בכל טמא לא יאכל מי לא עסקינן דנגע בשני רביעי מקל וחומר כדאמרינן
any impure thing shall not be eaten” (Leviticus 7:19). Are we not dealing even with a case where meat touched an object that was ritually impure with second-degree ritual impurity? And nevertheless, the verse states explicitly that it is impure and assumes third-degree ritual impurity status. No other source is needed to teach that consecrated objects can assume third-degree ritual impurity status. Therefore, fourth-degree impurity status can be derived by means of the a fortiori inference, as we stated above.
ואי סלקא דעתך סבר כרבי עקיבא ניתני נמי רביעי בתרומה וחמישי בקודש
The Gemara returns to its previous point: And if it enters your mind that Rabbi Yosei holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva that non-sacred objects can assume third-degree impurity status, let him also teach the halakha of the fourth degree of impurity with regard to teruma, and the fifth degree with regard to consecrated items, on the basis of that same a fortiori inference. The fact that he does not extend the a fortiori inference to include these halakhot proves that Rabbi Yosei does not agree with Rabbi Akiva’s opinion on this issue.
אלא רבי עקיבא לא סבר כרבי יוסי מנלן
However, with regard to the fact that Rabbi Akiva does not hold in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, from where do we derive this? Perhaps he accepts Rabbi Yosei’s a fortiori inference and holds that teruma assumes fourth-degree impurity status and consecrated items assume fifth-degree impurity status.
אמר ליה דלא לישתמיט תנא וליתני רביעי בתרומה וחמישי בקודש ונימא רבי עקיבא היא ואנן אהכי ניקום ונסמוך
Rav Kahana said to Rav Ashi that there is indirect proof that this is the case. As it is not possible to avoid finding at least one tanna who teaches fourth-degree impurity with regard to teruma and fifth-degree impurity with regard to consecrated items, and says that this is the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, who derived it from the a fortiori inference of Rabbi Yosei. In response to this claim, the Gemara asks: And will we stand and rely on that proof? Can proof for Rabbi Akiva’s opinion be cited from the fact that no such tanna was found? Perhaps there is some source for that halakha.
נפק רב אשי ואי תימא רב כהנא דק ואשכח הא דתנן הכלי מצרף את מה שבתוכו לקודש אבל לא לתרומה והרביעי בקודש פסול והשלישי בתרומה
Rav Ashi, and some say it was Rav Kahana, left the study hall to examine this matter. He analyzed the issue and found proof positive that Rabbi Akiva does not hold that there is fifth-degree impurity with regard to consecrated items. He proved this from that which we learned in a mishna: A vessel joins that which is in it into a single unit. For example, if there are fruits in a vessel between which there is no contact and one of them became ritually impure, all of the fruits are impure, as they are joined by the vessel. This principle applies with regard to consecrated property, but not with regard to teruma. And the fourth degree of impurity disqualifies consecrated items but does not transmit impurity, while third-degree impurity disqualifies teruma.
ואמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן מעדותו של רבי עקיבא נשנית משנה זו (דתניא) הוסיף רבי עקיבא הסולת והקטורת והלבונה והגחלים שאם נגע טבול יום במקצתן פסל את כולן
And Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is from the testimony of Rabbi Akiva that this mishna is taught, as it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Akiva added in his testimony with regard to the fine flour, the incense, the frankincense, and the coals on the altar, which are not foods and do not ordinarily become impure, that if a person who immersed during that day, who disqualifies consecrated items, touches some of them, he disqualifies all of them, as the vessel joins them into one unit.
רביעי אין חמישי לא שלישי אין רביעי לא
This baraita, which is the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, states that with regard to fourth-degree impurity, yes, consecrated objects assume that status; however, with regard to fifth-degree impurity, no, consecrated objects do not assume that status. With regard to third-degree impurity, yes, teruma assumes that status; however, with regard to fifth-degree impurity, no, teruma does not assume that status.
אלמא קסבר צירוף דרבנן ופליגא דרבי חנין דאמר צירוף דאורייתא שנאמר כף אחת עשרה זהב מלאה קטרת הכתוב עשה כל מה שבכף אחת
The Gemara comments: Apparently, Rabbi Yoḥanan holds that joining in a single vessel, of frankincense, incense, or coals, is a halakha by rabbinic law, not by Torah law, as the ritual impurity of frankincense and coals is by rabbinic law. And Rabbi Yoḥanan disputes that statement of Rabbi Ḥanin, who said: Joining in a vessel is a halakha by Torah law, as it is stated: “One golden spoon of ten shekels, filled with incense” (Numbers 7:20). The verse rendered everything in the spoon, i.e., all the incense, as one entity.
תנן התם על מחט שנמצאת בבשר שהסכין והידים טהורות והבשר טמא נמצאת בפרש הכל טהור אמר רבי עקיבא זכינו שאין טומאת ידים במקדש
Apropos ritual purity and impurity in the Temple, the Gemara cites that we learned in a mishna there: The Sages testified about the case of a needle that was found in the meat of an animal that was led through water, that the knife and the hands that touched the needle are ritually pure but the meat is impure, as the needle might have been impure. If the needle was found in the secretions of the animal’s stomach, everything is pure, as secretions do not transfer impurity to the meat. Rabbi Akiva said: We were privileged to learn a novel halakha from here, which is that there is no impurity of hands in the Temple as in this case the hands did not become impure upon contact with the needle.