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Avodah Zarah, 33


OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses the use of containers formerly owned by Nochrim that might have contained the wine of Nochrim. The Gemara cites Beraisos which mention two different types of wine containers -- leather containers ("Nodos") and clay containers ("Kankanim"). Both Beraisos imply that if the containers are new and are "Garud," then they may be used. If the containers are old or are not "Garud," then they cannot be used. Is there a Halachic difference regarding how each of these types of containers may be used?
(a) RASHI (DH Garud) says that a leather container, the inside of which was not lined with pitch ("Garud," according to Rashi's explanation), which contained wine for a short time is permitted to be used by a Jew since it did not yet absorb any wine. A container made out of clay, on the other hand, may not be used even if it contained wine for only a short time, since the clay vessel immediately absorbs the wine.

According to Rashi, it seems that although the wording of both Beraisos is almost identical, the cases are different. New leather containers without pitch are permitted even if there was some Nochri wine in it for a short time, while a new clay container is permitted only when it never contained any Nochri wine. This also appears to be Rashi's explanation of Rav Acha's statement later in the Gemara (see Rashi DH Aval Kankanim).

TOSFOS (32b, DH Kach) asks a number of questions on Rashi's explanation. Since the wording of the Beraisos is nearly identical, it is not logical to say that they are discussing different cases. If the case of a "new" leather container refers to a container that was slightly used, then that must also be the case of a "new" clay container. In addition, according to Rashi, who says that the determining factor is how quickly the vessel absorbs its contents, it should be prohibited to use wooden or silver drinking vessels of Nochrim without performing Iruy or Hagalah, and yet it was common practice (in Tosfos' time) to merely rinse out these vessels and use them.

(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU ELIYAHU BEN YEHUDAH who explains the Beraisos differently. In both Beraisos, the case of "new" containers refers to containers which never contained wine, and there was never any pitch inside of them. Since the containers were not lined with pitch, it is easy to tell whether they every contained wine or not. If they ever had pitch in them, on the other hand, then even though there is no pitch in them now, such containers would be prohibited to be used, because it is now impossible to discern whether or not there was ever any wine in the containers. If the containers are old (that is, they were used at least once for the purpose of storage, even if not for a long time), then they certainly are prohibited. Since the vessels are prohibited only when they were used for the purpose of storage, we can understand the custom prevalent in Tosfos' time to merely rinse out the drinking vessels of Nochrim and use them, for they were never used for storage.

This explanation answers all of the questions of Tosfos except for one. According to this explanation, how can "Garud" mean that the containers were never lined with pitch? "Garud" usually means that something was scraped away, implying here that there *was* pitch and it was removed. In addition, the BEHAG clearly differentiates (with regard to Rav Acha's statement later in the Gemara) that leather containers are not used for storage and therefore have a more lenient status, while clay containers are used for storage. RABEINU TAM points out that according to the Behag, leather drinking vessels with pitch in them are forbidden even though they were not used for storage (unlike Rabeinu Eliyahu's explanation).

(c) RABEINU TAM therefore maintains that the cases are entirely different, and the correct text in our Gemara is the text as it appears in the Tosefta (5:4), which says that leather containers that are "Garud" are permitted. New leather vessels with pitch are forbidden. "Garud" here means that vessels which currently do not contain pitch are permitted to be used after rinsing, as they are not used for storage at all and do not absorb easily. This would include even old, non-pitched leather vessels. The fact that the pitch absorbs does not make the vessel itself absorb more than it normally would (see BEIS YOSEF, YD 135, DH b'Mah). Therefore, as long as there is no pitch left inside, the vessel is permitted. New vessels with pitch are forbidden, even if they do not appear to have ever been used. This is because a person would not know if they were used, as the pitch would immediately absorb the wine.

The case regarding clay containers should read that new vessels are permitted, while old vessels with pitch are forbidden. The new vessels are permitted because the Nochri definitely never would put wine in non-pitched clay vessels and then try to pass the vessels off as new, as the former presence of wine is too noticeable. Old clay containers and even new containers with pitch are forbidden, as one cannot tell if they ever contained wine.

Analyzing Rabeinu Tam's comments, Tosfos mentions two Halachos which result from his explanation. According to Rabeinu Tam, if a Nochri touched wine in a drinking vessel containing pitch, the vessel requires Iruy or Hagalah, since the Yayin Nesech is immediately absorbed into the vessel. Second, Rabeinu Tam's explanation is in contrast to the custom in all places to buy and use new vessels with pitch from Nochrim without doing Iruy or Hagalah. The RI explains that the custom does not contradict the view of Rabeinu Tam. In the times of the Gemara, the reason one would not know if new vessels with pitch had contained wine was because part of the vessel-making process was to put wine in the pitch (as stated in our Gemara). That wine is not a problem of Yayin Nesech, as the Gemara mentions. However, that wine would successfully disguise the presence of any other wine that was placed into the vessel after the vessel was formed. Now that wine is no longer used in the manufacturing of vessels, people would be able to discern whether wine had been placed into the vessels. This is why people in Tosfos' time were not stringent to do Iruy or Hagalah to new vessels bought from Nochrim. (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses how to make an earthenware vessel -- that was formerly owned by a Nochri and used for storing Yayin Nesech -- permitted for use by a Jew. One method is by placing the vessel back into an oven until the lining of pitch comes off. Rav Ashi says that it suffices for the pitch to soften. This is a form of the process of Libun, using fire to burn out the absorption of liquid or food particles from the vessel.

The Gemara does not discuss the possibility of performing Hagalah, boiling the vessel to extract whatever is absorbed in it. Does Hagalah permit using such vessels, or is only Libun effective?

(a) RASHI (DH v'Hilchesa), the RITVA, and the RAMBAN say that Hagalah is not effective to permit vessels used for Yayin Nesech. This is apparent from the argument the Gemara cites with regard to whether it suffices to throw burning twigs into the vessel if doing so burns the pitch off of the vessel. Rashi explains that since the Gemara says that the Halachah follows the view that this process does *not* suffice, doing Hagalah would also not suffice. If fire itself does not suffice to remove the absorption of Yayin Nesech, then certainly that which is heated by fire (i.e. boiling water) will not suffice (only Libun, which brings the heat of the flame to both the inside and outside of the vessel, suffices).

(b) TOSFOS quotes RABEINU TAM who says that Hagalah *is* effective. Not only does an earthenware vessel become Kosher through regular Hagalah, whereby the vessel is inserted into a Kli Rishon (a vessel which is resting on the fire which has the ability to cook), but it even becomes Kosher by pouring the hot water into the vessel and shaking the water around. Rabeinu Tam proves this from the Gemara later (75a) which states that one is allowed to make such a vessel Kosher by pouring boiling olive water in it.

We find that pouring boiling water into the vessel is an acceptable method only in the case of Yayin Nesech. Rabeinu Tam explains that this is because the wine was not cooked in the vessel, but rather it was merely stored in it while cold. Accordingly, the absorption of the wine into the vessel was not great, and it can be more easily removed than liquids or foods that became absorbed by being cooked in a vessel.

(c) The RI (cited by the ROSH) argues with Rabeinu Tam's view that shaking the water around after it is already in the vessel does not suffice. He argues that the water is not being poured on all parts of the vessel directly from the Kli Rishon. Rather, the Ri requires that at least the boiling water be poured from the Kli Rishon directly onto every part of the vessel (according to Tosfos' version of the Ri, doing so is a Mitzvah but is not a requirement).

The RAN explains the Ri's opinion. The Gemara earlier says that one may place a very sharp brine into the vessel in order to permit it to be used. Rashi (33a, DH Oved) explains that the reason this works is because the brine completely burns away the wine which is absorbed in the vessel (opinions vary regarding how long the brine must be left in the vessel in order to be effective; see RITVA, ME'IRI, TORAS HA'BAYIS (Sha'ar 6)). The Ran explains that the Ri assumes that Hagalah should not be any less effective than this very sharp brine. Just as the brine can burn away the absorption, so can the hot water.

The Ran quotes the BA'AL HA'TERUMOS who suggests, in the name of the Ri, another way to make this type of vessel Kosher for use. He says that even though the Gemara states that throwing burning twigs into the vessel is not sufficient, if the vessel would become so hot that one could not touch the outside of the vessel, then the burning twigs *are* effective. The Ran explains that this opinion understands that the argument in the Gemara regarding burning twigs is assuming that the pitch would only soften and not burn away, as Rav Ashi states immediately prior to this argument. However, if the pitch would burn away and the outside of the vessel would also be very hot, then this would be an acceptable way to make the vessel usable.

The Ran says that Rashi would also agree with this. Rashi (33b) states that an oven which burns away the pitch of the vessel accomplishes the Libun of the clay as well. The problem with twigs is that although they burn away the inside immediately, the clay itself still has not reached the heat of Libun. This is not the case, though, when we see that the clay itself becomes too hot to touch. (Y. Montrose)

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