בהסגר שני מר סבר בכהן תליא מילתא אי טהור אמר ליה טהור ואי טמא שתיק ומר סבר (ויקרא יג, נט) לטהרו או לטמאו כתיב
it is with regard to a suspected leper who is already in his second week of quarantine. One Sage, Rabbi Meir, holds that the matter depends upon the discretion of the priest; if he is found ritually pure, the priest declares him pure, and if he is found ritually impure, the priest can remain silent. As long as the priest does not declare the affected individual ritually impure, he does not become impure. And one Sage, Rabbi Yosei, holds that since it is written: “This is the law of the plague of leprosy…to pronounce it pure or to pronounce it impure” (Leviticus 13:59), the priest is not permitted to be silent; just as he is obligated to declare him pure when that is the case, so too, he is bound to declare him impure when his symptoms indicate impurity.
אמר מר אמר רבי נראין דברי רבי יוסי במוחלט ודברי ר' מאיר במוסגר והתניא איפכא
The Gemara proceeds to analyze the baraita. The Master said that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: The statement of Rabbi Yosei appears correct with regard to a confirmed leper, and the statement of Rabbi Meir appears correct with regard to a quarantined leper. The Gemara raises an objection: But isn’t the opposite taught in a different baraita, namely, that Rabbi Yosei’s statement appears correct with regard to the case of a quarantined leper, while Rabbi Meir’s statement appears correct with regard to the case of a confirmed leper?
תנאי היא אליבא דרבי מר סבר צוותא דעלמא עדיף ליה
The Gemara answers: This is a dispute between tanna’im in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. One Sage, the author of the latter baraita, holds that the company of the world at large is preferable to the leper. Consequently, the priest may examine a confirmed leper during the Festival because the priest will either decide that the leper’s symptoms are still present, in which case the leper’s situation will be no worse than before, or the priest will declare that his symptoms have subsided, in which case the leper may reenter the community, which will bring him joy.
ומר סבר צוותא דאשתו עדיפא ליה
And one Sage, the author of the baraita (7a), holds that the company of his wife is preferable to the leper. Consequently, the priest may not examine a confirmed leper on the Festival, because if he declares that his symptoms have subsided, the leper will begin his seven day purification process, during which time he is prohibited from engaging in conjugal relations with his wife. Due to the distress that this causes him, it is preferable that the priest not examine him at all during the Festival.
למימרא דמוחלט מותר בתשמיש המטה אין והתניא (ויקרא יד, ח) וישב מחוץ לאהלו שבעת ימים שיהא אסור בתשמיש המטה ואין אהלו אלא אשתו שנאמר (דברים ה, ל) לך אמור להם שובו לכם לאהליכם ר' יהודה אומר (יחזקאל מד, כו) שבעת ימים יספרו לו ימי ספירו ולא ימי חלוטו
The Gemara asks: Is this to say that a confirmed leper is permitted to engage in conjugal relations with his wife? The Gemara answers: Yes, and so too it is taught in a baraita: With regard to a leper who is counting his seven days, it is written: “But he shall remain outside his tent seven days” (Leviticus 14:8). This verse teaches that the leper is prohibited from engaging in conjugal relations, as the words his tent refer only to his wife, as it is stated: “Go, say to them: Return again to your tents” (Deuteronomy 5:27). Rabbi Yehuda says: The verse states: “And after he is cleansed, they shall count for him seven days” (Ezekiel 44:26), indicating that he is prohibited from having conjugal relations during the days of his counting, but not during the days of his confirmed leprosy.
ר' יוסי בר' יהודה אומר ז' ימי ספירו ק"ו לימי חלוטו
Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: Since the verse indicates that the prohibition to engage in conjugal relations applies during the seven days of his counting before becoming ritually pure, it follows based on an a fortiori inference that the prohibition should also apply during the days of his confirmed leprosy, when his impurity is more severe.
וא"ר חייא דנתי לפני רבי לימדתנו רבינו יותם לא היה לו לעוזיהו אלא בימי חלוטו אמר לו אף אני כך אמרתי
And Rabbi Ḥiyya said: I deliberated this matter before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and said: Have you not taught us, our teacher, that King Jotham was only born to Uzziah, the king of Judah, during the days of his confirmed leprosy? This would indicate that a confirmed leper is permitted to engage in conjugal relations. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: I too said this; I am also of the opinion that a confirmed leper is permitted to engage in conjugal relations, in contrast to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda.
במאי קמיפלגי ר' יוסי בר' יהודה סבר גלי רחמנא בימי ספירו וכ"ש בימי חלוטו ומר סבר מאי דגלי גלי ומאי דלא גלי לא גלי
The Gemara asks: With regard to what principle do they disagree? The Gemara explains that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, holds: The Merciful One revealed the prohibition of conjugal relations with one’s wife during the days of his counting; and all the more so the prohibition applies during his days of confirmed leprosy, when his ritual impurity is more severe. And one Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, maintains: That which the verse revealed, it revealed, but that which it did not reveal, it did not reveal; the prohibition is not interpreted in a way that adds an extra stringency beyond what is stated explicitly in the Torah.
למימרא דבכהן תליא מילתא אין והתניא (ויקרא יג, יד) וביום הראות בו יש יום שאתה רואה בו ויש יום שאי אתה רואה בו
§ The Gemara returns to the original dispute with regard to the priest’s examination of the symptoms of leprosy. Is this to say that the matter depends upon the discretion of the priest, i.e., the priest can decide whether to declare the affected person ritually pure or impure or whether to examine the leprous symptoms or not? The Gemara answers: Yes, and so too it is taught in a baraita: The verse states: “But on the day it appears in him” (Leviticus 13:14), from which it may be inferred that there is a day when you examine the symptoms found in him and there is a day when you do not examine those symptoms.
מכאן אמרו חתן שנולד בו נגע נותנין לו ז' ימי המשתה לו ולביתו ולכסותו וכן ברגל נותנין לו שבעת ימי הרגל דברי רבי יהודה
From here they stated: With regard to a bridegroom upon whom leprous symptoms came into being, we give him the seven days of the wedding feast before the examination that determines ritual purity or impurity. This ruling applies whether the leprous symptoms appeared upon him, upon his house, or upon his clothing. Similarly, if the symptoms of leprosy appeared upon an individual during a pilgrimage Festival, we give him the seven days of the Festival in order to avoid causing him distress during that time; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.
ר' אומר אינו צריך הרי הוא אומר (ויקרא יד, לו) וצוה הכהן ופנו את הבית אם ממתינים לו לדבר הרשות כל שכן לדבר מצוה
Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The ruling is correct, but there is no need to prove it from this verse, as a much simpler proof can be brought from a different source. It says: “Then the priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest goes into it to see the plague, so that all that is in the house be not made unclean” (Leviticus 14:36). If we delay the priest’s examination of the house in order to give the owner time to remove his utensils and prevent them from contracting ritual impurity, which is merely an optional matter, all the more so should we delay his examination for a matter of mitzva, e.g., so as not to detract from the bridegroom’s joy or from the joy of a Festival.
מאי בינייהו אמר אביי משמעות דורשין איכא בינייהו ורבא אמר דבר הרשות איכא בינייהו
The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference between them, whether the source of the halakha is one verse or another? Abaye said: There is no practical difference between the opinions; rather, the interpretation of the meaning of the verses is the difference between them, as each has a different interpretation of the verse from which the other derived this halakha. And Rava said: There is in fact a practical difference between them with regard to whether or not one delays the examination of leprous symptoms found on an individual’s body for an optional matter. Rabbi Yehuda holds that one delays the examination only for the sake of a mitzva, while Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi holds that one may delay it even for the sake of an optional matter.
ורבי יהודה מהתם לא גמרינן דחידוש הוא
The Gemara asks: And according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, why is it not permitted to delay the priest’s examination of leprous symptoms on an individual’s body for an optional matter, just as with regard to leprous symptoms on one’s house? The Gemara answers: We do not learn a halakhic principle from there because the halakha of leprosy of houses is itself a novelty, a unique biblical law from which one cannot extrapolate to other cases.