Nega'im 6:3:

בַּהֶרֶת כַּגְּרִיס וּבָהּ מִחְיָה פְחוּתָה מִכָּעֲדָשָׁה ... רָבְתָה הַמִּחְיָה, טְמֵאָה. נִתְמַעֲטָה, רַבִּי מֵאִיר מְטַמֵּא, וַחֲכָמִים מְטַהֲרִים, שֶׁאֵין הַנֶּגַע פּוֹשֶׂה לְתוֹכָהּ:‏

A bright spot the size of a split bean and in it there was quick flesh less than the size of a lentil ... If the quick flesh grew larger it is unclean, but if it grew smaller, Rabbi Meir rules that it is unclean; But the sages rule that it is clean, since a nega cannot spread within itself.

It appears from this Mishnah that R. Meir (as opposed to the Sages) believes that a nega' can expand inwards and thereby become impure.

Now, consider the very similar case in 6:2:

בַּהֶרֶת כַּגְּרִיס וּבָהּ מִחְיָה כָעֲדָשָׁה ... רָבְתָה הַמִּחְיָה, טְמֵאָה. נִתְמַעֲטָה, טְהוֹרָה:‏

If a bright spot was of the size of a split bean and in it there was quick flesh of the size of a lentil ... If the quick flesh grew larger it is unclean, and if it grew smaller it is clean.

Since R. Meir is not mentioned in this mishnah, the implication is that he agrees with the ruling in the final clause, i.e. that where the michyah is the size of a lentil and shrinks, the nega' is pure.

Why is this so? Would R. Meir not rule that in such a case it should be impure because the nega' is expanding inwards?


2 Answers 2


The Tosfos Yom Tov ask this very question וקשיא לי א"כ לפלוג ר"מ בהא כדקא פליג בסיפא דמטמא משום פסיון he has 2 answers:

  1. . ושמא י"ל דסתמא כרבנן וה"ל סתם ואח"כ מחלוקת This Mishna (2) follows Rabanan and the following Mishna (3) brings the opinion of Rabbi Meir who argues.
  2. אין הנגע פושה לתוכה אפי' לר"מ דמתני' דלקמן. דהא לית כאן טפי מכגריס דכי איכא כגריס בלא המחיה פתותה מכעדשה הוא דקאמר ר"מ שהנגע פושה לתוכה In our mishna Since the Om (size of 8 caadashos) and the Michya which is one caadasha all together make exactly a Gris (9 caadashos), if the om spreads into the Michya a little it will be still be less than a gris and the michya will be less than a caadasha so this cannot be Tamei until the om spreads to a larger than a gris size (which is impossible inwards unless it spreads also outwards) so Rabbi Meir agrees its Tahor. In Mishna 3 the om is a Gris independently, and the Michya is an extra caadasha so spreading inwards would make the om larger than a Gris and Rabbi Meir will be Metamei
  • I thought about something like the second answer but how does he know how big the Om is?
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2019 at 1:43

It seems that the Yachin asks and answers your question:

‏ 1. ובמשנה ב' לא פליג ר"מ. Rabbi Meir agrees in mishna 2

  1. התם מדמחיה כעדשה סי' טומאה הוא

  2. א"כ כשפושה לתוכה. נראה שנתרפא הסי' טומאה. So, when the spot spreads inside the quick flesh, this is a sign of healing of the quick flesh

  3. אבל הכא מחיה פחות מכעדשה אינה סי' טומאה והפשיון לתוכה ריעותא דנגע הוא. [רב"א]. But in Mishna 3, the quick spot is less than a lentil, so it is not at all a sign of uncleanness. When a quick spot appears inside a spot that was already as a split bean, the quick flesh does not recuce (halachically) the size of the spot.But when a quick flesh small than a lentil appears in a spot that is exactly as a split bean, it reduces the spot size.

  4. ולפעד"נ דדוקא התם מודה ר"מ דאינו פושה לתוכה משום דכל מחיה כעדשה מצטרף להנגע. ומחשב כמותה. So, it results an apparent paradox, Rabbi Meir in Mishna 2 agrees that the spot cannot spread in its middle, because this spreading is a sign of healing.

  5. והו"ל שפיר פושה לתוכה וטהור.

  6. אבל הכא דמיירי דאין בהמחיה כעדשה. But in Mishna 3, the quick bean is less than a lentil, and is not a sign of uncleanness, so, if it disappears, this is not an uncleaness pattern that disappeared. Thus, the spot is spreading in a neutral area, in the middle. And here we have the Machloket.

  7. לפיכך כיון דמחי' כזו אינו מצטרף לשיעור הנגע. לא מחשב כהנגע עצמו. והו"ל שפיר כשאר עור ובשר שהנגע פושה לשם: ‏

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