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Avodah Zarah 16

AVODAH ZARAH 16 - 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) Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah permits selling a 'broken' animal to a Nochri - because it is incurable, and will never be able to work.

(b) The Rabbanan queried him - because (assuming that it is a female animal) the purchaser might use it for breeding, in spite of its wounds?

(c) When Rebbi Yehudah answered 'le'che'she'Teiled' - he meant that when the animal gives birth, we will worry about it (because, he claims, due to its battered state, it will not allow a male to have physical contact it).

(d) ben Beseira in our Mishnah permits selling a Nochri a horse - because, as he explains in a Beraisa - it does not perform a Melachah for which its owner would be Chayav a Chatas (seeing as a live person carries part of his own weight [as we learned earlier]).

(a) Rebbi however, forbids selling it, both because it is a weapon and because it is a large animal. As a weapon - it would be trained to crush an enemy soldier who fell in war, with its forelegs.

(b) And when he gives it the Din of a large animal, he means that - when it became old, they would use it grind in the mill.

(c) Rebbi Yochanan rules - like ben Beseira.

(a) They asked whether one may sell a Shor shel Petem - a fattened ox which is unable to work.

(b) Even ...

1. ... Rebbi Yehudah (who permits selling a broken animal), might concede that selling a Shor shel Petem is forbidden - because, unlike a broken animal, its situation can change (it can become thin and capable of working).
2. ... the Rabbanan (who forbid it) might concede that it is permitted - because, as opposed to a broken animal, it is designated to be Shechted.
(c) Rebbi used to have to pay a fattened ox to the Romans on the day of their festival. He paid four Ribevan (a large sum of money), Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel informs us, to send it to postpone the gift/tax and send it to them a day later, and another four Ribevan to send it to them already Shechted. With the third Ribevan, he abolished the gift altogether.

(d) Assuming that it all took place within one year, we try and prove from the fact that he arranged sending the ox already Shechted - that it is forbidden to send Nochrim a fattened ox, in case they leave it to lose weight and then work with it.

(a) We dismiss this proof however - by referring to the first of the three achievements (arranging to send it the day after their festival), which would have been futile, if we were worried about that.

(b) So we establish the entire episode - to cover three consecutive years. Rebbi was trying to abolish the entire gift, and he succeeded by abolishing it in stages.

(c) Finally, we wonder how a fattened ox will be able to work at all, even after losing its excess weight. Z'vida the ox fattener however, told Rav Ashi that such an ox will work twice as efficiently as an ox that was not fattened.

(a) Our Mishnah - forbids selling Nochrim bears, lions and other dangerous animals.

(b) The Tana also forbids building for them 'Basilki, Gardum, Itztedaya u'Bimah'.

1. 'Basilki' is a large, high platform which served both as a courtroom (where people would be judged for crimes that carried the death-penalty), and as the place of execution (from which they would then be pushed to their deaths). 'Gardum' is - a building which served exclusively as a courtroom.
2. 'Itzdedaya' is an arena where people who had been sentenced to death, would be made to fight with wild oxen. 'Bimah' is - a high platform that was used as a place of execution (as described above) exclusively.
(c) Our Mishnah goes on to permit building them Bimisi'os and bathhouses. A 'Bimus' - is an altar made of one large stone (as opposed to a Mizbe'ach, which is made of many stones (see also the commentaries on the Mishnah).

(d) The bathhouses however, were only permitted until they reached the archway - which was forbidden to build, because they would place the image of 'Aphrodite' (a Greek goddess) there.

(a) Rav Chanin bar Rav Chisda (or Rav Chanan bar Rava) Amar Rav equated the Din of a large Chayah with that of a large Beheimah for Pirchus. The Din of 'Pirchus' with regard to ...
1. ... a small animal is - that if a weak animal sticks out its foreleg after it has been Shechted and dies without shuddering ('Pirchus'), it is considered a Neveilah, and may not be eaten.
2. ... a large animal is - that sticking out its foot after the Shechitah is sufficient to render it a Shechutah.
(b) When Rav added 'Aval Lo li'Mechirah', he meant - that as far as selling them to a Nochri is concerned, they have the same Din as a large animal.

(c) Rav Chanin himself holds - that (seeing as one does not usually work with them), they have the Din of a small animal, which one may sell to a Nochri, subject to Minhag.

(d) We infer from our Mishnah 'Ein Mochrin Lahen ... ve'Chol Davar she'Yesh Bo Nezek la'Rabim' - that one may sell them a tamed lion for example, which is not dangerous (a Kashya on Rav).




(a) To answer the Kashya against Rav, Rabah bar Ula establishes the inference in our Mishnah (permitting the sale of a tame lion) with regard to a broken one, according to Rebbi Yehudah (who permits the sale of a broken animal). Rav Ashi establishes it even by a healthy lion, and a lion is different than a large Beheimah in this regard, he points out - inasmuch as lions do not normally work. Consequently, all lions are automatically compared to a broken horse, which Rebbi Yehudah permits.

(b) We cite another Beraisa in final support of Rav. The Tana equates the sale of a large Chayah - with that of a large Beheimah (which is forbidden, even in a place where the Minhag is to sell them small animals).

(c) Ravina presents an apparent contradiction between our Mishnah, which implies that one may sell a Chayah that is not dangerous, to a Nochri, and the Beraisa that we just cited, that expressly prohibits it.

1. Ravina himself reconciles the two - by establishing our Mishnah in the case of a broken lion (as we learned a little earlier).
2. Rav Ashi reconciles them - by considering every lion as if is was broken (as we learned there too).
(d) Rav Nachman has a third explanation (see Tosfos DH 'Maskif Lah'). To answer the discrepancy, he categorizes a lion as - a small Chayah.
(a) Based on his own previous interpretation of a lion, Rav Ashi extrapolates from our Mishnah 'Ein Mochrin Lahem ... Arayos, ve'Chol she'Yesh Bo Nezek le'Rabim' - that any Chayah other than a lion (and a bear), would be forbidden to sell to a Nochri at all costs (because it is capable of working [a further disproof against Rav Chanan bar Rava]).

(b) To demonstrate the sort of Melachah one might do with a large type of Chayah, Abaye cites Mar Yehudah who told him - that bar Yuchni would tie wild donkeys to the threshing-floor and make them thresh the corn.

(c) Rav Yehudah told Rebbi Zeira that he had heard from a great man 'Chayah Gasah Harei Hi ki'Beheimah Dakah le'Pirchus' (as we learned earlier). He heard it from one of his two Rebbes - Rav or Shmuel, but could not recall which.

(a) When Rebbi Zeira arrived in Karkunya, he heard Rav Chiya bar Ashi citing this Halachah in the name of Shmuel, whereas from Rabah bar Yirmiyah in Sura, he heard it - quoted in the name of Rav.

(b) So he concluded - that the Halachah was quoted in the name of both.

(c) When he arrived in Eretz Yisrael, Rav Asi presented the same Halachah quoting Rav Chama bar Gurya in the name of Rav. He promptly queried him - on the grounds that he had heard the same ruling of Rav quoted by Rabah bar Yirmiyah.

(d) Based on Rav Asi's reply, we finally present this ruling as - 'Amar Rav Zeira Amar Rav Asi Amar Rabah bar Yirmiyah Amar Rav Chama bar Gurya Amar Rav, Chayah Gasah Harei Hi ki'Beheimah Dakah le'Pirchus'.

(a) Rabah bar bar Chanah Amar Rebbi Yochanan lists three Basilki'os. Two of them are 'of kings and of bathhouses. The third is - 'a Basilki of the king's treasury'.

(b) According to the first Lashon, the Pasuk "le'Esor Malcheihem be'Zikim" hints - at the one of those three Basilka'os that is forbidden (namely, that of kings, which is the one described in our Mishnah).

(c) In the second Lashon however, all three are permitted. 'Basilki shel Melachim' is permitted, according to this Lashon - because it is nothing more that a royal residence.

(d) And we reconcile this with our Mishnah 'Ein Bonin Imahen Basilki, Gardum, Itztadyan u'Bimah' - by establishing 'Basilki' there as being construct (forbidding specifically 'the Basilki of Gardum, 'the Basilki of Itztadyan' and the Basilki of Bimah').

(a) When Rebbi Eliezer was brought to the Gardum to be judged, he was accused - of Miynus (heresy).

(b) The governor expressed surprise - that such a wise man should indulge in such nonsense.

(c) When Rebbi Eliezer replied 'Ne'eman Alai ha'Dayan', the governor responded with the statement 'Dimus (the name of his god) Patur Atah' - because he thought that Rebbi Eliezer was referring to him.

(d) In reality though, Rebbi Eliezer was referring - to the Judge of the World, Hashem Himself.

(a) When Rebbi Eliezer's Talmidim came to comfort him following that painful experience - he refused to be comforted.

(b) After receiving permission to remind Rebbi Eliezer of something that he himself had once taught them, Rebbi Akiva suggest to him - that he had perhaps once heard a heretical statement from which he derived pleasure.

(c) Rebbi Eliezer recalled an encounter in the upper market of Tzipori, where he once met Ya'akov from the village of S'chanya - a Miyn ...

(d) ... who asked him - whether one was permitted to use the money of an Esnan Zonah to build a bathroom for the Kohen Gadol to use during the seven days prior to Yom Kipur, when he went to live in the Lishkas Farhedrin.

(a) Rebbi Eliezer did not have an answer. To resolve the She'eilah, however, the Miyn had been taught - that since the money came from a source of filth, it was appropriate to use it for the same (and he even quoted the Pasuk in Michah "Ki me'Esnan Zonah Kavtzah ve'Ad Esnan Zonah Yashuvu").

(b) Rebbi Eliezer's reaction to that was - one of pleasure at hearing such a fine P'shat.

(c) He now ascribed the above court-hearing (accusing him of heresy) to that reaction to the heretic's P'shat.

(d) He claimed to have transgressed the Pasuk in Mishlei. "Harchek me'Alehah Darkech". This Pasuk refers to Miynus, whereas "ve'Al Tikrav el Pesach Beisah" refers to - the rulsing power (the Rashus).

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