האי מאי בשלמא בלא סיד היכל קרום ביצה לא קשיא דאע"ג דקרום ביצה מתתאי דשאת רחמנא אמר (ויקרא יד, נו) ולשאת ולספחת ספחת טפילה לשאת אע"ג דמנחתא מיניה טובא אלא סיד היכל קשיא אלא מחוורתא מתניתין דלא כרבי עקיבא
The Gemara answers: What is this comparison? Granted, it would all be well were it not for the difficulty with regard to a mark the color of the lime plaster of the Sanctuary walls, as the difficulty raised with regard to an egg membrane–colored mark is not difficult. As even though the shade of an egg membrane is two stages below that of a se’et, the Merciful One states: “And for a se’et and for a sappaḥat” (Leviticus 14:56), which indicates that a sappaḥat is secondary to a se’et and can combine with it even though a sappaḥat is of a much lower degree of brightness than it. Rabbi Akiva holds that both of the additional shades not explicitly mentioned in the Torah are derived from the word: Sappaḥat, and so both of them can combine with a se’et. But the difficulty raised with regard to a mark the color of the lime plaster of the Sanctuary walls is indeed difficult. Rather, it is clear that the mishna is not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva.
והיכא שמעינן לרבי עקיבא זו למעלה מזו
§ The Gemara elaborates on Rabbi Akiva’s opinion: And where have we learned that according to Rabbi Akiva the different shades should be ordered this one above that one, i.e., according to their degrees of brightness, and only two adjacent shades can combine together?
אילימא מהא דתניא אמר רבי יוסי שאל יהושע בנו של רבי עקיבא מרבי עקיבא מפני מה אמרו מראות נגעים שנים שהן ארבעה אמר לו ואם לאו מה יאמרו יאמרו מקרום ביצה ולמעלה טמא
If we say we learned it from that which is taught in the following baraita, it is difficult. The baraita teaches: Rabbi Yosei said that Yehoshua, son of Rabbi Akiva, asked of Rabbi Akiva: For what reason did the Sages say that the different shades of leprous marks are two types that are four, and proceed to specify their names? Rabbi Akiva said to him: But if not that, what else could they say? Rabbi Yehoshua answered him: Let them say that any mark of a degree of brightness from that of an egg membrane and above is ritually impure.
אמר לו לומר שמצטרפים זה עם זה אמר לו ויאמרו מקרום ביצה ולמעלה טמא ומצטרפין זה עם זה אמר לו לומר לך כל כהן שאינו בקי בהן ובשמותיהן אינו רואה את הנגעים
Rabbi Akiva said to him: They specified the four different shades in order to say that they combine with each other in that order, i.e., each one with its adjacent shade. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: If so, let them simply say: Any mark of a degree of brightness from that of an egg membrane and above is ritually impure, and they combine with each other. Rabbi Akiva said to him: They specified their names in order to tell you: Any priest who is not an expert in distinguishing between them and in identifying their names is not authorized to inspect the leprous marks and make a decision regarding them.
ואילו מסיד היכל ולמעלה לא קאמר
The Gemara explains the difficulty: Rabbi Yehoshua suggested that according to Rabbi Akiva’s opinion it should be sufficient to say that any mark of a degree of brightness from that of an egg membrane and upward is impure, but he did not say that it would also be necessary to add: And any mark of a degree of brightness from that of the lime plaster of the Sanctuary walls and above is impure. If Rabbi Akiva agrees to the categorization of the mishna, then it would be necessary to state separately each category of marks, in a dual formulation, in order to indicate that only shades that are categorized together can combine.
מדלא אמר ליה ש"מ דשמיע ליה לר' עקיבא דאמר כולהו לבהדי שאת מצטרפין
The Gemara suggests: Conclude from the fact that he did not say this to Rabbi Akiva that Rabbi Yehoshua heard of Rabbi Akiva that he says: All the different shades combine with a se’et. Accordingly, both a snow-white baheret and a lime-colored mark will each combine with a se’et, as they are adjacent to it when listed in order of their degrees of brightness. An egg membrane–colored mark will also combine with a se’et, as it is derived from the word: Sappaḥat, and the Torah indicates that a sappaḥat is secondary to a se’et.
ודלמא שאת ותולדתה בהרת ותולדתה
The Gemara rejects this proof: But perhaps Rabbi Akiva does hold that the only combinations possible are a se’et and its secondary mark, i.e., an egg membrane–colored mark; and a baheret and its secondary mark, i.e., a lime-colored mark. And perhaps Rabbi Yehoshua in fact proposed that the Sages should use a dual formulation, but the baraita cites only the first half of his suggestion.
אלא מדרבי חנינא דאמר ר' חנינא משל דרבי עקיבא למה הדבר דומה לארבעה כוסות של חלב אחד נפלו לתוכו שתי טיפין של דם ואחד נפלו לתוכו ארבע טיפין של דם ואחד נפלו לתוכו שמונה ואחד נפלו לתוכו שתים עשרה טיפין ואמרי לה שש עשרה טיפין שכולן מראות לובן הן אלא שזה למעלה מזה וזה למעלה מזה
Rather, Rabbi Akiva’s opinion can be inferred from that which Rabbi Ḥanina says, as Rabbi Ḥanina says: The following is an analogy to illustrate the opinion of Rabbi Akiva: To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to four cups of milk, and two drops of blood fell into one of them, and four drops of blood fell into another one of them, and eight drops of blood fell into another one, and twelve drops of blood fell into the last one. And some say that sixteen drops fell into the last cup. This is a suitable analogy, as the milk in all of the cups still has a similar shade of white, but the cups can be ordered according to their degrees of brightness, as this one is above this one, and that one is above that one. Rabbi Ḥanina’s analogy would appear to portray Rabbi Akiva’s opinion in the same way it was cited earlier.
אימור דשמעת ליה לרבי עקיבא בפתוך בחלוק מי שמעת ליה
The Gemara rejects this. The Torah states that a “reddish-white affliction” (Leviticus 13:42), not just a flawless white one, renders a person ritually impure. Therefore, the Gemara suggests: Say that you heard Rabbi Akiva express this opinion with regard to combining different shades of a mark that is mixed [befatukh] with red, which is the case most similar to the analogy offered by Rabbi Ḥanina, but with regard to different shades of flawless white, have you heard Rabbi Akiva express this opinion?
וכי תימא כי היכי דשמעת ליה בפתוך הכי שמעת ליה בחלוק ובפתוך גופיה מי שמעת ליה והתניא רבי עקיבא אומר אדמדם שבזה ושבזה כיין המזוג במים אלא של בהרת עזה כשלג ושל סיד דיהה הימנה
And if you would say that just as you heard Rabbi Akiva express this opinion with regard to a mark that is mixed with red, so too, by logical extension, you have effectively heard Rabbi Akiva express this opinion with regard to different shades of flawless white, as what possible reason is there to differentiate between them, this is difficult. And this suggestion is problematic, as in the case of a mixed reddish-white mark itself, did you ever hear him express this opinion? But isn’t it taught otherwise in a mishna (Nega’im 1:2): With regard to the various shades of white that are mixed with red, Rabbi Akiva says the reddish variation of this one, i.e., of a baheret, and of that one, i.e., of a lime-colored mark, are like wine diluted in water, except for the following distinction: That the reddish variation of a baheret is still an intense white, like snow, albeit with a somewhat pinkish hue, but the reddish variation of lime is darker than it.