בטרם יבא הכהן וגו'. שֶׁכָּל זְמַן שֶׁאֵין כֹּהֵן נִזְקָק לוֹ, אֵין שָׁם תּוֹרַת טֻמְאָה: 'בטרם יבא הכהן וגו [THEY SHALL CLEAR THE HOUSE] BEFORE THE PRIEST COME etc. — For so long as the priest has not yet engaged himself with it no law of uncleanness is applicable there.
ולא יטמא כל אשר בבית. שֶׁאִם לֹא יְפַנֵּהוּ, וְיָבֹא הַכֹּהֵן וְיִרְאֶה הַנֶּגַע נִזְקָק לְהֶסְגֵּר וְכָל מַה שֶּׁבְּתוֹכוֹ יִטְמָא; וְעַל מָה חָסָה תוֹרָה? אִם עַל כְּלֵי שֶׁטֶף, יַטְבִּילֵם וְיִטְהֲרוּ, וְאִם עַל אֳכָלִין וּמַשְׁקִין, יֹאכְלֵם בִּימֵי טֻמְאָתוֹ, הָא לֹא חָסָה תוֹרָה אֶלָּא עַל כְּלֵי חֶרֶס, שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם טָהֳרָה בַּמִּקְוֶה (ספרא): ולא יטמא כל אשר בבית THAT ALL THAT IS IN THE HOUSE BE NOT MADE UNCLEAN, for if he does not clear it out and the priest comes and examines the plague, it requires shutting up and all that is inside immediately becomes unclean. To what is it that the Torah has regard in ordering these precautions to be taken? If it had in mind wooden or metal vessels that need only be rinsed in order to restore them to cleanness, he can immerse them and they will become clean (and there is no need to remove them from the house for fear that they will become unclean if he does not do so), and if it has in mind food and liquids, he can eat them during the time of his uncleanness (in which case also he suffers no loss since he may consume them at a time when he himself happens to be unclean). Consequently it follows that the Torah must have regard only to earthen vessels for which there is no means of purification by immersion in a ritual bath (cf. Rashi on Leviticus 11:35) and which therefore will remain unusable except in connection with ordinary food (חולין) (Sifra, Metzora, Section 5 12).