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Avodah Zarah 44



(a) Rebbi Yossi supports his view (permitting the grinding of images and scattering into the wind) from the Pasuk in Eikev " ... Lakachti va'Esrof Oso ba'Eish, va'Ekos Oso Tachon Dak le'Afar, va'Ashlich es Afaro el ha'Nachal ... " - which is written in connection with the Chet ha'Eigel.

(b) The Rabbanan counter his proof. According to them - Moshe did this in order to make them drink the water, to test them like Sotos ...

(c) ... meaning - to bring on their death if they were guilty, as we learned in Yoma 'Those who sacrificed to the Eigel were killed by the sword, those who embraced or kissed it died by asphyxiation, whereas those who simply rejoiced in their hearts died from Hadrokun (a stomach illness known as dropsy).

(a) Asa took the the Mifletzes which his mother Ma'achah made for the Asheirah - burned it and scattered its ashes in the valley of Kidron.

(b) Rav Yehudah, supported by a Beraisa cited by Rav Yosef, interprets 'Mifletzes' as - a male organ which Ma'achah used to give vent to her desires.

(c) To counter Rebbi Yossi's proof from here (that it is in order to grind an Avodah-Zarah and scatter its ashes) - the Chachamim explain that Nachal Kidron (where Asa ground the Mifletzes) was a barren spot, and nothing was able to grow there.

(d) We reconcile this in turn, with the Mishnah in Yoma, which describes how the various bloods flow from the Mizbei'ach via Amah (the stream that ran throught the Azarah) to the valley of Kidron, where it was sold to the farmers as manure - by pointing out that some areas in the valley of Kidron were productive and some were not.

(e) Someone who used the blood without paying for it was Mo'el - mi'de'Rabbanan. It cannot mean that he brings a Korban Me'ilah, because the blood of Kodshim is not subject to Me'ilah min ha'Torah.

(a) The Pasuk in Divrei Hayamim describes how Chizkiyahu Hamelech eventually ground the copper snake that Moshe made - which he did because people began worshipping it.

(b) The Rabbanan counter Rebbi Yossi's proof from there that grinding an image is sufficient, on the grounds that, based on the Pasuk "Va'yomer Hashem el Moshe, Asei *Lecha* Saraf ... " - the snake was Moshe's (heirs) personal property, and that others could not therefore render it Asus be'Hana'ah by worshipping it. In that case, strictly speaking, it was not necessary to destroy it in the first place.

(c) Rebbi Yossi brings a further proof from the Pasuk in Shmuel "Va'ya'azvu Sham es Atzabeihem Va'yisa'em David va'Anashav". Based on Rav Yosef's translation of a Pasuk in Tehilim "Tizarem ve'Ru'ach Tisa'em", Rebbi Yossi translates "Va'yisa'em" as - 'and he scattered them in the wind'.

(d) The Rabbanan prefer to translate "Va'yisa'em" as 'and he carried them (with him)' - because the Pasuk does not place "Va'yisa'em" together with "Va'yisrefem", only inserting it later.

(a) Rav Huna explains the fact that, first David and his men burned the images that they found, and then they carried them away with them - by establishing the latter Pasuk after the Nochri Itai ha'Giti, came and nullified them.

(b) The connection between the previous episode and the crown of Malkom (the name of the god of Amon [based on the word 'Melech']) that they placed on David Hamelech's head is - that it was Itai ha'Giti who nullified that as well.

(c) The probem is - how David could possibly wear a crown that weighed one golden Kikar (fifteen hundred golden Shekalim).

(d) There are three answers to this question. According to Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, the Pasuk means that the crown was fit to rest on David's head, but not that he actually wore it. The other opinions learn that he did wear it. According to ...

1. ... Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina, David did not even feel the crown's tremendous weight - because it was held in the air just above David's head, by a gigantic magnet that hung from the ceiling.
2. ... Rebbi Elazar, the "Kikar Zahav" mentioned in the Pasuk, refers - not to the weight of the crown, but to the value of a precious stone that was set in it.
(a) When David Hamelech writes in Tehilim "Zos Haysah Li Ki Fikudecha Natzarti", he means - that the testimony proving him worthy of the kingdom was due his having fulfilled all the Mitzvos.

(b) The testimony that he is referring to, explains Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, is that the crown with the bar that stretched across it (from ear to ear) in the location of the Tefilin, fitted on his head (because he had a groove going across his head [see also Tosfos DH 'she'Hayah').

(c) Despite the fact that the groove in David's head reached the location of the Tefilin, and that is where he wore the crown, he managed to wear Tefilin, on account of a statement by Rebbi Shmuel bar Rav Yitzcha - who says that there is space on the head to wear two pairs of Tefilin (one above the other), and the crown took up the space where the upper Tefilah shel Rosh would have been, leaving the lower half of the space for David's Tefilin.

(d) In connection with the coronation of six-year old Yo'ash, the Pasuk writes "Va'yitnu Alav es ha'Neizer ve'es ha'Eidus". "Neizer" refers to the crown - "ha'Eidus", says Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, to the fact that he too, had the required groove into which the bar of the crown fitted (which in fact, marked all members of Malchus Beis David who were destined to rule).

(a) When Adoniyahu ben Chagis (David's son), attempted to usurp the throne before his father's death, he too, tried on the crown - but it did not fit his head.

(b) Even though Rav Yehudah said earlier, that David could not actually wear the crown, he nevertheless made this statement in the name of Rav (as well as the previous one with regard to Yo'ash) - because although he did not wear the crown permanently, he (and subsequent kings of Malchus Beis David), did try it on, just to see whether it fitted his head or not.

(c) What was special about the fifty men who ran in front of his chariot in his attempt to seize the throne was - that their spleens were removed (enabling them to run for longer periods without becoming weary), as were the soles of their feet (enabling them to run over thorns and thistles, without feeling pain).




(a) When P'ruklus ben P'luspus (a Nochri Miyn) found Raban Gamliel bathing in a bathhouse that stood in the courtyard of Aphrodites (a Greek goddess), he asked him how, in view of the Pasuk "Lo Yidbak be'Yadcha Me'umah ... ", he could derive benefit from such a place.

(b) Raban Gamliel immediate reaction to the question was - to point out that it was forbidden to discuss Divrei Torah in a bathhouse.

(c) After leaving the vicinity of the bathhouse, he replied 'Ani Lo Ba'si bi'Gevulah, Hi Ba'ah bi'Gevuli', meaning that - to begin with, the bathhouse had been there first (and that if anything, it was the image that encroached upon the space of the bathhouse, and not vice-versa).

(d) He added to that statement - that in any event, it was not the bathhouse that enhanced the looks of the bathhouse, but vice-versa (so that Aphrodites served the bathhouse, rather than the bathhouse, Aphrodites).

(a) Alternatively, Raban Gamliel told the Miyn, even if a person was offered a fortune of money - he would not stand in front of one's god naked or in a state of Tum'ah, neither would one urinate in its presence, yet here, Aphrodites was placed at the opening of the gutter which led out to the street, precisely at the spot where everybody urinated.

(b) Consequently - he concluded, the bathhouse served to denigrate Aphrodites, rather than to cause her honor.

(a) Rabah bar bar Chanah Amar Rebbi Yochanan stated - that one is permitted to think about Divrei Torah anywhere other than in a bathhouse or a bathroom.

(b) That being the case - how could Raban Gamliel tell P'ruklus ... that it was forbidden to reply in a bathhouse?

(c) Neither can we answer that Raban Gamliel spoke in a foreign language, because of a statement by Abaye - that ...

1. ... mundane things may be spoken there even in Lashon ha'Kodesh, whereas ...
2. ... Divrei Torah are forbidden even in a foreign language.
(d) When Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Yossi Amar Rebbi Hoshaya referred to Raban Gamliel's reply to the Nochri as 'Teshuvah Genuvah', he meant - that it was a Dochek.
(a) On the assumption that Rebbi Hoshaya was referring to the fact that urinating in front of one's god denigrates it - this was a Dochek, because, as Rava pointed out, why should it be any different than Pe'or, where on is even Chayav Kareis for defecating on it.

(b) Rebbi Chama nevertheless holds that it is not a Dochek at all - because Pe'or is different, imasmuch as that is the way it was worshipped, whereas the things mentioned in our Mishnah are not the things that one normally performs in the service of Aphrodites.

(c) According to Abaye, the Dochek is based on the statement stressing that since the bathhouse was there first, it was permitted. Rebbi Oshaya had a problem with this, based on a Mishnah in the next Perek, which permits benefiting from a bathhouse or a garden adjoining an Avodah-Zarah - provided one does not pay the priests for the service (even if the Avodah-Zarah was there first).

(d) It is not forbidden anyway seeing as one derives benefit from Avodah-Zarah - because something does not become forbidden by merely being designated for Avodah-Zarah ('Ein Hekdesh la'Avodas-Kochavim').

(a) In any event, we see that one may bath in the bathhouse even if the Avodah-Zarah preceded the bathhouse (which explains why Rebbi Oshaya referred to Raban Gamliel (who forbade it) as a Dochek. Rav Chama disagreed however - because the fact that the Nasi Raban Gamliel was using the bathhouse, was an honor to the priests and was considered as if he had paid them for the service.

(b) Rav Shimi bar Chiya attributes the Dochek to another Mishnah in the next Perek, which rules - that if a Nochri spits at an image, urinates before it, drags it around or throws feces at it, it is not considered Bitul.

(c) The Dochek will then be Raban Gamliel's statement - that urinating before Aphrodites is denigrating.

(d) Rav Chama counters that in spite of the Mishnah later, Raban Gamliel's argument is valid - since *there*, people urinated before the image on an ongoing basis.

(a) Rabah bar Ula cites Raban Gamliel's statement that it was the image of Aphrodites that enhanced the looks of the bathhouse, and not vice-versa, as the Dochek, based on a Beraisa, which rules - that if someone designates a house or a cup for Avodah-Zarah - it is not Asur be'Hana'ah ...

(b) ... rendering Raban Gamliel's statement a Dochek - inasmuch as, in that case, even if one would designate a bathhouse as an ornament for Aphrodites, that would not render it forbidden.

(c) Rav Acha counters Rebbi Oshaya's statement - by explaining that if the bathhouse was considered an ornament, it would be forbidden to enhance the Avodah-Zarah by bathing in it, even if it would not render the bathhouse Asur be'Hana'ah.

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