Jan 312018

Can one sell weapons or dangerous lions to non-Jews? Are large non-domesticated animals (chayot) considered the same as large domesticated animals in terms of forbidding selling them to non-Jews? What types of buildings is one allowed or not allowed to aid in the building process for non-Jews? The story of Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanus is brought where he is captured by the Romans on suspicion of being a heretic (presumably a Christian).

Jan 292018

What items are forbidden to sell all year round to idol worshippers? It may depend on how many you sell (large quantities are for resale and therefore allowed), whether you sell them combined with other similar items that are not used for idol worship, or whether the buyer asked specifically for that item or didn’t care if it was that or something similar which isn’t used for idol worship. Whether or not it is forbidden to sell a small animal (like sheep, etc.) to non-Jews depends on the local custom (depending on whether the non Jews there engage in bestiality).

Jan 282018

It is forbidden to purchase from stores in cities of idol worshippers (presumably during their holiday) that are decorated. Reish Lakish and Rabib Yochanan debate what the decoration is and why specifically those stores are forbidden. According to Rabbi Yochanan, the issue is because those stores pay tributes to the idols. Items purchased in a forbidden manner are to be rendered useless. For animals this means to cut off the hooves. A question is asked why this is n’t forbidden on account of tzaar baalei hayim – mistreatment of animals? Why is another context is the penalty to close the animal in a room and let it die? What is the difference between the 2 cases?

Jan 262018

A story is brought about Onkelos the convert and how he was supposed to be brought before the caesar but instead he kept convincing all the troops who came to seize him to convert to Judaism. What is the basis of the argument between Rabbi Meir and the rabbis regarding whether it is forbidden to do business with idol worshippers on the day of the death of their king only if there is burning or even if there is not. How does that connect with the braita that says the Jews burn the items of a king and it is not forbidden because it is the way of the non Jews? Other holiday questions are raised regarding cases in the mishna and also about other holidays not mentioned in the mishna.

Jan 252018

The gemara finishes the discussion of the dating of documents and then attempts to define the different terms used by the mishna (holidays of the pagans). Stories about the positive relationship between Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi and Antoninus are brought, highlighting that not all theRomans were bad and some relied on us for advice and others risked their lives to save us.

Jan 242018

Different calculations are brought regarding historical events from the time of the second temple period and from the creation of the world. It was clear that different people counted years from different historical events and the gemara gives some tips for calculating what year one is in on one calendar if one knows what the year is in a different calendar.

Jan 212018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 6

When the mishna says three days before the holiday – does it mean including the day of the holiday (3 all together)  or 3 full days before plus the day of the holiday? Several sources are brought to attempt to answer the question. What is the reason for the prohibition – is it because he/she will thank their gods because of it or is it because you are helping them to worship idols? What if you sold stuff to the non-Jew anyway, is it forbidden to benefit from the money received? Why are all the case in the mishna forbidden both in a way where you are helping the non-Jew and also when the non-Jew is helping you?

Shiur in memory of Rachel bat Menachem Mendel and Pesha