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Avodah Zarah 52

The numbers that appear next to certain entries represent the number assigned to those items in the diagram of the Beis ha'Mikdash of the Tiferes Yisrael (e.g. TY #43). This diagram, which will be included in a separate mailing and can be found on our site, is printed both in the Tiferes Yisrael Mishnayos (in Midos Chapter 2 or following Midos) and in Rav P. Kahati's Mishnayos (page 290, at the beginning of Midos).

1) [line 7] "ES" HIFSIK HA'INYAN - the word "Es" separates the verse (Devarim 12:2) into two parts

2) [line 13] GENIZAH BA'YA - it needs to be put into Genizah, i.e. since it is Asur b'Hana'ah and no benefit may be derived from it, it must be hidden in a place where no one will find if

3) [line 18] "ARUR HA'ISH ASHER YA'ASEH FESEL U'MASECHAH... [V'SAM BA'SESER...]" - "Cursed be the man who makes any engraved or molten image, [an abomination to HaSh-m, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.']" (Devarim 27:15)

4) [line 23] "PESILEI ELOHEIHEM TISREFUN BA'ESH [LO SACHMOD KESEF V'ZAHAV ALEIHEM V'LAKACHTA LACH...]" - "The engraved images of their gods shall you burn with fire; [you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it to you, lest you be snared there; for it is an abomination to HaSh-m, your G-d.]" (Devarim 7:25)

5) [line 24] MESHE'PASLO - when he engraves it, chisels it out

6) [line 25] SHE'POSEL - that he may nullify (AVODAH ZARAH: BITULAH - removal of the Isur Hana'ah of Avodah Zarah)
(a) An object that is worshipped as Avodah Zarah, e.g. an idol, becomes Asur b'Hana'ah -- it is forbidden to derive any benefit from it (see Background to Avodah Zarah 52:34).
(b) Under certain circumstances, an object that became Asur b'Hana'ah by being worshipped as an idol, or by being used to service an idol, can become permitted through "Bitul." This process of nullification involves an idolater showing that the idol is no longer considered to be of any value to him. This can be done by damaging or denting the object, by selling it to a Jewish craftsman (who will melt it down or crush it), etc. (Mishnah Daf 53a). However, not all objects of Avodah Zarah can be nullified, and not all persons can nullify an object of Avodah Zarah, as follows:

1. An object of Avodah Zarah that belongs to, or came into the possession of, a Jew cannot be nullified and it remains Asur b'Hana'ah forever. Only an object of a Nochri, that was always in the possession of a Nochri, can have its Isur Hana'ah removed through Bitul. (There are some who maintain that a Jew's object that was used to service Avodah Zarah -- "Meshamshei Avodah Zarah" -- can be permitted through Bitul, but most Rishonim dispute this. See RITVA to Avodah Zarah 47a.)
2. Only a Nochri is able to effect the Bitul of an Avodah Zarah, but not a Jew, nor a Ger Toshav (a Ben Noach who accepts upon himself to fulfill the seven Noachide laws (see Daf 64b)).
(c) Bitul is effective to permit the Isur Hana'ah of an object used as Avodah Zarah, even when it is done against the will of the one performing the Bitul, such as when he is forced to nullify the Avodah Zarah (Daf 43a).
(d) Once an idol itself has been nullified from being an Avodah Zarah, all of the objects used to service it also become nullified. However, objects that were used as offerings to the idol ("Tikroves Avodah Zarah") remain forbidden forever and cannot become permitted through Bitul (Daf 50a).
(e) Even when an Avodah Zarah is permitted through Bitul, the Bitul does not permit the object to be used for holy purposes such as a Korban, since it remains detestable. The Gemara remains in doubt as to whether an object of Avodah Zarah can be permitted through Bitul to be used for a Mitzvah.

7a) [line 26] "LO SACHMOD KESEF V'ZAHAV ALEIHEM" - see above, entry #4
b) [line 26] "V'LAKACHTA LACH" - see above, entry #4

8a) [line 27] PASLO L'ELO'AH - he engraves it as a god
b) [line 27] PASLO ME'ELO'AH - he nullifies it from being a god
9) [line 29] "V'SAM BA'SESER" - see above, entry #3
10) [line 33] "LO SITA LECHA ASHEIRAH, KOL ETZ, ETZEL MIZBACH..." - "You shall not plant an Asheirah tree, any tree, near the altar [of HaSh-m, your G-d, which you shall make.]" (Devarim 16:21)

11a) [line 34] MAH MIZBE'ACH TA'UN GENIZAH, AF ASHEIRAH TA'UN GENIZAH - just as the Mizbe'ach of the Beis ha'Mikdash needs Genizah (burial) due to its holiness, so, too, the Asheirah tree needs Genizah (see next entry), due to its repulsiveness
b) [line 34] GENIZAH - (a) to bury it (RASHI); (b) to burn or destroy it (TOSFOS)

12) [line 38] RITECH KELI - one who welds a utensil by hammering, in order to fix it

13) [line 45] MAI IRYA... ? - Why is this talking about... ?

14) [line 46] TUM'AH YESHANAH - its previous state of Tum'ah (ritual impurity)
(a) Metal utensils that become Temei'im need to be immersed in a Mikvah. If they are pierced or broken and are no longer useful, they become Tehorim. Shimon ben Shetach decreed that when broken metal utensils that are Temei'im are rebuilt, they return to their previous status of Tum'ah (Shabbos 16a).
(b) The Gemara (ibid. 16b) gives three reasons for his decree: 1. So that Mei Chatas (the water that contains the ashes of the Parah Adumah) not become obsolete. For example, a person owns a utensil that comes in contact with a dead body. It must be sprinkled with Mei Chatas on the third and seventh days of the Taharah process. He would rather pierce it, fix it, and be able to use his utensil on the same day that it became Tamei. 2. Lest people pierce their utensils with a hole *less* than the required size to render them Tehorim, and mistakenly think that they have rendered them Tehorim. 3. Lest people think that a utensil that becomes Tamei (through Tum'ah other than a dead body) can be immersed in a Mikvah and used immediately, without waiting for nightfall.
(c) Rav Hamnuna asks his question about a utensil that was fixed for the sake of Avodah Zarah. When it regains its previous state of Tum'ah, does this only apply to its state of Tum'ah mid'Oraisa (e.g. see next entry), or even to its state of Tum'ah mid'Rabanan, i.e. that state of Tum'ah that the Rabanan decreed upon all utensils of Avodah Zarah.

Klei Matchos refer to six types of metal utensils that are listed in the Torah (Bamidbar 31:22), made from gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and lead. If they become Temei'im, they can be immersed in a Mikvah to make them Tehorim again. If they are pierced or broken and are no longer useful, they become Tehorim. If broken metal utensils that are Temei'im are rebuilt, they return to their previous status of Tum'ah (see previous entry, a-b).

16a) [line 47] PESHUTEIHEN - utensils that do not have a receptacle
b) [line 47] MEKABLEIHEN - utensils that have a receptacle

17) [line 49] CHADA MI'GO CHADA KA'MIBA'EI LEI - (lit. one [question] that comes out of one [other question] is what he [actually] asked) That is true, he did ask his question with regard to other Tum'os d'Rabanan. And if those Tum'os do *not* return to the utensil, will the Tum'ah d'Rabanan of Avodah Zarah, which is more stringent, return to the utensil?

18) [line 52] OCHLIM (TUM'AS OCHLIN)
(a) All foods become Tamei if they touch a source of Tum'ah, but only after they first become wet. From then on, even after they dry, they can still become Tamei.
(b) Seven liquids can enable foods to become Tamei: water, dew, oil, wine, milk, blood, and honey.
(c) The minimum amount of food that can become Tamei is a k'Beitzah. (d) In order for something edible to receive Tum'as Ochlin, it has to be considered food. A person's intention to eat the item and treat it as a food gives it the status of a food and it can receive Tum'as Ochlin. Once food becomes Tamei, it cannot become Tahor by immersing it in a Mikvah.


19) [line 7] BEIS CHONYO - the Temple of Chonyo in Alexandria, built by Chonyo the son of Shimon ha'Tzadik. Even though he was chosen by Shimon ha'Tzadik to be the next Kohen Gadol, his older brother, Shim'i, engineered a plot of defamation against him that so insulted the Kohanim that they wanted to kill Chonyo. He escaped to Alexandria, where he built a replica of the Beis ha'Mikdash. There is a Machlokes Tana'im as to whether it was built for worshiping HaSh-m or for worshiping Avodah Zarah (Menachos 109b).

20) [line 14] MIKRA HAYAH B'YADENU - I used to have a proof for my ruling from a verse

21) [line 15] "V'ES KOL HA'KELIM ASHER HIZNI'ACH HA'MELECH ACHAZ B'MALCHUSO B'MA'ALO, HECHANU V'HIKDASHNU, V'HINAM LIFNEI MIZBACH HASH-M." - "And all the utensils, which king Ahaz in his reign cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of HaSh-m." (Divrei ha'Yamim II 29:19)

22) [line 21] MIZRACHIS TZEFONIS - [in the] northeast [chamber of the Beis ha'Moked - TY #43]

23) [line 21] BEIS CHASHMONA'I - The House of the Chashmona'im, the Kohanim who were prepared to sacrifice their lives to fight against the Syrian-Greek infiltration of the Holy Land. Instead, HaSh-m fought their battles and miraculously saved them from their enemies. This period led to the institution of the holiday of Chanukah, which commemorated the events of that time.

24) [line 22] SHIKTZU ANSHEI YAVAN - which the Syrian-Greek soldiers defiled (by offering on the Mizbe'ach sacrifices to Avodah Zarah)

25) [line 24] KERA ASHKACH V'DARASH - they found a verse, from which they deduced the proper actions to take

26) [line 24] "...U'VA'U VAH PARITZIM V'CHILELUHA." - "[I will also turn My face from them, and they shall profane My secret place;] for the robbers shall enter into it, and profane it." (Yechezkel 7:22) - This verse teaches that as soon as the idolaters entered the compound of the Beis ha'Mikdash, all of its vessels were immediately profaned and were Halachically rendered Hefker (the state of ownerlessness). As such, when the idolaters defiled those vessels, they were actually defiling vessels that belonged to them, since they acquired them from Hefker.

27) [line 26] NISBERINHU? - [Shall we have idolaters] break of crack them (nullifying the Isur Hana'ah -- see above, entry #6)?

28) [line 26] "AVANIM SHELEMOS" - "complete stones" (Devarim 27:6)
29) [line 27] NINSERINHU - [Shall we] sand them down [to repair them]?
30) [line 27] "LO SANIF ALEIHEM BARZEL" - "Do not raise over them an iron [instrument to fashion them]" (Devarim 27:5)

31) [line 32] DINARA HADREYANA, TERAYANA, SHAIFA - a Dinar of the emperors Hadrian or Trajan, on which the name of the king was rubbed out due to overuse (RASHI)

32) [line 32] MIPNEI TIV'AH SHEL YERUSHALAYIM - because they are coins of Yerushalayim (which are mostly Hekdesh -- see Shekalim 19a)

33) [line 33] AD SHE'MATZ'U LAH MIKRA MIN HA'TORAH SHE'HU MUTAR - (this is the continuation of the statement of Rav Oshaya, which was interrupted by the question of the Gemara and Abaye's subsequent answer)

(a) An object that is worshipped as Avodah Zarah, e.g. an idol, becomes Asur b'Hana'ah -- it is forbidden to derive any benefit from it. One who benefits from such an object receives Malkus two times, once for the prohibition in Devarim 7:26 and once for the prohibition in Devarim 13:18. Similarly, an object that was used in the service of Avodah Zarah ("Meshamshei Avodah Zarah") is also Asur b'Hana'ah, as the verse states in Devarim 12:2 (Daf 51b), and an object that was offered to an Avodah Zarah is Asur b'Hana'ah, as the verse states in Tehilim 106:28 (Daf 50a). Objects of Avodah Zarah themselves and the utensils that are used in their service must be destroyed, as it states in Devarim 7:5 and 12:2. Money paid in exchange for an item of Avodah Zarah becomes forbidden (Asur b'Hana'ah) like the Avodah Zarah itself.
(b) The Tana'im argue whether an Avodah Zarah becomes Asur b'Hana'ah immediately when the object is set up as an idol, or only after it has been worshipped (Daf 51b). An object used in the service of Avodah Zarah becomes Asur b'Hana'ah only when it is used to serve the Avodah Zarah. In addition, an object used to beautify the Avodah Zarah ("Noy Avodah Zarah") becomes Asur b'Hana'ah lo sachmod kesef v'zahav Devarim 7:25 (Daf 51b).
(c) There are certain types of objects that do not become prohibited when they are worshipped or used in the service of Avodah Zarah:

1. Animals do not become prohibited (Daf 46a).
2. An object that is attached ("Mechubar") to the ground and that was always attached and was never manipulated by human hands does not become prohibited (Daf 45a).
(i) The Tana'im argue whether or not a tree that was planted by a person and that did not grow by itself becomes prohibited when worshipped or not. Everyone agrees, however, that a tree that was initially planted in order to be worshipped as an Avodah Zarah becomes prohibited (Daf 45b). Some maintain that the part of the tree that grows after it was worshipped becomes Asur b'Hana'ah according to all opinions (Daf 48a).
(ii) Any object that does not grow from the ground but that was attached to the ground by a person's action, such as a house, becomes Asur b'Hana'ah when worshipped according to all opinions. According to Rashi (Daf 46a), even a tree that already grew and was uprooted and replanted in another place becomes Asur b'Hana'ah when worshipped (see Tosfos to Daf 45b and Insights to Daf 46a).

3. When an object belonging to one person is worshipped as an idol by another person (without the owner's permission), the object does not become Asur b'Hana'ah.

(d) Even though animals and objects that are attached ("Mechubar") to the ground do not become Asur b'Hana'ah (as mentioned above), nevertheless they become invalidated from being used for holy purposes, such as bringing such an animal as a Korban, or building a Mizbe'ach out of stones that were worshipped. Even though they are not Asur b'Hana'ah, they are considered abhorrent to be used for a holy purpose (Daf 46b-47a). The Gemara (ibid.) is in doubt whether or not such objects may be used for other forms of Mitzvos, such as performing the Mitzvah of Lulav with the branch of a tree that was worshipped. Most Rishonim (see RITVA to Daf 54a) maintain that an object that was worshipped by someone who does not own the object does *not* become prohibited even for holy purposes, such as being offered as a Korban, as the Gemara in Chulin (Daf 40a) mentions. The RAMBAM, however, maintains that such an object does become prohibited for holy purposes (Hilchos Isurei Mizbe'ach 4:6).
(e) Similarly, even though animals, objects that are attached to the ground, and an object that does not belong to the one worshipping it do not become Asur b'Hana'ah when worshipped as Avodah Zarah, nevertheless they *do* become Asur b'Hana'ah when they are worshipped with a physical action. Therefore, if one pours a wine libation on an animal that does not belong to him, or if one began to slaughter an animal to an idol, the animal becomes Asur b'Hana'ah even for ordinary uses.
(f) Under certain circumstances, an object that became Asur b'Hana'ah by being worshipped as an idol can become permitted through "Bitul" (see Background to Avodah Zarah 52:6).

35) [line 38] MASNI LEI REBBI L'REBBI SHIMON B'REBBI - Rebbi taught Rebbi Shimon, the son of Rebbi (i.e. his own son)

36) [line 39] B'YALDUSECHA - when you were younger
37) [line 43] A'DA'ATA D'OVED KOCHAVIM PALACH - he worships according to the intentions of the idolater

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