Avodah Zarah 36b:2עבודה זרה ל״ו ב:ב
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36bל״ו ב

(מלאכי ג, ט) במארה אתם נארים ואותי אתם קובעים הגוי כולו אי איכא גוי כולו אין אי לא לא

It is the verse: “You are cursed with the curse, yet you rob Me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:9). This teaches that if there is the acceptance of the whole nation, yes, an ordinance may be instituted, but if not, no, the ordinance may not be instituted.

גופא אמר באלי אמר אבימי נותאה משמיה דרב פיתן ושמנן יינן ובנותיהן כולן משמונה עשר דבר הן בנותיהן מאי היא אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק גזרו על בנותיהן נידות מעריסותן

§ The Gemara discusses the matter itself: Balei says that Avimi of Nota says in the name of Rav: The prohibitions with regard to gentiles’ bread and their oil, their wine and their daughters, are all from the eighteen matters issued in a single day in the time of the students of Shammai and Hillel. The Gemara asks: With regard to their daughters, what is the decree? Rabbi Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: They decreed upon their daughters that they should be classified as menstruating women from the time they are in their cradle, i.e., they decreed that from when they are young, gentile women are always considered to be menstruating.

וגניבא משמיה דרב אמר כולן משום עבודת כוכבים גזרו בהן דכי אתא רב אחא בר אדא א"ר יצחק גזרו על פיתן משום שמנן מאי אולמיה דשמן מפת

The Gemara presents another opinion. And Geneiva says in the name of Rav: Gentiles’ bread, oil, wine, and daughters were all decreed upon due to the concern that Jews might participate in idol worship with gentiles as a result of intermingling with them. As, when Rav Aḥa bar Adda came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia he said that Rabbi Yitzḥak says: They decreed a prohibition upon their bread due to their oil. The Gemara asks: In what way is the prohibition with regard to oil stronger than the prohibition with regard to bread? That is, why does the primary concern relate to the oil of gentiles rather than their bread?

אלא על פיתן ושמנן משום יינן ועל יינן משום בנותיהן ועל בנותיהן משום דבר אחר ועל דבר אחר משום ד"א

The Gemara offers a different interpretation: Rather, they issued a decree prohibiting their bread and their oil due to their wine. And they issued the decree prohibiting their wine due to the fact that this leads to familiarity, and Jews will come to marry their daughters. And they issued a decree prohibiting their daughters due to something else, idolatry. And they further issued a decree on something else due to something else, which will be explained by the Gemara.

בנותיהן דאורייתא היא דכתיב (דברים ז, ג) לא תתחתן בם דאורייתא ז' אומות אבל שאר עובדי כוכבים לא ואתו אינהו וגזור אפילו דשאר עובדי כוכבים

It was stated that the prohibition against marrying the daughters of gentiles was decreed on account of idolatry. The Gemara raises an objection: But the prohibition against marrying their daughters is prescribed by Torah law, as it is written: “Neither shall you make marriages with them” (Deuteronomy 7:3). The Gemara explains: By Torah law intermarriage is prohibited only with the seven Canaanite nations, but intermarriage with the other nations of the world is not prohibited, and the students of Shammai and Hillel came and decreed that intermarriage is prohibited even with the other nations.

ולר"ש בן יוחי דאמר (דברים ז, ד) כי יסיר את בנך מאחרי לרבות כל המסירות מאי איכא למימר אלא דאורייתא אישות דרך חתנות ואתו אינהו גזור אפילו דרך זנות

The Gemara asks: And according to the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai, who says that the subsequent verse: “For he will turn away your son from following Me” (Deuteronomy 7:4) serves to include all who turn away one’s son from God, i.e., all gentiles, what is there to say? Rather, by Torah law only sexual relations by way of marriage are prohibited, and they came and decreed that sexual relations are prohibited even by way of licentiousness.

זנות נמי בבית דינו של שם גזרו דכתיב (בראשית לח, כד) ויאמר יהודה הוציאוה ותשרף

The Gemara raises an objection: Licentious sexual intercourse was also prohibited earlier, as they decreed a prohibition in this regard in the court of Shem, as it is written: “It was told to Judah, saying: Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; and moreover, behold, she is with child by harlotry. And Judah said: Bring her forth, and let her be burned” (Genesis 38:24). This proves that the prohibition against licentious intercourse with a gentile was in force long before the time of the students of Shammai and Hillel.

אלא דאורייתא עובד כוכבים הבא על בת ישראל דמשכה בתריה אבל ישראל הבא על העובדת כוכבים לא ואתו אינהו גזור אפי' ישראל הבא על העובדת כוכבים

The Gemara explains: Rather, the prohibition prescribed by Torah law applies to the case of a gentile who engaged in intercourse with a Jewish woman, as she is drawn after him toward idolatry, but the case of a Jew who engaged in intercourse with a gentile woman is not included in the prohibition by Torah law. And the students of Shammai and Hillel came and decreed that the prohibition applies even to a Jew who engaged in intercourse with a gentile woman.

ישראל הבא על העובדת כוכבים הלכה למשה מסיני היא דאמר מר הבועל ארמית קנאין פוגעין בו

The Gemara rejects this: The prohibition concerning a Jew who engaged in intercourse with a gentile woman is a halakha transmitted to Moses from Sinai, not a rabbinic ordinance. As the Master said: With regard to one who engages in intercourse with an Aramean woman, zealots may attack him, as Pinehas did to Zimri in the wilderness (see Numbers 25:6–8).

א"ל דאורייתא בפרהסיא וכמעשה שהיה ואתו אינהו גזור אפילו בצינעא בצינעא נמי בית דינו של חשמונאי גזרו

He said to him: By Torah law intercourse with a gentile is prohibited in public, and only in situations like the incident that occurred, as described in Numbers, chapter 25. And the students of Shammai and Hillel came and decreed that the prohibition applies even in private. The Gemara raises another difficulty: This was also prohibited in private, as the court of the Hasmoneans decreed that it is prohibited.

[דכי אתא רב דימי אמר ב"ד של חשמונאי גזרו] ישראל הבא על העובדת כוכבים חייב משום נשג"א

As when Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said: The court of the Hasmoneans decreed that a Jew who engaged in intercourse with a gentile woman bears liability for transgressing four prohibitions, represented by the mnemonic: Nun, shin, gimmel, alef. These letters stands for: Menstruating woman [nidda], maidservant [shifḥa], gentile [goya], and married woman [eshet ish]. By rabbinic law, a man who engages in intercourse with a gentile woman is considered to have violated the prohibitions involved in having intercourse with all four of these women.

כי אתא רבין אמר משום נשג"ז

And when Ravin came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said: He bears liability for four prohibitions represented by the mnemonic: Nun, shin, gimmel, zayin, which stands for: Menstruating woman [nidda], maidservant [shifḥa], gentile [goya], and prostitute [zona]. In any case, it is apparent that this decree was in force before the time of the students of Shammai and Hillel.

כי גזרו בית דינו של חשמונאי ביאה אבל ייחוד לא ואתו אינהו גזור אפי' ייחוד ייחוד נמי בית דינו של דוד גזרו

The Gemara answers: When the court of the Hasmoneans decreed, they prohibited only sexual intercourse, but with regard to seclusion with a gentile woman, no, they did not prohibit that. And the students of Shammai and Hillel came and decreed that even seclusion with a gentile woman is prohibited. The Gemara raises an objection: Seclusion was also prohibited earlier, as the court of King David decreed that with regard to this matter.

דאמר רב יהודה באותה שעה גזרו על ייחוד אמרי התם ייחוד דבת ישראל אבל ייחוד דעובדת כוכבים לא ואתו אינהו גזרו אפי' אייחוד דעובדת כוכבים

As Rav Yehuda says: At that time, after the incident involving Amnon and Tamar (see II Samuel 13:1–19), they decreed with regard to seclusion. The Sages said in response to the objection: There, in David’s court, seclusion with a Jewish woman was prohibited, but seclusion with a gentile woman was not prohibited. And the students of Shammai and Hillel came and decreed a prohibition even with regard to seclusion with a gentile woman.

ייחוד דבת ישראל דאורייתא היא דאמר ר' יוחנן משום ר"ש בן יהוצדק רמז לייחוד מן התורה מנין שנאמר (דברים יג, ז) כי יסיתך אחיך בן אמך וכי בן אם מסית בן אב אינו מסית

The Gemara raises yet another difficulty: Seclusion with a Jewish woman is prohibited by Torah law, as Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: Where is there an allusion in the Torah to the prohibition against seclusion? As it is stated: “If your brother, the son of your mother, entices you” (Deuteronomy 13:7). And does only a half brother who is the son of a mother entice one to sin, whereas the son of a father does not entice?

אלא בן מתייחד עם אמו ואין אחר מתייחד עם כל עריות שבתורה

Rather, there is a greater concern that a maternal half brother might entice one to sin, as a son secludes himself with his mother, and no other may seclude himself with any of those with whom relations are forbidden by the Torah. Since an individual and his maternal half brother both seclude themselves with their shared mother, they are frequently together in private, and this facilitates enticement. In any case, it is clear that the prohibition against seclusion with a Jewish woman preceded King David.

ייחוד דאורייתא דאשת איש ואתא דוד וגזר אפי' אייחוד דפנויה ואתו תלמידי בית שמאי ובית הלל גזור אפי' אייחוד דעובדת כוכבים

The Gemara explains: The prohibition against seclusion prescribed by Torah law applies specifically to a married woman, and David came and decreed a prohibition even with regard to seclusion with an unmarried woman. And later the students of Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel came and decreed even with regard to seclusion with a gentile woman.

מאי על ד"א משום ד"א אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק גזרו על תינוק עובד כוכבים שיטמא בזיבה שלא יהא תינוק ישראל רגיל אצלו במשכב זכור

§ It was stated above that they issued a decree prohibiting the daughters of gentiles due to something else, idolatry. And they further issued a decree on something else due to something else. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: And they further issued a decree on something else due to something else? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: They decreed upon a male gentile child that he imparts ritual impurity as though he were a Jew who experienced a gonorrhea-like discharge [ziva], so that a Jewish child will not become familiar with him, leading to homosexual intercourse. The Sages employed a euphemism when referring to this decree.

דא"ר זירא צער גדול היה לי אצל ר' אסי ור' אסי אצל ר' יוחנן ור' יוחנן אצל ר' ינאי ור' ינאי אצל רבי נתן בן עמרם ור"נ בן עמרם אצל רבי תינוק עובד כוכבים מאימתי מטמא בזיבה ואמר לי בן יומו וכשבאתי אצל ר' חייא אמר לי בן ט' שנים ויום אחד

As Rabbi Zeira says: I had great trouble with Rabbi Asi when I asked him the following question, and likewise Rabbi Asi experienced trouble with Rabbi Yoḥanan when he posed it to him. And Rabbi Yoḥanan had trouble with Rabbi Yannai, and Rabbi Yannai had trouble with Rabbi Natan ben Amram, and Rabbi Natan ben Amram had trouble with Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. The inquiry was as follows: With regard to a male gentile child, from when, i.e., from what age, does he impart ritual impurity as one who experiences ziva? And Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to me: From when he is one day old. And when I came to Rabbi Ḥiyya, he said to me: From when he is nine years and one day old.

וכשבאתי והרציתי דברי לפני רבי אמר לי הנח דברי ואחוז דברי רבי חייא דאמר תינוק עובד כוכבים אימתי מטמא בזיבה בן תשע שנים ויום אחד

And when I came back and relayed Rabbi Ḥiyya’s statement before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, he said to me: Discard my statement, and grasp the statement of Rabbi Ḥiyya, who says: From when does a gentile child impart ritual impurity as one who experiences ziva? From when he is nine years and one day old.