ZABIM ("Sufferers from Discharges"):

Ninth tractate in the Mishnah and Tosefta of the sixth Talmudic order Ṭohorot. It deals with the uncleanness caused by discharges from either man or woman, the regulations concerning which form the subject of Lev. xv. According to the Pentateuchal law, when a man has a running issue out of his flesh, or when a woman has a discharge of her blood beyond the time of her menstruation, such person is unclean. Anything upon which the sufferer sits, lies, or rides is unclean; so that any person sitting in the same seat, lying in the same couch, or riding in the same vehicle with one thus afflicted, or carrying any vessel which the sufferer has used, is unclean until the evening and must wash himself and his clothes in water. If a person having a discharge touches any one without having previously washed his or her hands, the individual so touched is unclean until the evening. An earthen vessel that has been touched by the sufferer must be broken; a wooden one that has been similarly defiled must be rinsed with water. After the discharge has ceased the afflicted one must count seven days, and at the end of that term must wash his or her clothes and must take a bath in running water; and on the eighth day an offering of two doves must be brought, one for a sin-offering and one for a burnt offering.

The treatise consists of five chapters, divided respectively into six, four, three, seven, and twelve paragraphs or mishnayot. It gives in detail all particulars of uncleanness and purification, specifies the degrees of the discharges which render an individual subject to the laws stated above, and mentions what persons are subject to those laws and in what way they cause vessels or other people to become unclean. The contents of the respective chapters may be summarized as follows:

  • Ch. i.: In order to be liable to all the laws mentioned above, a "zab" must have his discharge three times, either all on one day or on two or three consecutive days; consideration of the length of the intervals between the discharges.
  • Ch. ii.: All are subject to the laws of Zabim, including proselytes, slaves, minors, deaf-mutes, and eunuchs; description of the different methods by which the zab is examined, and an explanation of the manner in which he makes people and things unclean by his touch.
  • Ch. iii. and iv.: Specification of the different ways in which a man or a woman suffering from a discharge makes unclean another person. For instance, if a zab and a clean person sit together in a small boat or ride together on a beast, even though their garments do not come in contact the clean person becomes unclean by the pressure; but, according to R. Judah, if both of them sit on a tottering bench, the clean person does not become unclean.
  • Ch. v.: The ways in which a person becomes unclean by touching a zab, and also in which things become unclean through the touch of the zab and by touching other unclean things.
J. M. Sel.
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