At Yoma 41a, there is a discussion regarding the appropriate offering for someone who causes the Temple to become Tamei (ritually impure)? But what are we talking about becoming tamei? The utinsels the metzora touched I can understand they would become tamei? But can a metzorah (or other tamei person) convey tumah to the stone floors or walls of the Temple or to any utensils he doesn't touch? How? If he can, what needs to be purified, and what is the method? Also, since the Holy-of-Holies and the altar are not under cover, could tumas mes (ritual impurity from a dead body) cause those areas to become tamei (if, for example, the Kohen Gadol dies while performing the avodah?

  • mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0316.htm#16
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 15:32
  • The outside altar was attached to the ground and couldn't accept tumah.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 15:33
  • The Holy of Holies had a roof.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 16:20
  • @msh210 So if the Kohen Gadol died there, there would be tumas mes there? Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 3:02
  • @BruceJames Certainly! Just like if any Jew died there.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


The phrase מטמא מקדש there does not mean one who causes the Temple to become impure, it means one who enters the temple in a state of impurity - see Rashi.

  • I got the same answer from Kollel Iyum HaDaf who also said that the person bringing in tuma "does not convey any impurity to the structure of the Beis Hamikdash, but, as you noted, he can convey impurity to certain vessels, which would mean they would have to be either immersed or sprinkled (depending on the impurity conveyed). Impurity due to contact with the dead can be transmitted in many ways, with only one of them being "under cover" otherwise known as Tumas Ohel." Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 15:48

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