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I'm looking for sources around the idea that these days everyone in the world is tumat met – particularly:

  • the earliest souces reaching this conclusion, and
  • any sources which explain why we would all be tumat met.

Thanks!

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  • It isn't true that everyone is. Just almost everyone.
    – Double AA
    May 19, 2020 at 16:49

1 Answer 1

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Many people think this, but you will not find a source for it because it simply is not true. What is true is that the overwhelming majority of people are.

I saw some misunderstanding in the comments, so let me give a basic understanding of how tumat Meit works:

1) The dead body itself is an "Avi Avot Hatumah"

2) Anyone who touches the body becomes an "Av Hatumah"

3) Anyone who touches them is a "Rishon Latumah".

It is only the first two categories that all called Tumat Meit. The ashes of the Para Adumah are required to purify anyone who is Tumei Meit. While it is true that this cannot be done today, anyone who has never come into contact with a dead body is simply not Tumei Meit.

However there is another issue here. Rambam writes in Hilchot Tumat Met 11:2

טֻמְאַת אֲוִיר אֶרֶץ הָעַכּוּ''ם לֹא עָשׂוּ אוֹתָהּ כְּטֻמְאַת עֲפָרָהּ אֶלָּא קַלָּה הִיא מִמֶּנָּה. שֶׁעַל טֻמְאַת עֲפָרָהּ שׂוֹרְפִין תְּרוּמוֹת וְקָדָשִׁים. וְהַמִּתְטַמֵּא בְּגוּשָׁהּ טָמֵא טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה וְצָרִיךְ הַזָּיָה שְׁלִישִׁי וּשְׁבִיעִי. אֲבָל הַנִּטְמָא בַּאֲוִירָהּ אֵין צָרִיךְ הַזָּיָה שְׁלִישִׁי וּשְׁבִיעִי אֶלָּא טְבִילָה וְהַעֲרֵב שֶׁמֶשׁ. וְכֵן תְּרוּמָה וְקָדָשִׁים שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ מֵחֲמַת אֲוִירָהּ תּוֹלִין לֹא אוֹכְלִין וְלֹא שׂוֹרְפִין:

Essentially, this means Rabbinically, everyone outside of Israel is Tumei Met.

Thus, while this will not be true for the majority, there are very likely some minority of people who have never left Israel or come into contact with a Met (most likely these would be young children). Thus, it is correct that almost everyone is Tamei Met, but this is not a categorical rule as much as a rule of thumb which likely has exceptions.

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  • But miderabbanan the land outside of Israel is tamei meit, so anyone who's ever been there is too.
    – Heshy
    May 20, 2020 at 0:00
  • Were you born in a hospital?
    – Double AA
    May 20, 2020 at 0:03
  • @DoubleAA most children's hospital wards are separate enough from the rest of the hospital that lehalacha we are not concerned. That is why according to many a Kohen can visit a hospital to be mevaker cholim. Of course it depends on the hospital layout May 20, 2020 at 0:05
  • It's just not as obvious as you say that all young children and kohanim aren't tamei. Surely a few happen to be, but not most by a long shot. Moreover in olden days almost everyone had sat shiva by the time they were ~25 and people got sick and died at home with their families. The vast majority of young kids today, at least who aren't kohanim, have either flown to Israel over a cemetery or driven under a tree overhanging a cemetery or been to a history museum with mummies. Probably most kohein kids have too once, at least by accident.
    – Double AA
    May 20, 2020 at 0:07
  • @DoubleAA most Kohanim certainly are Tamei. Most young children are probably not. Either way, all I was trying to say is that there certainly are people who are not. I can edit to make that clearer May 20, 2020 at 0:10

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