohel (OHEL L'TU'MAH)

(a)When at least a k'Zayis of a dead body or the bones of a Mes are in a covered area which is at least one Tefach in length, width and height (such as in a room of a house), the Ohel (lit. tent) causes all (Jewish) people, vessels, and food which has been Huchshar l'Kabel Tum'ah (see Background to Eruvin 83:1) below it to become Tamei, while at the same time preventing anything above it from becoming Tamei. That is, an Ohel is Mevi Es ha'Tum'ah (spreads the Tum'ah underneath it) and is Chotzetz bi'Fnei ha'Tum'ah (intervenes between the Tum'ah and the space above the Ohel).

(b)In order for bones of a dead body to be Metamei b'Ohel, they must meet at least one of the following three conditions:

1.They constitute a quarter of a Kav (Rova ha'Kav);

2.They are the majority of the human body (this condition is fulfilled whether they are the majority of the build [Rov Binyano] of a body or whether they are the majority of the number [Rov Minyano] of the 248 bones of a body);

3.The bone is either a complete skull or a complete spinal column. This is in contrast to the minimum requirement for a bone to be Metamei through Maga (touching) or Masa (carrying); for these Tum'os it is enough for the bone to be the size of a Se'orah (a grain of barley).

(c)In an Ohel ha'Mes, people, vessels, or food in the Ohel become Tamei even if the Mes only passes through without stopping. One who enters an Ohel ha'Mes becomes Tamei even if only part of his body enters the Ohel, and even if he enters backwards. A Mechitzah (partition) in an Ohel ha'Mes only prevents the spread of Tum'ah if it reaches the ceiling. (RASH to Kelim 1:4)

(d)Our Gemara contends that if one were to clamber out of a courtyard of a grave area that is only four Tefachim square, he could not help but place part of his body on the side of the top so as to facilitate climbing out. This would cause him to become Tamei through the Tum'as Ohel of those bodies buried in the walls of the burial cavern on the side of the courtyard.

10)[line 10] V'HANEI MILEI- (our Gemara now explains the proof from this Mishnah:) this [that one can remain Tahor even when within four Amos of a Mes] is true

11)[line 10] MESAIMA MECHITZASA- its boundaries are delineated; i.e., it is a clearly different area than that in which the Mes is located

12)[line 12] ERAS ISHAH- The basis for this Derashah is that which the Verse does not state, "Asher Ishah Eras" (TOSFOS YOM TOV; see RASHASH).

13)[line 20]"[ , , ' ] [ ; ']""[V'YASFU HA'SHOTERIM L'DABER EL HA'AM, V'AMRU, 'MI HA'ISH] HA'YAREI V'RACH HA'LEVAV [YELECH V'YASHOV L'VEISO; V'LO YIMAS ES LEVAV ECHAV KI'LVAVO']"- "[And the enforcers continued to speak to the nation, and they said, 'That man] who is fearful and faint of heart [should go and return to his house, lest he weaken the hearts of his brothers (to be) like his heart']" (Devarim 20:8).

14)[line 23] EINO CHAYAV- he is not liable [to receive lashes (see below, entry #16) for transgressing the prohibition forbidding his marriage]

15a)[line 23] " "?MAH TA'AM "LO YIKACH"?- Why [does the Torah state, "A widow, a divorcee, a Chalalah (see Background to Yevamos 84:11) and a prostitute, these] he should not marry..." (Vayikra 21:14)?

b)[line 24] " "MISHUM "LO YECHALEL"- because [it wishes him to avoid the prohibition of] "He shall not invalidate [his seed among his people...]" [which occurs only when he has relations] (Vayikra 21:15).

16)[line 24]LOKEH - he receives lashes (MALKUS ARBA'IM)

(a)One is liable to receive Malkus Arba'im (lit. forty lashes; actually thirty-nine) if he transgresses a Lav (negative Torah commandment) after having been warned that this would be his punishment by at least two witnesses (Devarim 25:2). These lashes may only be administered in Eretz Yisrael by a court of three judges who are Semuchin (Halachically ordained).

(b)Malkus are delivered three at a time. The court first determines how many lashes the culprit is able to withstand. He is then instructed to stand against a post and his clothes are ripped to reveal his heart. Beis Din chooses a weak Torah scholar to stand behind him upon a rock and deliver the blows. One third land upon his chest, one third upon his shoulder, and the remaining third upon his other shoulder (Makos 22b).

(c)Before each blow, the deputy judge announces the number of the lash and a third judge proclaims "Hakehu!" "Whip him!" During the whipping, the senior judge reads aloud the verse, "If you do not carefully perform all the commandments in this Torah... then HaSh-m will cause you to receive extraordinary blows..." (Devarim 28:58-59).

17)[line 28]" , ; ""HACHEN BA'CHUTZ MELACHTECHA, V'ATEDAH BA'SADEH LACH; ACHAR, U'VANISA VEISECHA"- "Prepare your work outside, and stand it up for yourself in the field; afterward, build your house" (Mishlei 24:27). The MAHARSHA renders the middle phrase to mean, "and prepare it for yourself in the field."

18)[line 32]MIKRA- [the study of] Chumash

19)[line 33]'GEMARA- [the study of] the reasoning and explanation behind the words of the Mishnayos so as to reach Halachically correct conclusions

20)[line 35] MA'ASIM TOVIM- good deeds; i.e., Mitzvos and not Aveiros (MAHARSHA)

21)[line 39] DEROSH V'KABEL SECHAR- lit. deduce and receive reward; i.e., relearn what you earlier learned quickly (Bekiyus) more in-depth (b'Iyun) (MAHARSHA).

22)[line 40] IM HOSIF BO DIMUS ECHAD, CHOZER- (according to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah in the Mishnah that one is not exempt from war if he rebuilt his house on its old foundation,) if he added a single row of stones [to either the height or the width of his rebuilt house], he returns

23)[line 43] MECHADSHIN OSO PA'AMAYIM B'SHAVU'A- it must be rebuilt twice in a seven-year Shemitah cycle [due to the instability of the ground]

24)[line 43]"[ ] , [ , ...]""[KI YIKACH ISH] ISHAH CHADASHAH, [LO YETZEI BA'TZAVA, V'LO YA'AVOR ALAV L'CHOL DAVAR...]"- "[When a man betroths] a new wife, [he should not go out to the army, nor may (the army) pass upon him any decree...]" (Devarim 24:5).

25)[line 44] ISHAH CHADASHAH- a virgin bride

26)[line 49]" ...""V'YASFU HA'SHOTERIM..."- see above, entry #13

27)[line 50] KISHREI HA'MILCHAMAH- the [tightly packed] ranks [of soldiers] in battle

28)[line 50] CHEREV SHELUFAH- a drawn sword

29)[line 51] TALSAH LO HA'TORAH ES KOL ELU SHE'YACHZOR BI'GELALAN- The Torah gave all of these [other reasons to return (a new house, vineyard, or wife)] so that others will assume that he is returning due to them

30)[line 53]" , ""V'HAYAH K'CHALOS HA'SHOTERIM L'DABER EL HA'AM, U'FAKDU SAREI TZEVA'OS B'ROSH HA'AM"- "And it will be when the enforcers finish speaking to the nation that officers will be appointed (to stand) at the head of the nation" (Devarim 20:9).

31)[line 53] UV'AKEIVO SHEL AM- (the Mishnah now adds) and behind the nation [officers are also appointed]

32)[line 53]ZAKIFIN- officers [appointed] to raise [those who fall and raise the spirits of those who remain fighting]

33)[last line] KASHILIN SHEL BARZEL- a) iron spears (RASHI); b) iron axes (TARGUM to Yirmeyahu 46:22; RASHI to Tehilim 74:6)

34)[last line] KOL HA'MEVAKESH LA'CHZOR- any who attempted to flee [the battle]

35)[last line] HA'RESHUS B'YADO L'KAPE'ACH ES SHOKAV- the officer was permitted to cut him off at the thigh


36)[line 1] TECHILAS NISAH NEFILAH- the beginning of flight is defeat [and he is therefore endangering the lives of those who remain (HE'AROS B'MESECHES SOTAH)]

37)[line 4]CHALALIM- dead bodies

38)[line 4]"?BA'MEH DEVARIM AMURIM?- when is it true [that the aforementioned are exempt from fighting]?

39)[line 10] AVEIRA D'RABANAN- a Rabbinic transgression (as opposed to the forbidden marriages delineated by Rebbi Yosi ha'Gelili, which are d'Oraisa; see Insights)

40)[line 11] SACH BEIN TEFILAH L'TEFILAH- if one spoke in between putting on his Tefilin Shel Yad and Tefilin Shel Rosh

41)[line 13] ORCHEI HA'MILCHAMAH- the ranks of war

42)[line 14]KERANOS- war horns

43)[line 15]HIRTI'A- he began [visibly] trembling

44)[line 15] HAGAFAS TERISIN- the sound of shields struck against one another (in order to intimidate the enemy)

45)[line 15] TZICHTZU'AH CHARAVOS- the clashing of swords

46)[line 16] MAYIM SHOSESIN LO AL BIRKAV- urine drips on his knees

47)[line 19]" ...""... V'LO YIMAS ES LEVAV ECHAV KI'LVAVO"- see above, entry #13

48)[line 24] RESHUS D'RABANAN ZU HI MITZVAH D'REBBI YEHUDAH- that [war] which the Rabanan (i.e., the first opinion expressed in the Mishnah) referred to as "Reshus" is the same as that which Rebbi Yehudah referred to as "Mitzvah"

49)[line 25] AMAR RAVA- Rava comes to explain that according to Rebbi Yochanan there is not only a semantic but a practical difference between the opinions of the Rabanan and Rebbi Yehudah.

50a)[line 26] MILCHAMOS YEHOSHUA L'CHABESH- those wars [led] by Yehoshua to conquer [Eretz Yisrael]

b)[line 26] DIVREI HA'KOL CHOVAH- everyone agrees that they are obligatory [and a groom must leave his wedding to go and fight] (and this is the type of war described by the Rabanan as "Mitzvah" and by Rebbi Yehudah as "Chovah")

51a)[line 27] MILCHAMOS BEIS DAVID LI'REVACHAH- those wars [led] by King David to expand [to borders of Eretz Yisrael]

b)[line 26] DIVREI HA'KOL RESHUS- everyone agrees that they are voluntary [and one who participates is not exempted from other Mitzvos, as the Gemara soon explains] (and this type of war is not discussed in our Mishnah)

52)[line 28] D'LO LEISI ALAIHU- that they should not come upon them [in an attack]

53)[line 30] OSEK B'MITZVAH PATUR MIN HA'MITZVAH - One Who is involved with a Mitzvah is Exempt from Another

One involved in the fulfillment of a Mitzvah need not concern himself with the fulfillment of a second Mitzvah if doing so will delay the fulfillment of the first (Sukah 25a). See Insights to Berachos 11a for further elaboration of this concept.


54)[line 32] EGLAH ARUFAH - The Decapitated Calf

(a)If a Jew is found murdered in a field in Eretz Yisrael and his killer is unknown, the Torah requires an Eglah Arufah to atone for his death (Devarim 21:1).

(b)First, five elders from the Beis Din of the Lishkas ha'Gazis (the supreme court which sat in the Beis ha'Mikdash) measure the distances between the body and the cities nearest to it in order to determine which of them is the closest.

(c)The elders of that city then bring a female calf that has never been made to perform any work to a Nachal Eisan (a swiftly flowing stream - RAMBAM Hilchos Rotze'ach 9:2; a valley with infertile soil - RASHI). They strike the back of its neck with a cleaver (Arifah), sundering its spinal column, gullet, and windpipe. No benefit may be derived from the dead calf.

(d)The elders then wash their hands and state, "Our hands did not spill this blood, nor did our eyes see [the murder]" (Devarim 21:7). This proclamation carries with it the assertion that the dead man had not been sent from their city without provisions for his journey or proper accompaniment. The Kohanim present then beseech, "Atone for Your people Yisrael whom You have redeemed, HaSh-m, and do not place [the guilt for] innocent blood in the midst of Your people Yisrael" (ibid. 21:8). Following the procedure of the Eglah Arufah, HaSh-m forgives his nation for the innocent blood that had been spilled.

(e)Our Mishnah teaches that the statements of the Beis Din and Kohanim must be uttered in Lashon ha'Kodesh.

55)[line 34] BEIS DIN HA'GADOL SHEB'YERUSHALAYIM- the Great Court who sat in Yerushalayim in the Lishkas ha'Gazis (The Chamber of Hewn Stone, TY #27). Consisting of seventy-one judges, the Sanhedrin ha'Gadol (Jewish Supreme Court) was the highest Halachic authority before which the most difficult cases were brought (Devarim 17:8).

56)[line 37]SHAKUL- even-numbered [which could lead to a hung decision]

57)[line 37] TAMUN B'GAL- hidden underneath rubble

58)[line 38]TZAF- floating

59)[line 40]SEFAR- the border [of Eretz Yisrael]

60)[line 40]MODEDIN- measure

61)[line 41] ?MAI KA'AMAR?- What did [the Mishnah] mean [when it offered a proof that the statements made regarding an Eglah Arufah must be uttered in Lashon ha'Kodesh]?

62)[line 41] HACHI KA'AMAR- This is the equivalent of "Chisurei Mechasra v'Hachi ka'Tani"; the Gemara is adding words into our Mishnah (see RASHI to 3b DH Hachi Nami ka'Amar).

63)[line 41]" , [' () , ']""V'ANU V'AMRU, ['YADEINU LO SHAFCHU ES HA'DAM HA'ZEH, V'EINEINU LO RA'U']"- "And they answer and say, ['Our hands did not spill this blood, nor did our eyes see (the murder)']" (Devarim 21:7).

64)[line 41] UL'HALAN HU OMER - and elsewhere, it states... (GEZEIRAH SHAVAH)

(a)In a Beraisa found in the introduction to the Sifra (the Halachic Midrash on Vayikra), Rebbi Yishmael lists the thirteen methodologies employed by Chazal when determining Halachah from the verses of the Torah. One of these is Gezeirah Shavah, in which two identical words (or two words that share the same root) that appear in two different sections of the Torah reveal that the Halachos applicable to one section apply to the other and vice versa.

(b)One may apply a Gezeirah Shavah only if he has received a tradition from his teachers that such a connection between the two words exists. Once the connection is established, however, then one may derive Halachos that were not specified in the tradition.

(c)A Gezeirah Shavah is unlimited; one may not pick and choose which Halachos he would like to apply. This facet of a Gezeirah Shavah is termed "Ein Gezeirah Shavah l'Mechetzah." This rule is waived in the case of an explicit teaching that precludes the application of a specific Halachah.

(d)There are three possible configurations for a Gezeirah Shavah:

1.MUFNEH MI'SHNEI TZEDADIM - If both words are seemingly unnecessary and are not used in the derivation of any other teaching, then all of the rules described above apply.

2.MUFNEH MI'TZAD ECHAD - If the word in only one of the sections is available, some maintain that such a Gezeirah Shavah is no more limited than one that is Mufneh mi'Shnei Tzedadim. Others rule that Halachos may be derived from such a Gezeirah Shavah only if there is no argument against them. This status is known as "Lemedin u'Meshivin."

3.EINO MUFNEH KOL IKAR - If neither word is free, then those opinions who maintain that a Gezeirah Shavah that is Mufneh mi'Tzad Echad is unlimited grant such a Gezeirah Shavah the status of Lemedin u'Meshivin. Those who applied Lemedin u'Meshivin to a Gezeirah Shavah that is Mufneh mi'Shnei Tzedadim rule that this one may not be used to determine any Halachos whatsoever.

65)[line 42]" [ , ]""V'ANU HA'LEVIYIM V'AMRU [EL KOL ISH YISRAEL, KOL RAM]"- "And the Leviyim answered and said [to every man in Yisrael, in loud voice]" (Devarim 27:14).

66)[line 42] MAI ANIYAH HA'AMURAH L'KAMAN LASHON HA'KODESH- The source for that which the Leviyim spoke in Lashon ha'Kodesh is the subject of a dispute between the Rabanan and Rebbi Yehudah; see 33a-b.

67)[line 46] MEYUCHADIM SHEB'SHOFTECHA- those unique among your judges; i.e., those sitting on the Sanhedrin ha'Gadol

68)[line 47] ZIKNEI HA'SHUK- elders in the marketplace [who are not judges]

69)[line 48] SANHEDREI KETANAH- a court of twenty-three judges (which is the minimum number necessary to judge capital cases)

70)[line 49] "" ""GAMAR "ZIKNEI" "ZIKNEI"- see above, entry #64

71)[line 49] ZIKNEI HA'EDAH - the elders of the nation [offer a Chatas for their mistaken ruling] (PAR HE'ELEM DAVAR SHEL TZIBUR)

(a)If the Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court) erroneously permits a transgression that is punishable by Kares (see Background to Yevamos 3:27), and those in Eretz Yisrael either the majority of Klal Yisrael or most of the Shevatim act upon their ruling, then the Sanhedrin must offer a Par He'elem Davar to atone for the nation. This Korban consists of twelve bulls offered as Korbenos Chatas (see Background to Yevamos 81:35), one on behalf of each tribe. If the sin committed was that of idolatry, then the Korban differs and is termed Se'irei Avodas Kochavim (see Background to Yoma 57:9).

(b)After their slaughter, the blood of each bull is sprinkled seven times in the Heichal toward the Paroches. It is then applied to the Keranos (raised corners) of the Mizbe'ach ha'Ketores. The Sheyarei ha'Dam (remainder of the blood) is poured on the western Yesod (base) of the Mizbe'ach, while the Emurim (innards and certain fats) are burned on the Mizbe'ach ha'Chitzon.

(c)The flesh and remaining parts of the bulls are burned outside of Yerushalayim (Vayikra 4:3-21, Bamidbar 15:22-26). The clothing of those who carry the carcasses out of the Azarah become Tamei. (According to Rebbi Shimon [Yoma 67b], those involved with burning the Paros are also Metamei Begadim.)

72)[last line] KULAH MILSA- the entire thing; i.e., even that which five judges are necessary according to his own opinion (Sanhedrin 14a)

73)[last line]" () VA"V (V'SHOFTECHA) L'MINYANA- [indeed Rebbi Yehudah does not apply a Gezeirah Shavah here, and] the [seemingly extraneous letter] Vav teaches [that an additional] two [judges were required]