Avodah Zarah 46aעבודה זרה מ״ו א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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46aמ״ו א

אמר לו ר"ע והלא כבר נאמר (דברים יב, ב) אבד תאבדון אם כן מה ת"ל ואבדתם את שמם מן המקום ההוא לכנות לה שם

Rabbi Akiva said to him: But isn’t it already stated: “You shall destroy” (Deuteronomy 12:2)? This obviously includes rooting out all traces of idols. If so, what is the meaning when the verse states: “And you shall destroy their name out of that place”? This means that it is a mitzva to give it a nickname.

יכול לשבח לשבח ס"ד אלא יכול לא לשבח ולא לגנאי ת"ל (דברים ז, כו) שקץ תשקצנו ותעב תתעבנו כי חרם הוא

One might have thought that one may give it a positive nickname. The Gemara interjects: Would it enter your mind that one may give a positive nickname to an idol? Rather, the baraita means that one might have thought that the reference is to a nickname that is neither positive nor negative. Therefore, the verse states: “And you shall not bring an abomination into your house, and be accursed like it; you shall detest it, and you shall abhor it; for it is a proscribed item” (Deuteronomy 7:26). This verse clearly indicates that the nickname should be a negative one.

הא כיצד היו קורין אותה בית גליא קורין אותה בית כריא עין כל עין קוץ

How so? To what type of nickname is this referring? If the idol worshippers would call their house of worship the house of elevation [beit galya], one should call it the house of digging [beit karya]. If they call it the all-seeing eye [ein kol], one should call it the eye of a thorn [ein kotz].

תני תנא קמיה דרב ששת העכו"ם העובדים את ההרים ואת הגבעות הן מותרין ועובדיהן בסייף ואת הזרעים ואת הירקות הן אסורין ועובדיהן בסייף

The tanna who recited mishnayot and baraitot in the study hall taught a baraita before Rav Sheshet: With regard to the halakha in the case of the gentiles who worship the mountains and the hills, the mountains and hills are permitted, but their worshippers are punished with decapitation by the sword. But with regard to gentiles who worship plants and vegetables, the plants and vegetables are forbidden and their worshippers are punished with decapitation by the sword.

א"ל דאמר לך מני רבי יוסי בר יהודה היא דאמר אילן שנטעו ולבסוף עבדו אסור

Rav Sheshet said to him: Who is the tanna who said this to you? It must be Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, who says that a tree that one planted and subsequently worshipped is forbidden.

ולוקמה באילן שנטעו מתחלה לכך ורבנן לא ס"ד דקתני דומיא דהר מה הר שלא נטעו מתחלה לכך אף האי נמי שלא נטעו מתחלה לכך

The Gemara asks: But why not interpret the baraita as referring to a tree that one initially planted for idol worship, and then the ruling would be consistent with the opinion of the Rabbis as well? The Gemara answers: This should not enter your mind, as the baraita teaches the case of plants and vegetables as being similar to the case of a mountain. Therefore, one can extrapolate that just as with regard to a mountain, it is a case where one did not initially plant it for this purpose, as mountains are not planted by people, so too, this case of plants and vegetables is a case where one did not initially plant it for this purpose.

איתמר אבני הר שנדלדלו בני רבי חייא ורבי יוחנן חד אמר אסורות וחד אמר מותרות מ"ט דמ"ד מותרות כהר מה הר שאין בו תפיסת ידי אדם ומותר אף הני שאין בהן תפיסת ידי אדם ומותרין

§ It was stated: The halakha in a case where a gentile worships boulders that naturally became dislodged from a mountain is subject to dispute between the sons of Rabbi Ḥiyya on the one hand and Rabbi Yoḥanan on the other. One side says: They are forbidden, and one side says: They are permitted. The Gemara asks: What is the reason of the one who says that they are permitted? The Gemara answers: The status of the dislodged stones is still like the status of the mountain itself. Just as in the case of a mountain, it is not the product of human involvement, and therefore it is permitted to derive benefit from it even after it is worshipped, so too, these boulders, which are not the product of human involvement, are permitted.

מה להר שכן מחובר בהמה תוכיח

The Gemara raises an objection: What is notable about a mountain? It is notable in that it is attached to the ground. This may be the reason for the leniency concerning it, and this does not apply to boulders. The Gemara responds: The case of a worshipped animal can prove that this is not relevant, as it is permitted to derive benefit from a worshipped animal even though it is not attached to the ground.

מה לבהמה שכן בעלת חיים הר יוכיח

The Gemara defends its objection: What is notable about an animal? It is notable in that it is a living, animate being. This may be the reason for the leniency concerning it, and this does not apply to boulders. The Gemara responds: The case of a mountain can prove that this is not relevant, as it is permitted to derive benefit from a mountain that was worshipped, even though it is not a living being.

וחזר הדין לא ראי זה כראי זה ולא ראי זה כראי זה הצד השוה שבהן שאין בהן תפיסת ידי אדם ומותר אף כל שאין בהן תפיסת ידי אדם ומותר

And the inference has reverted to its starting point, and the halakha can be inferred from a combination of the two sources: The aspect of this case, that of a mountain, is not like the aspect of that case, that of an animal, and the aspect of that case is not like the aspect of this case; their common element is that they are not products of human involvement, and it is permitted to derive benefit from them. So too, in any case of worshipped objects that are not the product of human involvement, including boulders, they are permitted.

מה להצד השוה שבהן שכן לא נשתנו מברייתן

The Gemara objects: What is notable about the common element between the case of a mountain and that of an animal that prevents utilizing it as a paradigm for other cases? These worshipped objects are notable in that they were not altered from their natural form. Perhaps that is why their status remains unchanged. By contrast, a dislodged boulder has been moved from its original position.

אלא אתיא מבהמה בעלת מום ומהר

Rather, the halakha that a boulder that is dislodged from a mountain is still permitted after it is worshipped is derived from the case of a blemished animal and from the case of a mountain, both of which are permitted after having been worshipped. The notable aspect of a mountain, in that it is an unaltered object and is attached to the ground, is countered by the case of a blemished animal, and the notable aspect of a blemished animal in that it is a living being is countered by the case of a mountain. Therefore, it can be derived from the common element of the two cases that just as these two are not products of human involvement and are not rendered forbidden by worship, so too, a dislodged boulder is not rendered forbidden by worship.

ואי נמי מבהמה תמה ומאילן יבש

Alternatively, the halakha can be derived from the case of an unblemished animal and from the case of a withered tree, both of which are permitted after having been worshipped. The notable aspect of an unblemished animal, in that it is unaltered and a living being, is countered by the case of a withered tree, and the notable aspect of a withered tree, in that it is attached to the ground, is countered by the case of an unblemished animal.

ומאן דאסר להכי כתיב שקץ תשקצנו ותעב תתעבנו דאע"ג דאתיא מדינא להיתרא לא תתיא

The Gemara asks: And what is the reasoning of the one who deems worshipped boulders forbidden? The Gemara answers: According to that opinion, it is in order to teach this halakha: It is written: “And you shall not bring an abomination into your house, and be accursed like it; you shall detest it, and you shall abhor it; for it is a proscribed item” (Deuteronomy 7:26). This verse teaches that although one may theoretically derive, by logical inference, to permit the boulders, do not derive that halakha.

תסתיים דבני ר' חייא דשרו דבעי חזקיה זקף ביצה להשתחוות לה מהו

The Gemara introduced the case of a boulder that naturally dislodged from a mountain as the subject of a dispute between the sons of Rabbi Ḥiyya and Rabbi Yoḥanan, but it did not specify who subscribes to which opinion. The Gemara suggests: It may be concluded that it is the sons of Rabbi Ḥiyya who deem it permitted, as Ḥizkiyya, Rabbi Ḥiyya’s son, raises a dilemma: If one erected an egg in order to bow to it as an idol, what is the halakha? Is it then prohibited to derive benefit from the egg?

קא סלקא דעתך להשתחוות לה והשתחוה לה וקא מיבעיא ליה האי זקיפתה אי הוי מעשה אי לא הוי מעשה אבל לא זקף לא מיתסרא ש"מ בני ר' חייא דשרו

The Gemara explains the proof: It enters your mind that this dilemma is referring to a case where one erected an egg in order to bow to it, and he then bowed to it. And he raises a dilemma as to whether this erecting of the egg is considered a significant act of human involvement that renders the egg forbidden as an object of idol worship, or whether it is not considered a significant act of human involvement. But if he had not erected the egg, there would be no dilemma, as clearly it would not become forbidden. Accordingly, one can conclude from this dilemma that the sons of Rabbi Ḥiyya are the ones who deem the boulder permitted, since it is not a product of human involvement.

לא לעולם אימא לך בני רבי חייא דאסרי דהשתחוה לה אע"ג דלא זקפה אסורה והכא במאי עסקינן כגון שזקף ביצה להשתחוות לה ולא השתחוה לה

The Gemara rejects this proof: No, actually I will say to you that perhaps it is the sons of Rabbi Ḥiyya who deem the dislodged boulder forbidden after it was worshipped, and they similarly hold that in this case of the egg, if he bowed to it, even if did not erect it, the egg is certainly forbidden. And the dilemma is as follows: Here we are dealing with a case where he erected the egg in order to bow to it, but he ultimately did not bow to it. Ḥizkiyya’s dilemma was whether designation of an object as an idol renders it forbidden even without actual worship.

ולמאן אי למאן דאמר עבודת כוכבים של ישראל אסורה מיד אסורה אי למאן דאמר עד שתיעבד הא לא פלחה

The Gemara asks: But according to whom does he raise the dilemma? If it is according to the one who says that any object of a Jew who dedicated it to idol worship is immediately rendered forbidden, there is no place for the dilemma; the egg is clearly forbidden. If it is according to the one who says that an object of idol worship is not forbidden until it is actually worshipped, there is also no place for the dilemma, as the egg was not worshipped, and is therefore permitted.

לא צריכא כגון שזקף ביצה להשתחוות לה ולא השתחוה לה ובא עובד כוכבים והשתחוה לה

The Gemara answers by reformulating the case: No, those are not the cases with regard to which the dilemma is raised. It is necessary to raise it with regard to a case where one erected an egg in order to bow to it, but ultimately he did not bow to it, and then a gentile came along and bowed to it. It is with regard to this case that Ḥizkiyya raises the dilemma.

כי הא דאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל ישראל שזקף לבינה להשתחוות לה ובא עובד כוכבים והשתחוה לה אסורה וקא מיבעיא ליה לבינה הוא דמינכרא זקיפתה אבל ביצה לא או דלמא לא שנא תיקו:

There is an established principle that one cannot render forbidden an item that is not his. In this case, the egg can be rendered forbidden only by a combination of the Jewish owner’s indicated intention and the gentile’s act of worship. This dilemma assumes that which Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: In the case of a Jew who erected a brick in order to bow to it, and a gentile came and bowed to it, it is forbidden. And Ḥizkiyya raises the following dilemma with regard to the case of an egg: Is it specifically a brick that is forbidden, as its being erect is clearly recognizable and is therefore a clear indication of intent on behalf of the Jewish owner, but as for an egg, erecting it is not enough of an indication, and it is therefore permitted? Or perhaps there is no difference, and the egg would similarly be forbidden. The Gemara concludes: The question shall stand unresolved.

בעי רמי בר חמא המשתחוה להר אבניו מהו למזבח

§ Rami bar Ḥama raises a dilemma: In the case of one who bows down to a mountain, what is the halakha with regard to the permissibility of using its stones for building the altar in the Temple?