Ravina analogizes from the boy to the girl. According to the rabbis, a girl is capable of sex at the age of three [again, this does not mean they advocated such a thing. Just that it is physically possible. I know that this is not a pleasant thing to hear. But it is what the text is referring to]. The girl defiles as if she had genital discharge at the age at which she could potentially have sex.
The Talmud perceives this to be obvious. Of course, the rules are the same. After all, if she can have sex, then she could be defiled by the male seminal discharge, and this is possible at the age of three.
They answer with what seems a bit of a strange answer. A boy at the age of 9 is not only physically capable of having sex, he can convince a girl to have sex with him (not the boys I know). Whereas a girl at the age of three does not even know what sex is. She could not and would not persuade others to have sex. She might be able to have sex, but she certainly cannot initiate it. Therefore I might not have taught this analogy, and thus Ravina needed to assert it.
Today’s sugya discusses the court that permitted Jews to use non-Jewish oil.
This story offers us an excellent window into people’s heads. Simlai, who is not a rabbi, is thrilled that R. Judah Nesi’a allowed Jews to consume non-Jewish oil. He wants permission to eat non-Jewish bread as well. But Rabbi Judah Nesi’a, the rabbi whose court allowed their oil, fears that if he is too lenient he will tarnish his reputation. No one wants to be called a “permitting court.”
This is a mishnah from Avodah Zarah. It proves that when rabbis permit too many things they get the reputation of being “permitters.” Not something they wanted. The Talmud will explain the particular issues below.
Evidently, permitting is like baseball. Three strikes and you are out!
Rabbi Judah Nesi’a also made a permissive ruling in the field of divorce law. According to the mishnah, if a husband stipulates that the divorce will be valid if he does not come back in twelve months, and then he dies, the divorce seems never had time to become valid. She will be a widow and potentially subject to levirate marriage (marriage with his brother if her husband did not have children). But R. Judah Nesi’a ruled that the divorce was valid because of the date written on it. This date proves that the husband wanted it to become retroactively valid when he failed to come back. Thus when he fails to come back it is valid from the time it is written.
The other rabbis did not agree with Rabbi Judah Nesi’a. And since he had used up two of his leniencies, he did not want to risk a third.
In yesterday’s section we learned that if a man writes a get and tells his wife that it is valid if he does not come back in twelve months, and then dies during that period, R. Judah Nesi’a allowed her to remarry. He held that the date written in the get proves that the husband meant it to become valid retroactively on that day. The other rabbis held that the man meant his get to take effect only after twelve months. And since he died before the twelve months were up, her status is that of a widow and not a divorcee.
According to R. Judah Nesi’a, who considers this get to be valid, is the woman allowed to remarry within the twelve month period?
The same question about whether the divorce takes effect immediately could also be asked about the continuation of the mishnah. In this case, all sages agree that she the bill of divorce is valid because the husband explicitly stated, “from now onward.” They only disagreed about a case where he might have been understood as saying that the divorce would be valid only when he did not return.
R. Elazar responds to the old man saying that he had the same question about the mishnah as he did about R. Judah Nesia’s decision to allow the woman in the other case to remarry. He asked this particular man because he evidently was one of the sages who voted with R. Judah Nesi’a. Abaye’s words below will answer this question.
Abaye here tries to reduce the dispute between the sages and R. Judah Nesi’a. He first brings up two points where they all agree. The man here is understood as saying that his divorce would be valid when the sun rises. Since he said “when” he clearly meant that it would not take place that night. Therefore if he dies at night, she is not divorced.
If he says “on condition that the sun rise,” he meant to say that the divorce would go into effect immediately. Thus the divorce took effect while he was alive and even if he dies at night, she is divorced.
The rabbis and R. Judah Nesi’a disagree if the husband says, “If the sun comes out.” R. Judah Nesia’ says that in this case the date proves that his intent is for the divorce to go into effect retroactively once the sun comes out. It is like saying, “From today if I die.” So even if he dies at night, she is divorced. The other rabbis hold that that this is like saying “when the sun comes out.” So if he dies at night, the divorce never went into effect.
People may be wondering what all this hullabaloo is about—after all, she is either a widow or a divorcee. The issue is levirate marriage. If she is a widow, she might have to marry her dead husband’s brother. If she does not want to, she could be left without the ability to remarry.
Above, the Talmud quoted a mishnah from Eduyot 8:4. Although this mishnah has nothing to do with Avodah Zarah, the Talmud will explain it now. It is interesting to note that there is no Talmud on Tractate Eduyot, neither Bavli or Yerushalmi. But clearly Talmudic rabbis learned this Tractate. Some tractates simply did not get commented on in the Talmud.
Today’s sugya discusses which type of locust is kosher and the liquids on the floor of the slaughter-house in the Temple.
This is the quote of the mishnah. It will now be explained.
In this section two amoraim argue over what type of locust the tannaim in the Mishnah were arguing about—a shoshiba or a susbil.
must admit, I’m not an expert on which locusts are edible. Ashkenazim stopped eating them many, many centuries ago. Ostensibly this was because they did not know which were kosher and which were not, but in reality we know why they stopped eating them. No one in Europe ate them. But people in the Middle East did eat them, and Yemenites still eat them. Some of my Ashkenazi friends have tried them. Evidently if you fry them and salt them they taste like meaty potato chips. Sounds good.