Avodah Zarah 51aעבודה זרה נ״א א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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51aנ״א א

חייב בשלמא עביט של מימי רגלים איכא זריקה משתברת אלא צואה מאי זריקה משתברת איכא בצואה לחה

is liable, even though these substances are repugnant, and even when this is not the typical manner of worshipping that idol. Granted, when one pours a chamber pot of urine before the idol, there is an act of throwing that scatters the offering. But in the case of excrement, what act of throwing that scatters the offering is there? The Gemara answers: This is stated with regard to moist excrement, which breaks apart when thrown.

לימא כתנאי שחט לה חגב ר' יהודה מחייב וחכמים פוטרים

The Gemara suggests: Let us say that one’s liability for breaking a stick as a form of idol worship is the subject of a dispute between tanna’im: If one slaughtered a locust for an idol, Rabbi Yehuda deems him liable, and the Rabbis deem him exempt from punishment.

מאי לאו בהא קמיפלגי דמר סבר אמרינן כעין זביחה ומר סבר לא אמרינן כעין זביחה אלא כעין פנים

What, is it not about this issue that they disagree: One Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds that we say that one is liable even in the case of a rite that merely resembles slaughtering an animal, e.g., slaughtering a locust or breaking a stick. And one Sage, i.e., the Rabbis, holds that we do not say that it is sufficient for the rite to merely resemble slaughtering an animal. Rather, the rite must be like the type of slaughtering performed inside the Temple. One is therefore not liable for slaughtering a locust, since locusts are not slaughtered in the Temple.

לא דכ"ע לא אמרינן כעין זביחה אלא כעין פנים בעינן ושאני חגב הואיל וצוארו דומה לצואר בהמה

The Gemara rejects this suggestion: No, everyone holds that we do not say that one is liable even for a rite that merely resembles slaughtering an animal. Rather, we require the rite to be like the type of slaughtering performed inside the Temple. And the case of a locust is different, since its neck is similar to the neck of an animal. Rabbi Yehuda therefore considers slaughtering a locust similar to the type of slaughter performed in the Temple.

אמר ר"נ אמר רבה בר אבוה אמר רב עבודת כוכבים שעובדין אותה במקל שבר מקל בפניה חייב ונאסרת זרק מקל לפניה חייב ואינה נאסרת

§ Rav Naḥman says that Rabba bar Avuh says that Rav says: In the case of an object of idol worship that is worshipped by means of a stick, if one broke a stick before it, he is liable and the stick is rendered prohibited. If he threw a stick before it, he is liable, as its typical manner of worship involves a stick, but the stick is not rendered prohibited.

א"ל רבא לר"נ מאי שנא שבר דהויא ליה כעין זביחה זרק נמי הויא ליה כעין זריקה א"ל בעינן זריקה משתברת וליכא

Rava said to Rav Naḥman: What is different about the case where one broke a stick? In this case the stick is rendered forbidden as it is similar to slaughtering an offering, which is a rite performed in the Temple; so too, in the case where one threw a stick, it is similar to the sprinkling of the blood on the altar. Rav Naḥman said to Rava: In order for a sacrificial rite to be similar to the sprinkling of blood, we require a form of throwing that scatters the offering, and that is not the case here.

אלא מעתה אבני בית מרקוליס במה יאסרו א"ל אף לדידי קשיא לי ושאלתיה לרבה בר אבוה ורבה בר אבוה לחייא בר רב וחייא בר רב לרב וא"ל נעשה כמגדל עבודת כוכבים

Rava asked Rav Naḥman: If that is so, by what means are the stones of a place of worship dedicated to Mercury rendered prohibited, as they do not break apart when they are thrown? Rav Naḥman said to Rava: This question was difficult for me as well, and I asked Rabba bar Avuh about it, and Rabba bar Avuh asked Ḥiyya bar Rav, and Ḥiyya bar Rav asked Rav. And Rav said to Ḥiyya bar Rav: This action is comparable to the act of enlarging the object of idol worship. The stones are not rendered prohibited as an offering brought in idol worship; rather, they are considered part of the pile dedicated to Mercury itself.

הניחא למ"ד עבודת כוכבים של עובד כוכבים אסורה מיד אלא למ"ד עד שתעבד תישתרי דהא לא פלחה א"ל כל אחת ואחת נעשית עבודת כוכבים ותקרובת לחברתה

Rava said to Rav Naḥman: This works out well according to the one who says that the object of idol worship of a gentile is prohibited immediately. But according to the one who says it is not forbidden until it is worshipped, let it be permitted, as he did not worship it, since he sacrificed no offering to it. Rav Naḥman said to Rava: Each and every one of the stones becomes part of the object of idol worship and is also considered an offering to the other stone that preceded it.

א"ה בתרייתא מיהא תשתרי אמר ליה אי ידעת לה זיל שקלה רב אשי אמר כל אחת ואחת נעשית תקרובת לעצמה ותקרובת לחברתה

Rava replied: If so, at least the last stone should be permitted, as nothing has yet been sacrificed to it. Rav Naḥman said to Rava: If you know which one it is, you may go and take it, as it is indeed permitted. Rav Ashi says: Even the last stone is forbidden, as each and every one of the stones becomes an offering to itself and also an offering to the other stone that preceded it.

תנן מצא בראשו כסות ומעות או כלים הרי אלו מותרין פרכילי ענבים ועטרות של שבלים ויינות שמנים וסלתות וכל דבר שכיוצא בו קרב לגבי מזבח אסור

We learned in a mishna (51b): If one found a garment, money, or vessels at the head of Mercury, they are permitted, as they are not an offering but were left there for some other reason. If one found vine branches [parkilei] laden with clusters of grapes, or wreaths made of stalks, or containers of wine, oil, or flour, or any other item the like of which is sacrificed on the altar there, that item is prohibited.

בשלמא יינות שמנים וסלתות איכא כעין פנים ואיכא כעין זריקה משתברת אלא פרכילי ענבים ועטרות של שבלים לא כעין פנים איכא ולא כעין זריקה משתברת איכא

The Gemara asks: Granted, with regard to wine, oil, or flour, there is a sacrificial rite comparable to those rites performed inside the Temple, and there is a rite that is similar to the sprinkling of blood that scatters the offering. But in the case of vine branches laden with clusters of grapes, and wreaths made of stalks, there is neither a sacrificial rite comparable to those rites performed inside the Temple, as these items are not sacrificed on the altar in the Temple, nor is there a rite that is similar to the sprinkling of blood on the altar that scatters the offering.

אמר רבא אמר עולא כגון שבצרן מתחלה לכך

Rava said that Ulla said: The mishna is referring to a case where he initially picked the grapes for that purpose, in order to sacrifice them in idolatrous worship. The act of picking the fruit is comparable to slaughtering an animal, and it renders them forbidden.

א"ר אבהו א"ר יוחנן מנין לזובח בהמה בעלת מום לעבודת כוכבים שהוא פטור שנאמר (שמות כב, יט) זובח לאלהים יחרם בלתי לה' לבדו לא אסרה תורה אלא כעין פנים

§ Rabbi Abbahu says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: From where is it derived concerning one who slaughters a blemished animal in idolatrous worship that he is exempt? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “He that sacrifices to the gods, save to the Lord only, shall be utterly destroyed” (Exodus 22:19). The verse contrasts sacrificing an offering to the Lord with sacrificing an offering to other gods, indicating that the Torah prohibits only sacrificial rites that are comparable to those rites performed inside the Temple, and blemished animals are disqualified from being sacrificed in the Temple.

הוי בה רבא במאי אילימא בדוקין שבעין השתא לבני נח חזיא לגבוה בבמה דידהו לעבודת כוכבים מיבעיא

Rava discussed this matter: With regard to what type of blemish does this apply? If we say that it applies in the case of a blemish on the cornea of the eye, that is difficult: Now that such an offering is fit for descendants of Noah to offer to the Most High on their personal altar, is it necessary to state that it is considered an offering with regard to the prohibition of idol worship?

אלא במחוסר אבר וכדרבי אלעזר דאמר ר' אלעזר מנין למחוסר אבר שהוא אסור לבני נח שנאמר (בראשית ו, יט) ומכל החי מכל בשר שנים מכל אמרה תורה הבא בהמה שחיין ראשי אברין שלה

Rather, the halakha that one who slaughters a blemished animal in idolatrous worship is exempt is stated with regard to an animal that is lacking a limb, and it is in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Elazar. As Rabbi Elazar says: From where is it derived that with regard to an animal that is lacking a limb, it is prohibited for descendants of Noah to sacrifice it? This is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort you shall bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you” (Genesis 6:19). The Torah stated: “Of every living thing,” indicating that Noah should bring into the ark an animal whose extremities are living, as some of the animals would subsequently be used as offerings.

האי ומכל החי מיבעי ליה למעוטי טריפה (בראשית ז, ג) מלהחיות זרע נפקא

The Gemara asks: Isn’t that phrase: “And of every living thing,” required to exclude an animal with a wound that will cause it to die within twelve months [tereifa], which is disqualified as an offering? The Gemara answers: The disqualification of a tereifa is derived from the verse: “Of the fowl also of the air, seven and seven, male and female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:3), as a tereifa cannot procreate.

הניחא למ"ד טריפה אינה יולדת אלא למ"ד טריפה יולדת מאי איכא למימר

The Gemara asks: This works out well according to the one who says that a tereifa cannot bear offspring. But according to the one who says that a tereifa can bear offspring, what can be said? According to this opinion, a tereifa cannot be excluded by the phrase “to keep seed alive,” as it can procreate.

אמר קרא אתך אתך בדומין לך ודלמא נח גופיה טריפה הוה תמים כתיב ביה

The Gemara answers: The verse states: “You shall bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you” (Genesis 6:19). The term “with you” indicates that the verse is referring to animals that are similar to you, excluding a tereifa. The Gemara challenges: But perhaps Noah himself was a tereifa. In that case, one cannot exclude a tereifa from the comparison of animals to Noah. The Gemara explains: It is written about Noah that he was “a man righteous and without blemish” (Genesis 6:9), indicating that he was physically whole.

דלמא תמים בדרכיו צדיק כתיב ביה

The Gemara challenges: Perhaps the term “without blemish” is referring to his conduct, and not to his physical attributes. The Gemara explains: The term “righteous” is written about him, indicating that his conduct was faultless, and therefore the term “without blemish” is necessarily referring to his physical completeness.

דלמא תמים בדרכיו וצדיק במעשיו לא מצית אמרת דנח גופיה טריפה הוה דאי ס"ד נח טריפה הוה א"ל רחמנא דכוותך עייל שלמין לא תעייל

The Gemara challenges: Perhaps the term “without blemish” is referring to his conduct, and the term “righteous” is referring to his good deeds. The Gemara explains: You cannot say that Noah himself was a tereifa, as, if it enters your mind to say that Noah was a tereifa, you must say that the Merciful One said to Noah: Bring into the ark animals that are similar to you, i.e., tereifot, but do not bring whole, unblemished animals, and this is clearly not reasonable.

השתא דנפקא מאתך להחיות זרע למה לי אי מאתך ה"א לצוותא בעלמא ואפי' זקן ואפי' סריס קמ"ל להחיות זרע:

The Gemara asks: Now that the disqualification of a tereifa is derived from the term “with you,” why do I need the phrase “to keep seed alive”? The Gemara answers: If one excluded a tereifa only from the term “with you,” I would say that Noah brought the animals into the ark merely for the purpose of companionship, and therefore even an aged animal who could not bear offspring and even one who was castrated could be brought into the ark. The phrase “to keep seed alive” therefore teaches us that only animals that could reproduce were brought into the ark.

א"ר אלעזר מנין לשוחט בהמה למרקוליס שהוא חייב שנאמר (ויקרא יז, ז) ולא יזבחו עוד את זבחיהם לשעירים אם אינו ענין לכדרכה דכתיב (דברים יב, ל) איכה יעבדו הגוים האלה את אלהיהם תנהו ענין לשלא כדרכה

§ Rabbi Elazar says: From where is it derived concerning one who slaughters an animal as an offering to Mercury that he is liable even though it is not typically worshipped in this manner? This is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And they shall not slaughter their offerings anymore to the se’irim after whom they go astray; this shall be to them an eternal statute, throughout their generations” (Leviticus 17:7). If this verse is not needed for the matter of prohibiting the worship of an idol in its typical manner, it must apply to another matter. The verse cannot be referring to idols that are typically worshipped by slaughtering offerings, as this prohibition is written in the verse: “And lest you inquire after their gods, saying: How do these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise” (Deuteronomy 12:30). One must therefore apply the verse to the matter of prohibiting the worship of an idol in an atypical manner.

והא להכי הוא דאתא האי מיבעי ליה לכדתניא

The Gemara asks: But with regard to this verse, does it come to teach this prohibition? This verse is required for that which is taught in a baraita, with regard to the prohibition against sacrificing offerings outside the Tabernacle: