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Ohalos 16:2-3

Ohalos 16:2

Illustrating the parameters given at the end of the previous mishna, let’s say that there’s a spindle stuck into a wall, with a half-olive volume of corpse above it and a half-olive volume of corpse below it. Even though one piece is not directly above the other, the spindle is rendered unclean. Therefore, we see that a movable object contracts impurity in whatever thickness. If a potter passes through a cemetery with a yoke on his shoulder, one end of which overshadows a grave, the utensils on the other side remain clean; if the yoke has an opening of a handbreadth, they are rendered unclean. Mounds near a city or a road are ritually unclean whether they are new or old; when it comes to distant mounds, new ones are clean but old ones are unclean. Rabbi Meir says that near means 50 cubits and old means 60 years; Rabbi Yehuda says that near means that there’s none nearer and old means that no one remembers when the mound was made.

Ohalos 16:3

If a corpse was discovered lying in a natural position, one may remove it along with its blood-soaked ground. If two are found, they may be removed along with their blood-soaked ground. If three are found, then if there’s from four to eight cubits (6’-12’) between the first and the last, i.e., enough space for a bier and its bearers, then it must be considered a cemetery. One must inspect the area for 20 cubits from that spot (30’). If another corpse is found at the end of 20 cubits, one must inspect for another 20 cubits from that spot since there are already reasons to believe that this is a cemetery. This is so even though if one had found that later grave first, he would have just removed it along with its blood-soaked ground.

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz