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מסכת כלים

פרק כא משנה ג

N.B.:  The bowsaw of this mishnah was made with a wooden frame shaped like a very wide letter H.  The two upright portions of the H were long wooden handles, and the crossbar of the H was a thin long wooden span that was attached to the center of each of the handles. A thin, flexible, serrated metal saw blade was attached to and ran between the bottoms of the handles, and a cord or band ran between the tops of the handles.  A toggle was attached to the middle of the cord or band and used to twist it in order to adjust its tension, one end of the toggle would rest against the bridge to keep it from unwinding.  A picture can be viewed at this link:

הנוגע ביד מגרה

One who comes into contact with the handle of a bowsaw

מכאן ומכאן

from here and from there (that is, from either handle)


is tamei (if the metal saw blade was tamei, because the handles are each a "yad" for the saw that assist in its functioning, they impart its tumah);

בחוט ובמשיחה

[if one came into contact] with the string  or the band,


with the span,


or with the toggles (apparently the saw of this mishnah used two such toggles),

ובמכבש של חרש

or with a carpenter's press (this was comprised of two boards that were pressed together using a threaded metal rod, it was used to straighten warped lumber and as a vise to hold material fast while work was done; in this case contact was made with the wooden parts of the press when the metal was tamei),


and with the bow-shaped handle of a reamer (the handle was wood, the reamer was metal and tamei in this case)


is tahor (as none of these items was permanently attached to the metal component);

רבי יהודה אומר

Rabbi Yehuda says

אף הנוגע

also one who comes into contact

במלבן של מסר הגדול

with the frame of the large saw (this was a two-man saw with a handle at either end, and to which a large wooden frame was sometimes attached for stability)


is tahor (Rabbi Yehuda held that since the frame was not connected to the saw for smaller jobs, only the handles would be able to convey the blade's tumah).

הנוגע ביתר ובקשת

One who comes into contact with the bowstring or the bow

אף על פי שהיא מתוחה

even though it is stretched (and nocked with an arrow, which due to it's metal arrowhead, is susceptible to tumah)


is tahor.

מצודת האשות

A mole trap (this device had two boards attached to a metal arrow; when triggered it would somehow spear the mole with the arrow)


is tahor (the wooden parts were considered tahor as the metal arrow was frequently removed, such as when it had impaled a mole);

רבי יהודה אומר

Rabbi Yehuda says

כל זמן שהיא מתוחה

so long as it is stretched


it is connected (and can convey the tumah of the arrow; Rabbi Yehuda was of this opinion because when set, the metal arrow was firmly attached to the wooden parts of the trap)


פרק כב משנה א


The table (the table referred to here had three legs, and would have meals served upon it),


and the delphica (a small three-legged table used as a serving piece, akin to a sideboard; sometimes however people would eat directly off if it)


that were damaged (reducing their usable surface area),

או שחפן בשיש

or one covered them in marble,

ושיר בהן

and there was left in them

מקום הנחת הכוסות

space for placing cups,


are tamei (these items were ordinarily susceptible to tumah, as they served both people and objects that served people);

רבי יהודה אומר

Rabbi Yehuda says

מקום הנחת חתיכות

[there must be sufficient remaining] place for putting pieces [of bread or meat, in addition to the cups].


לרפואת מרים חיה בת ברכה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל