Sanhedrin 61b:15-21סנהדרין ס״א ב:ט״ו-כ״א
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61bס״א ב

מ"ש איהו מינן דידן ואין דקאמרי אחוכי עליה

In what way is he different from us? The suggestion to worship him is nonsense. And the fact that they say to him: Yes, is because they ridicule him.

ומתני' כאן ביחיד הניסת כאן ברבים הניסתים יחיד לא מימלך וטעי בתריה רבים מימלכי ולא טעו בתריה

And the contradiction between the mishnayot can be resolved as follows: There, where the mishna states that one is liable for speech alone, the reference is to an individual who was incited; here, where the mishna indicates that one not is liable for speech alone, it is referring to a case of an incited multitude of people. The Gemara explains: An individual who was incited does not typically change his mind, and he goes astray after idol worship. Therefore, once he agrees to the suggestion to worship an idol, he has fully accepted the idol upon himself as a god and is liable. By contrast, a multitude of people are apt to change their minds, and consequently they do not go astray after idol worship.

אמר רב יוסף מנא אמינא לה דכתיב (דברים יג, ט) לא תאבה לו ולא תשמע אליו הא אבה ושמע חייב

Rav Yosef said: From where do I say that the halakha that one is liable for merely stating that he will worship an idol is referring to an individual who was incited? As it is written with regard to one who incites people to engage in idol worship: “You shall not approve of him, nor listen to him” (Deuteronomy 13:9), which indicates that if one approved of and listened to the inciter, stating his intention to engage in idol worship, he is liable even if he does not actually worship an idol.

איתיביה אביי מי שאני בין ניסת דרבים לניסת יחיד והתניא (דברים יג, ז) כי יסיתך אחיך בן אמך אחד יחיד הניסת ואחר רבים הניסתים והוציא הכתוב יחיד מכלל רבים ורבים מכלל יחיד

Abaye raised an objection to Rav Yosef’s opinion: Is there a difference in halakha between the cases of an incited multitude of people and an individual who was incited? But isn’t it taught in a baraita with regard to the verse: “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your neighbor who is like your own soul, incites you secretly, saying: Let us go and serve other gods” (Deuteronomy 13:7), that both an individual who was incited and an incited multitude of people are included in this halakha, but the verse singles out the individual from the category of the multitude, and another verse singles out the multitude from the category of the individual.

יחיד מכלל רבים להחמיר על גופו ולהקל על ממונו

The Torah states separately the halakhot of an individual who is incited to engage in idol worship and of an entire city that is subverted to engage in idol worship in order to distinguish between the two cases, as follows: An individual who was incited is singled out from the category of a subverted multitude of people in order to render the punishment to an individual’s body more stringent. The individual is executed by stoning, whereas the residents of an idolatrous city are executed by decapitation. And an individual was singled out to render the treatment of the property of an individual who was incited more lenient, as it is not destroyed like that of the residents of an idolatrous city.

רבים מכלל יחיד להקל על גופם ולהחמיר על ממונם

Additionally, the Torah singles out the subverted multitude of people from the category of an individual who was incited in order to render the punishment given to the bodies of the residents of an idolatrous city, decapitation, more lenient than that given to an individual who was incited, and to render the treatment of their property more stringent, as the city and the property of its residents are burned.

בהא מילתא הוא דשאני אבל בכל מילי כי הדדי נינהו

Abaye concluded his objection to Rav Yosef’s opinion: It can be inferred from the baraita that only with regard to this matter, i.e., the halakhot mentioned in the baraita, is the halakha of an individual who was incited different than that of an incited multitude of people, but with regard to all other halakhic matters they are the same. Therefore, a distinction cannot be made between them with regard to the halakha in the case of a verbal commitment to idol worship.

אלא אמר אביי כאן בניסת מפי עצמו כאן בניסת מפי אחרים מפי עצמו מימלך מפי אחרים גריר בתרייהו

Rather, Abaye said that the contradiction between the mishnayot is to be resolved as follows: Here, where the mishna indicates that one is liable only for actual worship, the reference is to one who is incited by himself, i.e., no one incited him to idol worship and he made the decision on his own. Whereas there, in the mishna that deems one liable for stating that he will worship an idol, the reference is to one who is incited by others. The reason for the difference is that one who makes the decision on his own is apt to change his mind, whereas one who is incited by others is drawn after them and is unlikely to change his mind.

אמר אביי מנא אמינא לה דכתיב לא תאבה לו ולא תשמע אליו הא אבה ושמע חייב

Abaye said: From where do I say that this distinction is correct? As it is written: “You shall not approve of him, nor listen to him” (Deuteronomy 13:9), referring to another individual who tried to incite him, and the verse indicates that if one approved of and listened to the inciter, he is liable even for the approval alone.

רבא אמר אידי ואידי בניסת מפי אחרים הא דא"ל כך אוכלת כך שותה כך מטיבה כך מריעה הא דלא א"ל כך אוכלת כך שותה כו'

Rava says: Both this mishna and that mishna are referring to one incited by others, and they should be differentiated as follows: That mishna, which deems one liable for merely expressing approval, is referring to a case where the inciter described the qualities of the idol and said to him: It eats like this; it drinks like this; it does good for its worshippers like this; and it harms those who do not worship it like this. In this case, expressing approval verbally suffices to render one liable, as he was evidently convinced by the description. This mishna, which indicates that one is not liable for speech alone, is referring to a case where the inciter did not say to him: It eats like this; it, drinks like this, it does good for its worshippers like this; and it harms those who do not worship it like this.

אמר רבא מנא אמינא לה דכתיב (דברים יג, ח) מאלהי העמים אשר סביבותיכם הקרובים אליך וגו' מה לי קרובים ומה לי רחוקים הכי קא"ל מטיבותן של קרובים אתה למד מה טיבותן של רחוקים

Rava said: From where do I say that this distinction is correct? As it is written: “Let us go and worship other gods…from the gods of the peoples that surround you, the ones near to you or the ones far from you” (Deuteronomy 13:7–8). What difference is there to me whether they are near, and what difference is there to me whether they are far? Why would the distance affect the prohibition? Rather, this is what the Torah is saying to you: Do not be tempted to listen to the inciter, as from the nature of the objects of idol worship that are near you, which you recognize to be false, you can derive what the nature is of the ones that are far from you. Therefore, if you are told that there is an idol in a distant land that is real, realize that it is a lie.

מאי לאו דאמר ליה כך אוכלת כך שותה כך מטיבה כך מריעה ש"מ

It is from this interpretation that Rava derives his halakhic distinction: What, is it not referring to a case where the inciter described to another the qualities of the idol and said to him: It eats like this; it drinks like this; it does good for its worshippers like this; and it harms those who do not worship it like this? Conclude from it that only in such a case is the incited person liable for stating his approval.

רב אשי אמר סיפא בישראל מומר

Rav Ashi says that there is a different resolution to the contradiction between the mishnayot: The latter clause of the mishna (67a), which deems one liable for speech alone, is referring to an apostate Jew; since he is already an apostate, his stated commitment to idol worship is certainly final. Consequently, he is liable. By contrast, a regular Jew is not liable for speech alone.

רבינא אמר לא זו אף זו קתני

Ravina says that there is no contradiction; rather, the tanna teaches the mishna employing the style: Not only this but also that. In other words, the tanna first teaches the elementary halakha that one who worships an idol is liable, and afterward it teaches the more novel halakha that even one who merely says that he will engage in idol worship is immediately liable.

איתמר העובד עבודת כוכבים מאהבה ומיראה אביי אמר חייב רבא אמר פטור

§ It was stated that amora’im engaged in a dispute concerning the following matter: In the case of one who worships idols due to his love of another who requested that he bow before the statue, or due to fear of someone coercing him to do so, but not due to faith in that idol, what is the halakha? Abaye says: He is liable. Rava says: He is exempt.

אביי אמר חייב דהא פלחה רבא אמר פטור אי קבליה עליה באלוה אין אי לא לא:

The Gemara explains: Abaye says he is liable because he worshipped it. Rava says he is exempt, as the criterion for becoming liable for idol worship is as follows: If one sincerely accepted the idol upon himself as a god, yes, he is liable; but if he did not accept it sincerely, he is not liable.

סימן עב"ד ישתחו"ה למשי"ח:

Abaye attempts to cite several proofs, whose mnemonic is: A slave will bow to the anointed.

ואמר אביי מנא אמינא לה דתנן העובד עבודת כוכבים אחד העובד כו' מאי לאו אחד העובד מאהבה ומיראה

And Abaye said: From where do I say that one who worships idols due to love or fear is liable? As we learned in the mishna: One who worships idols is executed by stoning. This includes one who worships an idol, and one who slaughters an animal as an idolatrous offering, and one who burns incense as an idolatrous offering. What is added by the mishna by stating twice: One who worships? Is it not to include the case of one who worships idols due to love or due to fear, in addition to the case of one who worships idols out of faith? Evidently, in this case as well, the worshipper is liable.

ורבא אמר לך לא כדמתרץ רבי ירמיה

And Rava could have said to you in response that the term: One who worships, should not be understood as Abaye suggests but rather as Rabbi Yirmeya explains it, namely, that one who worships an idol in its standard manner of worship is liable, and one who sacrifices an idolatrous offering is liable even if that is not the standard manner of worship of that particular idol.

אמר אביי מנא אמינא לה דתניא (שמות כ, ד) לא תשתחוה להם להם אי אתה משתחוה אבל אתה משתחוה לאדם כמותך יכול אפילו נעבד כהמן ת"ל (שמות כ, ד) ולא תעבדם והא המן מיראה הוה נעבד

Abaye attempts to cite another proof for his opinion. He said: From where do I say that one who worships idols due to love or fear is liable? As it is taught in a baraita with regard to the verse: “You shall not bow to them nor worship them” (Exodus 20:5): “To them,” to idols, you may not bow, but you may bow to a person like yourself; bowing to a person is merely the acceptance of authority. One might have thought that it is permitted to bow even to a person who is worshipped like a god, like Haman; therefore, the verse states: “Nor worship them,” i.e., any form of pagan worship is prohibited. Abaye concludes: And wasn’t Haman worshipped due to fear, and not because the people considered him a god? Evidently, one who engages in idol worship due to fear is liable.

ורבא כהמן ולא כהמן כהמן דאיהו גופיה עבודת כוכבים ולא כהמן דאילו המן מיראה והכא לאו מיראה

And Rava explains this baraita as follows: One might have thought that it is permitted to bow even to a person like Haman in one regard, but not like Haman in all aspects. It is referring to one like Haman in that Haman himself was an object of idol worship, as he claimed he was a god, and one who worships a person out of belief in his divinity is liable. But the reference is to one who is not like Haman in all aspects, as while Haman was worshipped due to fear, and one who engages in idol worship due to fear is not liable, here the reference is to one who worships a person not due to fear, but because he believes in that person’s divinity.

ואמר אביי מנא אמינא לה דתניא כהן משיח בעבודת כוכבים רבי אומר בשגגת מעשה וחכמים אומרים בהעלם דבר

And Abaye furthermore said: From where do I say my opinion? As it is taught in a baraita: If an anointed priest, i.e., the High Priest, unwittingly engaged in idol worship, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: He brings an offering for the unwitting act. And the Rabbis say: A High Priest does not bring an offering for an unwitting act of idol worship unless it was due to a lapse of awareness concerning the fundamental halakhot of idol worship, i.e., he thought that this action was halakhically permitted.

ושוין שבשעירה כיחיד ושוין שאין מביא אשם תלוי

And they agree that a High Priest brings a female goat as his offering to atone for his act of idol worship, as does an ordinary individual, and not a bull, as a High Priest brings as a sin-offering for other sins. And they agree that a High Priest does not bring a provisional guilt-offering, which is ordinarily brought by one who is uncertain as to whether he committed a sin that requires him to bring a sin-offering. In such a case, he is exempt.

האי שגגת מעשה דעבודת כוכבים ה"ד אי קסבר בית הכנסת הוא והשתחוה לו הרי לבו לשמים אלא דחזא אנדרטא והשתחוה לו

Abaye infers: What are the circumstances of the High Priest’s unwitting act of idol worship that is not due to a lack of awareness of the fundamental halakhot of idol worship? If the High Priest thought that a certain building was a synagogue and bowed to it, and he then realized that it is a house of idol worship, why should he be obligated to bring an offering, even according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi? Since his heart was directed toward Heaven, it is not even an unwitting transgression. Rather, it is a case where the High Priest saw the statue of a person and bowed to it.

אי קבליה עליה באלוה מזיד הוא

This case must also be clarified: If he accepted that person upon himself as a god, he is an intentional transgressor, and he is liable to receive the death penalty and not to bring an offering.