Sanhedrin 63b:19סנהדרין ס״ג ב:יט
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63bס״ג ב

לומר שאין לוקין עליו דברי רבי יהודה

to say that one is not flogged for transgressing the prohibition, as any prohibition that can be rectified by the performance of a positive mitzva does not carry a punishment of lashes. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.

רבי יעקב אומר לא מן השם הוא זה אלא משום דהוה ליה לאו שאין בו מעשה וכל לאו שאין בו מעשה אין לוקין עליו

Rabbi Ya’akov says: This is not for that reason. Rather, it is because it is a prohibition that does not involve an action. The transgression is simply the failure to consume all the meat during the allotted time rather than the performance of an action. And one is not flogged for the violation of any prohibition that does not involve an action.

מכלל דרבי יהודה סבר לוקין עליו:

The Gemara concludes: By inference, Rabbi Yehuda holds that in general, one is flogged for the violation of a prohibition that does not involve an action. It can therefore be inferred that one who vows or takes an oath in the name of an idol is liable to be flogged according to Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion, even though no action is involved.

הנודר בשמו והמקיים בשמו הרי זה בל"ת: הנודר בשמו והמקיים בשמו מנלן

§ The mishna teaches with regard to one who vows in the name of an idol and one who affirms his statement by an oath in its name, that this person is in transgression of a prohibition. The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that one who vows in the name of an idol and one who affirms his statement by an oath in its name transgresses a prohibition?

דתניא (שמות כג, יג) ושם אלהים אחרים לא תזכירו שלא יאמר אדם לחבירו שמור לי בצד עבודת כוכבים פלונית (שמות כג, יג) לא ישמע על פיך שלא ידור בשמו ולא יקיים בשמו ולא יגרום לאחרים שידרו בשמו ויקיימו בשמו

The Gemara answers: As it is taught in a baraita that the meaning of the verse: “And make no mention of the name of the other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth” (Exodus 23:13), is that a person may not say to another: Wait for me next to such and such an object of idol worship. The meaning of the statement “neither let it be heard out of your mouth” is that one may not vow in the name of an idol, nor affirm his statement by an oath in its name, nor cause others, i.e., gentiles, to vow in its name or affirm their statements by an oath in its name.

דבר אחר לא ישמע על פיך אזהרה למסית ולמדיח

Alternatively, the statement “neither let it be heard out of your mouth” can be interpreted as a prohibition against one who incites another to worship idols and against one who subverts an entire city to do so. The prohibition against inciting others to engage in idol worship can be derived from this verse.

מסית בהדיא כתיב ביה (דברים יג, יב) וכל ישראל ישמעו ויראו וגו' אלא אזהרה למדיח

The Gemara asks: Why must the prohibition against an inciter be derived from here? It is written explicitly in that regard, in the verse concerning the inciter’s punishment: “And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more of any such wickedness as this is in your midst” (Deuteronomy 13:12). This is clearly a prohibition against inciting others to worship idols. Rather, the verse “neither let it be heard out of your mouth” is a prohibition against one who subverts an entire city to engage in idol worship; this prohibition is not stated elsewhere.

ולא יגרום לאחרים שידרו בשמו ושיקיימו בשמו מסייעא ליה לאבוה דשמואל דאמר אבוה דשמואל אסור לאדם שיעשה שותפות עם העובד כוכבים שמא יתחייב לו שבועה ונשבע בעבודת כוכבים שלו והתורה אמרה לא ישמע על פיך

The baraita teaches: And one may not cause others, i.e., gentiles, to vow in the name of an idol or affirm their statements by an oath in its name. The Gemara comments: The baraita supports the opinion of Shmuel’s father, as Shmuel’s father says: It is prohibited for a person to enter into a partnership with a gentile, lest their joint ventures lead them to quarrel, and his gentile partner will be obligated to take an oath to him, and he will take an oath in the name of his object of idol worship; and the Torah states: “Neither let it be heard out of your mouth,” which includes causing a gentile to take an oath in the name of an idol.

כי אתא עולא בת בקלנבו אמר ליה רבא והיכא בת מר אמר ליה בקלנבו אמר ליה והכתיב ושם אלהים אחרים לא תזכירו אמר ליה הכי אמר ר' יוחנן כל עבודת כוכבים הכתובה בתורה מותר להזכיר שמה והא היכא כתיבא דכתיב (ישעיהו מו, א) כרע בל קרס נבו

When Ulla came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he lodged in a place called Kalnevo. Rava said to him: And where did the Master lodge? Ulla said to him: In Kalnevo. Rava said to him: But isn’t it written: “And make no mention of the name of the other gods”? Kalnevo is the name of an idol. Ulla said to him: This is what Rabbi Yoḥanan said: With regard to any object of idol worship that is written in the Torah, it is permitted to mention its name. Since one may mention the idol while reading the Torah, it is permitted to mention it altogether. Rava asked: And where is this idol written? Ulla answered: As it is written: “Bel bows down, Nevo stoops” (Isaiah 46:1).

ואי לא כתיבא לא מתיב רב משרשיא ראה אחת מרובה כשלש שהיא כמגדיון לשילה שהן שתי טבילות ושני ספוגין הרי זה זב גמור אמר רבינא גד נמי מכתב כתיב דכתיב (ישעיהו סה, יא) העורכים לגד שלחן

The Gemara asks: And does this mean that if an idol is not written in the Torah, it is not permitted to mention its name? Rav Mesharshiyya raises an objection to this premise from a mishna in tractate Zavim (1:5): If a man saw, i.e., experienced, one gonorrhea-like discharge that lasted as long as three regular gonorrhea-like discharges, which is like the amount of time it takes to walk from the location of the idol Gadyon to Shiloh, which is the amount of time it takes to perform two immersions and two dryings with a towel, he is ritually impure with the impurity status of a full-fledged zav, even though a man generally becomes a zav only after three separate discharges. In any event, the mishna mentions the idol Gadyon. Ravina says: The idol Gad is also written in the Bible; as it is written: “That prepare a table for Gad” (Isaiah 65:11).

אמר רב נחמן כל ליצנותא אסירא חוץ מליצנותא דעבודת כוכבים דשריא דכתיב כרע בל קרס נבו קרסו כרעו יחדו לא יכלו מלט משא

§ Rav Naḥman says: All types of mockery are forbidden, except for mockery of idol worship, which is permitted, as it is written: “Bel crouches down, Nevo stoops…they stoop, they crouch down together, they could not hold back the burden” (Isiah 46:1–2). The verse is interpreted as meaning that they crouch in order to defecate and cannot retain their excrement.

וכתיב (הושע י, ה) דברו לעגלות בית און יגורו שכן שומרון כי אבל עליו עמו וכמריו עליו יגילו על כבודו כי גלה ממנו אל תקרי כבודו אלא כבידו

And it is similarly written: “They speak…the inhabitants of Samaria shall be in dread for the calves of Beth Aven; for its people shall mourn over it, and its priests shall tremble for it, for its glory [kevodo], because it has departed from it” (Hosea 10:4–5). Do not read it as “its glory [kevodo]”; rather, read it as its burden [keveido], meaning that the idol is unable to restrain itself from defecating. These are examples of derogatory statements that are permitted only in reference to idols.

אמר רבי יצחק מאי דכתיב (הושע יג, ב) ועתה יוסיפו לחטא ויעשו להם מסכה מכספם כתבונם עצבים וגו' מאי כתבונם עצבים מלמד שכל אחד ואחד עשה דמות יראתו ומניחה בכיסו בשעה שזוכרה מוציאה מתוך חיקו ומחבקה ומנשקה

Rav Yitzḥak says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And now they continue to sin, and have made for themselves molten images of their silver, according to their own understanding, idols, all of them the work of the craftsmen; of them they say: Those who sacrifice men kiss calves” (Hosea 13:2)? What is the meaning of the expression: “According to their own understanding [kitvunam], idols”? The word kitvunam is interpreted as meaning: According to their image [ketavnitam], and the verse teaches that each and every person would make an image of his god and place it in his pocket. When he would remember it, he would remove it from his bosom and embrace it and kiss it.

מאי (הושע יג, ב) זובחי אדם עגלים ישקון א"ר יצחק דבי רבי אמי שהיו משרתי עבודת כוכבים נותנים עיניהם בבעלי ממון ומרעיבים את העגלים ועושין דמות עצבים ומעמידין בצד אבוסיהן ומוציאין אותן לחוץ כיון שראו אותן רצין אחריהן וממשמשין בהן אומרים לו עבודת כוכבים חפץ בך יבא ויזבח עצמו לו

What is the meaning of the statement: “Those who sacrifice men kiss calves”? Rabbi Yitzḥak of the school of Rabbi Ami says: It means that priests of idol worship would set their eyes on the wealthy, and they would starve the calves that were objects of idol worship, and make statues in the image of those wealthy people, and place those statues next to the troughs of the calves, and they would take those calves outside. When the calves would see those wealthy people, whose image they were used to seeing near their troughs, they would run after them and paw them. At this point the priests would say to that wealthy person: The object of idol worship, the calf, desires you; let the Master come and sacrifice himself to it. The priests would inherit his property.

אמר רבא האי זובחי אדם עגלים ישקון עגלים ישקון לזבוח אדם מיבעי ליה אלא אמר רבא כל הזובח את בנו לעבודת כוכבים אמר לו דורון גדול הקריב לו יבא וישק לו

Rava says: That is not the correct interpretation of the verse, as the wording “those who sacrifice men kiss calves” is unsuitable for that interpretation, since in that case the verse should have stated: They make calves kiss to sacrifice men. Rather, Rava says that the verse is to be understood as follows: Whenever anyone sacrifices his son to an object of idol worship, the priest says to him: The Master has sacrificed a great gift [doron] to the idol; therefore, he has the right to come and kiss it. The verse means that the reward of “those who sacrifice men” is to kiss calves.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב (מלכים ב יז, ל) ואנשי בבל עשו את סכות בנות ומאי ניהו תרנגולת (מלכים ב יז, ל) ואנשי כות עשו את נרגל ומאי ניהו תרנגול (מלכים ב יז, ל) ואנשי חמת עשו את אשימה ומאי ניהו ברחא קרחא (מלכים ב יז, לא) והעוים עשו (את) נבחן ואת תרתק ומאי ניהו כלב וחמור

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says with regard to the verse describ-ing the peoples that were settled in Samaria by the Assyrians: “And the men of Babylonia made Succoth-Benoth” (II Kings 17:30); and what is this idol? It is the image of a hen. “And the men of Cuth made Nergal” (II Kings 17:30); and what is it? It is the image of a rooster. “And the men of Hamath made Ashima” (II Kings 17:30); and what is it? It is the image of a bald billy goat. “And the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak” (II Kings 17:31); and what are they? The image of a dog and a donkey.

(מלכים ב יז, לא) והספרוים שורפים את בניהם (ואת בנותיהם) באש לאדרמלך וענמלך אלהי ספרוים ומאי ניהו הפרד והסוס אדרמלך דאדר ליה למריה בטעינה וענמלך דעני ליה למריה בקרבא

“And the Sepharvites burned their sons and their daughters in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim” (II Kings 17:31); and what are they? The mule and the horse. And why are they called that? A mule is called Adrammelech because it honors [addar] its master with its load, i.e., because it carries the master’s load, and a horse is called Anammelech because it responds [anei] to its master, assisting him in battle.

אף חזקיה מלך יהודה ביקש אביו לעשות לו כן אלא שסכתו אמו סלמנדרא

The Gemara relates: The father of Hezekiah, king of Judea, also attempted to do so to him, i.e., to burn him as an offering to an idol, but his mother rubbed him with the blood of a salamander [salamandera], a creature created out of fire and immune to the effects of fire, whose blood is fireproof.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב יודעין היו ישראל בעבודת כוכבים שאין בה ממש ולא עבדו עבודת כוכבים אלא להתיר להם עריות בפרהסיא

§ Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: The Jewish people knew that idol worship is of no substance; they did not actually believe in it. And they worshipped idols only in order to permit themselves to engage in forbidden sexual relations in public, since most rituals of idol worship would include public displays of forbidden sexual intercourse.

מתיב רב משרשיא (ירמיהו יז, ב) כזכור בניהם מזבחותם וגו' וא"ר אלעזר כאדם שיש לו געגועין על בנו

Rav Mesharshiyya raises an objection to this statement from the following verse: “Like the memory of their sons are their altars, and their Asherim are by the leafy trees, upon the high hills” (Jeremiah 17:2). And Rabbi Elazar says that this means that the Jewish people would recall their idol worship like a person who misses his child. This interpretation indicates that they were truly attached to idol worship.

בתר דאביקו ביה

The Gemara answers: This was the case after the Jewish people became attached to idol worship, at which point they began to actually believe in it. At first, they were drawn to idol worship only due to their lust.

ת"ש (ויקרא כו, ד) ונתתי פגריכם על פגרי גלוליכם אמר אליהו הצדיק היה מחזר על תפוחי רעב שבירושלים פעם אחת מצא תינוק שהיה תפוח ומוטל באשפה

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof that the Jewish people engaged in idol worship for its own sake and not for the sake of engaging in forbidden sexual relations: In interpretation of the verse: “And I shall cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols” (Leviticus 26:30), the Sages say that Elijah the Righteous, the prophet, would search for those who were swollen with hunger in Jerusalem. He once found a child who was swollen with hunger and lying in the garbage.

אמר לו מאיזה משפחה אתה אמר לו ממשפחה פלונית אני אמר לו כלום נשתייר מאותה משפחה אמר לו לאו חוץ ממני אמר לו אם אני מלמדך דבר שאתה חי בו אתה למד אמר לו הן אמר לו אמור בכל יום שמע ישראל ה' אלהינו ה' אחד אמר לו

Elijah said to the child: From which family are you? The child said to him: I am from such and such family. Elijah said to him: Isn’t there anyone left from that family? The child said to him: No one is left besides me. Elijah said to him: If I teach you something through which you will live, will you learn it? The child said to him: Yes. Elijah said to him: Say every day “Listen Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The child said to him: