Avodah Zarah 38aעבודה זרה ל״ח א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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38aל״ח א

אלא מדרבנן וקרא אסמכתא בעלמא

Rather, the cooking of gentiles is prohibited by rabbinic law, and the verse is cited as a mere support.

אמר רב שמואל בר רב יצחק אמר רב כל הנאכל כמות שהוא חי אין בו משום בישולי עובדי כוכבים בסורא מתנו הכי בפומבדיתא מתנו הכי אמר רב שמואל בר רב יצחק אמר רב כל שאינו נאכל על שולחן מלכים ללפת בו את הפת אין בו משום בישולי עובדי כוכבים

The Gemara discusses the particulars of the prohibition against eating the cooking of gentiles. Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzḥak says that Rav says: Any item that is eaten as it is, i.e., raw, is not subject to the prohibition against eating the cooking of gentiles. The Gemara remarks: In the study hall in Sura, they taught it this way. In Pumbedita, they taught it like this: Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzḥak says that Rav says: Any item that is not eaten together with bread on the table of kings is not subject to the prohibition against eating the cooking of gentiles. In other words, foods that are not eaten by distinguished individuals are not subject to this prohibition.

מאי בינייהו איכא בינייהו דגים קטנים וארדי ודייסא

The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference between these two opinions? The practical difference between them is with regard to small fish, mushrooms, and porridge. These foods are not eaten raw, but they are not eaten by distinguished individuals. Consequently, these foods are prohibited according to the version taught in Sura, but permitted according to the version taught in Pumbedita.

אמר רב אסי אמר רב דגים קטנים מלוחים אין בהן משום בישולי עובדי כוכבים אמר רב יוסף אם צלאן עובד כוכבים סומך ישראל עליהם משום עירובי תבשילין ואי עבדינהו עובד כוכבים כסא דהרסנא אסור

Rav Asi says that Rav says: Small, salted fish are not subject to the prohibition of the cooking of gentiles, because they can be eaten raw. Rav Yosef says: If a gentile roasted these fish, a Jew may rely upon them for use in the mitzva of a joining of cooked foods, which must be prepared in order to permit cooking for Shabbat on a Festival that occurs on a Friday. And if a gentile made them into kasa deharsena, a dish of fish fried in oil and flour, the dish is prohibited. In this case, since the flour had not been edible, it is considered the cooked food of a gentile.

פשיטא מהו דתימא הרסנא עיקר קמ"ל קימחא עיקר

The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious? What reason would there be to think that kasa deharsena prepared by a gentile is permitted? The Gemara answers: This is taught lest you say that the salted fish, which one is permitted to eat even if cooked by gentiles, is the essential component. Therefore, Rav Yosef teaches us that the flour is the essential component, and the dish is therefore considered the cooked food of a gentile.

אמר רב ברונא אמר רב עובד כוכבים שהצית את האור באגם כל החגבים שבאגם אסורין ה"ד אילימא דלא ידע הי טהור והי טמא מאי איריא עובד כוכבים אפילו ישראל נמי אלא משום בישולי עובדי כוכבים

Rav Beruna says that Rav says: In the case of a gentile who ignited a fire in the meadow, all the locusts that were burned in the meadow are prohibited. The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of this case? If we say that the reason they are prohibited is that one no longer knows which are kosher and which are non-kosher as a result of their burning, why does Rav Beruna specifically discuss a case involving a gentile? Even if a Jew burned the meadow, they would also be prohibited for the same reason. Rather, this is referring to a case where all the locusts were kosher, and the prohibition is due to the cooking of gentiles, as the locusts were effectively cooked by a gentile.

כי האי גוונא מי אסיר והאמר רב חנן בר אמי א"ר פדת א"ר יוחנן האי עובד כוכבים דחריך רישא שרי למיכל מיניה אפילו מריש אוניה אלמא לעבורי שער קמיכוין ה"נ לגלויי אגמא קא מיכוין

The Gemara raises an objection: Does anyone actually prohibit the cooking of gentiles in a case like this? But doesn’t Rav Ḥanan bar Ami say that Rabbi Pedat says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to this gentile who singed the head of an animal, it is permitted to eat part of it, even from the tip of the ear, which is fully cooked? The Gemara remarks: Evidently, this is permitted because the gentile merely intends to remove the hair and not to cook the ears. Here, too, it ought to be permitted because he merely intends to clear the meadow, not to cook the locusts.

לעולם דלא ידע הי טהור והי טמא ומעשה שהיה בעובד כוכבים היה

The Gemara answers: Actually, this is referring to a case where there is a mixture of different types of locusts, and they are prohibited because one does not know which are kosher and which are non-kosher. And the reason Rav Beruna specified that the case involved a gentile is because the incident that occurred happened to have occurred with the involvement of a gentile.

גופא אמר רבה בר בר חנה א"ר יוחנן האי עובד כוכבים דחריך רישא שרי למיכל מיניה אפילו מריש אוניה אמר רבינא הלכך האי עובד כוכבים דשדא סיכתא לאתונא וקבר בה ישראל קרא מעיקרא שפיר דמי פשיטא מהו דתימא לבשולי מנא קא מיכוין קמ"ל לשרורי מנא קא מיכוין

§ The Gemara addresses the matter itself: Rabba bar bar Ḥana says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to this gentile who singed the head of an animal, it is permitted to eat part of it, even from the tip of the ear, which is fully cooked. Ravina said: Therefore, with regard to this gentile who threw a moist peg into the oven in order to dry it out and harden it, and a Jew had already inserted a gourd in the oven from the outset, the gourd is permitted, even though it was in effect cooked by a gentile. The reason is that the gentile had no intention to cook the vegetable. The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious? The Gemara answers: It was necessary to teach this, lest you say that the gentile intends to cook the vessel, i.e., the peg, by softening it. Therefore Ravina teaches us that he intends only to harden the vessel.

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל הניח ישראל בשר על גבי גחלים ובא עובד כוכבים והפך בו מותר היכי דמי אילימא דאי לא הפך ביה הוה בשיל פשיטא אלא לאו דאי לא הפך לא הוה בשיל אמאי מותר בישולי של עובדי כוכבים נינהו

§ The Gemara continues the discussion with regard to the cooking of gentiles by examining the halakha of meat cooked by both a gentile and a Jew. Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: If a Jew placed meat upon flaming coals and a gentile came and turned the meat over, the meat is permitted. The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of this case? If we say that it is a case where if the gentile had not turned over the meat it would have cooked anyway, it is obvious that the meat is permitted, as the gentile’s actions did not actually alter the food. The Gemara suggests: Rather, is it not a case where, if the gentile had not turned it over, it would not have cooked? But if so, why is it permitted? In such a case, the meat is certainly considered to be the cooking of gentiles and ought to be prohibited.

לא צריכא דאי לא הפך הוה בשיל בתרתי שעי והשתא קא בשיל בחדא שעתא מהו דתימא קרובי בישולא מילתא היא קמ"ל

The Gemara explains: No, it is necessary to teach this halakha with regard to a case where if the gentile had not turned over the meat, it would have cooked in two hours, and now that he did turn it over, it will cook in only one hour. Lest you say that hastening the cooking process is a significant matter, and therefore food whose preparation is expedited by a gentile is prohibited, Ravina teaches us otherwise.

והאמר ר' אסי א"ר יוחנן כל שהוא כמאכל בן דרוסאי אין בו משום בישולי עובדי כוכבים הא אינו כמאכל בן דרוסאי יש בו משום בשולי עובדי כוכבים

The Gemara asks: But doesn’t Rabbi Asi say that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Any item that has been cooked like the food of ben Derosai, i.e., partially cooked so that it is just about edible, is not subject to the prohibition of the cooking of gentiles? Consequently, if it is not cooked like the food of ben Derosai, it is subject to the prohibition of the cooking of gentiles. Accordingly, meat whose cooking was expedited by a gentile ought to be prohibited, as this ruling includes cases where it had not been cooked like the food of ben Derosai at the time of the gentile’s intervention.

התם כגון דאותביה בסילתא ושקליה עובד כוכבים ואותביה בתנורא

The Gemara answers: There, Rabbi Asi was referring to a case where the Jew had placed the meat that was not yet cooked like the food of ben Derosai in a basket where it would not have cooked at all, and a gentile took it and placed it in the oven. Rabbi Asi was teaching that in such a case, when the current cooking process has yet to begin, the meat is prohibited if it had not already been cooked like the food of ben Derosai. By contrast, in the case addressed by Rabbi Yehuda, the meat was already cooking and the gentile’s actions hastened the process, but did not initiate it. In other words, the issue of cooked food like the food of ben Derosai is relevant only if the gentile takes a dish that is not being cooked at present.

תניא נמי הכי מניח ישראל בשר על גבי גחלים ובא עובד כוכבים ומהפך בו עד שיבא ישראל מבית הכנסת או מבית המדרש ואינו חושש שופתת אשה קדירה על גבי כירה ובאת עובדת כוכבים

The Gemara adds: This is also taught in a baraita: A Jew may place meat on hot coals and let a gentile come and turn it over as necessary until the Jew comes back from the synagogue or from the study hall, and the Jew need not be concerned for the prohibition of eating cooking of gentiles. Similarly, a Jewish woman may set a pot upon the stove and let a gentile woman come