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Avodah Zarah 26



(a) Our Mishnah forbids a Jewish midwife to deliver a Nochri baby - because it constitutes delivering a baby to Avodah-Zarah.

(b) The Tana does however - permit a Nochri midwife to deliver a Jewish baby (as will be explained in a Beraisa).

(c) The Tana also forbids a Jewish woman to nurse a Nochri baby. He allows giving a Jewish baby to a Nochris to nurse however - provided she does so in the domain of the mother (without taking him home).

(a) The author of our Mishnah is the Chachamim of Rebbi Meir. Rebbi Meir forbids a Nochri mid-wife ...
1. ... to deliver a Jewish baby (even in the presence of other Jewish women, and ...
2. ... to nurse a Jewish baby (even in the mother's domain).
(b) With regard to the former ruling, Rebbi Meir in a Beraisa disagree with the Chachamim - because he suspects that she will place her hand on the spot above the baby's forehead where his head is soft, and kill him by applying pressure there without being noticed.

(c) When a certain Nochri midwife's friend tried to insult her by calling her 'midwife of Jewish babies daughter of a midwife of Jewish babies!', she retorted - that as many evils should befall her (the friend) as the Jewish babies that she had killed.

(d) We reject Rebbi Meir's proof from there that Nochri midwives cannot be trusted under any circumstances - by assuming that she only said that in self defense, but that it was not really true.

(a) In another Beraisa, Rebbi Meir forbids giving one's baby to a Nochri woman ...
1. ... to nurse - because she is suspected of killing him.
2. ... even in the presence of other Jewish women - because she might rub poison on her breast before entering the room.
(b) Having presented the Machlokes between Rebbi Meir and the Chachamim with regard to ...
1. ... delivering a Jewish baby, the Tana nevertheless found it necessary to repeat it in the case of nursing him - because we might otherwise have thought that the Rabbanan would concede to Rebbi Meir in the latter case - seeing as she is able to prepare the baby's death before entering the room, as we just explained.
2. ... nursing a Jewish baby, the Tana found it necessary to repeat it in the case of delivering him - where based on reverse logic, Rebbi Meir might have conceded to the Rabbanan.
(c) A Beraisa permits a Jewish midwife to deliver a Nochri baby for payment - because seeing as she is offered payment for her services, to refuse would result in Eivah (placing her life in jeopardy). Our Mishnah on the other hand - speaks where the midwife is not offered payment for her services.
(a) When, based on the previous ruling, Rav Yosef wanted to permit a Jewish ...
1. ... midwife to deliver a Nochri baby on Shabbos (which entails drawing blood, which is a Melachah on Shabbos), Abaye objected - on the grounds that she can always decline, on the excuse that the concession of breaking Shabbos for a Jew is only permitted because the Jew who is being saved keeps Shabbos, but does not extend to a Nochri.
2. ... woman to nurse a Nochri baby, assuming she is single - because she could present the excuse that she was about to get married.
(b) If she was married, she could claim - that she did not want to make herself disgusting to her husband by nursing somebody else's baby in his presence.
(a) The Beraisa - permits saving a Nochri or a shepherd of small animals who fell into a deep pit, but forbids throwing him into one.

(b) Rav Yosef attempted to permit (even to obligate) saving them - if they offer to pay, because of Eivah.

(c) Abaye objected to this for two reasons however. Firstly - because he can claim that his son is alone on the roof, and he has to run and save him. Secondly - because he can claim that the governor ordered him to attend the Va'ad (a public meeting) by a certain time, and that he really must run.




(a) Rebbi Avahu cited a Beraisa in front of Rebbi Yochanan 'ha'Ovdei-Kochavim ve'Ro'ei Beheimah Dakah Lo Ma'alin ve'Lo Moridin. Aval ha'Miynin, Mesoros ve'ha'Mumarin' - Moridin ve'Lo Ma'alin'.

(b) Rebbi Yochanan objected to this ruling, based on the Pasuk "le'Chol Aveidas Achicha" - which comes to obligate returning the lost article of a Mumar, so how can the Tana say 'Moridin'?

(c) Rebbi Avahu erased 'Mumarin' from the Beraisa. He declined to establish the Beraisa by a 'Mumar Ochel Neveilos Le'hach'is', whereas Rebbi Yochanan is speaking about a 'Mumar Ochel Neveilos le'Te'avon' - because he holds that a Mumar Ochel Neveilos Le'hach'is is a Miyn.

(d) Another difference between a Mumar and a Miyn (besides that of our Sugya) is - with regard to the Din of a Sefer-Torah written by a Miyn, which has to be burned (but not if it is written by a Mumar).

(a) Rav Acha and Ravina argue over this very point (whether a 'Mumar Ochel Neveilos Le'hach'is' is considered a Mumar or a Miyn. The one who holds that he is a Mumar - defines a Miyn as a priest of idolatry (irrespective of whether he is a Nochri or a Jew).

(b) The Beraisa decries someone who eats a beetle or a mosquito as - a Mumar.

(c) Assuming this to mean a 'Mumar Le'hach'is (since one would hardly expect someone to eat insects for pleasure) - this creates a Kashya on the previous statement, where we described a Mumar Le'hach'is as a Miyn, and not a Mumar.

(d) And we answer - that the Tana is talking about someone who ate the insects in order to discover how they taste (which renders him a Mumar le'Te'avon, and not a Le'hach'is).

(a) The problem with the Beraisa's statement (with regard to Miynim ... ) 'Moridin ve'Lo Ma'alin' is - that having said 'Moridin', 'Lo Ma'alin' is obvious.

(b) To answer the Kashya, Rav Yosef bar Chama Amar Rav establishes 'Lo Ma'alin' when there are steps leading down to the pit. And he interprets it to mean (not that one simply does nothing, but) - that one actually digs away the steps ...

(c) ... evading 'Eivah' in the process - by using the pretext that he is doing this to prevent his own animals from clambering into the pit.

(d) Rabah and Rav Yosef explain 'Lo Ma'alin' to mean that one places a stone on top of the pit to prevent them from escaping. And one evades 'Eivah' - by claiming that he is doing it to prevent the flock of sheep that is about to lead to pasture from falling into the pit.

(a) Ravina establishes 'Lo Ma'alin' - when there is a ladder leading out of the pit, which one removes on the pretext - that his son is stuck on the roof and needs to be rescued.

(b) The Beraisa permits a Yisrael to circumcise a Nochri, adding 'le'Shem Ger' - in order to preclude doing so to remove a worm called 'Murna'(since, as we have already learned, it is forbidden to cure a Nochri free of charge).

(c) Rebbi Meir forbids Milah at the hand of a Nochri, because he is suspected of murder. The Chachamim - permit it in the presence of other Yisre'elim.

(d) In reply to the Chachamim's argument that, in the presence of other Yisre'elim, the Nochri would not dare a kill a Yisrael, Rebbi Meir counters - that he might nevertheless 'inadvertently' wound him, rendering him a 'K'rus-Shafchah' (who is unable to father children).

(a) In another Beraisa, Rebbi Yehudah maintains that in a town (where there is no Mohel, but) which boasts two doctors, one a Nochri, the other, a Kuti, the latter should perform the Milah and not the former. Rebbi Meir - holds the reverse.

(b) Initially, we reconcile this with what we just said (that Rebbi Meir forbids Milah at the hand of a Nochri) - by reversing the opinions in this Beraisa.

(c) In another Beraisa however, Rebbi Yehudah learns from the Pasuk (where Hashem said to Avraham) "ve'Atah es B'risi Tishmor" - that only a Yisrael can perform the Milah, but not a Nochri.

(d) Based on this Beraisa, we (momentarily) reinstate Rebbi Meir as the Tana who permits Milah at the hand of the Nochri doctor (despite his previous ruling, forbidding Milah at the hand of a Nochri) - because, as Rav Dimi quoting Rebbi Yochanan said, under no circumstances will a professional jeopardize his good name, even for the sake of killing a Jew.

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