Click here for audio

מסכת כלים פרק ה משנה ט
תנור שבא מחתך

A tanur that came in pieces (i.e. in segments split vertically, like wooden barrel staves)

מבית האמן

from the craftsman's shop,

ועשה בו למודין

and he made hoops for it (to hold them together when assembled)

ונותנן עליו

and them on it

והוא טהור

and it is tahor (it is not susceptible to tumah until the hoops are put on it),


it became tamei (after the hoops were put on)

וסלק את למודיו

and he removed the hoops (and separated the parts of the oven from each other)


it is tahor (as it is considered 'broken'),

החזירן לו טהור

it he put them back it is tahor (and cannot become tamei, as a previously broken vessel cannot become susceptible to tumah unless rebuilt into a new vessel, which is not the case here; another opinion is that once disassembled, the pieces never quite fit together again like new, leaving gaps).

מרחו בטיט

If he coated it in plaster (after replacing the hoops, thus creating a 'new' vessel, or according to others sealing the gaps)

מקבל טמאה

it is susceptible to tumah

ואינו צריך להסיקנו

and he need not heat it

שכבר הסק

as it was previously heated (it is assumed that when first used by the householder, it was heated).


פרק ה משנה י

חתכו חליות

If he cut it into [ring-shaped] pieces

ונתן חול

and placed sand

בין חוליא לחוליא

between each piece (when they are put back together, and a coating of clay is put around the assembled pieces),

רבי אליעזר מטהר

Rabbi Eliezer rules it is tahor,

וחכמים מטמאין

and the Sages rule that it is tamei;

זה תנורו של עכנאי

this is the tanur of the 'coiled snake' (as the halachic arguments relating to it encircled it like an ouroboros, a mythical serpent endlessly consuming its own tail).

יורות הערביין

Arabian kettles

שהוא חופר בארץ

that [is created when] one digs in the ground

וטח בטיט

and coats [the hole] in plaster [which is then heated],

אם יכול הטיט

if the plaster is able

לעמוד בפני עצמו

to stand on its own [if the surrounding earth were removed]


it is tamei,

ואם לאו

and if not,


it is tahor,

זה תנורו של בן דינאי

this is the tanur of Ben Dinai (an infamous fugitive who had need of such ovens while on the run).


זה תנורו של עכנאי - In fact, this מחלוקת between רבי אליעזר and the חכמים went to epic lengths, where רבי אליעזר invoked heavenly signs to support his position and yet did not prevail; the argument led to the חכמים excommunicating him, to disastrous effect.