Sotah 30 - Purity, Song at the Sea, and other sundry questions

We mentioned that one special day saw a number of novel interpretations from newly-admitted students . The list continues with Rabbi Akiva's rule of the degrees of ritual impurity.

Actually, a thing is either pure for Temple service or it is not. However, the Sages classified the impurity into six levels, from the dead body (called the grandfather of impurity), down to "father of impurity", first level, second level, and all the way until fourth. For example, some say that if you have dough, from which the priest portion (challah) needs to be separated, then this dough has the same law as the challah itself and can becomes impure with the third degree of impurity. Others say that since the challah has not yet been separated, the dough can only become impure in the second degree, but not the third.

Another point that Rabbi Akiva explained was the way the Israelis sang the Song at the Red Sea. He said that Moses sang the phrase, and they repeated the summary. Others - that they repeated the phrase itself. For example, Moses said, "I will sing to God," and they repeated "I will sing to God." Then Moses said, "Since He is exalted," but they said, "I will sing to God." Others say that they repeated "Since He is exalted."

Art: The Israelites after the Crossing of the Red Sea by Hieronymous III Francken