The two Mishnayot that appear on this daf teach halakhot that are based on the same principle that we were introduced to in the previous mishnayot – she-raglayim la-davar – that recognizing the doubt that exists in a given situation, there is a basis for anticipating the matter. The three cases that appear on our daf deal with:
- nega’im – leprosy
- zav – a type of venereal disease
- someone who injures another person
With regard to nega’im (see Vayikra 13:2-8) about which the kohen must rule by determining if the condition has spread or not, the Mishna teaches that the kohen must be certain if he is to declare that a change has taken place. Otherwise we assume that the original situation remains the same – she-raglayim la-davar.
The situation of a zav (see Vayikra 15:2) is when a person is suffering from Gonorrhea, a venereal disease transferred from person to person, usually during sexual interaction. In the course of this disease an infection develops, one of whose indications is a mucous-like emission. Although the Sages recognized the differences between normal semen and this discharge, it was not always easy to determine what the emission was, which forced a person who has such an emission twice in a row to check whether it may have been the result of any one of a number of activities that may have led to the emission, without it being related to the disease. Once a person was determined to be a zav, however, no further checking was done – she-raglayim la-davar.
The last case is when a person hits another person in a manner that could, theoretically, kill him, but he does not immediately die. In such a case, the court examines the injured man to determine what his condition is. If they find that he will recover, then the perpetrator will be fined according to the normal rules of injuries. If they believe that he will likely die, the perpetrator will be held until the result of his action becomes clearer. The Mishna teaches about a situation where the court believes that he will die, but he appears on his way to recovery – but then he suffers a relapse and dies. The Tanna Kamma rules that the perpetrator will be held liable (it is assumed the victim’s death was caused by the assault), while Rabbi Nehemya rules that he will be released – she-raglayim la-davar (since he began to recover, it’s reasonable to assume his death was caused by another factor).