Avodah Zarah 54a:3עבודה זרה נ״ד א:ג
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54aנ״ד א

אמר חזקיה מאי קרא (ישעיהו כז, ט) בשומו כל אבני מזבח כאבני גיר מנופצות לא יקומו אשרים וחמנים אי איכא כאבני גיר מנופצות לא יקומון אשרים וחמנים אי לאו יקומו

Ḥizkiyya said: What is the verse from which this halakha is derived? It is derived from the verse: “By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be expiated…when he makes all the stones of the altar as limestones [ke’avnei gir] that are beaten into pieces, so that the asherim and the sun images shall rise no more” (Isaiah 27:9). This indicates that if the description “as limestones that are beaten into pieces” is fulfilled, then the statement “The sun images shall rise no more” also applies, and their status is revoked. If it is not fulfilled, then they shall rise, meaning that their status is not revoked.

תנא נעבד שלו אסור ושל חבירו מותר ורמינהי איזהו נעבד כל שעובדים אותו בין בשוגג ובין במזיד בין באונס ובין ברצון האי אונס היכי דמי לאו כגון דאנס בהמת חבירו והשתחוה לה

§ The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to an item, e.g., an animal, that was worshipped by a certain person, if it is his item it is prohibited, but if it is another’s, it is permitted. The Gemara raises a contradiction from another baraita: What is considered an animal that was worshipped and is disqualified from being sacrificed in the Temple? It is any animal that is worshipped, whether unwittingly or intentionally, whether under duress or willingly. What are the circumstances of this case of an animal worshipped under duress? Isn’t it referring to a case where one forcibly took another’s animal and bowed to it, indicating that one who worships the animal of another renders it forbidden?

אמר רמי בר חמא לא כגון שאנסוהו עובדי כוכבים והשתחוה לבהמתו דידיה מתקיף לה רבי זירא אונס רחמנא פטריה דכתיב (דברים כב, כו) ולנערה לא תעשה דבר

Rami bar Ḥama says: No, the baraita is referring to a case where gentiles coerced someone and he bowed to his own animal. Rabbi Zeira objects to this: The Merciful One exempts a victim of circumstances beyond his control from punishment, as it is written with regard to a betrothed young woman who is raped: “But to the maiden you shall do nothing, the maiden has no sin worthy of death, for as when a man rises against his neighbor, and slays him, so is this matter” (Deuteronomy 22:26).

אלא אמר רבא הכל היו בכלל לא תעבדם וכשפרט לך הכתוב (ויקרא יח, ה) וחי בהם ולא שימות בהם יצא אונס

Rather, Rava says: All cases of idol worship were included in the prohibition: “You shall not bow down to them, nor shall you serve them” (Exodus 20:5), including the case of worship under duress. When the verse specified to you: “You shall keep My statutes…which a man shall do and live by them” (Leviticus 18:5), and not that he should die by them, the verse excluded the case of duress. One would conclude from the verse that one who acts under duress is not considered an idol worshipper, and he is not required to sacrifice his life to refrain from worshipping idols.

והדר כתב רחמנא ולא תחללו את שם קדשי דאפילו באונס הא כיצד הא בצנעא והא בפרהסיא

The Merciful One then wrote: “And you shall not profane My holy name” (Leviticus 22:32), indicating that the prohibition against idol worship applies even in a case of duress, as this constitutes a desecration of God’s name. How can these texts be reconciled? This verse is referring to worshipping under duress in private, and that verse is referring to worshipping under duress in public. In private one is not required to sacrifice his life in order to refrain from idol worship. In public one is required to sacrifice his life rather than engage in idol worship. Therefore, if one engaged in idol worship in public, even under duress, the object of idol worship is forbidden.

אמרו ליה רבנן לרבא תניא דמסייעא לך בימוסיאות של עובדי כוכבים בשעת הגזרה אף על פי שהגזרה בטלה אותן בימוסיאות לא בטלו

The Rabbis said to Rava: That which is taught in a baraita supports your opinion. It is taught in a baraita: The following halakha applies with regard to platforms of gentiles that were used for idol worship in a time of religious persecution, when gentiles decreed that Jews must engage in idol worship. During a time of religious persecution, one is required to sacrifice his life rather than transgress the prohibition against engaging in idolatrous worship even in private. Therefore, even though the religious persecution was canceled, the status of those platforms is not revoked and they remain forbidden, despite the fact that the idol worship was performed under duress.

אמר להו אי משום הא לא תסייען אימר ישראל מומר הוה ופלח לה ברצון רב אשי אמר לא תימא אימר אלא ודאי ישראל מומר הוה ופלח לה ברצון

Rava said to the Rabbis: If one wishes to support my opinion due to that baraita, you cannot support my opinion, as one can say that perhaps there was an apostate Jew there and he worshipped the idol willingly, and therefore the platforms are forbidden. Rav Ashi says: Do not say that one can say it is a possibility; rather, it is certain that there was an apostate Jew there and he worshipped it willingly.

חזקיה אמר כגון שניסך לעבודת כוכבים יין על קרניה מתקיף לה רב אדא בר אהבה האי נעבד הוא האי בימוס בעלמא הוא ושרייה

Ḥizkiyya says: The contradiction between the baraitot with regard to an animal that was worshipped can be reconciled differently. The baraita that indicates that one who worships the animal of another renders it forbidden is referring to a case where in idolatrous worship one poured a libation of wine on the horns of an animal belonging to another. Since a sacrificial rite was performed upon the animal itself, it is forbidden. Rav Adda bar Ahava objects to this: Is this a case of an animal that was worshipped? This animal is a mere platform, i.e., it serves merely as an altar, and it is permitted.

אלא אמר רב אדא בר אהבה כגון שניסך לה יין בין קרניה דעבד בה מעשה וכי הא דאתא עולא אמר רבי יוחנן אף על פי שאמרו המשתחוה לבהמת חבירו לא אסרה עשה בה מעשה אסרה

Rather, Rav Adda bar Ahava says: That baraita is referring to a case where he poured a libation of wine in worship of the animal between its horns. In this case one renders another’s animal forbidden, as he performed a sacrificial rite upon the animal itself. And this is similar to that which Ulla stated, as Ulla came from Eretz Yisrael and said that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Even though the Sages said that one who bows to the animal of another person does not render it prohibited, if he performed a sacrificial rite upon it he rendered it prohibited.

אמר להו רב נחמן פוקו ואמרו ליה לעולא כבר תרגמה רב הונא לשמעתיך בבבל דאמר רב הונא היתה בהמת חבירו רבוצה בפני עבודת כוכבים כיון ששחט בה סימן אחד אסרה

Rav Naḥman said to the Rabbis: Go out and say to Ulla: This is not a novel concept, as Rav Huna already interpreted the halakha that you stated in Babylonia. This is as Rav Huna says: In a case where the animal of another person was lying down before an object of idol worship, once one cut one of the organs that must be severed in ritual slaughter, i.e., either the windpipe or the gullet [siman], he rendered it prohibited, as he performed a sacrificial rite upon the animal.

מנא לן דאסרה אילימא מכהנים ודלמא שאני כהנים דבני דעה נינהו

The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that he rendered it prohibited? If we say that it is derived from the halakha that priests who engaged in idol worship are disqualified from serving in the Temple, even if they did so under duress, perhaps the case of priests is different, as they possess awareness and are responsible for their actions.

ואלא מאבני מזבח ודלמא כדר"פ

But rather, perhaps it is derived from the stones of the altar that were rendered forbidden by the Greeks, even though the stones were not theirs. The Gemara rejects this suggestion: But perhaps the reason the stones of the altar were prohibited is different, as explained by the statement of Rav Pappa (52b), that when the Greeks entered the Temple it was defiled and became theirs. One therefore cannot derive from that case that one can render the property of another person forbidden.