Chapter 3ג׳
1 א

כָּל הָעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים בִּרְצוֹנוֹ בְּזָדוֹן חַיָּב כָּרֵת וְאִם הָיוּ שָׁם עֵדִים וְהַתְרָאָה נִסְקָל. וְאִם עָבַד בִּשְׁגָגָה מֵבִיא קָרְבַּן חַטָּאת קְבוּעָה:

Whosoever worships idolatry, of his own free will, wantonly, is guilty of an offense punishable by excision; but if the worship took place in the presence of witnesses, and he was duly warned, he is sentenced to be stoned. If the worship was committed in ignorance, he should bring a standard sin-offering.1Keritot, 1; Sanhedrin, 60b—61a.C.

2 ב

עֲבוֹדוֹת הַרְבֵּה קָבְעוּ עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים לְכָל צֶלֶם וְצֶלֶם וּלְכָל צוּרָה וְצוּרָה וַעֲבוֹדַת זֶה אֵינָהּ כַּעֲבוֹדַת זֶה כְּגוֹן פְּעוֹר שֶׁעֲבוֹדָתוֹ שֶׁפּוֹעֵר אָדָם עַצְמוֹ לוֹ וּמַרְקוּלִיס שֶׁעֲבוֹדָתוֹ שֶׁיִּזְרֹק לוֹ אֲבָנִים אוֹ יְסַקֵּל מִלְּפָנָיו אֲבָנִים וְהַרְבֵּה עֲבוֹדוֹת כְּגוֹן אֵלּוּ תִּקְּנוּ לִשְׁאָר צְלָמִים. לְפִיכָךְ הַפּוֹעֵר עַצְמוֹ לְמַרְקוּלִיס אוֹ שֶׁזָּרַק אֶבֶן לִפְעוֹר פָּטוּר עַד שֶׁיַּעֲבֹד אוֹתוֹ דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יב ל) "אֵיכָה יַעַבְדוּ הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה אֶת אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְאֶעֱשֶׂה כֵּן גַּם אָנִי". וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה הָעִנְיָן צְרִיכִין בֵּית דִּין לֵידַע דַּרְכֵי הָעֲבוֹדוֹת, שֶׁאֵין סוֹקְלִין עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים עַד שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ שֶׁזּוֹ הִיא דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ:

The idolaters fixed many kinds of service for each and every image and form, and the service of one is unlike the service of the other; for example, Peor, whose mode of worship it is for one to have himself exposed before it, or Mercury, which is worshiped by having stones thrown at it or from it, and many more like services were inaugurated to images. Therefore, if one reverses the service by exposing himself to Mercury or by throwing stones at Peor, he is not guilty, for he must worship it after the manner of its service, as it is said: "How used these nations to serve their gods? even so will I do likewise" (Deut. 12.30). The subject being such, and because thereof, a tribunal, judging cases of idolatry should know the modes of its worship, seeing that no punishment of stoning is pronounced on idolaters unless they know that the mode of worship is identical with the testimony presented at the trial.2Ibid. C.

3 ג

וְאַזְהָרָה שֶׁל עֲבוֹדוֹת אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הוּא מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב (שמות כ ה) "וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם". בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּשְׁאָר עֲבוֹדוֹת חוּץ מִמִּשְׁתַּחֲוְה וְזוֹבֵחַ וּמַקְטִיר וּמְנַסֵּךְ. אֲבָל הָעוֹבֵד בְּאַחַת מֵעֲבוֹדוֹת אֵלּוּ לְאֶחָד מִכָּל מִינֵי עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים חַיָּב וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ בְּכָךְ. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁנִּסֵּךְ לִפְעוֹר אוֹ שֶׁזָּבַח לְמַרְקוּלִיס חַיָּב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב יט) "זֹבֵחַ לָאֱלֹהִים יָחֳרָם בִּלְתִּי לַה' לְבַדּוֹ". זְבִיחָה בִּכְלַל עֲבוֹדָה הָיְתָה וְלָמָּה יָצָאת לוֹמַר לְךָ מַה זְּבִיחָה מְיֻחֶדֶת שֶׁעוֹבְדִין בָּהּ לַשֵּׁם וְחַיָּב הַזּוֹבֵחַ לְאֵל אַחֵר סְקִילָה עָלֶיהָ בֵּין הָיְתָה דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ בִּזְבִיחָה אוֹ אֵינָהּ בִּזְבִיחָה. אַף כָּל עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁהִיא מְיֻחֶדֶת לַשֵּׁם אִם עָבַד בָּהּ לְאֵל אַחֵר בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ בְּכָךְ בֵּין שֶׁאֵינָהּ בְּכָךְ חַיָּב עָלֶיהָ. לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר (שמות לד יד) "לֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לְאֵל אַחֵר" לְחַיֵּב עַל הַהִשְׁתַּחֲוָיָה אֲפִלּוּ אֵין דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ בְּכָךְ. וְהוּא הַדִּין לִמְקַטֵּר וּמְנַסֵּךְ. וְזוֹרֵק וּמְנַסֵּךְ אֶחָד הוּא:

The prohibitive commandment concerning such worship is deducted from what Holy Writ says: "Nor serve them" (Ex. 20.5; Deut. 5.9). Whereat are these words directed? At all other manner of worship, save bowing down, slaughtering sacrifice, burning incense, and compounding drink offering; for whosoever employs any of these kinds of worship to revive any form of idolatry, is guilty, although it be not the particular manner of its worship. For example? If one offered a drink offering to Peor, or slaughtered a sacrifice to Mercury, he is guilty, as it is said: "He that sacrificeth unto the gods, save unto the Lord only, shall be utterly destroyed" (Ex. 22.19.). Inasmuch as slaughtering sacrifices was included in worship generally, why was it singled out and separated from other modes of service? To teach you, even as slaughtering sacrifices is a particular manner of service dedicated to the Name, and whosoever offers sacrifices to another god is guilty of an offense punishable by stoning, whether its mode of worship was to slaughter sacrifices for it or whether it was not, even so every service which is dedicated to the Name, if he employed it in his service to another god, whether its manner of worship be so or not, is guilty. Even because thereof it is, moreover, said: "For thou shalt bow down to no other god" (Ex. 34.14), to prescribe guilt for bowing down to idolatry even if its mode of service be not so. So is also the law pertaining to offering incense and drink-offering, forsooth, stone-casting and pouring drink offering is one and the same thing.3Ibid. C.

4 ד

סָפַת לָהּ צוֹאָה אוֹ שֶׁנִּסֵּךְ לָהּ עֲבִיט שֶׁל מֵי רַגְלַיִם חַיָּב. שָׁחַט לָהּ חָגָב פָּטוּר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיְתָה עֲבוֹדָתָהּ בְּכָךְ. וְכֵן אִם שָׁחַט לָהּ בְּהֵמָה מְחֻסֶּרֶת אֵיבָר פָּטוּר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיְתָה דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתָהּ בְּכָךְ. עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים שֶׁעוֹבְדִין אוֹתָהּ בְּמַקֵּל. שָׁבַר מַקֵּל בְּפָנֶיהָ חַיָּב וְנֶאֱסֶרֶת. זָרַק מַקֵּל בְּפָנֶיהָ חַיָּב וְאֵינָהּ נֶאֱסֶרֶת. שֶׁאֵין זְרִיקַת הַמַּקֵּל כְּעֵין זְרִיקַת הַדָּם שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמַּקֵּל כְּמוֹ שֵׁהוּא וְהַדָּם מִתְפַּזֵּר. הַמְקַבֵּל עָלָיו אֶחָד מִכָּל מִינֵי עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים בֵּאלוֹהַּ חַיָּב סְקִילָה. וַאֲפִלּוּ הִגְבִּיהַּ לְבֵנָה וְאָמַר לָהּ אֵלִי אַתָּה וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּדִבּוּר זֶה חַיָּב. וַאֲפִלּוּ חָזַר בּוֹ בְּתוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר וְאָמַר אֵין זֶה אֵלִי אֵין חֲזָרָתוֹ כְּלוּם אֶלָּא נִסְקָל:

One who smears feces over it, or who compounded urine as a drink-offering for it, is guilty; if he slaughtered a locust as a sacrifice to it, he is not guilty, unless its manner of service be so. Likewise, if he slaughtered a crippled animal as a sacrifice to it, he is not guilty, unless its manner of service be so. An idol which is worshiped by a rod, if he broke the rod by striking at it, he is guilty, and if it be the first service offered to such idol it becomes forbidden property; if he cast the rod at it, he is guilty, but it does not become forbidden property, for casting the rod is unlike sprinkling of blood because the rod remains whole as it was whereas blood is spread in drops. He who proclaims one of all kinds of idolatry as his god, is guilty of an offense punishable by stoning; even if he lift up a brick and said to it: "Thou art my god", or to all like in such expression. is guilty, although he repent and the moment he was through proclaiming he said: "No, this is not my god", his repentence is null and he is stoned.5Sanhedrin, 60b; Baba Batra, 129b; Nedarim, 87a. C.G.

5 ה

הָעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים כְּדַרְכָּהּ וַאֲפִלּוּ עָשָׂה דֶּרֶךְ בִּזָּיוֹן חַיָּב. כֵּיצַד. הַפּוֹעֵר עַצְמוֹ לִפְעוֹר כְּדֵי לְבַזּוֹתוֹ אוֹ זָרַק אֶבֶן לְמַרְקוּלִיס כְּדֵי לְבַזּוֹתוֹ הוֹאִיל וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ בְּכָךְ חַיָּב. וּמֵבִיא קָרְבָּן עַל שִׁגְגָתוֹ:

He who worships idolatry in its usual mood of worship, even in a manner to disgrace it, is guilty. For example? One who exposes himself to Peor in order to show his contempt for it, or casts a stone upon Mercury so as to shame it, is guilty, because such act is its real mode of worship. If he commits an act of this kind in error, he should bring a sin-offering.6Sanhedrin, 60b; Ibid, 64a C.

6 ו

הָעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים מֵאַהֲבָה כְּגוֹן שֶׁחָשַׁק בְּצוּרָה זוֹ מִפְּנֵי מְלַאכְתָּהּ שֶׁהָיְתָה נָאָה בְּיוֹתֵר. אוֹ שֶׁעֲבָדָהּ מִיִּרְאָתוֹ לָהּ שֶׁמָּא תָּרֵעַ לוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵן מְדַמִּים עוֹבְדֶיהָ שֶׁהִיא מֵיטִיבָה וּמְרֵעָה. אִם קִבְּלָהּ עָלָיו בֵּאלוֹהַּ חַיָּב סְקִילָה וְאִם עֲבָדָהּ דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתָהּ אוֹ בְּאַחַת מֵאַרְבַּע עֲבוֹדוֹת מֵאַהֲבָה אוֹ מִיִּרְאָה פָּטוּר. הַמְגַפֵּף עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וְהַמְנַשֵּׁק לָהּ וְהַמְכַבֵּד וְהַמְרַבֵּץ לְפָנֶיהָ וְהַמַּרְחִיץ לָהּ וְהַסָּךְ וְהַמַּלְבִּישׁ וְהַמַּנְעִיל וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּדִבְרֵי כָּבוֹד הָאֵלּוּ עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם, וּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ בִּכְלַל עֲבוֹדָה הֵן. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה עַל אַחַת מֵהֶן לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָן בְּפֵרוּשׁ. וְאִם הָיְתָה דֶּרֶךְ עֲבוֹדָתָהּ בְּאֶחָד מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וַעֲשָׂהוּ לְעָבְדָהּ חַיָּב:

One who worships idolatry out of love, for instance, he coveted a given image because it was made superbly beautiful, or he worshiped it out of fear lest it perpetrates harm against him, as its devotees imagine that it can do good and evil, if he accepted it as a god he is guilty of an offense punishable by stoning; but if he worshiped it after its mode or worship, or with one of the four kinds of worship8The admonition is, “Nor serve them”. This is a general rule for all kind of practices which may be included under the term “Serve”. A prohibitive covering a general rule (Laav She’biclolot) carries no punishment of lashes. C.G. either because of love for art or because of superstitious fear, he is guiltless. He embraces an idol, or kisses it, or who prostrates himself before it, who washes it, anoints it, puts shoes on it, or does any other like service of honor violates a prohibitive commandment, for it says: "Nor serve them" (Ex. 23.24.), and, of course, such attention is included in service. Nevertheless, no lashes is inflicted upon him for doing any of these, seeing that none of them are mentioned in detail.9Bowing down, slaughtering sacrifices, compounding drink offerings, and sprinkling of blood. G. If, however, one of these attentions was a mode of service and he did it in order to worship it, he is guilty.10Sanhedrin, 63a. C.

7 ז

יָשַׁב לוֹ קוֹץ בְּרַגְלוֹ לִפְנֵי עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים לֹא יָשֹׁחַ וְיִטְּלֶנּוּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כְּמִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהּ. נִתְפַּזְּרוּ לוֹ מָעוֹת בְּפָנֶיהָ לֹא יָשֹׁחַ וְיִטְּלֵם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כְּמִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהּ אֶלָּא יֵשֵׁב וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִטּל:

One who had a splinter stuck in his foot and he happens to be before an idol, should not bow down to take out, as it will appear that is bowing down to it. If his coin be scattered before it, he should not bow down to collect it, as it will appear that he is bowing down to it, but he may sit down and then collect it.11Abodah Zarah, 12b. C.

8 ח

פַּרְצוּפוֹת הַמְקַלְּחוֹת מַיִם בִּפְנֵי עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים לֹא יַנִּיחַ פִּיו עַל פִּיהֶם וְיִשְׁתֶּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כִּמְנַשֵּׁק לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים:

Water-fountain figures, placed before an idol, in drinking water therefrom one should be careful not to touch his mouth to their mouth, as it will appear that he kisses an idol.12Ibid. G.

9 ט

הָעוֹשֶׂה עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים לְעַצְמוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עֲשָׂאָהּ בְּיָדוֹ וְלֹא עֲבָדָהּ לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כ ד) "לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה לְךָ פֶסֶל וְכָל תְּמוּנָה". וְכֵן הָעוֹשֶׂה עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים בְּיָדוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים אֲפִלּוּ עֲשָׂאָהּ לְעוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט ד) "וֵאלֹהֵי מַסֵּכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם". לְפִיכָךְ הָעוֹשֶׂה עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים בְּיָדוֹ לְעַצְמוֹ לוֹקֶה שְׁתַּיִם:

One who has an idol made for himself, even though he made it not by his own hand and did not worship it, is striped; because it is said: "Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness" (Ex. 20.4; Deut. 5.8). Even so, if one makes by his own hand an idol for others is striped, though he made it for an idolater; because it is said: "Nor make to yourselves molten gods" (Lev. 19.4). Therefore, he who makes an idol for himself, by his own hand, is lashed twice.14Abodah Zarah, 43b. G.

10 י

אָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת צוּרוֹת לְנוֹי וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כ כ) "לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן אִתִּי" כְּלוֹמַר צוּרוֹת שֶׁל כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב שֶׁאֵינָם אֶלָּא לְנוֹי כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִטְּעוּ בָּהֶן הַטּוֹעִים וִידַמּוּ שֶׁהֵם לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים. וְאֵין אִסּוּר לָצוּר לְנוֹי אֶלָּא צוּרַת הָאָדָם בִּלְבַד. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין מְצַיְּרִים לֹא בְּעֵץ וְלֹא בְּסִיד וְלֹא בְּאֶבֶן צוּרַת הָאָדָם. וְהוּא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הַצּוּרָה בּוֹלֶטֶת כְּגוֹן הַצִּיּוּר וְהַכִּיּוּר שֶׁבַּטְּרַקְלִין וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וְאִם צָר לוֹקֵה. אֲבָל אִם הָיִתָה הַצּוּרָה מֵשִׁקַעַת אוֹ צוּרָה שֶׁל סַמָּנִין כְּגוֹן הַצּוּרוֹת שֵׁעַל גַּבֵּי הַלּוּחוֹת וִהַטַּבְלִיּוֹת אוֹ צוּרוֹת שֶׁרוֹקְמִין בָּאָרִיג הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרוֹת:

It is forbidden to make images for beauty's sake, even it be not for idolatry; for, it is said: "Ye shall not make with Me" (Ex. 20.23), as if saying; images of either silver or gold, though they be no more than works of artistic beauty, ye shall not make, so that the erring will not err and imagine they are dedicated to idolatry. But the admonition against it is not applicable to any save to form the image of man. Therefore, the image of man should not be formed in wood, nor in lime, nor in stone, provided, however, that the image be protruding, as for instance, the figure or the laver in a palace; but if the image was homaloid, or a delineated form, such as the forms upon boards and tablets, or the forms woven in a rug, behold, such is permitted.15Rosh ha-Shanah, 24b; Abodah Zarah, 43b. C.

11 יא

טַבַּעַת שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלֶיהָ חוֹתָם שֶׁהוּא צוּרַת אָדָם אִם הָיְתָה הַצּוּרָה בּוֹלֶטֶת אָסוּר לְהַנִּיחָהּ וּמֻתָּר לַחְתֹּם בָּהּ. וְאִם הָיְתָה הַצּוּרָה שׁוֹקַעַת מֻתָּר לְהַנִּיחָהּ וְאָסוּר לַחְתֹּם בָּהּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַנָּחָתָם תַּעֲשֶׂה בּוֹ הַצּוּרָה בּוֹלֶטֶת. וְכֵן אָסוּר לָצוּר דְּמוּת חַמָּה וּלְבָנָה כּוֹכָבִים מַזָּלוֹת וּמַלְאָכִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כ כ) "לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן אִתִּי" (גמרא ראש השנה כד ב) "לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן כִּדְמוּת שְׁמָשַׁי הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין לְפָנַי בַּמָּרוֹם" וַאֲפִלּוּ עַל הַלּוּחַ. צוּרוֹת הַבְּהֵמוֹת וּשְׁאָר נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה חוּץ מִן הָאָדָם וְצוּרוֹת הָאִילָנוֹת וּדְשָׁאִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן מֻתָּר לָצוּר אוֹתָם וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה הַצּוּרָה בּוֹלֶטֶת:

A ring whereon the image of a man is engraved as a seal, if the image be protruding, he is forbidden to keep it in his hand, but is permitted to have the idolator make an impression on wax therewith; if the image be inwardly engraved he is permitted to keep it in his hand, but forbidden to have the idolator make an impression on wax therewith, because the inwardly engraved image will appear protruding from the wax seal. It is likewise forbidden to sketch the image of the sun, of the moon, of the stars, of the planets, and of angels; for, it is said: "Ye shall not make with me", that is to say: ye shall not make images like unto My ministers, who minister before Me Above, not even upon a tablet. Images of cattle and other living creatures, save man, and images of trees and plants and the like, one may sketch, even though the image be protruding.17Ibid.; Mekilta, Ex. 20. C.G.