ת"ר איזהו מת שיש לו רקב מת שנקבר ערום בארון של שיש או על גבי רצפה של אבנים זהו מת שיש לו רקב נקבר בכסותו בארון של עץ או על גבי רצפה של לבנים זהו מת שאין לו רקב
§ The mishna taught that one of the sources of ritual impurity for which a nazirite must shave is a full ladle of dust from a corpse. The Sages taught (Tosefta, Oholot 2:3): Which is a corpse that has the halakha of dust, i.e., whose dust imparts impurity? A corpse that was buried naked in a marble coffin or on a stone floor; this is a corpse that has the halakha of dust that imparts impurity. Any dust found there must have come from the corpse. However, if it was buried in its cloak, or in a wooden coffin, or on a brick floor, this is a corpse that does not have the halakha of dust that imparts impurity. In the latter cases it is assumed that the dust from the corpse includes particles from the clothes, wood, or bricks that disintegrated, and there is a tradition that the impurity of dust applies only to dust that comes solely from the corpse, not to a mixture from different sources.
אמר עולא אין רקב אלא הבא מן הבשר ומן הגידים ומן העצמות איתיביה רבא לעולא רקב הבא מן הבשר טהור הא מן העצם טמא ואע"ג דליכא בשר אימא הכי רקב הבא מן הבשר טהור עד שיש עצם בבשר
With regard to the same issue, Ulla said: Dust is only that which comes from the flesh and from the sinews and from the bones of the corpse together, but not if it came from one of these alone. Rava raised an objection to Ulla from the following baraita: Dust that comes from the flesh is pure. It can be inferred from here that if it comes from the bone it is impure, even though there is no dust of flesh mixed with it. Ulla replied: You should say and infer like this: Dust that comes from the flesh is pure, unless there is bone in the flesh.
הא ליכא גידים אי אפשר לבשר ולעצמות בלא גידים
Rava continued to question Ulla’s opinion: Even if one interprets the baraita in this manner, there is no mention of sinews here at all, and Ulla maintains that sinews must also contribute to the makeup of part of the dust. Ulla replied that there is no need to mention sinews explicitly, as it is impossible for there to be flesh and bones without sinews. Once it is established that the dust is from bones and flesh, it necessarily includes sinews as well.
אמר רב שמואל בר אבא א"ר יוחנן שני מתים שקברן זה עם זה נעשו גלגלין זה לזה מתיב רב נתן רקב הבא מב' מתים טמא
§ The Gemara continues to discuss the dust of a corpse. Rav Shmuel bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Two corpses that were buried with one another become a mixture [galgallin] with one another. Their dust is considered mixed together and does not impart the impurity of the dust from a single corpse. Rav Natan raises an objection to this opinion: But it is taught that dust that comes from two corpses is impure.
אמר רבא שקברו זה בפני עצמו וזה בפני עצמו והרקיבו ועמדו על מלא תרווד רקב
Rava said: That baraita is referring to a case where they buried this corpse by itself and that corpse by itself, and they decayed separately, and they both stood at, i.e., yielded the amount of, a full ladle of dust. In this situation, the dust imparts impurity despite the fact that it is not from a single corpse, as the status of dust from a corpse initially applied to each corpse. However, if the corpses decayed together they are considered to be mixed together, which means that their dust does not impart impurity.
אמר רבה בר בר חנה א"ר יוחנן גזז שערו וקברו עמו נעשה לו גלגלין תנן התם כל שבמת טמא חוץ מן השינים והשער והצפורן ובשעת חיבורן כולן טמאין
The Gemara cites a further statement with regard to dust of a corpse. Rabba bar bar Ḥana said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: If one cut the hair of a corpse and buried the hair with it, the hair becomes part of the mixture for the dust, and it does not impart impurity. In relation to the above, the Gemara states: We learned in a mishna there (Oholot 3:3): Everything that is in a corpse is impure, except for the teeth, the hair, and the nails, which do not impart impurity as part of the body. But when they are attached to the corpse, they are all impure.
בעי חזקיה שערו העומד לגלח צפורן העומד ליגזז מאי מי אמרינן כל העומד ליגזז כגזוז דמי או דלמא השתא מיהא הא מחוברין
With regard to this halakha, Ḥizkiyya raised a dilemma: If hair of a corpse is ready to be shaved, or its nail is ready to be cut, what is the halakha? Do we say that anything that is ready to be cut is considered cut, and therefore these are considered detached from the body and do not impart impurity? Or, perhaps now, in any event, they are attached, and therefore they should impart impurity?
וניפשוט ליה מדרבה בר בר חנה טעמא משום דגזז הא לא גזז לא הכי קאמר גזז הרי זה גלגלים לא גזז מיבעי ליה
The Gemara asks: And let Ḥizkiyya resolve this dilemma from the aforementioned statement of Rabba bar bar Ḥana, that hair buried with a corpse forms a mixture with the corpse. The inference is as follows: The reason that it forms a mixture is because he cut the hair, from which it may be inferred if he did not cut the hair it would not form a mixture, even if it was ready to be cut. The Gemara rejects this argument: One can respond that this is what Rabba bar bar Ḥana is saying: If he cut it, it definitely forms a mixture; if he did not cut it, Rabba bar bar Ḥana is unsure as to the halakha and he raises this case as a dilemma.
בעי ר' ירמיה רקב הבא מן העקב מהו כי גמרינן רקב הבא מכוליה מת אבל דאתי מן עקב לא או דלמא לא שנא
§ Rabbi Yirmeya raised another dilemma concerning the dust of a corpse: With regard to dust that comes from the heel, what is the halakha? The Gemara explains the two sides of the dilemma: Do we say that when we learn this halakha through tradition, is it only in reference to dust that comes from all of a corpse, but with regard to dust that comes from its heel, no, this halakha does not apply; or perhaps it is no different?
ת"ש דתני ר' נתן ברבי אושעיא רקב הבא משני מתים טמא ואי ס"ד הבא מן העקב לא זיל הכא דלמא דרך עקב קאתי והכא דלמא דרך עקב קאתי
The Gemara suggests a resolution of this dilemma: Come and hear, as Rabbi Natan, son of Rabbi Oshaya, taught: Dust that comes from two corpses is impure. And if it enters your mind that dust that comes from the heel does not impart impurity, go here and consider that perhaps the dust came from the heel, and go here too and consider that perhaps it came from the heel. The fact that the dust is considered definitely impure shows that dust from the heel imparts impurity as well.
אי דאירקיב כוליה מת וקאתי דרך עקב הכי נמי אלא הכא כגון דאירקיב חד אבר וקאתי דרך עקב מאי תיקו
The Gemara rejects this argument: If the entire corpse decayed and the dust came from the heel, so too, it is all impure, as the dust of the heel is not considered to be a foreign substance. Rather, here Rabbi Natan is referring to a case where one limb decayed and the dust came from the heel. It was with regard to this situation that Rabbi Yirmeya asked: What is its halakha? Does this dust impart impurity or not? No answer was found, and therefore the Gemara states that the dilemma shall stand unresolved.
בעי רבי ירמיה עובר במעי אשה הוי גלגלים או לא כיון דאמר מר עובר ירך אמו הלכך גופה הוא ולא הוי גלגלין או דלמא כיון דסופו לצאת מיפרש פריש מינה ואת"ל עובר דסופו לצאת מיפרש פריש מינה
§ Rabbi Yirmeya raised yet another dilemma: Does a dead fetus in its dead mother’s womb form a mixture with regard to her, so that the bodies are considered like two corpses buried together, or not? The Gemara explains the two sides of the dilemma: Do we say that since the Master said that a fetus is considered as the thigh of its mother, it is therefore like her body and it does not form a mixture with it? Or perhaps one should maintain: Since in most cases a fetus will ultimately emerge from the womb at birth, it is already considered separated from her, and it is like any other corpse buried with the woman. And if you say that a fetus, which will ultimately emerge, is considered separated from her and is not part of her body, one must still ask this question