By Chaya T. Halberstam
"Adds a big element to our figuring out of rabbinic felony pondering particularly, in addition to to our realizing of rabbinic sensibilities and rabbinic piety in general." -- Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Stanford college
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Extra info for Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature
Aqiba to disassociate these two physical permutations of menstrual blood, creating, in essence, a legal dissimilarity if not a real one. While the bloodstain is, in a real and scientific sense, blood, in a semantic sense it is different from blood in that inherent in the term is an evidentiary nuance: the bloodstain is not blood in that it is the trace or residue of blood, the evidence or sign of blood. It is as if R. Aqiba, in noting that the biblical text writes “dam” and not “ketem,” recognizes that the Bible is indeed unconcerned with evidentiary issues, assuming direct knowledge of the thing itself—the Bible does not discuss the ketem, the evidence of blood, but instead dam, blood itself.
In this sense, Levitius 15 does not create a hierarchy of authority to enforce genital-flux impurity; it is rather one of the Hebrew Bible’s “prototypical compendia of legal and ethical norms”10 which exhorts all of Israel to act in accordance with the divine will. As such, the pericope assumes that knowledge of genital-flux impurity emerges directly from an individual’s close familiarity with his or her own body, and no external, specific criteria for genital-flux impurity need to be demarcated.
In fact, those living “before the pronouncement” may be exempted from scale-disease impurity for a very simple reason: this kind of impurity depends upon a priest’s pronouncement, and before the Torah was revealed the priesthood had not yet been established. Genital-flux impurity, on the other hand, operates outside of the system of the priesthood, since every individual is responsible to monitor his or her own status of ritual purity. ” The Sifra thus sharpens the distinction between nega¿im and zabim by demonstrating that the stipulations for determining ritual impurity are different enough that no simple parallel may be drawn between the two subjects.