In general (DeOraisa), when Tumah spreads it lowers itself by a level. Moreover, a Keli can't make a Keli Tamei, nor can a food item make another food item Tamei (at least by Chullin). So a "classical" spreading is:

  1. Av Hatuma - a Zav/Sheretz ->
  2. Rishon - Person/Keli ->
  3. Sheni - food


  1. Av Hatuma - a Zav/Sheretz ->
  2. Rishon - food/drink ->
  3. Sheni - drink/food (respectively)

What happens if a corpse touches a food item, can it spread between food/drinks like

  1. Avi Avos Hatuma - corpse ->
  2. Av Hatuma - food ->
  3. Rishon - drink ->
  4. Sheini - food

or do we say that the first "food" becomes a "rishon" and can only spread once to a "sheini"?

  • Did you ask this in chat once? We've definitely discussed this before.
    – Double AA
    Oct 25, 2013 at 21:27
  • @DoubleAA Yes I did. Then I realized that it was somewhat of a real question and that it probably should be on the main page, but forgot about it until now. Oct 25, 2013 at 21:46
  • Can you grab the link then? I recall there were some sources proffered already.
    – Double AA
    Oct 26, 2013 at 23:13
  • 2
    Tosafos (P'sachim 17a) says that, vis-a-vis transmitting tum'ah to other foods, food that touched a corpse is like an av, but vis-a-vis transmitting tum'ah to people or vessels, it is not considered an av. (Chat comment; another chat comment).
    – Fred
    Oct 27, 2013 at 2:57

1 Answer 1


The kehati on pesachim chapter 1 mishna 6 says that min hatorah food does not contaminate other food but the Rabbis decreed that it does.

However, that mishna does say that food that is impure may make other food impure, even if only rabinically.

The Kehati on Chagiga 3:3 brings the idea (From Parah 8:7) that there is a rabinical decree that when water touches something impure, that water becomes a Rishon LeTumah, regardless of the degree of impurity the item that made the water impure was.

  • Does R Kehati mention which earlier commentaries he is basing himself on?
    – Double AA
    Oct 27, 2013 at 0:51
  • @DoubleAA: Not that I remember, but the Bartenura says the same thing
    – Menachem
    Oct 27, 2013 at 0:58
  • that's Ochel Metame Ochel (see Gemara). My question is ochel->mashke->ochel. Oct 27, 2013 at 2:27
  • @ShmuelBrin: perhaps the question can use some clarification. for example, "can it spread between food/drinks" seems to indicate food or drink.
    – Menachem
    Oct 29, 2013 at 4:27

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