There is a pair of kohanim in the womb. One of them dies and the other is born. Before the dead kohen leaves the womb, is the living kohen tamei or is it like he didn't exist until he was born?

Similarly, if his mother touches a body when he is inside.

  • What does a Kohen have to do with anything? This is just a question of Tumah and Taharah
    – Double AA
    Jan 7, 2018 at 3:35
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    @DoubleAA As per Yevamos 114a, quoted by Rashi to Vayikra 21:1, it seems that Kohanim ketanim are chayiv in tum’as meis as well. However, I do agree that this question seems oddly narrow in scope, as one could still ask on the taharah of the other without regard to any possible commandments violated as a result.
    – DonielF
    Jan 7, 2018 at 5:42
  • @doneil the questions of which Kohanim are obligated in that prohibition, which non Kohanim are obligated in ensuring they follow that prohibition, and which types of Tumah constitute a violation of that prohibition, all are just complications to a basic Taharot question. Besides the OP didn't even ask any of those questions even though he could have!
    – Double AA
    Jan 7, 2018 at 9:10
  • Related sefaria.org/Mishnah_Parah.3.2?lang=bi
    – hazoriz
    Jan 7, 2018 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


In short, touching that happens inside doesn't matter. Even if you swallowed an impure ring and a pure ring and they touch each other in your stomach and then you throw them up separately, the pure ring stays pure. (Rambam, Tumat Met 25:12)

In your case of twins, the Mishna (Ahilot 7:5) rules that if the dead twin comes out first [and is removed from the house] then the live twin can come out pure [from 7-day impurity; it still is impure from touching the mother who is a Yoledet]. However, if the live twin comes out first then he is impure since (Bartenura) at that point the womb is open to the dead fetus inside or (Rambam) since the dead fetus inevitably follows along immediately.

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    Ahilot or Ohalot? אהלות Jan 7, 2018 at 14:11
  • @danny "coverings". As you know there are three types of coverings whereby covering-tumah is imparted: dead guy over you, you over dead guy, and both of you under other solids. The tractate never discusses varieties of tents; all tents are equally in the third category above.
    – Double AA
    Jan 7, 2018 at 14:13

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