In this case, the wine belongs to the non-Jew and the Jew is simply producing it. Here it is even more likely that the non-Jew would touch the wine, because, after all, it is his wine. In this case, the Jew must have the key and seal even if another Jew lives in the courtyard. Since the wine belongs to the non-Jew, it would not be inappropriate for him to try some. The only reason he would not is that he does not have access.
R. Yohanan emends the baraita. Since a Jew resides in the courtyard, the other Jew does not have to possess the key and seal for it to be permitted. If the non-Jew drinks, the Jew will see and tell the other Jew.
The baraita continues with the case of the Jew preparing wine belonging to the non-Jew. If there are no Jews living in the courtyard, then the non-Jew is even more likely to go taste what is, after all, his own wine. R. Meir rules that the wine is kosher if the Jew holds the key. The other rabbis require at least a supervisor who goes in at regular intervals. We shall analyze this below.
The Talmud tries to analyze what exactly the sages are referring to. If they are referring to the immediately preceding clause then all agree—the wine is prohibited unless there is a Jew present.
If the sages are referring to the first half of the second clause, where the Jew is preparing the non-Jew’s wine, then we also have a problem. How could R. Yohanan allow such wine without a Jew even having possession of the key and seal if the sages rule that the wine is prohibited without a guard? Would R. Yohanan rule against the sages?
The Talmud resolves that the sages refer to the first clause. The situation is that the wine belongs to the Jew. According to the first tanna, the wine is permitted if the Jew holds the key. No Jew needs to be living in the courtyard. The sages say that a guard needs either to be there permanently or at least to be coming in at regular times. Without some sort of supervision, the fact that the Jew holds the key is not sufficient.
A guard who enters in at regular intervals is worse—the non-Jew will know when he comes in and will be able to time his stealing a drink.
The Talmud therefore emends the baraita. The guard needs to come in intermittently. This is indeed how modern kashrut supervision works.
The Talmud now discusses R. Shimon b. Elazar’s opinion from the Mishnah. For ease of reference I am reproducing it here: If [a Jew] prepares a non-Jew's wine in a state of ritual purity and leaves it in [the nonJew’s] domain, in a house which is open to the public domain, should it be in a city where non-Jews and Jews reside, it is permitted. But should it be in a city where only non-Jews reside it is prohibited unless [an Jew] sits and guard.
There is no need for the guard to sit and watch [the whole time]; even if he keeps going out and coming in it is permitted. Rabbi Shimon ben Eleazar says: it is all one with the domain of a non-Jew.
Is R. Shimon b. Elazar stricter or more lenient than the first opinion? Amoraim dispute the interpretation of his opinion.
According to R. Judah, R. Shimon b. Elazar is more lenient. According to the first opinion, the non-Jew who owns the wine might open up the jug even if it is in the domain of another non-Jew. He might say to his fellow, “If you don’t tell the Jew that I opened the wine kept in your domain, I won’t tell on you in in a similar situation.” But R. Shimon says we are not concerned about such collusion. If the wine is in the domain of another non-Jew the non-Jew who owns it will not open it.
R. Nahman reads the mishnah in an opposite manner. R. Shimon b. Elazar rules strictly.
The baraita reads in accordance with R. Shimon b. Elazar. Non-Jews will deceive Jews and therefore it does not matter whether the wine is left in the domain of the non-Jew who owns it or in the domain of another non-Jew—it is always prohibited.
Today’s section contains a story where one gentile leaves some wine made in purity by a Jew in the domain of another, the situation discussed in yesterday’s mishnah.
The question is whether we have to be concerned that the sharecroppers drank some of the wine placed in their domain. Rava’s students argue that we need not be concerned about “collusion” because this is not a case where each placed in the domain of the other. Essentially, the sharecroppers will not open the wine placed in their domain by the powerful officer of the king. So Jews can drink it.
Rava points out that this case is actually more problematic. Even if we are not generally concerned with collusion, if one party is powerful, the other party might cover up for him. Here, the officer might open the wine and drink some and the sharecroppers would cover up for him. Therefore it is forbidden.
Today’s short story completes the chapter! But not to worry—we keep discussing wine in the next chapter, so raise a glass!
The question that needs to be asked here is whether we need to be concerned that the non-Jew drank from or even touched the wine. Rava says it depends whether people would think him a thief for standing there. If they would, then he will not have time to drink the wine, so the wine is permitted. But if people do not care if he is standing there, then the wine is forbidden.
Congratulations—you’ve finished the fourth chapter of Avodah Zarah. Only one more to go!