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of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Avodah Zarah 17


(a) R. Eliezer returned home distraught, he did not know why Hash-m caused him to be seized; he refused to be consoled.
1. R. Akiva: May I say something you taught me?
2. R. Eliezer: Yes.
3. R. Akiva: Perhaps this was a punishment for having benefited from heresy?
4. R. Eliezer: Indeed, I remember - a Min once asked 'May an Esnan (wages paid to a harlot) be used to make a toilet for a Kohen Gadol'?
i. I did not answer; he answered, "Me'Esnan Zonah Kibatzah v'Ad Esnan Zonah Yashuvu" - it comes from filth, and returns to filth.
5. I enjoyed it, therefore I was seized;
i. Version #1: "Harchek Me'aleha Darkecha"- stay far from ; "V'Al Tikrav El Pesach Beisah" - do not approach the authorities (they kill people to take their money).
ii. Version #2: "Harchek Me'aleha...." - from heresy and the authorities; "V'Al Tikrav El Pesach Beisah" - of a harlot.
iii. Question: How far must one stay away?
iv. Answer (Rav Chisda): Four Amos.
(b) Question: How do Chachamim (who do not expound as the Min) expound "Me'Esnan..."?
(c) Answer: As Rav Chisda taught.
1. (Rav Chisda): A harlot hires herself out; in the end, she is despised, she will pay men - "Uv'Sitech Esnan...va'Tehi l'Hefech".
(d) R. Pedas argues with Rav Chisda (who expounded that one must distance four Amos).
1. (R. Pedas): The 'Kirvah' (approaching) the Torah forbids is actual relations with Arayos - "Lo Sikrevu Legalos Ervah".
(e) When Ula would return from learning, he would kiss his sisters' hands (some say, (the garment over their) chests).
(f) Question: Ula himself expounded, even approaching Arayos is forbidden - 'Lech Lech Amrin Nezira...';
1. Question:" La'Alukah Shtei Vanos Hav Hav" - what does this mean?
2. Version #1 - Answer (Mar Ukva): These are two groups that scream in Gehinom (on account of their great tortures), that say in this world 'Hav Hav (Give, give)' - Minus and the authorities.
3. Version #2 - Answer (Rav Chisda citing Mar Ukva): Gehinom is requesting (to receive, in order to punish) the two groups that say in this world 'Give, give'.
(g) Question: "Kol Ba'eha Lo Yeshuvun v'Lo Yasigu Orechos Chayim" - since (Minim) do not repent, surely they do not attain the ways of life!
(h) Answer: Even if they do repent, they do not attain the ways of life!
(i) Version #1 - Inference: This says that if they repent, they will not live (from the pain of fighting the evil inclination which became so strong in them);
(j) Question: But a woman came in front of Rav Chisda (to repent); the lightest sin she did was having a child through her son;
1. Rav Chisda told people to prepare shrouds for her, but she did not die;
2. If her lightest sin was incest, surely she had been a Min!
(k) Answer: She did not repent properly, therefore she did not die.
(l) Version #2 - Inference: Only one who was a Min, if he repents, will not live - but one who sinned with Arayos will live;
(m) Question: But a woman came in front of Rav Chisda, her lightest sin was incest; Rav Chisda told people to prepare shrouds for her, and she died!
(n) Answer: Her lightest sin was incest, surely she had been a Min.
(o) Question: Is it really true that one who sinned with Arayos can repent and live?!
1. (Beraisa): Eliezer ben Durdiya slept with every harlot in the world. He heard of a harlot overseas who charged a bag of coins. He took the money and went to her. During the act, she let off gas, and said 'just as the gas will not return, you will not be received if you repent'.
2. Eliezer sat between two mountains and asked them to request mercy for him; they responded that they must request for themselves - "He'Harim Yamushu...";
3. He requested from Heaven and earth, the sun, moon and stars; each responded that it must request for itself.
4. He realized that he must ask for himself; he put his head between his knees and cried, and died.
5. A voice from Heaven: R. Eliezer ben Durdiya is prepared for the world to come (without need for Gehinom).
6. Summation of question: His only sin was Arayos, and he died because of his repentance!
(p) Answer: Since he was so steeped in it, it was like heresy.
(q) Rebbi cried: Some acquire their share in the world to come in a moment (and therefore have a small share), some acquire their share over the course of many years.
(r) Rebbi: Not only is repentance accepted, the penitent even gets the title of 'Rebbi'!
(a) R. Chanina and R. Yonason were travelling. There were two paths in front of them; one went near idolatry, the other near harlots. One of them suggested going on the path of idolatry, for its evil inclination was slaughtered (through the prayer of the Great Assembly).

1. The other: Rather, we should go by the harlots, and receive reward for overcoming our evil inclinations!
2. When they approached the harlots, the harlots retreated to their rooms.
3. The first one: How did you know to trust in yourself?
4. The other: "M'Zimah Tishmor Alecha Tevunah Sintzerecha".
(b) Question (Rabanan): What does "M'Zimah" mean?
1. Suggestion: It refers to Torah, for the translation of "Zimah" is counsel (regarding illicit relations, it is a sinful counsel);
i. Torah is called counsel - "Hifli.Etzah Higdil Tushiyah"
2. Rejection: If so, it should have said 'Zimah', not "M'Zimah"!
(c) Answer (Rava): Rather, it means 'From a matter of Zimah, Torah will save you'.
(d) (Beraisa): R. Elazar ben Parta and R. Chanina ben Tradyon were seized to be tried.
1. R. Elazar ben Parta: You are more likely to be saved than I, they only have one claim against you, they have five against me!
2. R. Chanina ben Tradyon: Nevertheless, you will be saved and not me, for you engaged in Torah and Chesed, I only engaged in Torah.
i. (Rav Huna): One who only engages in Torah is like one who has no G-d (to protect him) - "V'Yamim Rabim l'Yisrael l'Lo Elokei Emes".
3. Question: Is it really true that R. Chanina did not engage in Chesed?
i. (Beraisa - R. Eliezer ben Yakov): One should not give a Perutah to the Tzedakah pouch unless the one appointed over it is as trustworthy as R. Chanina ben Tradyon.
4. Answer: Indeed, we want someone as trustworthy as R. Chanina ben Tradyon, but he himself was not appointed over it.
5. Question (Beraisa - R. Chanina ben Tradyon): I once collected money for (the poor for the feast of) Purim, and I mistakenly thought it was regular Tzedakah, and gave it as such (Tosfos - he realized his mistake after gathering the poor to distribute Tzedakah, but gave it anyway, he did not want to disappoint them);
i. Later, (Rashi - when I realized my mistake) I donated that amount for Purim.
6. Answer: He did (Tzedakah, and surely also) Chesed, but not as much as he should have.
(a) They charged R. Elazar ben Parta for teaching Torah and stealing.
1. R. Elazar: Surely, one who steals cannot teach Torah! Just as one of these claims is surely false, both are false.
2. The prosecutors: Why are you called 'Rebbi'?
3. R. Elazar: I am the teacher of weavers.
4. The prosecutors: If so, go discern between these two balls of thread, which is warp and which is woof!
i. Hash-m sent him a sign - He made a male bee land on the warp, and a female bee on the woof (which is like a female, the warp in inserted into it).
5. The prosecutors: Why don't you come to our feasts to honor the idolatry?
6. R. Elazar: I am old, I fear being trampled.
7. The prosecutors: Many old people come, they are not trampled!
i. Hash-m caused that an old person was trampled that day.
8. The prosecutors: Why did you free your slave, we decreed against this!
9. R. Elazar: I did not!
10. A Roman was about to testify that he did; Eliyahu appeared to him, in the guise of a noble.
i. Eliyahu: Every time he is saved by miracles - also now, it will not help to testify, you will only be shamed!
11. The Roman did not listen; he got up to testify.
i. That day, the nobles had written a letter to the Kaiser; they picked that man to take it. Eliyahu threw him 400 Parsa'os, so he would not return to testify.
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