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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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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 - is Bitul.
2. ... spitting or urinating in front of the image, dragging it around or throwing excrement at it - is not.
(b) He inserts 'Pachsah' (flattening the image with a hammer, without actually removing any of the substance) - in the first group.

(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.
2. ... assuming that he had - he must take its value to the Yam Hamelach.
(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 Meshichah).

(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 is forbidden).

(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.
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 against Yehoshua.
(b) Having taught us the Din in the case of where ...
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.
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 Mevatel it.
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.
(c) The Nochrim who went to fight against Yehoshua - did not return.

(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 property).

(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 route.

(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 their eyes.

(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.

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