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Avodah Zarah 43

AVODAH ZARAH 43 (23 Nisan) - dedicated by Mr. Avy Reichman of Queens, NY, l'Iluy Nishmas his father, Dovid ben Avraham, on the day of his Yahrzeit.



(a) We infer from the Pasuk "Lo Sa'asun Iti ... " - that one is permitted to make a picture of Darkon.

(b) We therefore establish the Seifa of Rav Sheishes' Beraisa 've'Chol ha'Tzuros Mutaros Chutz mi'Tzuras Darkon' by - Motze.

(c) Abaye - accepts the fact that 'Reisha ('Mazalos') ve'Seifa ('Tzuros') be'Motze, u'Metzi'asa ('Pirtzufin') be'Oseh'.

(d) Rava establishes the Beraisa entirely by 'Motze', only he establishes the Metzi'asa according to Rebbi Yehudah, who adds 'D'mus Menikah ve'Sar Afis' to the list of found vessels with pictures that are prohibited.

1. 'D'mus Menikah' - refers to an image of Chavah (who mothered the world) ...
2. ... and 'Sar Afis' - to Yosef, who came out of prison and sustained the world.
(e) In order to be prohibited, the first picture must include - a woman feeding her baby, the second, a man holding scales and measuring.
(a) According to Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar - Darkon must have fins (or hair) between its joints.

(b) Rebbi Asi demonstrated - between the joints of the neck.

(c) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina rules like Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar.

(a) Rabah bar bar Chanah related an episode that occurred with Rebbi Yeshoshua ben Levi, who once saw Rebbi Elazar ha'Kapar 'B'rivi' find a ring with the picture of a Darkon painted on it, in the street. 'B'rivi' means - an important man.

(b) He did not in fact, pick up until the Nochri had nullified it.

(c) When ...

  1. ... he passed a little Nochri boy - he did nothing.
  2. ... the Nochri whom he asked to nullify it, refused - he slapped his face, and the Nochri complied.
(d) Besides the fact that a Nochri can even nullify his friend's god, and that he can be forced to nullify it against his will, we also learn from there - that only one who understands what the god is can nullify it.
(a) Rebbi Chanina expressed great surprise at Rebbi Elazar ha'Kapar, based on a Beraisa, which rules - that if someone saves a lost article from the clutches of a lion ... , a torrential river, a tidal wave, or who finds it on a major thoroughfare - may keep it because the owner has definitely been Meya'esh (given up hope).

(b) Assuming that Ye'ush automatically incorporates Bitul, Rebbi Chanina therefore thought - that seeing as Rebbi Elazar ha'Kapar found the ring in a public street, the owner obviously gave up hope, and was Mevatel it (in which case any further Bitul was unnecessary).

(c) Abaye reconciles Rebbi Elazar ha'Kapar with that Beraisa however - by differentiating between Ye'ush from the ownership of the article (which there was) and Ye'ush from its divine power (which there was not).

(d) In fact, the owner believes that, even a Yisrael finds it, it will still be worshipped - because, due to its great value, he will sell it to a Nochri, to continue worshipping it.

(a) Raban Gamliel used to test the witnesses who came to testify that they had seen the new moon on Rosh Chodesh - by comparing their description with pictures of different shapes and sizes of the moon which he had drawn on a board in his attic.

(b) The problem with that is, in view of the Pasuk "Lo Sa'asun Iti" - how could he do that?

(c) Abaye reconciles Raban Gamliel with this Pasuk - by confining the prohibition to images of things that can be constructed here (as we shall now see).

(a) The Beraisa forbids making a replica of the Heichal, the Ulam and the Azarah - the Shulchan or the Menorah.

(b) The latter is permitted - on condition that one makes it with less or more than seven branches.

(c) It is also forbidden to make a Menorah of other metals besides gold.

(d) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi is even more stringent - including even a Menorah of wood in the prohibition.

(a) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah proves his point from the fact that, at a time of poverty, the Chashmona'im made a Menorah of wood. The Chachamim counter-claim - that the Menorah in question was really made of iron and overlaid with tin.

(b) When the Chashmona'im became ...

1. ... a little more wealthy - they made a Menorah of silver.
2. ... more wealthy still - they made one of gold.
(c) We just permitted pictures of the sun and moon, because they cannot be copied here on earth. Abaye reconciles this with the Beraisa which forbids making a replica of the servants who serve before Hashem (the four creatures that support Hashem's Throne, as we explained earlier) - by confining that to the four images that are joined together on one base (as they are in Heaven).



(a) According to what we just learned, it appears that a human face alone is permitted, yet the Beraisa that we discussed on the previous Daf specifically forbids it. Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Idi learned from Abaye that it is forbidden - from the Pasuk "Lo Sa'asun Iti", which he Darshened 'Lo Sa'asun Osi' (and Hashem [Kevayachol] is sometimes depicted as an Adam).

(b) Abaye reconciles Raban Gamliel with the Beraisa forbidding all those that serve before Hashem, such as the Ofanim, the Serafim, the Chayos ha'Kodesh and the other angels - by restricting that D'rashah to those that serve in the upper Heaven.

(c) And he reconciles this with the Beraisa that Darshens the Pasuk "Asher ba'Shamayim mi'Ma'al", 'Lerabos Chamah u'Levanah ... ' - by establishing it (not by making it, but) by worshipping it.

(d) And we learn from the same Pasuk ...

1. ... "Asher ba'Aretz" - to include seas, rivers, mountains and hills in the prohibition.
2. ... "mi'Tachas" - to include even a tiny worm.
(a) Abaye is forced however, to retract from his interpretation of Raban Gamliel, by a Beraisa. The four items that the Tana incorporates in "Lo Sa'asun Iti" that proves Abaye wrong are - the sun, the moon, the stars and the Mazalos.

(b) Abaye finally explains - that the pictures on Raban Gamliel's black-board were drawn by Nochrim (and not by Rabban Gamliel, as we initially thought).

(c) The reason that Shmuel instructed Rav Yehudah to destroy the picture that someone had made for him on his signet ring was - because the picture protruded (and people might suspect him of actually worshipping it).

(d) That is why the Beraisa forbids someone with a signet-ring with a protruding picture to wear it. With regard to ...

1. ... using it to stamp in wax - the Tana permits it (since the stamp will be sunken).
2. ... wearing and stamping with a signet-ring, if the picture is sunken - the Tana permits wearing it, but forbids stamping with it.
(a) What was unusual about the Beis-ha'K'nesses in Shaf ve'Yasiv (in Neherda'a), the Shul where Shmuel's father and Levi used to Daven was - the fact that it contained an image.

(b) Shmuel's father and Levi were nevertheless able to Daven there - because 'Mar'is ha'Ayin' is only applicable to a Yachid, but not to a Tzibur.

(a) Even though Raban Gamliel was only a Yachid, he was able to have pictures of the phases of the moon in his attic - because, due to the fact that he was the Nasi, there were always many people there, giving him the Din of a Tzibur.

(b) Alternatively, we answer, 'di'Perakim Hava'i' - meaning that the pictures of the moon, were actually made of plates, which Raban Gamliel only constructed for the brief period that he needed them. At all other tomes, they were dismantled, and 'Mar'is ha'Ayin' was not therefore applicable.

(c) Alternatively, we answer the basic Kashya on Raban Gamliel with the Pasuk "Lo Silmad La'asos ke'So'avos ha'Goyim ... " - from which we infer that, although it is forbidden to learn the ways of the Nochrim (including making images that are not meant to be worshipped) in order to emulate them, it is permitted to do so in order to understand them for the purpose of issuing rulings.

(a) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel in our Mishnah qualifies the prohibition of vessels with a picture of the sun, the moon or of Darkon - permitting vessels that he terms 'Mevuzin' (inferior).

(b) According to Rav, if the picture is above the level of the water, it falls under the category of 'Mechubadin' (Chashuv), whereas if it is below that, it is considered 'inferior'. In Shmuel's opinion however - both of these fall under the category of 'inferior'.

(c) It is ornaments such as bracelets, nose-rings and finger-rings - that he considers Chashuv in this regard.

(d) In the Beraisa that supports Shmuel, two items that the Tana adds to cauldrons, pots and kettles, that fall under the category of 'inferior', are - blankets and cloths.

13) Rebbi Yossi in our Mishnah, permits grinding a god made of metal and scattering it in the wind. The Chachamim - quoting in support the Pasuk "Lo Yidbak be'Yadcha Me'umah min ha'Cherem", forbid it, since they say, people will derive benefit from the dust in the form of manure for the fields.

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