(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

Avodah Zarah 2

AVODAH ZARAH 2 - Marcia and Lee Weinblatt have dedicated this Daf towards the full recovery of Mrs. Gerti (Gitl bas Golda) Kornfeld, and in honor of the recent births of their grandchildren: Gabriela Esther (to Jodi & Jacob Mugrabi), Esther Rifka (to Tal & Aylon Brandwein), Mordechai (to Aliza & Kenny Weinblatt) and Meir Yaakov (to Roni & Yehuda Blinder). MAZEL TOV!

Please note that unless otherwise indicated, we follow the explanation of Rashi. Consequently, our notes and comments do not necessarily have any bearing on the practical Halachah.


***** 'Lifnei Eideihen' *****


(a) One may not do business with a gentile - from three days prior to a gentile festival.

(b) She'eilah - referring to objects and animals (which are generally returned intact), and Halva'ah, referring to money (which is not), both to a gentile and from him, are both forbidden too.

(c) Chazal include - repaying a loan to a Nochri or claiming a debt from him (according to the Tana Kama).

(a) Chazal forbade all these things - because they bring the Nochri to a state of happiness, and cause him to give thanks to his god on the day of the festival.

(b) Rebbi Yehudah permits claiming one's debts from them, because having to pay a debt causes distress rather than joy. The Rabbanan counter - that this may be true at the time that he pays, but afterwards, he rejoices at the fact that he is rid of his debt.

(a) Rav and Shmuel argue whether the word 'Eideihen should be spelt with an 'Alef' or with an 'Ayin'. We prove from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Ki Karov Yom Eidam" - that those who spell it with an 'Alef' are justified in doing so.
2. ... "Yitnu Eideihen ve'Yitzdaku" - that those who spell it with an 'Ayin' are justified too.
(b) If, as we currently believe, the latter Pasuk refers to Nochrim - then it means that their gods will come and testify as to their 'righteousness' (meant sarcastically).

(c) The one who learns from "Ki Karov Yom Eidam" maintains that the Tana prefers to refer to their downfall. The reasoning of the one who learns from "Yitnu Eideihen Ve'yitzdaku" is - that he prefers to refer to the testimony, because it is the cause of their downfall.

(d) We have a problem with our second source Pasuk, based on a statement by Resh Lakish, who interprets ...

1. ... "Yitnu Eideihen Ve'yitzdaku" to mean - that in the World to Come, all the Mitzvos that Yisrael performed in this world will come and testify on their behalf.
2. ... "Yishme'u Ve'yomru Emes" to mean - that the Nochrim will declare that testimony to be the truth.
(e) Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Yehoshua finally learns from the Pasuk "Yotzri Pesel Kulam Tohu va'Chamudeihem bal Yo'ilu, ve'Eideihem Heimah' - that the one who spells "Eideihen" with an 'Ayin' has not erred.
(a) Rebbi Chanina bar Papa (or Rebbi Simla'i) Darshened that in the World to Come, Hashem will take a Sefer-Torah, carry it in His bosom and announce - that whoever studied it (see Tosfos Amud Beis DH 'Amar Lahem Hashem') should come and receive his reward.

(b) When all the nations will arrive simultaneously to collect their reward - He will ask them to come in one by one, and not all mixed together.

(c) We learn this from the Pasuk (in connection with the current episode) "Va'ya'asfu Le'umim" - because "Le'umim" means 'nations' (suggesting that they enter as separate nations).




(a) We know that the nations mixing when being judged will not trouble Hashem - from every Rosh Hashanah, when Hashem judges all the nations of the world in one split second.

(b) Nevertheless, He will find it necessary to prevent them from mixing - so that they will be able to hear clearly what is being said to them, and subsequently be able to answer undisturbed.

(c) Rebbi Yochanan states that Rome will be the first nation to enter the courtroom - because they are the most famous of all the nations.

(a) We know that when it comes to being judged, the most important is the first to enter, from a statement by Rav Chisda, who learns from the Pasuk "La'asos Mishpat Avdo u'Mishpat Amo Yisrael ... " - that a king is judged before his people.

(b) The reason for this might be because it is not Derech Eretz to leave a king waiting outside. Alternatively - it is in order to judge him before the Dayan becomes angry with the sins of the community, and vents his rage on him (see Agados Maharsha).

(c) When Hashem will ask the Romans what role they played in Torah-study, they will reply - that they built many market-places and bath-houses and amassed an abundance of silver and gold - all so that Yisrael should be able to study Torah with peace of mind.

(a) Hashem will point out - that they set up market-places as centers of prostitution and bathhouses for their own indulgence.

(b) And as for the silver and gold - that is something that Hashem Himself manipulates, as the Pasuk in Chagai writes "Silver and gold belong to Me, says Hashem".

(c) When Hashem concludes 'K'lum Yesh Bachem Magid Zos', he will mean to ask them how they could possibly describe this as 'for the sake of Torah' (since 'Zos' often refers to Torah, as in the Pasuk in Devarim "ve'Zos ha'Torah").

(d) Hashem will initially address them as fools. They will react to His final ruling - by leaving the courtroom dejected.

(a) Next in line will be the Persians - because in Nevuchadnetzar's dream, the Persians are mentioned second.

(b) In Nevuchadnetzar's dream, the Persians were compared to a bear for four reasons. They ate and drank like a bear and were fat like a bear, they grew hair like a bear and were restless like a bear.

(c) They will claim that they built many bridges, captured many cities, and fought many wars on behalf of Yisrael. Hashem will point out in answer to ...

1. ... the first two claims - that the bridges were for taxation purposes, and the captured cities to increase their army and to amass more land and animals.
2. ... the third claim - that *He* (and not they) is the one who wages war, as the Pasuk in Beshalach writes "Hashem is the Master of War".
(d) The basis of the Romans and the Persians (seemingly) preposterous claims, despite the fact that we are speaking about Olam ha'Ba, which is a world of truth is - the fact that Yisrael did gain peace of mind from their enterprises, so they believed that (like a rich man who drops a Sela and a poor man finds it, who receives reward for having performed Tzedakah) they would be entitled to claim a share in Yisrael's Torah-study.
(a) The judgment of the Persians will end the same way as that of the Romans. What led them to believe that they would succeed where the Romans failed was - the fact that, unlike the Romans after them, they did not destroy the Beis-Hamikdash.

(b) The above two nations will not be the only ones to take up Hashem's challenge - there will be many others, and the pattern will follow that of the Romans and the Persians.

(c) The subsequent nations hope to fare better than the Romans and the Persians - because they did not subjugate Yisrael in the way that they did.

(d) What makes these two nations more important than the Babylonians and the Greeks (see Tosfos DH 'Mai Sh'na'), who also subjugated Yisrael - is the fact that their hold on Yisrael was only temporary, whilst the former two not only subjugated Yisrael during the time of their respective Galleys, but continued to do so through to the coming of Mashi'ach (see Tosfos DH 'Match').

(e) The connection between Persia and Galus Bavel is - that they destroyed the Babylonians and took over their kingdom from them.

(a) When the Pasuk writes "Va'yomar, Hashem mi'Sinai Ba ve'Zarach mi'Se'ir Lamo", it is referring - to Eisav and Yishmael respectively.

(b) Hashem had gone there - in order to offer them the Torah.

(c) In light of this statement of Rebbi Yochanan, we initially amend the statement of the nations 'K'lum Nasata Lanu ve'Lo Kibalnuhah?' - to 'K'lum Kibalnuhah ve'Lo Kiyamnuhah?' (Did we ever accept it and not keep it)?

(d) Seeing as that is also no credit to them, we finally amend the statement to read - 'K'lum Kafisa Aleinu Har ke'Gigis?' - a Ta'anah that if Hashem had forced them to accept the Torah (as He did, Yisrael), they would have accepted it too.

(a) Rav Dimi bar Chama learns from the Pasuk "Va'yisyatzvu be'Sachtis ha'Har" - that Hashem held Har Sinai over the heads of Yisrael and warned them that if they do not accept the Torah, then that would become their burial ground.

(b) Based on the Pasuk in Yeshayah "ve'Rishonos Yashmi'unu", Hashem answered the nations - that they did not even keep the meager seven Mitzvos that they had accepted (let alone the extra six hundred and seven that He would have asked them to keep).

(c) We learn from the Pasuk "Amad Va'yemoded Eretz, Ra'ah Viter Goyim" - that when Hashem saw how the B'nei No'ach relinquished the seven Mitzvos that they taken upon themselves (in the time of No'ach), he released them from their undertaking.

(d) The problem with this explanation is - that it makes no sense to reward sinners by allowing them off the hook.

(a) Rebbi Meir in a Beraisa learns from the Pasuk "Asher Ya'aseh Osam *ha'Adam* va'Chai Bahem" - (when the Pasuk ought to have written " ... Kohanim, Levi'im ve'Yisre'elim ... "), that even a Nochri who studies the seven Mitzvos B'nei No'ach will receive reward.

(b) This clashes with Mar b'rei de'Ravina, whose version of Hashem's reactions to the gentiles' having relinquished their seven Mitzvos reads - that Hashem punished the Nochrim by depriving them of any reward should they perform the seven Mitzvos.

(c) We finally settle the issue by citing Rebbi Chanina, who taught the principle 'Gadol Metzuveh ve'Oseh mi'Mi she'Eino Metzuveh ve'Oseh (that someone who performs Mitzvos when he is commanded is greater that the person who performs them voluntarily).

(d) And this finally solves our problem inasmuch as - that is precisely what Hashem does with the nations of the world who undertake to perform their seven Mitzvos. He rewards them like someone who is not commanded.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,