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Avodah Zarah 11

AVODAH ZARAH 11 - dedicated by Reb Gedalya Weinberger of Brooklyn, N.Y. in memory of his father, Reb Chaim Tzvi ben Reb Shlomo Weinberger. Reb Chaim Tzvi, who miraculously survived the holocaust, raised his children with an intense dedication to the Torah and Gedolei Torah.



(a) The Emperor (Hadrian) sent a group of soldiers after Unkelus bar K'lonimus - who had converted to Judaism, to bring him back to Rome.

(b) After quoting them some Pesukim however - he got them to convert as well.

(c) The Emperor attempted to prevent this from happening with the second group - by ordering them not to speak to him.

(d) As they were leading him back to Rome however, Unkelus asked them that if lower ranking officers would carry a torch for higher ranking officers, and the Hegmon for the Kuma, would the Kuma carry a torch for the Hegmon. What he meant to ask them was - whether a king would dream of carrying a torch for even the highest officer in his kingdom.

(a) The soldiers agreed with the implication behind Unkelus question - that a king would never carry a torch for even the highest officer in the land.

(b) He then quoted them the Pasuk "va'Hashem Holech Lifneihem Yomam ... ", to prove to them the difference between their King and our king (who is also our Father).

(c) The next thing - they too, converted.

(d) The third group of soldiers was given strict instructions not to speak to Unkelus at all. He got them to question him however - by putting his hand on the Mezuzah as he walked past, and asking them what that was; to which they were bound to reply 'You tell us').

(e) He replied - by pointing out that whereas a regular king sits in his palace, whilst his men stand guard outside, Yisrael sit in their homes whilst Hashem guards them, as the Pasuk writes "Hashem Yishmor Tzeischa u'Vo'echa". They too, promptly converted.

(a) The next thing that Hadrian did was - to give up.

(b) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav - 'amends' the Pasuk "Sh'nei Goyim be'Vitnech" to read "Sh'nei Ge'im" (two proud [esteemed] persons), referring to Antoninus (from Eisav) and Rebbi (from Ya'akov).

(c) Radishes, lettuce and cucumbers, he says, were never absent from their table, neither in summer nor in winter.

(d) Radishes cut the food ...

1. ... lettuces turn it over in the stomach, whilst ...
2. ... cucumbers stretch the stomach.
(a) Cucumbers are called 'Kishu'in' - because they are harmful to the body.

(b) When Rav Yehudah Amar Rav just said that they are healthy - he was referring to small one (which are called 'Kishos', whereas it is the large one that are called 'Kishu'in').

(a) According to the Chachamim, the day of the king's death is only considered a festival if they burned the king's vessels and utensils when he died. We can extrapolate from there that - Rebbi Meir does not differentiate.

(b) Initially, we think that the basis of their Machlokes is - whether 'S'reifas Melachim' is a Chok la'Avodah-Zarah (the Chachamim) or not (Rebbi Meir).

(c) We refute this suggestion however, on the basis of a Beraisa - which specifically permits burning a king's belongings when he dies, proving that it cannot be a Chok la'Avodas Kochavim (otherwise, how could the Tana permit it, when the Torah writes in Acharei-Mos ''u've'Chukoseihem Lo Seilechu"?)

(d) Since neither opinion considers burning the king's belongings a 'Chok la'Avodah-Zarah', the basis of their Machlokes is - whether the death of a king whose belongings they do not burn when he dies, is important enough in their eyes to go and sacrifice to their gods on account of it (Rebbi Meir), or not (the Chachamim).

(a) The Beraisa derives the concession to burn the king's belongings from a Pasuk in Yechezkel - who writes "be'Shalom Tamus u've'Misrefos Avosecha ha'Melachim ... " - in connection with Tzidkiyahu.

(b) Besides a king, one also burns - the property of the Nasi of Beis-Din when he dies.

(c) The Beraisa includes in the list of things that one burns - the Nasi's bed and his personal utensils.

(a) Unkelus ha'Ger burned seventy Manah Tzuri (560 Manah Medinah) when Raban Gamliel died.

(b) We reconcile this with the Beraisa that we just quoted, which restricts the burning to the Nasi's bed and his personal utensils - by amending this to seventy Manah Tzuri worth of utensils.

(c) The Beraisa 'Okrin al ha'Melachim ve'Ein Bo Mishum Darkei ha'Emori' appears to clash with the previous Beraisa - since most animals do not fall under the heading of 'personal utensils'.

(d) To reconcile the two Beraisos, Rav Papa establishes this latter one - by the horse on which the king rode (which does).

(a) Another Beraisa - confines Ikur to where it does not render the animal a T'reifah.

(b) One does this - by hamstringing the animal (cutting off the animal's hind legs [or the tendon]) from below the knee.

(c) The Beraisa forbids Ikur that renders the animal T'reifah - because of 'Bal Tashchis' (the prohibition of wasting something that is useful [see also Tosfos DH 'Okrin']).

(d) Bearing in mind that Tereifus is confined to Kasher animals, the problem with this is - that the only animal that fits into the category of 'the king's personal utensils' is a horse, as Rav Papa just explained (and a horse is not Kasher).

(e) To reconcile these two Beraisos, Rav Papa establishes this latter Beraisa - by a calf that pulls the king's wagon.




(a) The two possible ways of explaining our Mishnah 'Yom Tiglachas Zekano *u'B'luriso'* are - either the day that one shaves one's beard and leaves the 'B'luris' intact, or the day that one shaves one's beard and (with reference to the following year) the day that one shaves one's B'luris, and not one's beard.

(b) Based on a Beraisa, we resolve the She'eilah - by including both cases in the prohibition.

(c) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel cites another festival that took place every seventy years. The man riding on the back of a lame man represented - Eisav riding on the back of Ya'akov, symbolizing that Eisav still rules over Ya'akov.

(d) The latter would be wearing - the special clothes of Adam ha'Rishon (that Ya'akov had 'borrowed' from him when he received the B'rachos from Yitzchak), and they would place on his head - the skin of Rebbi Yishmael Kohen Gadol's face (which had been treated with Afarsemon oil and which was still lying in the vaults in Rome).

(a) They would place a chain weighing two hundred Zuz around his neck, stud his legs with precious stones, and make a public announcement.
1. 'Sach Kiri P'laster'! means - that Ya'akov's prophesy to his children that they will be redeemed, is false.
2. 'Achuhah de'Marana Zaifna'! means - 'Our master (Eisav)'s brother is an impostor'.
(b) And when they continued ...
1. ... 'de'Chami Chami, u'de'Lo Chami Lo Chami' - they meant that seeing as this festival occurs only once every seventy years, someone who did not witness the festivities, will not get another chance.
2. ... 'Mai Ahanu le'Rama'ah be'Ram'useih, u'le'Zaifna be'Zaifnuseih', they meant - to say that the swindler has gained nothing from his swindle, nor the impostor from his forgery.
(c) Their final declaration was - 'Woe to Eisav when Ya'akov attains power'?

(d) Rav Ashi comments - that 'Achuhah de'Marana Zaifna!' is a bad reflection on themselves, since it can also be translated as 'the brother of our master the swindler'. What they should rather have said is 'Zaifna Achuhah de'Marana!'

(e) The Tana of our Mishnah omits this festival from his list - because he is only concerned with the festivals that occur annually, whereas this festival takes place only once every seventy years.

(a) The festivals in our Mishnah are those of the Romans. Our Sugya also lists the festivals of the Persians and the Babylonians.

(b) Rav Chanan bar Rav Chisda (or Rav Chanan bar Rava Amar Rav) - lists 'Beis-Beil in Bavel, Beis-Nevo in Kursi, Tar'asa in Mefeg, Tz'rifa in Ashkelon and Nashra in Arabia' as fixed Avodah-Zarahs.

(c) When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael, he added Yerid in Ein-Bechi and Nidbechah (or Nisbera) in Acco to the List. Rav Dimi from Neherda'a - inverted the above two 'Yerid in Acco and Nidbechah in Ein-Bechi'.

(d) Rav Chisda explained the significance of the above fixed Batei-Akum to his son Rav Chanan in that - it was forbidden to do business with them all year round.

(a) During the period of Galus - Shmuel confines the prohibition of doing business with Nochrim on their festivals to the actual day of the festival itself ...

(b) ... because we rely on them for our Parnasah, and it would be impossible to manage without them for three days.

(c) Rav Yehudah permitted Rav B'runa (or Rav Kahana or Rav Nachman) to buy a donkey, and Rav Z'vid, to buy wheat, on the actual day of the festival of the Ta'ya (the day when the local merchants would gather to celebrate in honor of their god).

(d) We reconcile this with Shmuel, who forbade doing business with Nochrim on the actual day of their festival - by pointing out that the merchants were not so particular about that festival, and if it suited them one year, they would cancel it.

(a) Our Mishnah - permits about doing business with the Nochrim who live outside the town, during the festival that townspeople celebrate, and vice-versa ...

(b) ... because each one tended to celebrate different festivals.

(c) The Tana also permits traveling to a town at the time of the festival - only if there is a road leading from it to other towns, or if the road to the town branches off in other directions. Otherwise, it will be forbidden because of 'Mar'is ha'Ayin' (the suspicion that he is going there in order to celebrate with the townspeople).

(d) Resh Lakish in the name of Rebbi Chanina defined 'Chutzah Lah' in our Mishnah as the butchery of Azah - which was extremely close to the town. In other words, 'Chutzah Lah' has no minimum limits.

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