ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Avodah Zarah 53
(a) We have already discussed our Mishnah earlier. The Tana rules that ...
1. ... cutting off the image's head, ear, or the tip of its nose or finger -
(b) He inserts 'Pachsah' (flattening the image with a hammer, without
actually removing any of the substance) - in the first group.
2. ... spitting or urinating in front of the image, dragging it around or
throwing excrement at it - is not.
(c) According to Rebbi, selling the image or giving it as a security against
a loan constitutes Bitul. According to the Chachamim - it does not.
(a) Despite the fact that the Nochri did not detract from the substance of
the idol, 'Pachsah' is considered Bitul - because the Tana is speaking when
he actually defaced it.
(b) Chizkiyah learns from the Pasuk "Ve'hayah Ki Yir'av Ve'hiskatzef
Ve'kilel be'Malko u'v'Elohav u'Panah Lema'alah ve'el Eretz Yabit, ve'Hineh
Tzarah ve'Chasheichah" - the Din in our Mishnah, that insulting the idol
without actually breaking it is not considered Bitul.
(c) "u'Panah Lema'alah" means that he turns his heart (temporarily) to
Hashem (hence the momentary Bitul).
(a) Ze'iri Amar Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Yirmiyah Amar Rav argue over the
Machlokes in our Mishnah by a Nochri who sold his god. One of them
establishes it by a gentile smith (see Tosfos DH 'Aval'). Where he to sell
it to a Yisrael however, both opinions would agree - that it is Bateil.
(b) The other one holds - that they argue when he sold it to a Yisrael.
(c) The basis of their Machlokes is - whether the Nochri thinks that the
Yisrael will destroy it, or whether he thinks that, due to its tremendous
value, he will re-sell it to a Nochri.
(a) We ask on the second opinion - whether they now argue specifically by
where he sold it to a Yisrael (but would both agree that, if he sold it to a
Nochri, it would not be Bateil), or whether they argue even when he sold it
to a Yisrael (and certainly when he sold it to a Nochri).
(b) Rebbi, in a Beraisa commented that his opinion appears correct in a case
where the Nochri sold the idol in order to nullify it, and the opinion of
the Chachamim, when he sold it in order to worship it. This cannot be
meant literally - because if the Nochri sold it in order to worship it, why
would Rebbi say 'Bateil', and if he sold it in order to nullify it, why
would the Rabbanan say 'Lo Bateil'?
(c) So we suggest that by 'to nullify it' and 'to worship it', Rebbi meant
to a Yisrael and to a Nochri respectively. This would resolve our
She'eilah - because it would mean that they are arguing when he sold it to a
Nochri, as well as when he sold it to a Yisrael.
(d) We refute this proof however, based on the Lashon of Rebbi 'Nir'in
Devarai ke'she'Machrah le'Chavlah, ve'Divrei Chaverai she'Machrah le'Avdah',
which implies - that the Chachamim agree with Rebbi by a Nochri who sold his
idol to a Yisrael, and they only argue with him when he sold it to a Nochri
(see Tosfos DH 'O Dilma').
(e) For the proof to have been valid, he ought to have concluded -
'*ve'Nir'in* Divrei Chaverai she'Machrah le'Avdah'.
(a) The Beraisa rules that if someone finds an image among broken pieces of
silver which he purchased from a Nochri, assuming ...
1. ... he had not yet paid for them - he should return it to the Nochri to
make Bitul, and then acquire it again.
(b) The first ruling is correct, despite the fact that he already made a
Kinyan Meshichah - because it was a Meshichah be'Ta'us (an erroneous
2. ... assuming that he had - he must take its value to the Yam Hamelach.
(c) The second ruling is nevertheless correct - because were he to take the
money back, it would look as if he was selling it back to the owner (which
(d) We try and prove from here - that the Rabbanan must argue with Rebbi
when the Nochri sold the image to a Yisrael, because otherwise, who will be
the author of the Beraisa?
(e) We reject this proof however - on the grounds that the Nochri was not
aware that the batch of pieces of silver contained an image. Consequently,
even Rebbi will agree that here, the image is not Bateil.
(a) The Beraisa rules that an idol ...
1. ... against which a Nochri borrowed, one upon which a wall fell or one
which was stolen by robbers - does not become Bateil.
(b) Having taught us the Din in the case of where ...
2. ... whose owner left for overseas leaving it behind - does not become
Bateil either, provided he intends to return like those who went to fight
1. ... the Nochri borrowed against the idol (since he did not sell it
permanently), the Tana nevertheless needs to add the case where a wall fell
on it - where we might have thought that (since he did not take the trouble
to retrieve it from the rubble), he was Mevatel it.
(c) The Nochrim who went to fight against Yehoshua - did not return.
2. ... a wall fell on it (which is always there to retrieve whenever he
wants), he need to add the case where it was stolen by robbers - where again
we would have thought that (since he did not bother to recapture it), he was
3. ... it was stolen by robbers (he at least thinks that if it was a Nochri
who stole it, he will worship it, and if it was a Yisrael, he will sell it
to a Nochri, he nevertheless needed to add the case where he went overseas,
leaving it behind - since we would have thought that (since he abandoned it
without taking it with him), he was Mevatel it.
(d) When the Tana writes 'Im Asidin La'chezor ke'Milchemes Yehoshua Einah
Beteilah', he means - that if he intends to return, then it is comparable to
the war of Yehoshua, where the idols were not subject to Bitul.
(a) The Beraisa mentions the battle with Yehoshua, to teach us the Din of
Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel, who ruled that if a Yisrael erects a brick, and a
Nochri prostrates himself before it - the brick is forbidden (despite the
fact that one cannot normally render somebody else's property forbidden).
(b) Rebbi Elazar learns this from the Pasuk "va'Ashereihem Tisrefun
ba'Eish", which we would have otherwise thought should be permitted - due to
the fact that Eretz Yisrael belonged to Yisrael, since they inherited it
from the Avos (and one person cannot render forbidden someone else's
(c) They did not force the Cana'anim to be Mevatel their Avodah-Zaros after
they entered - because it would not have helped, (for the same reason as the
Avodah-Zarah became Asur in the first place, namely) since Yisrael indicated
when they worshipped the Eigel, that they agreed with it.
(d) We learn from the Pasuk "Eileh Elohecha Yisrael!" (written in the
plural) that it was not only the Eigel that they wanted, but any other
Avodah-Zarah that was available (including all those that the Cana'anim
worshipped at the time).
(e) In truth, the Avodah-Zaros that the Cana'anin worshipped after Yisrael
did Teshuvah were permitted - only who was to know which idols were
worshipped earlier, and which ones, later?
(a) We learned in the previous Mishnah that an abandoned Avodah-Zarah
constitutes Bitul. The Tana of our Mishnah now qualifies this - by drawing a
distinction between a time of peace and a time of war. In the latter case,
an abandoned image remains Asur.
(b) 'Bimisa'os shel Melachim' - are large hewn stones which were used as
makeshift platforms, on which they would place an idol when the king was due
to pass that way.
(c) Our Mishnah permits them - because they were only temporary, though we
will query this later.
(a) Rebbi Yirmiyah bar Aba Amar Rav - permits 'Beis Nimrod' (by which he
means the Tower of Bavel).
(b) He gives it the Din of an Avodah-Zarah that was abandoned in time of
peace, in spite of the fact that Hashem scattered them in 'war' - because
(unlike most defeated armies of former times) after they were scattered,
they had the option of returning, but chose not to.
(c) The problem with the reason that our Mishnah gives to permit 'Bimisi'os
shel Melachim' is - that the fact that an Avodah-Zarah is temporary is not
sufficient reason to permit it.
(d) Rabah bar bar Chanah therefore explains - that the Tana is speaking
about a Bimah that was set up and ready to use, but the king took another
(a) When Ula came from Eretz Yisrael and sat on a chipped Bimus, Rav Yehudah
objected on the basis of Rav and Shmuel, who forbade a chipped Bimus, even
according to those who hold 'Ein Ovdin li'Shevarim' (because a Bimus is of
less importance than an actual Avodah-Zarah, and they would continue to use
it even after it was chipped).
(b) Ula retorted - that Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish permitted it, even
according to those who hold 'Ovdin li'Shevarim' ...
(c) ... because they may not relinquish an Avodah-Zarah that they already
worshipped, so readily, but a Bimus is different.
(d) To show his respect for Rav and Shmuel, he added - that he would be
happy if someone would give them dust from Rav and Shmuel's graves to fill
(a) The Beraisa that we quote in support of Rebbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish
rules 'Bimus she'Nifgam, Mutar - Mizbe'ach she'Nifgam, Asur ad
she'Yinatzeitz Rubo'. The Tana is referring to - a Mizbe'ach on which they
worshipped Avodah-Zarah (the same as Bimus).
(b) Rebbi Ya'akov bar Idi Amar Rebbi Yochanan describes a Bimus - as a
platform consisting of one stone, whereas a Mizbe'ach comprises many stones.
(c) Chizkiyah explains the Pasuk "be'Sumo Kol Avnei Mizbe'ach ke'Avnei Gir
Menufatzos, Lo Yakumu Asheirim ve'Chamanim" to mean - that when the
Mizbe'ach of Avodah-Zarah is broken up like so many hailstones, then they
will no longer sacrifice on it to Asheirah or to the sun-god.