אלא להכשיר זרעים בלבד אמר ליה לכל מילי רבי שמעון כתלוש משוי ליה ושאני לענין טומאה דהתורה ריבתה טהרה אצל זרעים שנאמר על כל זרע זרוע אשר יזרע
is with regard to rendering seeds capable of becoming ritually impure. Seeds that are in a perforated pot have the legal status of seeds planted in the ground and, as such, cannot become ritually impure. Seeds that are in an imperforated pot are considered detached from the ground and can become ritually impure. Apparently, in other areas of halakha, Rabbi Shimon holds that a plant in a perforated pot has the legal status of a plant in the ground (Me’iri). He said to him: With regard to all matters of halakha, Rabbi Shimon equates the status of a perforated pot with that of being detached. However, the matter of impurity is different, as the Torah amplified purity with regard to seeds, as it is stated: “And if anything falls from their carcasses upon any sowing seed that is sown, it is pure” (Leviticus 11:37). The repetitive language: “Any sowing seed that is sown” teaches that any seed that can be characterized as sowing, including one growing in a perforated pot, remains pure. However, in other areas of halakha, the status of a perforated pot is equal to that of an imperforated pot.
בעא מיניה ההוא סבא מרבי זירא שורש כנגד נקב מה לי אמר רבי שמעון אישתיק ולא אמר ליה ולא מידי זימנא חדא אשכחיה דיתיב וקאמר ומודה רבי שמעון שאם ניקב בכדי טהרתו אמר ליה השתא שורש כנגד נקב בעאי מינך ולא אמרת לי ולא מידי ניקב בכדי טהרתו מיבעיא
A certain Elder raised a dilemma before Rabbi Zeira: In a case where the root of a plant in a perforated pot is opposite the hole, what would Rabbi Shimon say in terms of whether or not it is considered attached to the ground? He was silent and did not say anything to him. The Gemara relates that once the same Elder found Rabbi Zeira, who was sitting and saying: And Rabbi Shimon agrees that if the hole in the flowerpot is large enough to render it ritually pure, i.e., unable to hold olives, it is considered attached to the earth with regard to Shabbat. He said to him: Now, I raised a dilemma before you as to Rabbi Shimon’s ruling in a case where the root is opposite the hole, and you did not say anything to me. With regard to a case where the root is not actually opposite the hole, but its hole is large enough to render it pure, do you need to tell me that the dilemma whether or not it is considered detached is unresolved? Rather, this must certainly be understood differently.
אמר אביי ואי איתמר להא דרבי זירא הכי הוא דאיתמר ומודה רבי שמעון שאם ניקב למטה מרביעית
Abaye said: And if the statement of Rabbi Zeira that Rabbi Shimon holds that a perforated pot is considered attached to the ground, was stated, it was stated as follows: And Rabbi Shimon agrees that if the pot was perforated below the level where it could hold a quarter of a log, it is no longer considered a vessel, and the plants are considered attached to the ground.
אמר רבא חמש מדות בכלי חרס ניקב כמוציא משקה טהור מלטמא גיסטרא ועדיין כלי הוא לקדש בו מי חטאת ניקב ככונס משקה טהור מלקדש בו מי חטאת ועדיין כלי הוא להכשיר בו זרעים ניקב כשורש קטן טהור מלהכשיר בו זרעים ועדיין כלי הוא לקבל בו זיתים ניקב כמוציא זיתים טהור מלקבל בו זיתים ועדיין כלי הוא לקבל בו רימונים ניקב כמוציא רימונים טהור מכלום ואם הוקף צמיד פתיל עד שיפחת רובו
Apropos the purification of an earthenware vessel, the Gemara cites that Rava said: Five measures were stated with regard to holes in an earthenware vessel: If it was perforated with a small hole from which liquid seeps, it is no longer a vessel and is ritually pure in terms of the impurity of a shard. Certain shards of impure earthenware vessels remain impure if they can still be used. If it has a hole, even a small one that liquids can flow through, it can no longer transmit ritual impurity. However, it remains a complete vessel in which to sanctify the purification waters of the red heifer, which require a whole vessel. And if it was perforated with a hole large enough to enable liquid to enter the vessel, it is ritually pure in terms of sanctifying the purification waters in it, but it remains a vessel in terms of rendering seeds in it capable of becoming ritually impure. And if it was perforated with a hole the size of a small root, it is ritually pure in terms of rendering seeds in it capable of becoming ritually impure, but it remains a vessel that can become ritually impure in terms of holding olives. And if it was perforated with a hole large enough to enable olives to go out, it is pure in terms of the impurity of all other vessels that can hold olives, but it remains a vessel in terms of holding pomegranates. If the vessel is designated for use in holding pomegranates, it can become ritually impure because it is suitable for that use. If it was perforated with a hole large enough to enable pomegranates to go out, it is ritually pure from any type of impurity. And if the mouth of an earthenware vessel that is in a room with a corpse is surrounded by a sealed cover, it does not become ritually pure, even if its hole was large enough to enable a pomegranate to go out. It protects whatever is inside the vessel from contracting impurity, unless the majority of the vessel is broken.
אמר רב אסי שמעתי כלי חרס שיעורו כמוציא רימון אמר ליה רבא שמא לא שמעת אלא במוקף צמיד פתיל והא רבא הוא דאמר מוקף צמיד פתיל עד שיפחת רובו לא קשיא
Rav Asi said: I heard that with regard to an earthenware vessel, the measure of the hole that renders it unable to become ritually impure is large enough to enable a pomegranate to go out. Rava said to him: Perhaps you only heard this when its mouth is surrounded by a sealed cover, but an ordinary earthenware vessel becomes ritually pure with a hole big enough to enable an olive to go out. The Gemara asks: Isn’t Rava himself the one who said that an earthenware vessel that is surrounded by a sealed cover protects whatever is inside the vessel from contracting impurity unless the majority of the vessel is broken? The Gemara answers: This is not difficult.