Avodah Zarah 26a:12עבודה זרה כ״ו א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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26aכ״ו א

לבי תורתא פגעו ביה גנבי אמרו ליה לאן קאזלת אמר להן לפומבדיתא כי מטא לבי תורתא פריש אמרו ליה תלמידא דיהודה רמאה את אמר להו ידעיתו ליה יהא רעוא דליהוו הנהו אינשי בשמתיה

to Bei Torta. Along the way, thieves encountered him, and said to him: Where are you going? Rav Menashe said to them: To Pumbedita, which was farther away than Bei Torta. When he arrived at Bei Torta, he separated from the thieves, who had planned to steal from him. They said to him: You are a student of Yehuda the swindler! Rav Menashe said to them: Do you know him so well that you can accuse him of swindling others? May it be God’s will that these people be subject to Rav Yehuda’s ban of excommunication.

אזלו עבדו גניבתא עשרין ותרתין שנין ולא אצלחו כיון דחזו אתו כולהו תבעו שמתייהו והוה בהו חד גירדנא דלא אתא לשרויה שמתיה אכלי' אריא היינו דאמרי אינשי גירדנא דלא טייזן שתא בציר משני

The Gemara continues: This curse was effective, as the thieves subsequently went and carried out thefts for twenty-two years, but they were unsuccessful. Once they saw that their efforts were for naught, they all went and claimed their curse, i.e., they asked forgiveness and requested that the curse be lifted. But there was one weaver among them who did not come to lift his curse, and a lion ate him. The Gemara notes that this explains the adage that people say: With regard to a weaver [girdana] who is not shy [taizan] but impudent, a year is deducted from his allotted years.

תא חזי מה בין גנבי בבל ולסטין דארץ ישראל:

With regard to these two anecdotes, the Gemara comments: Come and see what the difference is between the thieves of Babylonia and the bandits of Eretz Yisrael. Although thieves are typically less violent than bandits, the thieves in Babylonia reacted to Rav Menashe’s action by denouncing Rav Yehuda, whereas the bandits in Eretz Yisrael praised the wisdom of Rabbi Akiva.

מתני׳ בת ישראל לא תיילד את העובדת כוכבים מפני שמילדת בן לעבודת כוכבים אבל עובדת כוכבים מילדת בת ישראל בת ישראל לא תניק בנה של עובדת כוכבים אבל עובדת כוכבי' מניקה בנה של ישראל ברשותה:

MISHNA: A Jewish woman may not deliver the child of a gentile woman, because in doing so she is delivering a child who will engage in idol worship. But one may allow a gentile woman to deliver the child of a Jewish woman. Similarly, a Jewish woman may not nurse the child of a gentile woman, but one may allow a gentile woman to nurse the child of a Jewish woman while the gentile woman is on the Jewish woman’s property.

גמ׳ ת"ר בת ישראל לא תיילד את העובדת כוכבים מפני שמילדת בן לעבודת כוכבים ועובדת כוכבים לא תיילד את בת ישראל מפני שחשודין על שפיכות דמים דברי רבי מאיר

GEMARA: The Gemara cites a dispute related to the ruling of the mishna. The Sages taught: A Jewish woman may not deliver the child of a gentile woman because in doing so she is delivering a child who will engage in idol worship. And one may not allow a gentile woman to deliver the child of a Jewish woman because gentiles are suspected of bloodshed; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir.

וחכמים אומרים עובדת כוכבים מילדת את בת ישראל בזמן שאחרות עומדות על גבה אבל לא בינה לבינה ור"מ אומר אפי' אחרות עומדות על גבה נמי לא דזימנין דמנחא ליה ידא אפותא וקטלא ליה ולא מתחזי

And the Rabbis say: One may allow a gentile woman to deliver the child of a Jewish woman when other women are standing over her watching her actions, but not when they are alone together. And Rabbi Meir says: Even when other women are standing over her one may not allow a gentile woman to deliver the child of a Jewish woman, because there are times when the midwife places her hand on the infant’s temple and kills him by applying pressure to the area, and the act is not seen.

כי ההיא איתתא דאמרה לחברתה מולדא יהודייתא בת מולדא יהודייתא אמרה לה נפישין בישתא דההיא איתתא דקא משפילנא מינייהו דמא כי אופיא דנהרא

The Gemara relates a story that validates this concern. This is like that incident involving a certain gentile woman who said to her fellow gentile: You are the midwife of Jewish women, the daughter of a midwife of Jewish women. This was meant as an insult. In response, the other gentile said to her: May as many evils befall that woman, i.e., you, as the number of Jewish infants that I have killed, as I extract blood from them like the foam [ufeya] of a river. This gentile midwife claimed to have caused the deaths of many Jewish children.

ורבנן א"ל לא היא במילתא בעלמא הוא דאוקימתה:

The Gemara clarifies the opinion of the Rabbis: And the Rabbis, who are not concerned to the same extent as Rabbi Meir, would say to you: That is not so; it was merely through words that the gentile midwife was establishing herself. In other words, she was bragging in order to intimidate her antagonist, whereas in reality she did not kill any infants.

בת ישראל לא תניק: ת"ר בת ישראל לא תניק בנה של עובדת כוכבים מפני שמגדלת בן לעבודת כוכבים ועובדת כוכבים לא תניק את בנה של בת ישראל מפני שחשודה על שפיכות דמים דברי ר"מ וחכ"א עובדת כוכבים מניקה את בנה של בת ישראל בזמן שאחרות עומדות על גבה אבל לא בינו לבינה ורבי מאיר אומר אפילו אחרות עומדות על גבה נמי לא דזימנין דשייפא ליה סמא לדד מאבראי וקטלא ליה

§ The mishna teaches that a Jewish woman may not nurse the child of a gentile woman. The Sages taught: A Jewish woman may not nurse the child of a gentile woman because in doing so she is effectively raising a child who will engage in idol worship. And one may not allow a gentile woman to nurse the child of a Jewish woman because she is suspected of bloodshed; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis say: One may allow a gentile woman to nurse the child of a Jewish woman when other women are standing over her, but not when the gentile woman is alone together with the child. And Rabbi Meir says: Even when other women are standing over her one may not allow a gentile woman to nurse the child, because there are times when she smears poison intended for him upon her breast when she is outside the house, and subsequently kills him with it while nursing.

וצריכא דאי אשמעינן מילדת בההיא קאמרי רבנן דשרי דלא אפשר משום דאחרות רואות אותה אבל מניקה דאפשר דשייפא ליה סם לדד מאבראי וקטלא ליה אימא מודי ליה לרבי מאיר

The Gemara remarks: And it is necessary for the dispute between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis to be stated with regard to both the case of a midwife and that of a wet nurse. The reason is that if the tanna had taught us only the halakha of a midwife, one might assume that it is only in that case that the Rabbis said that it is permitted to allow the gentile to deliver a Jewish infant, because it is not possible for her to kill him, due to the fact that other women see her. But with regard to a wet nurse, as it is possible that she might smear poison upon her breast while she is still outside the house and then kill him with it, one might say that the Rabbis concede to Rabbi Meir that a gentile woman may not be allowed to nurse the son of a Jewish woman under any circumstances.

ואי אשמעינן מניקה בההיא קאמר רבי מאיר דאסור משום דשייפא ליה סם לדד מאבראי וקטלא ליה אבל מילדת דלא אפשר היכא דאחרות עומדות על גבה אימא מודי להו לרבנן צריכא

And if the tanna had taught us only the halakha of a wet nurse, one might assume that it is only in that case that Rabbi Meir said that it is prohibited for a gentile to nurse a Jewish infant, due to the fact that she might smear poison upon her breast while outside the house and kill him with it. But with regard to a midwife, since it is not possible for her to kill him where other women are standing over her, one might say that Rabbi Meir concedes to the Rabbis. The Gemara concludes: It is therefore necessary for this dispute to be stated with regard to both cases.

ורמינהו יהודית מילדת עובדת כוכבים בשכר אבל לא בחנם אמר רב יוסף בשכר שרי משום איבה

§ Based on the above discussion, all agree that a Jewish woman may not deliver the child of a gentile woman. And the Gemara raises a contradiction from a baraita: A Jewish woman may deliver the child of an Aramean woman in exchange for payment, but not for free. Rav Yosef said in response: It is permitted in exchange for payment due to the enmity that would be engendered if Jews refused to deliver gentile infants despite being offered money to do so.

סבר רב יוסף למימר אולודי עובדת כוכבים בשבתא בשכר שרי משום איבה א"ל אביי יכלה למימר לה דידן דמינטרי שבתא מחללינן עלייהו דידכו דלא מינטרי שבתא לא מחללינן

Rav Yosef thought to say: Delivering the child of a gentile woman on Shabbat in exchange for payment is permitted due to enmity. Abaye said to him: The concern of enmity does not apply here, because she can say to the gentile: With regard to our own women, who keep Shabbat, we desecrate Shabbat for them; with regard to your women, who do not keep Shabbat, we do not desecrate Shabbat for them.

סבר רב יוסף למימר אנוקי בשכר שרי משום איבה אמר ליה אביי יכלה למימר אי פנויה היא בעינא לאינסובי אי אשת איש היא לא קא מזדהמנא באפי גברא

Rav Yosef also thought to say: Nursing the child of a gentile woman in exchange for payment is permitted due to enmity. Abaye said to him: The concern of enmity does not apply, because she can say, if she is unmarried: I wish to get married. And if she is a married woman, she may say: I do not wish to become repulsive to my husband. Since she can provide a reasonable excuse for refusing to nurse a gentile child, the concern of enmity does not apply.

סבר רב יוסף למימר הא דתניא העובדי כוכבים ורועי בהמה דקה לא מעלין ולא מורידין אסוקי בשכר שרי משום איבה

Rav Yosef thought to say a similar idea concerning that which is taught in a baraita: With regard to gentiles and shepherds of small domesticated animals, one may not raise them out of a pit and one may not lower them into a pit. Rav Yosef suggested that even so, it is permitted to raise them from the pit in exchange for payment, due to enmity.

אמר ליה אביי יכול לומר לו קאי ברי אאיגרא אי נמי נקיטא לי זימנא לבי דואר

Abaye said to him: It is prohibited to raise a gentile from a pit even in exchange for payment, because one can say an excuse to him, such as: My son is standing on the roof and I must go use this ladder to help him down from the roof. Alternatively, he can say to him: A time has been appointed for me to appear in the courthouse [bei davar] and I must attend to this matter. Since the Jew can provide a legitimate excuse for refusing to aid the gentile, there is no need to extract him from the pit.

תני רבי אבהו קמיה דר' יוחנן העובדי כוכבים ורועי בהמה דקה לא מעלין

Apropos the notion of raising someone from or lowering him into a pit, the Gemara notes that Rabbi Abbahu taught the following while standing before Rabbi Yoḥanan: With regard to gentiles and shepherds of domesticated animals, one may not raise them from a pit,