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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Avodah Zarah 58



(a) Rava reacted to Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Nachman's arrival in Mechuza - by instructing his Shamash Rav Elyakim, to lock the door, so that nobody should disturb him (see Rashash).

(b) When Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Nachman entered, he asked Rava what he held in the case of a Nochri who stirred wine, though not as an act of worship (the case over which they had previously argued), he replied - 'Asur Afilu be'Hana'ah'.

(c) And when Rav Huna b'rei de'Rav Nachman queried him from his previous ruling - he replied that he had not meant to include the value of the bucketful that the Nochri had shaken, which required 'Holachas Hana'ah le'Yam ha'Melach'.

(d) He said that - because he was embarrassed at having ruled so leniently to begin with.

(a) The truth of the matter was that - Abaye had forced Rava to retract from his original ruling.

(b) When Abaye quoted him Shmuel in Neherda'a and Rebbi Yochanan in Teverya, who forbade the wine be'Hana'ah, Rava initially responded - by suggesting that this was only because the people in Neherda'a and Teverya were not B'nei Torah.

(c) Abaye countered Rava's argument - by asking him whether the residents of Mechuza were any more B'nei Torah than those of Neherda'a and Teverya.

(a) Abaye also asked Rava from a Beraisa. The Tana there discusses the case of a Nochri wine inspector who pierced a hole in a barrel of wine with his straw and tasted the wine - and one where he tasted a cup of wine before pouring the remains back into the bottle.

(b) The Tana cites such an incident - and the Chachamim actually ruled - that the wine is Asur.

(c) Rava tried to refute Abaye's proof from the Beraisa - by interpreting 've'Asruhu' to mean Asur to drink, but Mutar be'Hana'ah (conforming with his original ruling).

(a) Abaye proved him wrong however, from the Seifa - which rules that, in a case where a Nochri Charam (a trouble-maker, who would act first, and think later) placed his hand into a barrel of wine, thinking that it contained oil - 'Yimacher'.

(b) They were more lenient in this case than in the Reisha - because here, the Charam did not even know that the barrel contained wine, when he touched it.

(c) This proves Rava wrong once and for all - because if, as Rava maintained, the Reisha too, only meant to forbid drinking the wine, but allowed it be'Hana'ah, then the Tana ought to have said 'Yimacher' (like it does in the Seifa), and not 'Asruhu'.

(a) When Rebbi Yochanan ben Arza and Rebbi Yossi ben Nahara'i once asked a passer-by to pour them out a drink of wine - they subsequently discovered, much to their dismay, that he was a Nochri.

(b) Two men, two opinions! One held - that the wine was Asur even be'Hana'ah; the other, that it was permitted, even to drink.

(c) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi justified the one who ...

1. ... forbade the wine even be'Hana'ah - because, he explained, the Nochri would figure that such important men would not be drinking beer, but wine. In that case, he would be only too happy to make the wine Nesech.
2. ... even permitted drinking it - because, in his opinion, the Nochri would figure that two Rabbis would not dream of asking a Nochri to pour them out wine, so it must have been beer that they were drinking.



(a) The Nochri could not ...
1. ... see that the liquid was wine and not beer - because the episode took place at night-time.
2. ... smell that it was wine - because it was fresh wine, that has a weak smell.
(b) We ask why, when the Nochri scooped wine with a jug from the barrel, to pour it into the cups, he did not render the wine Asur because of Maga she'Lo be'Kavanah, which we have already learned, is Asur. This is because even though he did not actually touch the wine - transferring it via a jug is akin to touching it with one's hands (because the jug is considered an extension of one's hand).

(c) We answer that he transfer the wine from the barrel into the cups - by tipping the barrel and pouring it, and Chazal's decreed on a Nochri touching wine even without intending to be Menasech does not extend to pouring it under that condition.

(d) The other opinion nevertheless forbade it - because he suspected that perhaps the Nochri touched the wine, without their having realized it.

(a) When Rebbi Asi asked Rebbi Yochanan 'Yayin she'Mascho Mahu?', the latter amended his She'eilah to - 'Yayin she'Mazgah Mahu?' (meaning whether wine into which a Nochri poured water to dilute it becomes forbidden or not).

(b) When Rebbi Asi explained that the Lashon he had used was based on the Pasuk "Tavchah Tavchah Maschah Yeinah", Rebbi Yochanan countered - 'Lashon Torah le'Atzmah, ve'Lashon Chachamim le'Atzmah' (meaning that the terminology used by the Chachamim overrides that used by the Torah, and that that is the language that a Talmid-Chacham should use).

(c) Rebbi Yochanan forbade drinking it - on the basis of the principle 'Lech Lech Amrin li'Nezira S'chor S'chor, le'Karma Lo Sikrav' (We tell a Nazir to rather go round a vineyard than go through it, in order to avoid being tempted to sin').

(d) He did not however, forbid it be'Hana'ah - because it is not worse than touching without Kavanah, which we learned above is Mutar be'Hana'ah (such as the case of the Nochri descending the palm-tree and touching wine with a Lulav).

(a) When Rebbi Yochanan arrived in Savta and saw that they were drinking wine which had been diluted by Nochrim - he immediately forbade them to continue doing so, because of 'Lech Lech Amrin li'Nezira ... '.

(b) When exactly the same thing happened to Rebbi Yirmiyah, he ruled - like Rebbi Yochanan.

(a) When Resh Lakish arrived in Batzrah and saw the people ...
1. ... eating fruit without Ma'asering it - he forbade them to continue doing so.
2. ... drinking river water to which Nochrim had prostrated themselves - he forbade it.
(b) When Resh Lakish informed Rebbi Yochanan of what he had done - he instructed him to return immediately (before he had even removed his coat) and repair his mistake.

(c) Resh Lakish's mistake in ...

1. ... obligating the fruit of Batzrah to be Ma'asered was - that he mistook 'Batzrah' (which belonged to Edom) for Betzer (which was indeed a Jewish city [of refuge] in Eiver ha'Yarden [see Tosfos DH 'Betzer').
2. ... forbidding the river water to which Nochrim had prostrated themselves was - that the water was public property, and Rebbi has already cited Rebbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak, who specifically rules that public expanses of water cannot become Asur in this way.
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