Tevul Yom

views updated


TEVUL YOM (Heb. טְבוּל יוֹם; lit. "one who has bathed that day"), tenth tractate in the order Tohorot in the Mishnah and the eleventh in the Tosefta. There is no Gemara either in the Babylonian or the Jerusalem Talmud. In four chapters (two in the Tosefta) it deals with problems arising out of Leviticus 22:6–7, which lays down that a person ritually unclean (or a ritually unclean vessel according to Lev. 11:32) remains unclean until sunset, even after ritual immersion during the day. The degree of impurity of such a person between immersion and sunset (the tevul yom) is slight. For example, if he touches food of ḥullin (i.e., not holy food), it does not become defiled; yet the priests may not eat holy food (e.g., terumah or ḥallah) in that state. Nevertheless, though the tevul yom defiles the holy food by touching it, if this food touches other food, the latter does not become unclean, as is the case with regard to uncleanness of a higher degree.

The Mishnah contains four chapters. Chapter 1 first considers the case of two portions of ḥallah adhering to one another, the tevul yom having touched one portion; the question is whether because of the ḥibbur ("connection") between the two, both become defiled. A long discussion follows as to what is considered a ḥibbur in this respect. Chapter 2 deals with the problems arising from the contact of the tevul yom with liquids. Chapter 3 reverts to questions of ḥibbur and discusses cases such as one in which vegetables of ḥullin cooking in oil of terumah are touched by a tevul yom as to whether the whole dish becomes defiled or only the part he actually touched. Chapter 4 discusses a great variety of questions, for example, how a woman who was a tevul yom and was kneading dough should set aside the ḥallah without defiling it. Another case, which has nothing to do with the general subject of this tractate, concerns a man setting out in a caravan who commands, "Write a bill of divorce for my wife," without stating specifically "and hand it to her." The question arises as to whether one may presume that he meant it to be given but forgot to say so because of his excitement. Caravans were fraught with danger, and if he disappeared, his wife would remain an agunah unless it was established that he meant the divorce (get) to be given to her. The concluding mishnayot of the tractate (4:5–7) thereupon deal with the problem of presumption, namely that there is a tenai bet-din (a kind of praesumptio iuris) to the effect that under certain circumstances, if one intended to make a stipulation, it is considered as having been made even if it was not done explicitly. These mishnayot form a group unrelated to the general content. They consist of laws which, according to R. Joshua b. Hananiah, were the work of the soferim (Epstein, Tannaim, 63ff.; and Tosafot Yom Tov, who disagrees). Mishnah 1:1 is a combination of two sources recorded unchanged by the editor. Both sources relate to a common dispute between the schools of Shammai and Hillel. In the Tosefta there are several independent groups of beraitot such as 1:4–7, similar in content to Mishnah 2:2b. Many of the mishnayot of this tractate remain without corresponding Tosefta. Tevul Yom was translated into English by H. Danby, The Mishnah (1933).

[Arnost Zvi Ehrman]