Feb 282018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 44

Rabbi Yosi and the rabbis debate whether or not one should (and can) crush the idol and scatter it to the wind or not? Is it considered benefitting from as it can fertilize the land? A braita is brought in which Rabbi Yosi and the rabbis debate the meaning of various verses in order to prove their opinion. Rabban Gamliel was questioned by a non-Jew why he was bathing in a bathhouse that had a statue to Aphrodite. He gave 3 answers. In the gemara it is suggested that his answer was not a real answer but a deception, however, it is then explained that it was a true answer. Four explanations are given to explain what the possible deception was and why it was actually a true answer. The next mishna discusses mountains and hills that are worshipped, what about them is forbidden to benefit from? How does an Asheira tree fit the rule? Verses from the book of Devarim are brought as proof texts for the various opinions and are explained in different ways.

Feb 262018

Rabbi Yochanan continues to bring several sources that seem to contradict Reish Lakish’s claim that broken pieces from an idol are permissible. Reish Lakish then brings one source to contradict Rabbi Yochanan. All the sources are resolved. The mishna discusses one who finds images with engravings of certain images. Depending on what the image is will affect whether or not one can benefit from the item – can one assume it was/was not used for idol worship? Rav Sheshet brings a braita related to the topic of the mishna and the gemara tries to figure out if the 3 cases discussed in his braita are referring to one who fashions the image or one who finds the image?

Feb 252018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 41

Can one derive benefit from statues or are they forbidden as maybe they were worshipped by people? Does it depend on the type of/location/object being held by the statue? What about broken pieces of a statue? Would the same hold for broken pieces of an actual idol?

Feb 232018

The gemara continues to discuss the items mentioned in the mishna that come from non-Jews that cannot be eaten but it is not forbidden to benefit from them. The gemara explains what the issues surrounding each case are. Within this context, issues of who among Jews can be trusted/not trusted for kashrut and other issues (techelet – and concern over forgeries of techelet) and in what situations (to buy from/eat in their house) are discussed. The next mishna mentions items that Jews are even allowed to eat if they come from non-Jews.

Feb 222018

Laws of bishul akum (food cooked by a non-Jew) – details about when it is permitted and when it is forbidden are discussed. What is considered “cooking,” if a Jew is involved in part of the cooking process – what type of involvement is necessary, etc.

Feb 212018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 37

Why didn’t Rabbi Yehuda Nesia permit bread of non-Jews? He didn’t want to be considered a permissive court, like Yosi benYoezer who permitted three things and was called “Yosef the permissive one.” Besides the oil of non-Jews, Yosi ben Yoezer permitted a case of a get where the husband dates the get with today’s date and says this will be your get if I don’t return within 12 months. If he dies, the woman does not have to perform levirate marriage (in the event they had no kids, as the get is valid). What were the 3 cases that Yosi ben Yoezer permitted?

Feb 202018

The bread and oil of non-Jews is forbidden. Was permission granted to allow bread of non-Jews? If so, was it limited to particular circumstances? Why was the oil of non-Jews forbidden and then later permitted? Debate between Rav and Shmuel. Many questions are raised against Rav’s opinion. According to Rav, it was part of the eighteen things that the students of Shamai and Hillel forbade on one particular day when there were more students of Shamai than Hillel and Shamai’s students were able to pass them by a majority vote. What they forbade on that day according to Rav in the category of non-Jews is explained – bread and oil because of wine, wine because of their daughters, their daughters because of something else and something else on account of something else. The gemara has a discussion and brings several attempts to explain what the issue is regarding the daughters, because if it is lest they marry them, that is already forbidden by Torah law.

Feb 192018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 35

What are the reasons that the rabbis decreed that cheese of non-Jews was forbidden for eating purposes, however one can benefit from them? The interaction in the mishna between Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Yishmael regarding this issue is analyzed and is also brought as proof for the previous sugya about the difference between betrothing a woman with the dung of an ox who killed a person and the dung of an animal that was used for worshipping idols. Six possible explanations for the decree are brought by various amoraim. The next mishna discusses other decrees the rabbis instituted regarding items of non-Jews such as milk, bread, cooked items, oil, etc. Each item will be analyzed in the gemara.

Feb 182018

Do glazed earthenware vessels absorb? To what extent? In what situation? Can it be kashered? Three questions were asked of Rabbi akiva and he didn’t know the answer to them and went to the beit midrash and found the answers, one of them related to the question of clay jars of non-Jews. Grape seeds and grape peels, and fish stew (morayis) mentinoed in the mishna are discussed and the issues relating to them. Why are the cheeses from Onaiki forbidden? Reish Lakish brings an answer but his answer is questioned based on a seemingly contradictory statement he made in another context?