After the birth of an offspring by caesarean section, the mother does not observe seven or fourteen days of impurity and thirty-three or sixty-six days of purity for male and female offspring, respectively, and she is not obligated to bring for it the offering brought by a woman after childbirth. Rabbi Shimon says: The halakhic status of that offspring is like that of an offspring born in a standard birth. All women become ritually impure with the flow of blood from the uterus into the outer chamber, i.e., the vagina, although it did not leave the woman’s body, as it is stated: “And her issue in her flesh shall be blood, she shall be in her menstruation seven days” (Leviticus 15:19), indicating that even if her menstrual blood remains in her flesh, she becomes impure. But one who experiences a gonorrhea-like discharge [zav] and one who experiences a seminal emission do not become ritually impure until their emission of impurity emerges outside the body.
If a priest was partaking of teruma, the portion of the produce designated for the priest, and sensed a quaking of his limbs indicating that a seminal emission was imminent, he should firmly hold his penis to prevent the emission from leaving his body, and swallow the teruma while ritually pure. And the emission of a zav and a seminal emission impart impurity in any amount, even like the size of a mustard seed or even smaller than that.
A baby girl, even one who is one day old, who experiences an emission of blood, becomes impure with the impurity of a menstruating woman. A baby girl who is ten days old who experiences an emission of blood for three consecutive days after the conclusion of the seven days fit for menstruation becomes impure with the impurity of ziva, and is therefore obligated to observe seven clean days before immersion. A baby boy, even one who is one day old, becomes impure with the impurity of ziva; and becomes impure with the impurity of leprous marks; and becomes impure with impurity imparted by a corpse; and he creates a levirate bond requiring the widow of his childless brother to enter into levirate marriage with him; and he exempts his widowed mother from the obligation of levirate marriage, freeing her to marry anyone she chooses; and he enables his mother, an Israelite woman who is no longer married to his father, a priest, to continue to partake of teruma; and he disqualifies his mother, the daughter of a priest who is no longer married to his father, an Israelite man, from continuing to partake of teruma, because the child is unfit to partake of teruma; and he inherits the estate of his mother if she died on the day of his birth; and if he dies, he bequeaths that inheritance to his paternal brothers; and one who kills him is liable for his murder, as it is written: “And he that smites any man mortally shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:17), i.e., any man, including a child who is one day old; and if he dies, his status in relation to his father and to his mother and to all his relatives, in terms of the halakhot of mourning, is like that of a full-fledged groom [keḥatan shalem], whose death is deeply mourned.
A girl who is three years and one day old, whose father arranged her betrothal, is betrothed through intercourse, as the halakhic status of intercourse with her is that of intercourse in all halakhic senses. And in a case where the childless husband of a girl three years and one day old dies, if his brother the yavam engages in intercourse with her, he acquires her as his wife; and if she is married, a man other than her husband is liable for engaging in intercourse with her due to violation of the prohibition against intercourse with a married woman. And if she is impure due to menstruation, she imparts impurity to one who engages in intercourse with her who then renders impure all the layers of bedding beneath him, rendering them impure like the upper bedding covering a zav, in the sense that it assumes first-degree ritual impurity and does not become a primary source of ritual impurity, and it renders impure food and drink, but it does not render impure people and vessels. If she marries a priest, she may partake of teruma, like any other wife of a priest; if she is unmarried and one of the men who are unfit for the priesthood, e.g., a mamzer or ḥalal, engaged in intercourse with her, he disqualifies her from marrying into the priesthood, and if she is the daughter of a priest, she is disqualified from partaking of teruma. Finally, if one of all those with whom relations are forbidden, as stated in the Torah, e.g., her father or her husband’s father, engaged in intercourse with her, they are executed by the court for engaging in intercourse with her, and she is exempt, because she is a minor. If the girl is less than that age, younger than three years and one day, the status of intercourse with her is not that of intercourse in all halakhic senses; rather, it is like placing a finger into the eye. Just as in that case, the eye constricts, sheds tears, and then returns to its original state, so too, in a girl younger than three years and one day old, the hymen returns to its original state.
In the case of a boy, nine years and one day old, whose brother had died childless, who engaged in intercourse with his yevama, his brother’s widow, the status of the intercourse is that of halakhic intercourse and he acquires her as his wife; but he cannot give her a bill of divorce, if he chooses to end the marriage, until he reaches majority. And he becomes ritually impure after engaging in intercourse with a menstruating woman to the degree that he renders impure all the layers of bedding beneath him, such that they become impure like the upper bedding covering a zav. Accordingly, the bedding assumes first-degree ritual impurity status and does not become a primary source of ritual impurity, and it renders impure food and drink and does not render impure people and vessels. And if he is disqualified from the priesthood and the woman with whom he engages in intercourse is the daughter of a priest, he disqualifies her from partaking of teruma; but if he is a priest who marries an Israelite woman, he does not enable her to partake of teruma. And if he engages in bestiality, he disqualifies the animal from being sacrificed upon the altar, and the animal is stoned due to his act. And if he engaged in intercourse with one of all those with whom relations are forbidden, as stated in the Torah, e.g., his aunt or his mother, they are executed by the court due to having engaged in intercourse with him, because they are adults; but he is exempt, as he is a minor.
With regard to a girl who is eleven years and one day old, her vows are examined to ascertain whether she is aware of the meaning of her vow and in Whose name she vowed. Once she is twelve years and one day old and has grown two pubic hairs, which is a sign of adulthood, even without examination her vows are in effect. And one examines her vows throughout the entire twelfth year until her twelfth birthday. With regard to a boy who is twelve years and one day old, his vows are examined to ascertain whether he is aware of the meaning of his vow and in Whose name he vowed. Once he is thirteen years and one day old and has grown two pubic hairs, even without examination his vows are in effect. And one examines his vows throughout the entire thirteenth year until his thirteenth birthday. Prior to that time, eleven years and one day for a girl and twelve years and one day for a boy, even if they said: We know in Whose name we vowed and in Whose name we consecrated, their vow is not a valid vow and their consecration is not a valid consecration. After that time, twelve years and one day for a girl and thirteen years and one day for a boy, even if they said: We do not know in Whose name we vowed and in Whose name we consecrated, their vow is a valid vow and their consecration is a valid consecration.
The Sages stated a parable based on the development of the fruit of a fig tree with regard to the three stages of development in a woman: Minority, young womanhood, and grown womanhood. An unripe fig, a ripening fig, and a ripe fig. An unripe fig represents the stage when she is still a child and has not yet developed the signs of puberty; a ripening fig represents the days of her young womanhood, when she reaches twelve years and one day and has developed two pubic hairs. With regard to the periods both during this stage, minority, and during that stage, young womanhood, the Sages said that her father is entitled to any lost object that she finds that cannot be returned to its owner, and to her earnings, and to nullification of her vows. A ripe fig represents the stage of grown womanhood: Once she has reached her majority, her father no longer has authority over her. He can no longer nullify her vows, and he does not have a claim to lost objects found by her and her earnings belong to her.
What are the signs that indicate grown womanhood? Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says: Grown womanhood begins from when her breast grows sufficiently so that a fold appears below the breast. Rabbi Akiva says: It begins from when the breasts sag onto the chest. Ben Azzai says: It begins from when the areola at the tip of the breast darkens. Rabbi Yosei says: It begins when the breasts have developed to a size where a person places his hand on the nipple and it depresses and slows to return.
A girl twelve years and one day old who grew two pubic hairs is classified as a young woman. Six months later, she becomes a grown woman. But a woman who is twenty years old who did not grow two pubic hairs and was never classified as a young woman shall bring proof that she is twenty years old, and from that point forward she assumes the status of a sexually underdeveloped woman [ailonit], who is incapable of bearing children. If she married and her husband died childless, she neither performs ḥalitza nor does she enter into levirate marriage, as the mitzva of levirate marriage applies only to a woman capable of conceiving a child. An ailonit is excluded from that mitzva. In the case of a man who is twenty years old who did not grow two pubic hairs, they shall bring proof that he is twenty years old and he assumes the status of a sexually underdeveloped man [saris], who is excluded from the mitzva of levirate marriage. Therefore, if his married brother dies childless, he neither performs ḥalitza nor enters into levirate marriage with his yevama. This is the statement of Beit Hillel. Beit Shammai say: For both this case of a woman and that case of a man, they shall bring proof that they are eighteen years old, and they assume the status of a sexually underdeveloped woman and man respectively. Rabbi Eliezer says: The status of the male is determined in accordance with the statement of Beit Hillel, i.e., he assumes the status of a sexually underdeveloped man at the age of twenty; and the status of the female is determined in accordance with the statement of Beit Shammai, i.e., she assumes the status of a sexually underdeveloped woman at the age of eighteen. The reason is that the woman is quick to reach physical maturity, and reaches that stage before the man reaches physical maturity.