Feb 122018

Two different opinions are brought regarding if and when one can use a non-Jew as a doctor. Rav Yehuda says only for one’s animals and Rabbi Yochanan says as long as it’s not a life-threatening disease. However, there are exceptions such as an expert doctor whose reputation is on the line, if the doctor takes money for it (as he/she wants to get paid), if it is one’s last chance and he/she will die anyway without the non-Jew intervening. What is the difference between heretics and non-Jews regarding these laws? One explanation of Rabbi Yochanan is that the criteria for determining if it is life-threatening is the same as for Shabbat (one can desecrate Shabbat for a life-threatening illness). The gemara tangents to Shabbat and from there to all sorts of remedies for various ailments.

Feb 112018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 27

Can a non-Jew perform a brit mila on a Jew? What are the sources for the different opinions? If there is no Jew available, it is better if a Samaritan (Cuti) performs it or an idol worshipper? Can a woman perform a brit mila? Can a non-Jew perform a medical procedure on a Jew? Can a Jew perform a medical procedure for a non-Jew?

Feb 092018

How long did the sun stop in the time of Joshua? Who else did the sun stop for? The mishna relates that a woman can’t be alone with a non-Jew – what is the mishna referring to as even with a Jew this is forbidden? Why are we not concerned that the non-Jew will kill her. a braita is quoted which gives tips on how one should behave when one sees a suspect non-Jew walking near him in order to protect oneself.

Feb 082018

A number of questions are raised against Shila’s interpretation of Rabbi eliezer that one can’t purchase a red heifer from non-Jews because the verse implies that (vayikchu). The famous story about Dama ben Netina, a non-Jew who is used as the example for respecting one’s parents to show how far one must go to fulfill this mitzva, is brought to question Shila and also to question the explanation that Eliezer forbade it because one needs to be concerned for bestiality. Either way, one can’t purchase from non-Jews so how did the rabbis want to purchase it from Dama?  Further questions are asked on Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion regarding the prohibition to purchase animals for sacrifices from non-Jews.

Feb 072018

Study Guide Avoda Zara 23

Three different explanations are brought to explain the contradiction between our mishna and the braita regarding whether or not non-Jews are suspect that they will engage in bestiality with animals. In this context a debate is brought with regard to the red heifer and the gemara delves into the red heifer – is it treated like a sacrifice for certain issues or not.

Feb 062018

According to Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, one can rent a field to a non-Jew and stipulate that the non-Jew not work the field on chol hamoed. However, this is not allowed with Samaritans as they will claim, “we know better than you and know that one can work on chol hamoed.”  A non-Jew and a Jew who work as sharecroppers in a field or in a partnership, what do they do regarding work done on Shabbat? In which situations would a non-Jew be suspect of engaging in bestiality? Based on that one can purchase an animal of theirs to use for a sacrifice but not leave animals alone in an inn with a non-Jew.

Feb 052018

Can one sell or rent property to non-Jews in Israel, close to Israel (Syria) or outside of Israel entirely? What are the issues involved? What is at the root of this prohibition? How is it that people sell property anyway? What explanations did later authorities provide to explain this? Is it applicable to all non-Jews or only to the 7 nations or only to idol worshippers? An additional issue is raised with renting a field or bathhouse to a non-Jew who will use it on Shabbat. In what situations is it permitted and in what situations is it forbidden? What is the difference between a non-Jew and a Samaritan.

Feb 042018

This mishna lists other things that are forbidden to do with non-Jews/or idol worshippers are mentioned – selling trees and items attached to the ground and selling/making jewelry for their idols. Rabbi Eliezer ads that one can sell them jewelry – however there is a debate whether this is actually part of the mishna or a mistaken addition or should be corrected to read “if one sold to them, it is permitted to benefit from the money.” The gemara derives from the verse “lo techanem” 3 things that are forbidden, including the halacha in the mishna about selling items attached to the ground, complimenting non-Jews and giving them gifts for free. The other halachot mentioned are also alayze3d – are there really forbidden? Contradictory sources are brought. The debate in the mishna between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yehuda is discussed – can one sell a tree on condition that the non-Jew will chop it down after the sale?

Feb 022018

Rabbi Chanina ben Tradion’s death is described – why it happened? Why were others in his family punished with him? Rabbi Yosi ben Kisma predicted his death and in the aftermath of Rabbi Yosi’s death, in fact, Rabbi Chanina gets caught by the Romans and killed in exactly the way Rabbi Yosi predicted. His daughter is punished by being sent to be a prostitute and the story is told of how Bruria, her sister, convinces Rabbi Meir to rescue her. This ultimately leads to his being wanted by the Romans and runs away to Babylonia. The gemara quotes braitot that list all sorts of other Roman activities that it is forbidden to be involved in on account of being “moshav leitzim,” which defined as those who sit around idle and scorn others. The antidote to this is learning Torah.

Feb 012018

The story of Rabbi Eliezer continues as he discovers a situation where he heard the claim of a heretic and agreed somewhat to his interpretation of the verse and assumes that is why he was punished. The gemara then discusses how much one should keep one’s distance from heretics and from prostitutes/those who are forbidden to have sexual relations with. If one repents from being a heretic, one will die immediately – why? Does this apply only to heretics or also to those who engage in promiscuous sexual relations? rabbi Chanania ben Tradion and Rabbi Eliezer ben Prata are captured by the Romans – will they both die? Why?