THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Avodah Zarah, 23
1) BUYING AN ANIMAL FROM A "NOCHRI" TO BRING AS A "KORBAN"
QUESTION: The Gemara asks that there is a contradiction between the Mishnah
(22a) and the Beraisa. The Mishnah teaches that one may not park his animal
at an inn of a Nochri, because the Nochri is suspected of Revi'ah. The
Beraisa teaches that one *may* purchase an animal from a Nochri to bring as
a Korban, which implies that a Nochri is *not* suspected of Revi'ah. Ravina
answers that although l'Chatchilah we take into account the possibility of
Revi'ah and prohibit a Jew from entrusting his animal with a Nochri,
nevertheless b'Di'eved we do not suspect that the animal suffered Revi'ah in
the past, with regard to bringing it now as a Korban.
2) HALACHAH: LEAVING AN ANIMAL AT THE INN OF A NOCHRI
What does the Gemara mean by saying that it is permitted to bring the animal
as a Korban, since it is "b'Di'eved?" In what way is this situation
b'Di'eved? The Beraisa is saying that one may buy an animal from a Nochri to
bring as a Korban, which implies that one may but it and offer it as a
Korban even l'Chatchilah!
(a) RASHI (DH Ravina) explains that the word "b'Di'eved" here does not mean
that the undesirable act has already been done. Rather, it means that the
question which the Gemara is discussing involves a question of what
*occurred* (in the past) and not what *will* occur (in the future).
The RITVA explains this more clearly, based on the Gemara in Gitin (28b).
The Gemara there teaches that if a Kohen gives his wife (who is a Bas
Yisrael) a Get on the condition that it take effect immediately before his
death, the woman is prohibited from eating Terumah immediately. The reason
is because her husband might die the next minute, thereby making her
retroactively divorced from him (and prohibited from eating Terumah). In
contrast, if a Kohen married to a Bas Yisrael leaves town on an extended
trip, the woman is permitted to eat Terumah while he is absent and she does
not have to worry that perhaps her husband died. Rava explains that the
reason for this distinction is that, in the first case, the concern is that
the husband might die at a future time (i.e. the next minute), retroactively
disqualifying her from eating Terumah. A Chazakah (that he has been alive
until now) cannot determine what will be his status in the future; it can
only tell us what his status is at the present moment. In the second case,
the concern is that the husband might be dead at the present moment. In such
a case, the Chazakah can determine that since he was alive when he left, he
probably is still alive right now.
Similarly, one may not leave his animal in the care of a Nochri because we
are concerned that the Nochri might be Rove'a the animal. However, one may
purchase an animal from a Nochri for a Korban, because we are not concerned
that the animal at present suffered Revi'ah, because the Chazakah can
determine that since it was not an animal that suffered from Revi'ah when it
was born, it is still valid to be brought as a Korban.
(b) TOSFOS RABEINU ELCHANAN and the CHIDUSHEI HA'RASHBA, however, seem to
understand Ravina's words differently. They ask how Ravina will explain the
Mishnah earlier (14b) which teaches that it is permitted to sell an animal
to a Nochri (see TOSFOS here, DH Ravina). They answer that if we would be
prohibited from selling animals to Nochrim, it would cause us great loss,
and it would arouse the animosity of the Nochrim. Therefore, it is
considered a situation of b'Di'eved just like the situation in our Gemara.
They clearly seem to understand that the "b'Di'eved" here is used in its
What, though, makes buying a Korban from a Nochri a situation of b'Di'eved?
Perhaps it is because of what TOSFOS writes (22b, end of DH u'Reminhu).
Tosfos explains that it is difficult to find an animal that is valid for a
Korban, since it is easy for a Mum, a blemish, to disqualify it. Therefore,
it is sometimes necessary to purchase an animal from a Nochri. In addition,
it might arouse animosity if we do not accept Korbanos that were bought from
the stables of Nochrim (see Gitin 56a).
OPINIONS: The Gemara offers a number of solutions to the contradiction
between the Mishnah, which prohibits leaving an animal at an inn of a
Nochri, and the Beraisa, which permits purchasing an animal from a Nochri to
be brought as a Korban. However, according to all of the answers, our
Mishnah remains with its prohibition of leaving an animal at the inn of a
What is the Halachah in practice?
(a) TOSFOS (22a, DH Ein Ma'amidin) writes that throughout the generations,
the teaching of this Mishnah was not followed in practice. The common
practice has been to leave one's animal with a Nochri. To explain the common
practice, Tosfos and the ROSH (2:1) suggest that the Halachah follows the
view of Rebbi Pedas, who rules that the law of our Mishnah is the subject of
a Machlokes between the Rabanan and Rebbi Eliezer, and we follow the more
lenient view of the Rabanan who do not suspect a Nochri of Revi'ah.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 153:1) cites the opinion of the RASHBA and
permits entrusting an animal with a Nochri.
Why should we rule like Rebbi Pedas and the Rabanan? Tosfos and the Rosh
point out that, first, the Halachah follows the more lenient opinion in
cases of unsettled disputes regarding Isurim d'Rabanan (see Tosfos to Avodah
Zarah 7a, DH b'Shel, in the name of Rabeinu Tam). Second, TOSFOS RABEINU
ELCHANAN adds that even though this Mishnah is a Stam Mishnah following the
view of Rebbi Eliezer, the earlier Mishnah (14b) which permits selling an
animal to a Nochri follows the opinion of the Rabanan, and we follow that
Stam Mishnah as the Halachah.
However, the RAMBAM (in Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 22:5) quotes the ruling of the
Mishnah here, which follows the opinion of Rebbi Eliezer.
(b) The RASH MI'SHANTZ (14b) suggests that Ravina in our Sugya follows the
original assumption of Rav (on 14b), who asserts that the Halachah of our
Mishnah applies only in a place where the custom is not to sell animals to
Nochrim. Accordingly, nowadays, when it is customary to sell animals to
Nochrim, it is also permitted to park an animal at the inn of a Nochri. See
also RASHBA here, who makes a similar suggestion when explaining the opinion
of Rebbi Pedas.
However, all of the Rishonim reject this approach. (See Tosfos DH Ravina and
(c) The MAGID MISHNEH there (Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 22:5) cites the RASHBA as
explaining that even if the Halachah of our Mishnah applies in places where
it is customary to sell animals to Nochrim, it would not apply to the
Nochrim of our times who have much higher moral standards, and whose
governments (and humane societies) even outlaw such acts. (See Me'iri to
Bava Kama 37b, who refers to the Nochrim of today who "conduct themselves in
the ways of ethical behavior and proper etiquette," and see the similar
statement cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes in the name of the Me'iri in the
margin to the Gemara in Bava Kama 113a). Therefore, it is permitted nowadays
to entrust an animal with a Nochri. This is also the opinion of the RITVA
(14b) and the RAN (on the Rif) here.
that conduct themselves in the ways of ethical behavior and proper
etiquette." A similar statement is cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes in t
he name of the Me'iri, and cited in the margins of the Gemara in Bava Kama