Avodah Zarah 54bעבודה זרה נ״ד ב
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54bנ״ד ב

ואלא מכלים דכתיב (דברי הימים ב כט, יט) ואת כל הכלים אשר הזניח המלך אחז במלכותו במעלו הכנו והקדשנו ואמר מר הכנו שגנזנום והקדשנו שהקדשנו אחרים תחתיהן והא אין אדם אוסר דבר שאינו שלו

But rather, it is derived from the case of vessels of the Temple that Ahaz used for idol worship, as it is written: “And all the vessels, which King Ahaz in his reign did cast away when he acted treacherously, we have prepared and sanctified, and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord” (II Chronicles 29:19). And the Master said: “We have prepared” means that we interred them; “and sanctified” means that we sanctified other vessels in their stead, as the original vessels were prohibited. But how could Ahaz render the vessels of the Temple forbidden, as a person does not render forbidden an item that is not his?

אלא כיון דעבד בהו מעשה איתסרו להו הכא נמי כיון שעשה בה מעשה אסרה

Rather, since Ahaz performed a sacrificial rite upon them in idolatrous worship, the vessels were prohibited. Here too, when one performed a sacrificial rite upon the animal of another person by slaughtering it in idolatrous worship, he rendered it prohibited.

כי אתא רב דימי א"ר יוחנן אע"פ שאמרו המשתחוה לקרקע עולם לא אסרה חפר בה בורות שיחין ומערות אסרה כי אתא רב שמואל בר יהודה א"ר יוחנן אע"פ שאמרו המשתחוה לבעלי חיים לא אסרן עשאן חליפין לעבודת כוכבים אסרן

§ When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Even though the Sages said that one who bows to the ground does not render it prohibited, if one dug pits, ditches, and caves in it, he rendered it prohibited. When Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Even though the Sages said that one who bows to animals does not render them prohibited, if one rendered them an item of exchange for an object of idol worship, exchanging the animal for an object of idol worship, he rendered them prohibited.

כי אתא רבין אמר פליגו בה רבי ישמעאל ב"ר יוסי ורבנן חד אמר חליפין אסורין חליפי חליפין מותרין וחד אמר אפילו חליפי חליפין נמי אסורין

When Ravin came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said: Rabbi Yishmael bar Rabbi Yosei and the Rabbis disagree with regard to the halakha concerning an item exchanged for an object of idol worship. One says that the item of the exchange is prohibited, but if one then acquired another item in exchange for the item of that exchange, the exchange of the exchange is permitted. And one says that even the exchange of the exchange is also prohibited.

מ"ט דמ"ד חליפי חליפין אסורין אמר קרא (דברים ז, כו) והיית חרם כמוהו כל שאתה מהיה ממנו הרי הוא כמוהו ואידך אמר קרא הוא הוא ולא חליפי חליפין

The Gemara asks: What is the reason of the one who says that the exchange of the exchange is prohibited? The verse states: “And you shall not bring an abomination into your house, that you should become accursed like it; you shall utterly detest it…for it is accursed” (Deuteronomy 7:26). Not only do you become accursed, but anything that you cause to become yours from the exchange of an object of idol worship is accursed like it, i.e., is forbidden like the object of idol worship itself. And as for the other tanna, from where does he derive that the exchange of the exchange is permitted? The verse states: “For it is accursed.” Infer from this that “it,” the object of idol worship, is forbidden, but not the exchange of the exchange.

ואידך ההוא מיבעי ליה למעוטי ערלה וכלאי הכרם שאם מכרן וקידש בדמיהן מקודשת

The Gemara asks: And as for the other tanna, how does he inter-pret the term “it”? The Gemara answers: He requires that term to exclude an item acquired in exchange for orla or for diverse kinds of crops that grew in a vineyard. The verse indicates that if one sold orla or diverse kinds that grew in a vineyard and betrothed a woman with the money from the sale, she is betrothed.

ואידך ערלה וכלאי הכרם לא צריכי מיעוטא דהויא להו עבודת כוכבים ושביעית שני כתובין הבאין כאחד וכל שני כתובין הבאין כאחד אין מלמדין

The Gemara asks: And from where does the other tanna derive this halakha? He holds that orla and diverse kinds that grew in a vineyard do not require an exclusion. This is because idol worship and the Sabbatical Year are two verses that come as one, i.e., both teach the same principle, that an item acquired in exchange for a forbidden item is forbidden, and any two verses that come as one do not teach their common halakha to other cases.

עבודת כוכבים הא דאמרן שביעית דכתיב (ויקרא כה, יב) כי יובל היא קדש תהיה לכם מה קדש תופס את דמיו ואסור אף שביעית תופסת את דמיה ואסורה

The Gemara explains: The source of this halakha with regard to idol worship is that ruling which we said earlier. With regard to the Sabbatical Year, the source is as it is written: “For it is a Jubilee Year; it shall be sacred for you” (Leviticus 25:12). The verse juxtaposes the Jubilee Year, the produce of which has the same status as produce of the Sabbatical Year, and sacred items. Infer from this that just as when one buys consecrated property it transfers its sanctity to the money with which it is redeemed and the money is prohibited, so too, the produce of the Sabbatical Year transfers its sanctity to the money with which it is redeemed and the money is prohibited.

אי מה קדש תופס את דמיו ויוצא לחולין אף שביעית תופסת את דמיה ויוצאה לחולין ת"ל תהיה בהוייתה תהא

The Gemara asks: If so, one could say that just as consecrated property transfers its sanctity to the money with which it is redeemed and is transferred to non-sacred status, so too, the produce of the Sabbatical Year transfers its sanctity to the money with which it is redeemed and is transferred to non-sacred status. Therefore, the verse states: “It shall be sacred for you,” indicating that the produce shall always be as it is, and it is not desacralized.

הא כיצד לקח בפירות שביעית בשר אלו ואלו מתבערין בשביעית לקח בבשר דגים יצא בשר נכנסו דגים בדגים יין יצאו דגים נכנס יין ביין שמן יצא יין ונכנס שמן הא כיצד אחרון אחרון נתפס בשביעית ופרי עצמו אסור

The Gemara explains: How so? If one purchased meat with produce of the Sabbatical Year, both these and those, i.e., the meat and the produce, are eradicated in the Sabbatical Year. The sanctity of the Sabbatical Year takes effect with regard to the meat as well. It is treated like the produce, and it must be disposed of when the obligation to eradicate the produce of the Sabbatical Year goes into effect. If he then purchases fish with this meat, the meat loses its consecrated status, and the fish assume the consecrated state. If he then purchases wine with these fish, the fish lose their consecrated status and the wine assumes the consecrated state. If he then purchases oil with the wine, the wine loses its consecrated status and the oil assumes the consecrated state. How so? The final item purchased has the sanctity of the Sabbatical Year transferred to it, and the Sabbatical-Year produce itself remains forbidden.

ואידך קסבר שני כתובין הבאין כאחד מלמדין ואיצטריך הוא למעוטינהו:

The Gemara asks: And as for the other tanna, who maintains that the term “it” excludes an item exchanged for orla or for diverse kinds that grew in a vineyard, how does he respond to this? The Gemara answers: He holds that two verses that come as one, i.e., that teach the same principle, teach their common halakha to other cases, and one could have derived the prohibition from the cases of idol worship and the Sabbatical Year. Therefore, the term “it” was necessary in order to exclude from the prohibition an item exchanged for orla or for diverse kinds that grew in a vineyard.

מתני׳ שאלו את הזקנים ברומי אם אין רצונו בעבודת כוכבים למה אינו מבטלה אמרו להן אילו לדבר שאין צורך לעולם בו היו עובדין היה מבטלו הרי הן עובדין לחמה וללבנה ולכוכבים ולמזלות יאבד עולמו מפני השוטים

MISHNA: The gentiles asked the Jewish Sages who were in Rome: If it is not God’s will that people should engage in idol worship, why does He not elimi-nate it? The Sages said to them: Were people worshipping only objects for which the world has no need, He would eliminate it. But they worship the sun and the moon and the stars and the constellations. Should He destroy His world because of the fools?

אמרו להן א"כ יאבד דבר שאין צורך לעולם בו ויניח דבר שצורך העולם בו אמרו להן אף אנו מחזיקין ידי עובדיהן של אלו שאומרים תדעו שהן אלוהות שהרי הן לא בטלו:

The gentiles said to the Sages: If so, let Him destroy those objects of idol worship for which the world has no need and leave those objects for which the world has a need. The Sages said to them: If that were to happen, we would thereby be supporting the worshippers of those objects for which the world has need, as they would say: You should know that these are truly gods, as they were not eliminated from the world, whereas the others were eliminated.

גמ׳ ת"ר שאלו פלוסופין את הזקנים ברומי אם אלהיכם אין רצונו בעבודת כוכבים מפני מה אינו מבטלה אמרו להם אילו לדבר שאין העולם צורך לו היו עובדין הרי הוא מבטלה הרי הן עובדין לחמה וללבנה ולכוכבים ולמזלות יאבד עולם מפני השוטים אלא עולם כמנהגו נוהג ושוטים שקלקלו עתידין ליתן את הדין

GEMARA: The Sages taught: Certain philosophers [filosofin] asked the Jewish Sages who were in Rome: If it is not your God’s will that people should engage in idol worship, for what reason does He not eliminate it? The Sages said to them: Were people worshipping only objects for which the world has no need, He would eliminate it. But they worship the sun and the moon and the stars and the constellations. Should He destroy the world because of the fools? Rather, the world follows its course, and the fools who sinned will be held to judgment in the future for their transgressions.

דבר אחר הרי שגזל סאה של חטים [והלך] וזרעה בקרקע דין הוא שלא תצמח אלא עולם כמנהגו נוהג והולך ושוטים שקלקלו עתידין ליתן את הדין

The baraita presents another matter that illustrates the same concept: Consider the case of one who stole a se’a of wheat and went and planted it in the ground. By right it should not grow. But the world goes along and follows its course and the fools who sinned will be held to judgment in the future for their transgressions.

דבר אחר הרי שבא על אשת חבירו דין הוא שלא תתעבר אלא עולם כמנהגו נוהג והולך ושוטים שקלקלו עתידין ליתן את הדין

The baraita presents another matter that illustrates the same concept: Consider the case of one who engaged in intercourse with the wife of another. By right she should not become pregnant. But the world goes along and follows its course and the fools who sinned will be held to judgment in the future for their transgressions.

והיינו דאמר ריש לקיש אמר הקב"ה לא דיין לרשעים שעושין סלע שלי פומבי אלא שמטריחין אותי ומחתימין אותי בעל כרחי

The Gemara comments: And this is as Reish Lakish says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Is it not enough for the wicked that they treat My die for a sela coin as if it were ownerless [pumbi], using it without My permission and against My will, as they impregnate women adulterously? But moreover, they also trouble Me and cause Me to sign the result of their actions against My will, as I form the fetus and give it life, even when its creation is the result of prohibited sexual intercourse.

שאל פלוספוס אחד את ר"ג כתוב בתורתכם (דברים ד, כד) כי ה' אלהיך אש אוכלה הוא אל קנא מפני מה מתקנא בעובדיה ואין מתקנא בה

A certain philosopher asked Rabban Gamliel: It is written in your Torah with regard to the prohibition against idol worship: “For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). For what reason is He jealous and does He exact vengeance from the idol’s worshippers, but He is not jealous of the idol itself and does not destroy it?

אמר לו אמשול לך משל למה"ד למלך בשר ודם שהיה לו בן אחד ואותו הבן היה מגדל לו את הכלב והעלה לו שם על שם אביו וכשהוא נשבע אומר בחיי כלב אבא כששמע המלך על מי הוא כועס על הבן הוא כועס או על הכלב הוא כועס הוי אומר על הבן הוא כועס

Rabban Gamliel said to the philosopher: I will relate a parable to you. To what is this matter comparable? It may be compared to a king of flesh and blood who had one son, and that son was raising a dog. And the son gave the dog a name, naming him after his father. When the son would take an oath, he would say: I swear by the life of the dog, my father. When the king heard about this, with whom was the king angry? Is he angry with the son or is he angry with the dog? You must say that he is angry with the son. So too, God is angry with the worshippers who attribute divinity to objects of idol worship and not with the objects of idol worship themselves.

אמר לו כלב אתה קורא אותה והלא יש בה ממש אמר לו ומה ראית אמר לו פעם אחת נפלה דליקה בעירנו ונשרפה כל העיר כולה ואותו בית עבודת כוכבים לא נשרף

The philosopher said to Rabban Gamliel: Do you call the idol a dog? But the idol truly exists, i.e., has power. Rabban Gamliel said to the philosopher: And what did you see that caused you to believe that the idols have power? The philosopher said to Rabban Gamliel: A fire once broke out in our city, and the entire city was burned down, but that temple of idol worship was not burned down.

אמר לו אמשול לך משל למה"ד למלך ב"ו שסרחה עליו מדינה כשהוא עושה מלחמה עם החיים הוא עושה או עם המתים הוא עושה הוי אומר עם החיים הוא עושה

Rabban Gamliel said to the philosopher I will relate a parable to you. To what is this matter comparable? It may be compared to a king of flesh and blood whose province sinned against him. When he wages war, does he wage war against the living or does he wage war against the dead? You must say that he wages war against the living. God punishes the living worshippers and not the idol, which is not alive.

א"ל כלב אתה קורא אותה מת אתה קורא אותה א"כ יאבדנה מן העולם אמר לו אילו לדבר שאין העולם צריך לו היו עובדין הרי הוא מבטלה הרי הן עובדין לחמה וללבנה לכוכבים ולמזלות לאפיקים ולגאיות יאבד עולמו מפני שוטים וכן הוא אומר

The philosopher said to Rabban Gamliel: You call the idol a dog; you call the idol dead. If it is so, let God remove it from the world. Rabban Gamliel said to the philosopher: Were people worshipping only objects for which the world has no need, He would eliminate it. But they worship the sun and the moon, the stars and the constellations, and the streams and the valleys. Should He destroy His world because of fools? And so the verse states: