Ohalot 9:9 is part of a perek dealing with a caveret (כורת, a beehive-shape thing) with a piece of a dead body (which is tamei) in various positions, and whether the surrounding house is tamei or tahor.

The mishna reads, in part:

היתה ממלאה את כל הבית ואין בינה לבין הקורות פותח טפח, טמאה בתוכה, הבית טמא.

If it [the caveret] was filling the whole house and there was less than a hand-breadth between it and the beams, if there is impurity inside it, the house is impure.

The question is, if the hive reaches to the roof, how does the (piece of a) body get inside, practically speaking? If it had been inside before the hive was brought in, presumably an ohel would have been made during the transfer, and everything would already be tamei.

An answer of "it doesn't -- the case is to highlight the laws, not be practical" is also acceptable.

(This is my brother's question -- he is learning this, not me. I thought it was interesting, so i did a bit of research and posted it. Apologies if i misrepresented any concepts here, as it's been a while since i personally learned this stuff.)

  • What if it got in that position and something new came inside?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 21:47
  • 3
    Motion to close any question on that Perek as "Unclear What It Is Saying" :-)
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 21:48
  • @DoubleAA A tefach really isn't a lot of space, especially when you consider how big a c'zayit is. And in any case, it would be under the house's roof before getting into the hive, again making the case moot.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 21:54
  • I meant something new came inside the house from outside. Is the Tumah still spreading?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 22:02
  • The body was inside the house and the bees came later Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 23:06

4 Answers 4


Firstly the Bartenura already explains that it doesn't mean that it fills the entire house. Rather (as opposed to other cases in the Chapter) it means that the entire beehive is in the house, and it reaches from the floor to the roof. Not that it fills the entire house from wall to wall:

הָיְתָה מְמַלְּאָה אֶת כָּל הַבַּיִת. שֶׁכֻּלָּהּ בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת לִפְנִים וְיוֹשֶׁבֶת עַל שׁוּלֶיהָ וּפִיהָ מַגִּיעַ לִשְׁמֵי קוֹרָה, שֶׁאֵין בֵּינָהּ לַתִּקְרָה פּוֹתֵחַ טֶפַח:‏

(In other cases the beehive is half inside and half outside, and the Din changes depending on which side its opening is, amongst other factors.)

Secondly, as the section you quoted already says, there is some space (but less than a Tefach) between the beehive and the roof. Enough space to get in a Kezayit of a corpse and introduce Tuma.

וְאֵין בֵּינָהּ לְבֵין הַקּוֹרוֹת פּוֹתֵחַ טֶפַח

Thirdly, it's possible that the beehive was brought into the house with the Tuma already inside it.


Why not just assume that the caveret had a lid, which was removed after it was brought into the house?

  • Because the entire chapter is discussing the difference between covered and uncovered beehives. This Mishna is true for both cases, as the עיקר תוי"ט already taught us. הָכָא וּמַתְנִיתִין דִּלְקַמָּן בֵּין בִּשְׁלֵמָה בֵּין בִּפְחוּתָה Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 7:16
  • @DannySchoemann: פחותה means that it's got holes in the sides, not whether it's got a covering.
    – Shamiach
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 15:51
  • True. But if it has no lid then it becomes a פחותה. Even if it only has holes it's already a פחותה. Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 8:29

The Mishna treats in this chapter about two kinds of Kaveret. Both are repeated several times. The first occurrence is in Mishna 3:

בַּמֶּה דְבָרִים אֲמוּרִים, בִּזְמַן שֶׁהִיא כְלִי מְחֻלְחָלֶת. הָיְתָה פְחוּתָה וּפְקוּקָה בְקַשׁ אוֹ אֲפוּצָה, אֵיזוֹ הִיא אֲפוּצָה, כֹּל שֶׁאֵין לָהּ טֶפַח מִמָּקוֹם אֶחָד

  1. The first kind "Mechulchelet".

    There are holes on the walls for bees. Little holes (least that one fist) but great enough for the passage of kezayt Bassar.

  2. The second kind is with partial walls only.

So we can imagine that the wall of the Kaveret is a little "herniated" at the place of one window of the house, and someone enter a stuck of meat through the hole, the meat enter directly in the Kaveret.

  • So Tum'a betocha is solved.

Tum'a babayit. It is possible to enter the meat in the space between the wall of the house and the wall of the Kaveret through a window. there is a space of less than tefach largely sufficient for a Kazayt. and as @Danny Schoemann says the space described concern bottom and the top.

  • So, Tum'a Babayt also solved.

The question was how the body gets into the container without being metame the house. So Suppose it was carried in with a live person inside, who then died there...

  • Is this different from the last paragraph of this earlier answer? Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 14:33
  • Yes, in that answer the tuma is already inside, but here there's no tuma yet because the person in the container is alive.
    – Jose
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 22:30

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