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Avodah Zarah, 32

AVODAH ZARAH 32 - dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Esther (bas Moshe) Farber of Riverdale, NY, who passed away on 13 Shevat 5763, in honor of the Hakamas Matzevah. A descendant of the Chasam Sofer, Esther was a courageous woman, clinging strongly to her heritage despite personal tragedies, who affected the lives of many students and friends.


OPINIONS: The Mishnah (29b) states that it is prohibited to derive benefit from "Cheres Hadriyani" (potsherds soaked in wine which were then sent to be used for making wine elsewhere by soaking the pieces in water). The prohibition is obviously based on the prohibition against consuming Yayin Nesech and Stam Yayin.

The Gemara asks whether one may use such pieces of clay to support one's bed. Is it permitted for a person to use the potsherds for a purpose other than the purpose for which they were prohibited?

The Gemara cites an argument whether or not this is permitted. In some texts, the Gemara says that the Halachah follows the view that it is forbidden.

This question has practical implications today. We know that it is forbidden to cook on Pesach with pots that were used for Chametz, because the Chametz will be absorbed into the Pesach food. However, is it permitted to keep such pots in one's possession, or to use them for purposes other than cooking, during Pesach? It seems that if it is forbidden to use "Cheres Hadriyani" for a purpose such as supporting one's bed, then it should also be forbidden during Pesach to keep pots in which Chametz is absorbed.

(a) TOSFOS (DH v'Ha) says that there are Poskim who indeed rule that one is not allowed to use these pots for any purpose on Pesach, just like "Cheres Hadriyani."

The PRI CHADASH (OC 450:7) asserts that this is also the opinion of the TUR. The Tur says that one is not allowed, during Pesach, to rent his pot to a Nochri who will cook Chametz in it, because the owner shows that he wants the existence of his Chametz because he wants the existence of his pot. In addition, the Tur writes that one is prohibited from deriving benefit from the pot itself, and thus he definitely may not derive benefit by renting it to a Nochri. The Pri Chadash explains that the Tur applies the ruling of our Gemara, which is discussing Yayin Nesech, to other Isurim (such as Chametz). The SHULCHAN ARUCH agrees with the ruling of the Tur.

(The PERISHAH has a slightly different understanding of the Tur. He explains that the Tur does not agree that a pot in which Chametz is absorbed is comparable to "Cheres Hadriyani." In the case of "Cheres Hadriyani," the forbidden object (i.e. the wine of the Nochri) is considered present (see Tosfos DH v'Ha at length) because of the large quantity of wine absorbed in the clay and because of the fact that the wine strengthens the clay vessel. These conditions do not exist in the case of a regular pot in which a very small and insignificant amount of food is absorbed. The Perishah explains that the Tur does not prohibit renting the pot to a Nochri because of the Chametz that is absorbed in the pot, but rather because of the Chametz that *will* become absorbed into the pot when the Nochri cooks his Chametz in it.)

(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU TAM who argues with this view. Rabeinu Tam says that one is permitted use his Chametz vessels during Pesach to store in them dry items. Similarly, he states that one may store dry items in pots in which meat and milk were cooked together.

The Pri Chadash also argues with the Tur. He states that even with regard to Yayin Nesech, the prohibition is mid'Rabanan and not mid'Oraisa. He says that RASHI (64a, DH Rabanan) and the RAN point out that one is not allowed even to indirectly want an object of Isur to exist in the case of Yayin Nesech. This is because Yayin Nesech is prohibited because of Avodah Zarah, and a Jew is commanded to destroy all forms of Avodah Zarah and items used to serve it. This reasoning does not apply to Chametz. While we are not allowed to own Chametz on Pesach, we are not required to destroy all of the Chametz in the world, even that which belongs to Nochrim, during Pesach, in the same manner that we should want to destroy all Avodah Zarah in the world. Accordingly, there is no reason to be stringent with regard to Chametz when, anyway, the prohibition is mid'Rabanan.

The Pri Chadash cites a number of proofs to the principle that one is allowed to want indirectly the existence of Chametz on Pesach. For example, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 448:2) rules that if a Nochri brings a present of Chametz to a Jew on Pesach he may not accept it, but he does not have to destroy it, and he may use it after Pesach. We do not say that this Chametz is forbidden after Pesach because the Jew wanted it to exist on Pesach.

The CHESHEK SHLOMO (32a) says that all of the proofs of the Pri Chadash against the Tur can be refuted with one answer. All of his questions and proofs deal with Chametz in the possession of a Nochri, which the Jew indirectly wants. Chametz in the possession of a Nochri indeed is not a problem, because one is not required to destroy Chametz of a Nochri on Pesach (unlike Avodah Zarah, as the Pri Chadash himself explains). However, a Jew is not allowed to want *his own* Chametz to exist on Pesach. This Chametz *is* similar to Avodah Zarah, since he has an obligation to destroy any Chametz in his possession. The Cheshek Shlomo therefore says that the Halachic conclusion of the Tur and Shulchan Aruch is correct. (However, the Cheshek Shlomo admits that the Tur seems to say that it is forbidden even to want the existence of the Chametz of a Nochri (like the opinion of the Perishah. See SEDER YAKOV (DH Kelim) for further explanation of the Tur, and why, according to the Tur, one is permitted keep a pot during Pesach if he does not use it for any purpose.) (Y. Montrose)


QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (29b) discusses the status of meat that was brought to an Avodah Zarah but has not yet been presented to it, and meat that is coming out of a place of Avodah Zarah. The Mishnah states that if the meat has not yet been presented to the Avodah Zarah, it is still permitted.

The Gemara explains that this is not in accordance with the view of Rebbi Eliezer, who states that the usual intention of an idolater is to use for Avodah Zarah any animal that he has slaughtered. The very thought to use the animal for Avodah Zarah makes the animal forbidden, even if a Jew slaughters the animal (see Chulin 38b).

The Gemara continues and says that when the meat is coming out of a place of Avodah Zarah it is forbidden, because we assume that it was certainly offered to the Avodah Zarah. This is similar to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah, who states that an object that is brought to Avodah Zarah will be Metamei any room it enters through Tum'as Ohel like a k'Zayis of a corpse.

TOSFOS (DH v'ha'Yotzei) states that it seems that the Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah do not compare these objects offered to Avodah Zarah with a corpse. This is problematic for two reasons, as RABEINU TAM asks.

First, the Gemara earlier (29b) says that just as it is prohibited to derive benefit from a corpse, it is prohibited to derive benefit from an object that was offered to Avodah Zarah. The Gemara there, however, does not say that this is solely the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah. Why, then, does the Gemara here state that this is solely the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah, implying that there is an argument about it?

Second, if the Rabanan do not compare an offering to Avodah Zarah with a corpse, then why does the Gemara here say that the case of meat being brought to Avodah Zarah is not in accordance with the view of Rebbi Eliezer? Even according to Rebbi Eliezer's principle that an idolater's meat has been designated for Avodah Zarah, this does not make the meat forbidden if Rebbi Eliezer agrees with the Rabanan that an offering to Avodah Zarah is not comparable to a corpse! Why, then, does the Gemara say that this ruling is definitely not in accordance with the view of Rebbi Eliezer?


(a) RABEINU TAM answers that the Rabanan partially agree to Rebbi Yehudah. They agree that objects that are sacrificed for Avodah Zarah, such as an animal offering, libations, or incense, are comparable to a corpse and are forbidden from benefit. This is why the Gemara earlier -- which discusses wine and sacrifices -- does not mention any argument between Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan. The Gemara here, in contrast, is discussing a piece of meat, and not a sacrifice. This is indicated by the wording of the Mishnah itself which says that the meat is "like sacrifices," implying that the meat is not an actual sacrifice. The Rabanan argue that an object which is not brought as a sacrifice and is only presented to the Avodah Zarah is not comparable to a corpse.

This approach also answers the second question. As long as Rebbi Eliezer holds that an idolater always sacrifices his animal for the sake of Avodah Zarah, the Rabanan agree that according to him the animal is always sacrificed for Avodah Zarah. This is why the Mishnah cannot be following the view of Rebbi Eliezer. (See TOSFOS HA'ROSH in Chulin 13b, DH Zu.)

(b) The RI gives a different answer to these questions. The Rabanan fully agree with Rebbi Yehudah that all objects presented to an Avodah Zarah are forbidden from benefit. However, they do not agree that these objects can create Tum'as Ohel as a corpse can. The Gemara deduces that the Mishnah follows the view of Rebbi Yehudah and not the view of the Rabanan from the wording of the Mishnah. After stating that the meat that departs from an Avodah Zarah is forbidden, the Mishnah adds, "because it is like sacrifices to the dead." Why does the Mishnah need to add this explanation? It must be telling us that the meat is completely comparable to the dead, and even creates Tum'as Ohel as does a corpse. TOSFOS in Chulin (13b, DH Tikroves) adds that according to this explanation, although the Rabanan do not agree that such objects cause Tum'ah mid'Oraisa, they agree that they cause Tum'ah d'Rabanan.

This explanation of the Ri implies that according to the Rabanan, any placement of meat in front of Avodah Zarah makes the meat forbidden from benefit, even if it was not slaughtered with intention to be used for Avodah Zarah. The BI'UR HA'GRA (YD 139:14) asks that the Ri himself says later (50a, Tosfos DH Ba'inan) that the Rabanan always require some form of sacrificial action to make an object brought for Avodah Zarah forbidden from benefit.

The SEDER YAKOV answers that the Ri indeed holds that the Rabanan only prohibit meat that was sacrificed for Avodah Zarah. However, he understands that the reason meat which departs from Avodah Zarah is prohibited is because of a suspicion that the animal was slaughtered for Avodah Zarah, even if it not clear to us that this was the case. Since meat departing from Avodah Zarah is usually slaughtered for this purpose, we suspect that because the idolater already offered it to his Avodah Zarah, he does not mind relinquishing it. Meat which is entering the house of the Avodah Zarah but which has not yet been offered is not subject to this suspicion. If the idolater had indeed slaughtered it for the purposes of Avodah Zarah, he would not give it away until after he had brought it to the Avodah Zarah. (Y. Montrose)

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