POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question on the daf
Previous daf Avodah Zarah 41
AVODAH ZARAH 41 - dedicated by Rabbi Kornfeld's father in memory of his
aunt, Malka Gitel bas Reb Yakov Mordechai (Malvina Marmorstein), who took
him into her home and raised him like her own child after the Holocaust. Her
Yahrzeit is 20 Nisan.
1) WHICH IMAGES ARE FORBIDDEN?
(a) (Rabah): They argue about statues in villages, but all
agree that statues in big cities are permitted;
2) FRAGMENTS OF IDOLS
1. This is because they are for beauty, not to be
(b) Objection: No one would say that statues in villages are
for beauty (all agree that they are to be Ne'evadim, and
(c) Correction: Rather, they argue about statues in big
cities, but all agree that statues in villages are
(d) (Mishnah): Chachamim say, the only forbidden statues...
1. If he holds a staff (or bird or ball), this shows
that he rules over the entire world like over a
staff (or bird or ball).
(e) (Beraisa): Additionally, they said that if he holds a
sword, crown or ring, it is forbidden.
1. Originally, Chachamim understood that a sword
indicates a mere bandit, a crown indicates a
craftsman that makes crowns, a ring indicates that
he is the king's messenger;
(f) (Mishnah): R. Shimon ben Gamliel says...
2. Later, Chachamim understood that a sword indicates
that he kills whomever he wants, a crown indicates
kingship, a ring indicates that his seal is supreme
in the world.
(g) (Beraisa): Even if he holds a pebble or chip of wood.
(h) Question (Rav Ashi): What if excrement is in his hand?
1. Does it mean, the whole world is lowly in his eyes,
(i) This question is not resolved.
2. Or, does it mean, the whole world looks down on him,
(a) (Mishnah): If one finds fragments of images, they are
(b) If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden,
for such forms are Ne'evadim.
(c) (Gemara - Shmuel): Even if one finds fragments of *idols*
(the idols were definitely Ne'evadim), they are
(d) Question: The Mishnah permits fragments of *images* (it
is doubtful if the images were ever Ne'evadim) - implying
that fragments of idols are forbidden!
(e) Answer: Fragments of idols are also permitted; the
Mishnah taught fragments of images on account of the
1. (End of the Mishnah): If one finds a form of a hand
or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are
Ne'evadim. (Had the first clause taught fragments of
idols, it would imply that the latter clause only
forbids a form of a hand or leg that came from an
idol, but not from an image.)
(f) (Mishnah): If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is
forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim.
(g) Question: Even though it is a fragment, it is forbidden!
3) CAN A "SAFEK HETER" PERMIT WHAT WAS DEFINITELY FORBIDDEN?
(h) Answer (Shmuel): The case is, it rests on a base (Rashi -
it was fixed there, to be Ne'evad; Tosfos - it is not a
fragment, it was made that way).
(i) (R. Yochanan): If an idol broke by itself, it is
(j) (Reish Lakish): It is permitted.
1. R. Yochanan forbids, for the owner did not nullify
(k) Question (R. Yochanan): "V'Rosh Dagon u'Shtei Kapos Yadav
Kerusos El ha'Miftan...Lo Yidrechu Kohanei Dagon...Al
Miftan" (even though the idol was mutilated, they still
2. Reish Lakish permits, for presumably the owner
nullified it - he sees that it could not save
itself, he realizes that it cannot help him!
(l) Answer (Reish Lakish): They do not consider it mutilated,
they thought that it moved (parts of) itself!
(m) Question (against Reish Lakish - Mishnah): If one finds
fragments of images they are permitted;
1. This implies that fragments of idols are forbidden!
(n) Answer: No, rather, it implies that complete images are
forbidden, the Mishnah is like R. Meir.
(o) Question (against R. Yochanan): Even though R. Meir
forbids complete images, he permits broken images;
1. Presumably, the same principle applies to Chachamim
- even though they forbid complete idols, they
permit broken idols!
(p) Answer: No - R. Meir permits broken images on account of
a double doubt: perhaps the images were never Ne'evadim;
even if they were Ne'evadim, perhaps the owner nullified
1. An idol was definitely Ne'evad (and forbidden), we
do not know if it was nullified - our doubt does not
permit what was definitely forbidden!
(a) Question: Is it really true that a doubt does not permit
what was definitely forbidden?!
1. (Beraisa): If a Chaver (one trustworthy about
tithing) died leaving produce, even if it was
harvested that day, we assume that he tithed them.
(b) Answer #1: There, he definitely tithed them, as R.
Chanina Chuza'ah taught.
2. Even though it was definitely Tevel, and we are in
doubt whether or not he tithed it, we permit it!
1. (R. Chanina Chuza'ah): There is a Chazakah that
anything one gets from a Chaver was tithed.
(c) Answer #2: The produce was not definitely forbidden,
perhaps he acted as R. Oshaya permits.
1. (R. Oshaya): A person may scheme, and bring produce
into his house with the chaff, and his animal (or
himself, if he does not fix himself to eat) may eat