Avodah Zarah 27aעבודה זרה כ״ז א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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27aכ״ז א

ברופא מומחה דכי אתא רב דימי א"ר יוחנן אם היה מומחה לרבים מותר

We are dealing with an expert physician, who will not risk his reputation by harming a child. This is similar to that which Rabbi Yoḥanan said, as when Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: If the physician was considered a recognized expert, it is permitted for one to be healed by him. When Rabbi Meir said that an Aramean may circumcise a Jewish boy, he was referring specifically to a doctor who is known for his expertise.

וסבר רבי יהודה כותי שפיר דמי והתניא ישראל מל את הכותי וכותי לא ימול ישראל מפני שמל לשם הר גרזים דברי רבי יהודה

The latter clause of the baraita states that Rabbi Yehuda maintains that a Samaritan may circumcise a Jewish infant. The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Yehuda actually hold that it is permitted for a Samaritan to perform circumcision? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: A Jew may circumcise a Samaritan but a Samaritan may not be allowed to circumcise a Jew, because he circumcises him for the sake of Mount Gerizim; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.

אמר לו רבי יוסי וכי היכן מצינו מילה מן התורה לשמה אלא מל והולך עד שתצא נשמתו

Rabbi Yosei said to him: And where do we find that the mitzva of circumcision from the Torah must be performed for the sake of fulfilling God’s will? Rather, a Samaritan may continue to circumcise Jews until his soul leaves his body, i.e., until the Samaritan dies, and there is no room for concern. But Rabbi Yehuda explicitly states above that circumcision may not be performed by a Samaritan.

אלא לעולם איפוך כדאפכינן מעיקרא ודקא קשיא דרבי יהודה אדר' יהודה ההיא דרבי יהודה הנשיא היא

Rather, actually you should reverse the opinions in the baraita as we reversed them initially. And as for the difficulty raised with regard to one statement of Rabbi Yehuda against the other statement of Rabbi Yehuda, that opinion, that a gentile may not perform circumcision, is actually the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Conversely, the first baraita, which is reversed and therefore cites Rabbi Yehuda as maintaining that an Aramean may perform circumcision, is referring to Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai. Accordingly, the different opinions reflect a dispute between tanna’im rather than a contradiction.

דתניא רבי יהודה הנשיא אומר מנין למילה בעובד כוכבים שהיא פסולה ת"ל ואתה את בריתי תשמור

The Gemara cites a proof that according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi a gentile is not qualified to perform circumcision. As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: From where is it derived with regard to circumcision performed by a gentile that it is not valid? The verse states: “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).

אמר רב חסדא מאי טעמא דרבי יהודה דכתיב לה' המול ורבי יוסי המול ימול

§ It was stated that according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda circumcision must be performed for the sake of fulfilling a mitzva, whereas Rabbi Yosei holds that no particular intention is necessary. The Gemara analyzes these opinions. Rav Ḥisda said: What is the reasoning of Rabbi Yehuda? As it is written: “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the Lord let all his males be circumcised” (Exodus 12:48). It can be inferred from the verse that the males must be circumcised “to the Lord,” i.e., for the sake of fulfilling God’s will. The Gemara asks: And what is the reasoning of Rabbi Yosei? It is written: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol]” (Genesis 17:13). The usage of the doubled verb teaches that circumcision may be performed by anyone.

ואידך הכתיב לה' המול ההוא בפסח כתיב ואידך נמי הכתיב המול ימול דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם

The Gemara asks: And according to the other Sage, i.e., Rabbi Yosei, isn’t it written: “To the Lord let all his males be circumcised,” which indicates that circumcision must be performed for the sake of fulfilling God’s will? The Gemara answers: That is written with regard to Passover. According to Rabbi Yosei, the phrase “to the Lord” is referring to the previous mention of the Paschal offering, rather than to circumcision. Accordingly, the verse should be read: “Will keep Passover to the Lord.” The Gemara asks: And according to the other Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, isn’t it also written: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol],” indicating that circumcision may be performed by anyone? The Gemara answers: The Torah spoke in the language of people, i.e., the doubled verb is the usual style of the Torah, which does not serve to teach a novel halakha.

איתמר מנין למילה בעובד כוכבים שהיא פסולה דרו בר פפא משמיה דרב אמר ואתה את בריתי תשמור ורבי יוחנן המול ימול

§ The Gemara continues discussing the issue of circumcisions performed by gentiles. It was stated: From where is it derived with regard to circumcision performed by a gentile that it is not valid? Daru bar Pappa says in the name of Rav: This 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.” And Rabbi Yoḥanan says that it is derived from the verse: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol].” According to Rabbi Yoḥanan, this verse teaches that a Jew must be circumcised by one who is already circumcised.

מאי בינייהו ערבי מהול וגבנוני מהול איכא בינייהו מאן דאמר המול ימול איכא ומ"ד את בריתי תשמור ליכא

The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference between these two opinions? There is a practical difference between them with regard to a circumcised Arab or a circumcised hill person [gavnuni]. According to the one who says that the halakha that a Jewish infant may be circumcised only by one who has been circumcised himself is derived from the verse: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol],” there is reason to permit an Arab or gavnuni to perform the circumcision, as they are circumcised. And according to the one who says that circumcision may not be performed by a gentile is derived from the phrase: “You shall keep my covenant,” there is no reason to permit an Arab or Gibeonite to perform circumcision.

ולמאן דאמר המול ימול איכא והתנן קונם שאני נהנה מן הערלים מותר בערלי ישראל ואסור במולי עובדי כוכבים אלמא אף על גב דמהילי כמאן דלא מהילי דמו

The Gemara raises an objection: And is it so, according to the one who says it is derived from the verse: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol],” that a Jew may not be circumcised by a gentile, that there is reason to permit a circumcised gentile to perform circumcision? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Nedarim 31b): With regard to one who vows: Deriving benefit from those who are uncircumcised is konam for me, he is permitted to derive benefit from uncircumcised Jews because they are not regarded as uncircumcised, but he is prohibited from deriving benefit from the uncircumcised of the nations of the world? Apparently, even though some gentiles are circumcised, they are nevertheless considered as those who are uncircumcised.

אלא איכא בינייהו ישראל שמתו אחיו מחמת מילה ולא מלוהו למ"ד ואתה את בריתי תשמור איכא למאן דאמר המול ימול ליכא

Rather, there is a difference between them with regard to a Jew whose brothers died due to circumcision, and as a result, they did not circumcise him. According to the one who says that the halakha is derived from the verse: “And as for you, you shall keep My covenant,” there is reason to permit such a person to perform circumcision, as he is a Jew. According to the one who says that the halakha is derived from the phrase: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol],” there is no reason to permit this Jew to perform circumcision, as he is not circumcised himself.

ולמ"ד המול ימול ליכא והתנן קונם שאני נהנה ממולים אסור בערלי ישראל ומותר במולי עובדי כוכבים אלמא אע"ג דלא מהילי כמאן דמהילי דמו

The Gemara rejects this suggestion as well: And is it so that according to the one who says that the halakha is derived from the verse: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol],” there is no reason to permit an uncircumcised Jew to perform circumcision? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Nedarim 31b): With regard to one who vows: Deriving benefit from those who are circumcised is konam for me, he is prohibited from deriving benefit even from uncircumcised Jews and he is permitted to derive benefit from the circumcised of the nations of the world. Apparently, even though some Jews are not circumcised, they are nevertheless considered as those who are circumcised.

אלא איכא בינייהו אשה למ"ד ואתה את בריתי תשמור ליכא דאשה לאו בת מילה היא ולמ"ד המול ימול איכא דאשה כמאן דמהילא דמיא

Rather, there is a difference between these two opinions with regard to a woman. According to the one who says that the halakha is derived from the verse: “And as for you, you shall keep My covenant,” there is no reason to permit a woman to perform circumcision, as a woman is not subject to the mitzva of circumcision, and therefore she is not included in those who must keep God’s covenant. And according to the one who says that the halakha is derived from the verse: “He must be circumcised [himmol yimmol],” there is reason to permit a woman to perform circumcision, as a woman is considered as one who is naturally circumcised.

ומי איכא למאן דאמר אשה לא והכתיב (שמות ד, כה) ותקח צפורה צר קרי ביה ותקח והכתיב ותכרות קרי ביה ותכרת דאמרה לאיניש אחרינא ועבד ואיבעית אימא אתיא איהי ואתחלה ואתא משה ואגמרה:

The Gemara raises a difficulty against this explanation: And is there anyone who says that a woman may not perform circumcision? But isn’t it written: “Then Zipporah took [vattikkaḥ] a flint and cut off the foreskin of her son” (Exodus 4:25). This verse explicitly states that a circumcision was performed by a woman. The Gemara answers that one should read into the verse: And she caused to be taken [vattakkaḥ], i.e., she did not take a flint herself. But isn’t it written: And she cut off [vattikhrot]? Read into the verse: And she caused to be cut off [vattakhret], as she told another person to take a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and he did so. The Gemara provides an alternative explanation: And if you wish, say instead: She came and began the act, and Moses came and completed the circumcision.

מתני׳ מתרפאין מהן ריפוי ממון אבל לא ריפוי נפשות ואין מסתפרין מהן בכל מקום דברי רבי מאיר וחכמים אומרים ברה"ר מותר אבל לא בינו לבינו:

MISHNA: The mishna discusses the issue of accepting certain professional services from a gentile. One may be treated by gentiles, provided that it is monetary treatment, but not personal treatment. And one may not have his hair cut by them anywhere, due to the danger that the gentile will kill him with the razor; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis say: In the public thoroughfare, it is permitted to have one’s hair cut by a gentile, but not when the Jew and gentile are alone together.

גמ׳ מאי ריפוי ממון ומאי ריפוי נפשות אילימא ריפוי ממון בשכר ריפוי נפשות בחנם ליתני מתרפאין מהן בשכר אבל לא בחנם

GEMARA: What is monetary treatment, and what is personal treatment? If we say that monetary treatment is medical attention provided in exchange for payment, whereas personal treatment is medical attention provided for free, then let the mishna teach: One may be treated by gentiles in exchange for payment, but not for free.

אלא ריפוי ממון דבר שאין בו סכנה ריפוי נפשות דבר שיש בו סכנה והאמר רב יהודה אפילו ריבדא דכוסילתא לא מתסינן מינייהו

The Gemara suggests another explanation: Rather, monetary treatment is referring to medical treatment for a matter that poses no life-threatening danger, whereas personal treatment is referring to treatment for a matter that does pose life-threatening danger. The Gemara rejects this suggestion as well. But doesn’t Rav Yehuda say: Even with regard to the wound of a bloodletting incision [rivda dekhusilta] we are not permitted to be treated by gentiles. The wound left after bloodletting certainly does not pose life-threatening danger, and yet a Jew is prohibited from having it treated by a gentile.

אלא ריפוי ממון בהמתו ריפוי נפשות גופיה והיינו דאמר רב יהודה אפילו ריבדא דכוסילתא לא מתסינן מינייהו

Rather, monetary treatment is referring to medical treatment provided for one’s animal, whereas personal treatment is referring to treatment provided for his own body, and this is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda says: Even with regard to the wound of a bloodletting incision, we are not permitted to be treated by them.

אמר רב חסדא אמר מר עוקבא אבל אם אמר לו סם פלוני יפה לו סם פלוני רע לו מותר

Rav Ḥisda says that Mar Ukva says: But if a gentile said to him: Such and such a potion is beneficial for this ailment, or such and such a potion is harmful for this ailment, it is permitted to adhere to the gentile’s advice.