and one may not lower them into a pit. But the heretics, and the informers, and the apostates [vehameshummadim] are lowered into a pit, but not raised out of it.
Rabbi Yoḥanan said to Rabbi Abbahu: I teach that the verse: “And so you shall do with every lost item of your brother” (Deuteronomy 22:3), serves to include the apostate in one’s obligation to return a lost item to another Jew; and you say that one may lower him into a pit? Remove the term apostate from here.
The Gemara asks: And let Rabbi Abbahu answer Rabbi Yoḥanan as follows: Here, with regard to a lost item, the verse includes an apostate because it is referring to an apostate who eats non-kosher meat due to his appetite, i.e., he succumbs to the temptation. Conversely, there, with regard to raising an apostate from a pit, I am referring to an apostate who eats non-kosher meat to express insolence. The Gemara answers: Rabbi Abbahu holds that one who eats non-kosher meat to express insolence is a heretic, rather than an apostate.
§ It was stated with regard to the definition of an apostate that Rav Aḥa and Ravina disagree. One says that someone who transgresses a prohibition due to his appetite is an apostate, while one who transgresses a prohibition in order to express insolence is a heretic. And one says that even one who sins to express insolence is considered an apostate. Rather, who is considered a heretic? This is an idol worshipper.
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita against the opinion that one who sins to express insolence is considered a heretic. The baraita teaches: If one ate a single flea or a single mosquito, he is considered an apostate. The Gemara clarifies the objection: But here it must be assumed that the insect was eaten to express insolence, as it is unappetizing, and yet this baraita teaches that one who eats a flea or a mosquito is an apostate. The Gemara answers: There, he desires to experience the taste of forbidden food, and therefore he is considered to be eating only due to temptation.
§ The Gemara returns to the subject of lowering someone into a pit. The Master said: Heretics, informers, and apostates are lowered into a pit but not raised out of it. The Gemara analyzes this statement: Now that it is known that one actively lowers them into a pit, is it necessary to teach that one does not raise them from it? Rav Yosef bar Ḥama said that Rav Sheshet said: No, it is necessary to teach this halakha because it can be inferred from here that if there was a ledge in the pit, a Jew scrapes it off so that the one in the pit cannot ascend from it, as the Jew employs a pretext and says that he is removing the ledge so that animals do not descend upon the one in the pit while he is trapped in the pit.
Rabba and Rav Yosef both say a different answer: No, it is necessary to teach this, as it can be inferred from here that if there was a stone at the mouth of the well that one had fallen into, a Jew covers it and says that he is covering the opening in order to pass his animals over it. Ravina said: One can learn from here that if there was a ladder in the pit, a Jew removes it and says: I require the ladder to lower my son from the roof.
§ The Gemara discusses the subject of assisting or receiving aid from a gentile in the context of circumcision. The Sages taught: A Jew may circumcise a gentile for the sake of making him a convert. This is to the exclusion of circumcising a gentile for the sake of removing a worm [murna], which is not permitted, as it is forbidden to heal a gentile. But one may not allow a gentile to circumcise a Jew in any situation, because gentiles are suspected of bloodshed. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir.
And the Rabbis say: One may allow a gentile to circumcise a Jew while others are standing over him and observing his actions, but not when they are alone together. And Rabbi Meir says: Even where others are standing over him it is also not permitted, as there are times when a gentile might tilt the knife and render the Jew one whose penis has been severed, and he will be unable to father children.
The Gemara asks: But does Rabbi Meir hold that one may not allow a gentile to circumcise a Jew? And the Gemara raises a contradiction against this claim from the following baraita: In a city in which there is no Jewish physician, and in which there is a Samaritan physician and an Aramean, i.e., a gentile, physician, it is preferable that the Aramean circumcise the Jewish boys of the city and the Samaritan not circumcise them. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehuda says: It is preferable that the Samaritan circumcise the boys and the Aramean not circumcise them. Rabbi Meir holds that it is preferable for an Aramean gentile to perform circumcision despite the fact that Samaritans are considered Jewish to a certain extent.
The Gemara answers: Reverse their opinions, so that Rabbi Meir says: It is preferable that the Samaritan circumcise the boys and not the Aramean, and Rabbi Yehuda says: It is preferable that the Aramean circumcise them and not the Samaritan.
The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Yehuda hold that it is permitted for circumcision to be performed by an Aramean? But isn’t it taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: From where is it derived with regard to circumcision performed by a gentile that it is not valid? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And God said to Abraham: And as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you, and your seed after you throughout their generations” (Genesis 17:9). “My covenant [beriti]” here is a reference to circumcision [berit mila], and therefore the verse is teaching that only Abraham and his descendants, i.e., Jews, are qualified to perform circumcision.
Rather, the Gemara suggests, actually do not reverse it. As for the apparent contradiction between the two statements of Rabbi Meir, the Gemara explains: And what are we dealing with here?