And every earthen vessel, whereinto [any] of them falleth,
&c.] Any of the above eight reptiles, should they by chance fall into the midst an earthen vessel:
whatsoever [is] in it shall be unclean;
if it only by falling touched the outside of it, it was not unclean; but if it fell into it, then whatever was contained in it was unclean; for, as Jarchi says, an earthen vessel does not pollute or receive pollution, but from the air of it F21, from its inside:
and ye shall break it;
other vessels might be put into water and rinsed, and so be cleansed, but earthen vessels, being of no great value, were to be broken in pieces: an emblem this, as Ainsworth suggests, of the dissolution of our bodies, which are as earthen vessels, and of the destruction of sin thereby, and of the entire removal of it by death.
F21 Vid. Misn. Celaim, c. 2. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.