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Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Avodah Zarah 41

AVODAH ZARAH 41 - dedicated by Rabbi Kornfeld's father in memory of his aunt, Malka Gitel bas Reb Yakov Mordechai (Malvina Marmorstein), who took him into her home and raised him like her own child after the Holocaust. Her Yahrzeit is 20 Nisan.


(a) (Rabah): They argue about statues in villages, but all agree that statues in big cities are permitted;
1. This is because they are for beauty, not to be Ne'evadim (worshipped).
(b) Objection: No one would say that statues in villages are for beauty (all agree that they are to be Ne'evadim, and are forbidden)!
(c) Correction: Rather, they argue about statues in big cities, but all agree that statues in villages are forbidden.
(d) (Mishnah): Chachamim say, the only forbidden statues...
1. If he holds a staff (or bird or ball), this shows that he rules over the entire world like over a staff (or bird or ball).
(e) (Beraisa): Additionally, they said that if he holds a sword, crown or ring, it is forbidden.
1. Originally, Chachamim understood that a sword indicates a mere bandit, a crown indicates a craftsman that makes crowns, a ring indicates that he is the king's messenger;
2. Later, Chachamim understood that a sword indicates that he kills whomever he wants, a crown indicates kingship, a ring indicates that his seal is supreme in the world.
(f) (Mishnah): R. Shimon ben Gamliel says...
(g) (Beraisa): Even if he holds a pebble or chip of wood.
(h) Question (Rav Ashi): What if excrement is in his hand?
1. Does it mean, the whole world is lowly in his eyes, like excrement?
2. Or, does it mean, the whole world looks down on him, like excrement?
(i) This question is not resolved.
(a) (Mishnah): If one finds fragments of images, they are permitted;
(b) If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim.
(c) (Gemara - Shmuel): Even if one finds fragments of *idols* (the idols were definitely Ne'evadim), they are permitted.
(d) Question: The Mishnah permits fragments of *images* (it is doubtful if the images were ever Ne'evadim) - implying that fragments of idols are forbidden!
(e) Answer: Fragments of idols are also permitted; the Mishnah taught fragments of images on account of the latter clause.
1. (End of the Mishnah): If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim. (Had the first clause taught fragments of idols, it would imply that the latter clause only forbids a form of a hand or leg that came from an idol, but not from an image.)
(f) (Mishnah): If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim.

(g) Question: Even though it is a fragment, it is forbidden!
(h) Answer (Shmuel): The case is, it rests on a base (Rashi - it was fixed there, to be Ne'evad; Tosfos - it is not a fragment, it was made that way).
(i) (R. Yochanan): If an idol broke by itself, it is forbidden;
(j) (Reish Lakish): It is permitted.
1. R. Yochanan forbids, for the owner did not nullify it;
2. Reish Lakish permits, for presumably the owner nullified it - he sees that it could not save itself, he realizes that it cannot help him!
(k) Question (R. Yochanan): "V'Rosh Dagon u'Shtei Kapos Yadav Kerusos El ha'Miftan...Lo Yidrechu Kohanei Dagon...Al Miftan" (even though the idol was mutilated, they still revere it)!
(l) Answer (Reish Lakish): They do not consider it mutilated, they thought that it moved (parts of) itself!
(m) Question (against Reish Lakish - Mishnah): If one finds fragments of images they are permitted;
1. This implies that fragments of idols are forbidden!
(n) Answer: No, rather, it implies that complete images are forbidden, the Mishnah is like R. Meir.
(o) Question (against R. Yochanan): Even though R. Meir forbids complete images, he permits broken images;
1. Presumably, the same principle applies to Chachamim - even though they forbid complete idols, they permit broken idols!
(p) Answer: No - R. Meir permits broken images on account of a double doubt: perhaps the images were never Ne'evadim; even if they were Ne'evadim, perhaps the owner nullified them;
1. An idol was definitely Ne'evad (and forbidden), we do not know if it was nullified - our doubt does not permit what was definitely forbidden!
(a) Question: Is it really true that a doubt does not permit what was definitely forbidden?!
1. (Beraisa): If a Chaver (one trustworthy about tithing) died leaving produce, even if it was harvested that day, we assume that he tithed them.
2. Even though it was definitely Tevel, and we are in doubt whether or not he tithed it, we permit it!
(b) Answer #1: There, he definitely tithed them, as R. Chanina Chuza'ah taught.
1. (R. Chanina Chuza'ah): There is a Chazakah that anything one gets from a Chaver was tithed.
(c) Answer #2: The produce was not definitely forbidden, perhaps he acted as R. Oshaya permits.
1. (R. Oshaya): A person may scheme, and bring produce into his house with the chaff, and his animal (or himself, if he does not fix himself to eat) may eat without tithing.
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