Avodah Zarah 45bעבודה זרה מ״ה ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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45bמ״ה ב

והכא באילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו קמיפלגי ת"ק סבר אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו מותר ורבי יוסי הגלילי סבר אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו אסור

And here, they disagree with regard to the status of a tree that one planted and only subsequently worshipped. The first tanna holds that a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped is permitted, and Rabbi Yosei HaGelili holds that a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped is forbidden.

ממאי מדקתני סיפא מפני מה אשירה אסורה מפני שיש בה תפיסת ידי אדם וכל שיש בו תפיסת ידי אדם אסור וכל שיש בו תפיסת אדם לאתויי מאי לאו לאתויי אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו

The Gemara asks: From where does Rav Sheshet infer that Rabbi Yosei HaGelili holds that such a tree is forbidden? It is from the fact that the mishna teaches in the last clause: For what reason is an ashera forbidden? It is because it is the product of human involvement and did not grow by itself, and the halakha is that anything that is the product of human involvement is forbidden. What is added by the generalization: And anything that is the product of human involvement is forbidden? Is it not added to include the case of a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped?

ואף רבי יוסי בר' יהודה סבר אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו אסור דתניא רבי יוסי בר' יהודה אומר מתוך שנאמר אלהיהם על ההרים ולא ההרים אלהיהם אלהיהם על הגבעות ולא גבעות אלהיהם שומע אני תחת כל עץ רענן אלהיהם ולא רענן אלהיהם

The Gemara notes: And Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, also holds that a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped is forbidden. As it is taught in a baraita with regard to the verse: “You shall destroy all the places where the nations that you are to dispossess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every leafy tree” (Deuteronomy 12:2): Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: From that which is stated in the verse: “You shall destroy…their gods, upon the high mountains,” from which the Sages derived: But not the mountains themselves that are their gods, and: “You shall destroy…their gods…upon the hills,” but not the hills themselves if they are their gods, I would derive from the next clause in the verse: “Their gods…under every leafy tree,” that the mitzva to destroy an object of idol worship does not apply to the leafy trees themselves that are their gods.

ת"ל (דברים יב, ג) ואשריהם תשרפון באש

Therefore, the next verse states: “And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their asherim with fire” (Deuteronomy 12:3). Even a tree that was worshipped only after it was planted is forbidden.

אלא תחת כל עץ רענן ל"ל ההוא לכדר"ע הוא דאתא דאר"ע אני אובין ואדון לפניך כל מקום שאתה מוצא הר גבוה וגבעה נשאה ועץ רענן דע שיש שם עבודת כוכבים

Rather, if the trees themselves are forbidden, why do I need the phrase “under every leafy tree”? That phrase comes to teach a halakha in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva; as Rabbi Akiva says: I will explain and decide the matter before you. Everywhere that you find a high mountain, or an elevated hill, or a leafy tree, know that there is idol worship there. From the fact that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, does not derive from the phrase “under every leafy tree” that a tree that was planted and only subsequently worshipped is still permitted, it is apparent that he holds that such a tree is forbidden. This is consistent with the opinion that Rav Sheshet ascribes to Rabbi Yosei HaGelili.

ורבנן האי ואשריהם תשרפון באש מאי עבדי ליה מיבעי ליה לאילן שנטעו מתחילה לכך

The Gemara asks: And as for the Rabbis, who maintain that a tree that was planted and subsequently worshipped is permitted, what do they do with this verse: “And burn their asherim with fire”? The Gemara answers: This verse is necessary with regard to the halakha of a tree that was initially planted for that idolatrous practice, which must be destroyed and from which deriving benefit is prohibited.

ור' יוסי בר' יהודה נמי מיבעי ליה להכי ה"נ אלא אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו מנא ליה נפקא ליה (דברים ז, ה) מואשריהם תגדעון איזהו עץ שגידועו אסור ועיקרו מותר הוי אומר אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו

The Gemara asks: But doesn’t Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, also require this phrase to teach this? The Gemara answers. Indeed, he does. Rather, from where does he derive that a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped is forbidden? He derives it from the following verse: “But so shall you deal with them: You shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their asherim, and burn their graven images with fire” (Deuteronomy 7:5). Now, which is the tree whose trunk is forbidden but its root is permitted, as the verse instructs one to hew it down? You must say that it is referring to a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped.

והא ואשריהם תשרפון באש קא נסיב לה תלמודא

The Gemara asks how that verse can be the source of the ruling of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, for deeming forbidden a tree that was planted and only subsequently worshipped. But doesn’t the baraita state that he adduces the derivation prohibiting worshipped ashera trees from the verse: “And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their asherim with fire”?

אילו לא נאמר קאמר אילו לא נאמר תשרפון באש הייתי אומר אשריהם תגדעון באילן שנטעו מתחילה לכך השתא דכתיב ואשריהם תשרפון באש אייתר ליה ואשריהם תגדעון לאילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו

The Gemara answers: By deriving this halakha from the verse: “And burn their asherim with fire,” Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, is speaking utilizing the style of: If it were not stated. The Gemara explains: If the verse: “Burn their asherim with fire,” were not stated, I would have said that the verse: “And hew down their asherim,” is referring to a tree that was initially planted for idol worship. Now that it is written: “And burn their asherim with fire,” the verse: “And hew down their asherim,” is rendered superfluous and is consequently interpreted as referring to a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped. Therefore, it is ultimately this latter verse that serves as the source for the implied ruling of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, that it is prohibited to derive benefit from such a tree.

ורבנן האי ואשריהם תגדעון מאי עבדי ליה לכדר' יהושע בן לוי דא"ר יהושע בן לוי גידועי עבודת כוכבים קודמין לכיבוש ארץ ישראל כיבוש ארץ ישראל קודם לביעור עבודת כוכבים

The Gemara asks: And as for the Rabbis, what do they do with this verse: “And hew down their asherim”? The Gemara answers: This verse is written in order to teach a halakha in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi; as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: The felling of trees dedicated to idol worship precedes the conquering of all of Eretz Yisrael, and conquering Eretz Yisrael precedes the eradication of all the objects of idol worship.

דתני רב יוסף (דברים יב, ג) ונתצתם את מזבחותם והנח ושברתם את מצבותם והנח

As Rav Yosef teaches a baraita: The verse states: “And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their asherim with fire.” Rav Yosef explains: “And you shall break down their altars,” and leave them, as the Torah does not prescribe that they be burned; “and dash in pieces their pillars” and leave them.

והנח ס"ד שריפה בעי אמר רב הונא רדוף ואח"כ שרוף

The Gemara asks: But does it enter your mind that the Torah is instructing one to leave them alone? Doesn’t an object of idol worship require burning, as it says at the end of the verse: “And burn their asherim with fire”? Rav Huna says: Pursue the enemy and then return to burn them. Meaning, first smash their objects of idol worship, then conquer the land, and then return to burn the smashed items.

ור' יוסי בר' יהודה האי סברא מנא ליה נפקא ליה (דברים יב, ב) מאבד תאבדון אבד ואח"כ תאבדון

The Gemara asks: And from where does Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, derive this opinion about the order of priorities in the process of conquering Eretz Yisrael? The Gemara answers: He derives it from the verse: “You shall destroy all the places where the nations that you are to dispossess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every leafy tree.” From the double-verb form of the directive “you shall destroy [abbed te’abedun]” he derives that there are two stages to the destruction of their gods: First destroy them [abbed], i.e., smash them; then go and conquer the land, and only afterward you shall destroy [te’abedun] them completely, i.e., burn or eradicate them.

ורבנן הא מיבעי ליה לעוקר עבודת כוכבים שצריך לשרש אחריה

The Gemara asks: And what do the Rabbis derive from the double verb? The Gemara answers: This double verb is necessary to teach that when one deracinates an object of idol worship, he needs to root out all traces of it.

ורבי יוסי בר' יהודה לשרש אחריה מנא ליה נפקא ליה (דברים יב, ג) מואבדתם את שמם מן המקום ההוא

The Gemara asks: And from where does Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, derive the obligation to root out all traces of idol worship? The Gemara answers: He derives it from the verse: “And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their asherim with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place” (Deuteronomy 12:3).

ורבנן ההוא לכנות לה שם דתניא ר"א אומר מנין לעוקר עבודת כוכבים שצריך לשרש אחריה ת"ל ואבדתם את שמם

The Gemara asks: And what do the Rabbis derive from this verse? The Gemara answers: That verse teaches that it is a mitzva to give a derogatory nickname to an idol. As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: From where is it derived that when one deracinates an object of idol worship, he needs to root out all traces of it? The verse states: “And you shall destroy their name out of that place.”