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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Avodah Zarah 50

1) MARKULIS (cont.)

(a) Question: But R. Yishmael says that they are forbidden if they are next to Markulis (and Chachamim argue)!
(b) Answer: This means, next to (but outside) its four Amos.
1. R. Yishmael holds that it is common to make a small Markulis near a big Markulis - three rocks are a small Markulis, therefore three are forbidden, two are permitted;
2. Chachamim hold that it is not common to make a small Markulis near a big Markulis - whether there are two or three rocks, they are forbidden only if they are seen with it.
(c) We said that if they are very close to Markulis, all agree that they are forbidden, perhaps they fell from it.
(d) Question (Beraisa): Stones that fell from Markulis - if they can be seen with Markulis, they are forbidden; if not, they are permitted;
1. R. Yishmael says, three stones (together) are forbidden, two are permitted.
(e) Correction: The Beraisa should say, stones that *are found near* Markulis.
(f) Contradiction: R. Yishmael does not permit two stones!
1. (Beraisa - R. Yishmael): Two stones in one Tefisah (they can be grabbed at once with Markulis, Rashi - and they are within four Amos of it) are forbidden, if they are in two Tefisos (i.e. not in the same Tefisah), they are permitted;
2. Question: What is the case of two Tefisos?
3. Answer: There is a barrier in between them and Markulis.
(g) Question: Two stones do not comprise Markulis!
1. (Beraisa): Stones of Beis Kulis: two stones next to each other, and one on top of them.
(h) Answer (Rava): That refers to a primary Markulis (but a minor Markulis of even two stones is also worshipped).
(i) The house of King Yanai was destroyed; Nochrim erected Markulis. Other Nochrim (that do not worship Markulis) took the stones and used them for roads. Some Chachamim refrained from using those roads, other Chachamim used them.
1. R. Yochanan: If (R. Menachem b'Rebbi Sima'i), the son of Kedoshim uses them, how can we refrain?!
2. Question: Why is he called the son of Kedoshim?
3. Answer: He would not even look at the image on a coin.
(j) Question: Why did some Chachamim refrain?
(k) Answer: They hold like Rav Gidal.
1. (Rav Gidal): Takroves (something offered to idolatry) can never be nullified - "Va'Yitzamedu l'Va'al Pe'or va'Yochelu Zivchei Mesim";
i. Just as a Mes is never nullified (it is always forbidden), also Takroves.
(l) The Chachamim that used the roads say that Takroves is forbidden only if the Avodah resembles Avodah in the Mikdash (stones of Markulis are only forbidden like idolatry, building them into the road nullified them).
(m) (Rabah bar Yirmeyah - Beraisa): If a Nochri took stones from Markulis and used them for roads, they are permitted; if a Yisrael did so, they are forbidden.

(n) Rav Yosef bar Aba: No Chacham can explain this Beraisa!
(o) Answer (Rav Sheshes): I am not such a great Chacham, but I can explain it!
1. Rav Yosef could not explain it because of Rav Gidal's law (Takroves can never be nullified);
2. The Tana holds that only Takroves like Avodas Penim is forbidden, therefore the stones (which were only thrown) are not Takroves, rather idolatry, idolatry can be nullified (by a Nochri)!
(a) (Rabah bar Yirmeyah - Beraisa): We may remove worms from a tree and put fertilizer where bark fell off in Shemitah, these are forbidden during Chol ha'Mo'ed;
1. It is forbidden to prune it (to encourage more growth) in Shemitah or on Chol ha'Mo'ed;
2. One may apply oil to a pruned tree in Shemitah or on Chol ha'Mo'ed.
(b) Rav Yosef bar Aba: No Chacham can explain this Beraisa!
(c) (Ravina): I am not such a Chacham, but I can explain it!
(d) Question: Why did Rav Yosef consider it inexplicable?
(e) Answer #1: It permits (removing worms and putting fertilizer) in Shemitah and forbids during Chol ha'Mo'ed.
(f) Rejection: That is not difficult - only Melachos are forbidden in Shemitah, not exertion; on Chol ha'Mo'ed, even exertion is forbidden!
(g) Answer #2: It permits putting fertilizer in Shemitah, but forbids pruning.
(h) Rejection: That is not difficult - preventing deterioration is permitted, improving is forbidden!
(i) Answer #3: It permits putting fertilizer in Shemitah, but a Mishnah forbids this!
1. (Mishnah): We may put fertilizer on young trees, wrap (the branches together so they will not droop on the ground; alternatively, wrap something around the tree to protect from the sun or the cold), cut the ends of the branches (some say - put ashes on them), and make a fence around them (Rambam - make a cover to provide shade), and water them in Erev Shemitah until Rosh Hashanah.
2. Inference: These are forbidden in Shemitah itself!
(j) Rejection: We can explain as Rav Ukva bar Chama answered (elsewhere).
1. (Rav Ukva bar Chama): There are two kinds of digging under olive trees:
i. One improves the tree, it is forbidden (in Shemitah); one is to cover roots that became exposed, it is permitted.
2. Similarly, there are two kinds of putting fertilizer:
i. One sustains the tree, it is permitted; one improves the tree, it is forbidden.
(k) Answer #4: It permits applying oil in Shemitah and on Chol ha'Mo'ed, a Mishnah forbids this in Shemitah!
1. (Mishnah): We may put oil on unripe figs, puncture them and put oil inside in Erev Shemitah until Rosh Hashanah.
2. Inference: These are forbidden in Shemitah itself!
(l) Rejection: That is not difficult - the Beraisa permits putting oil to sustain, the Mishnah forbids putting oil to fatten the fruit!
(m) Answer #5 (Rav Sama brei d'Rav Ashi): Rabah bar Yirmeyah could not explain why putting oil is permitted on Chol ha'Mo'ed, but putting fertilizer is forbidden - both are to sustain!
(a) (Rav Yehudah): An idolatry that is served with a stick:
1. If one breaks a stick in front of it, he is Chayav Misah; if one throws a stick in front of it, he is exempt.
(b) Question (Abaye): Breaking a stick is liable, for this is like slaughter (of Kodshim, in which the neckbone is broken);
1. Also throwing is like Zerikah!
(c) Answer (Rava): Only throwing something that splits up is (like Zerikah of blood and is) liable.
(d) Question (Beraisa): If one fed (Rashi; Tosfos - dirtied) an idol with excrement, or poured urine in front of it he is liable.
1. We understand pouring urine - this is throwing that splits up.
2. Why is he liable for excrement - it does not split up!
(e) Answer: The Beraisa discusses liquid excrement (diarrhea).
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