Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rabbi Auman Avodah Zara Test 2

These notes are unofficial and unedited. Any flaws and misquotations are mine; anything you find meaningful is from Rabbi Kenneth Auman. If you fail because you studied off these notes, that is completely your own fault. These are meant to aid you, not guarantee As.

pages 22-23- This is a xerox of the Tur (you know because you see the Beis Yosef and the Bach on the sides.) The Tur quotes the Rashba- bottom of page 22-

A geir toshav that takes 7 mitzvot upon himself (geir toshav refers to a person who is permitted to live in Israel as opposed to a non-Jew who doesn't keep the seven Noachide laws) lo se'chaneim- the Gemara learns 3 things from this. 1) You can't sell them a house

[I don't think we learned the other two.]

Yayin Nesach:

A) Yayin Deoraisa- Assur per Deoraisa is non-Jew pouring wine libations (like they used to for Dionysus and Bacchus.) Non-Jew comes and touches wine makes it non-Kosher. Rambam says this doesn't apply by Yishmaelim/ Muslims. Now, if Yishmaelim were considered true ovdei avodah zara then it ought to be considered yayin nesach but the Rambam explains it is not yayin nesach. Hence we see that Yishmaelim don't have status of ovdei avodah zarah (at least per the Rambam.)

There are two things that we ought to consider in this context: Shsiya/ Drinking vs Ha’naah/ Benefit (can you give this wine as a gift, sell it, etc?)

From here you see that Yishmaelim don’t have a status of Avodah Zara.

[Elsewhere: Rambam says it is assur for non-Jews to make their own religion- they can’t be m’chadesh das..]

Memorize this: Rabbi Chushiel leads to Rabbi Chananel leads to R’ Yitzchak Elfasi (Rif) leads to R’ Yosef Even Migesh (R’ Migesh) leads to R’ Maimon leads to R’ Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam)

R’ Chushiel- one of the principles in the full story of Ibn Daud.

There are 3 RIBIDs.

1. Ibn Daud (wrote a book called the Sefer HaKabalah)
2. R' Avraham Av B"D (Narbona)
3. R' Avraham Ben David (Posquierres) - He's the famous one who writes the Ba'al Hasagos on the Shulchan Aruch

Ibn Daud wrote a book called Sefer Hakabalah-history of Torah- a history book. (Torah means Kabbalah according to the Neviim. Rishonim use kabbalah to mean mesorah.)

Ibn Daud was pondering a very strange phenomenon- yeshivos of Sura and Pupedisa which eventually moved to Baghdad. All of a sudden somewhere around the year 1000, yeshivos beginning in other communities- Alexandria, learning in Germany- all around year 1000. Very mysterious- so Ribid either knew this particular story or made it up. It's a story of 4 great Rabbanim on a ship- they had gotten to Italy and were kidnapped. Pirates knew that the Jews would pay a good ransom for these people. He names the first three Rabbanim and says about the fourth, "I don't know who he was." The explanation as to how he got to these places is quite odd- whether or not it is true is highly questionable (for one thing, having all these people alive at the same time, let alone alive together on a ship, is questionable.)

R' Hai Gaon died in 1038, Rashi was born in 1040- that's the story of R' Chushiel.

3 Talmidim of the Maharm from Rutenberg:

1. Rashi
2. The Mordechai
3. Hagahos Maimoniyos

Rashi lived in Germany and moved to Spain/ worried about getting arrested.

Entering Places of Idolatry

Mishna at the bottom of page 9- from Avodah Zarah 11

City that has avodah zara- to be outside the city is fine. On the other hand, if there's avodah zara outside the city, you can be inside the city.

Are you allowed to go on the road to such a city?

1. If it's a road that only goes there, NO
2. If it's a road that goes elsewhere as well, that's fine

Reason behind the first approach is that it seems like a maras ayin issue.

RASHI on page 9- This has nothing to do with going into the city- it only has to do with doing business. eople in city here are good- people outside of city serve a different god.

page 10 - Tanu Rabbanan- can't enter city with ___. Can't go into city with avodah zarah/ can't go from it to another city (R' Meir)

Chachamim say that it depends on the road- whether the road only goes to the Avodah Zara city or others as well

1. A person got a splinter in his foot/ leg and wants to bend down and remove the splinter but is passing by an idol of some kind. So it looks like bowing, therefore you should not do it. But if it won't appear as though you are bowing, then you can do it.

2. A person dropped his money (and money is sitting in front of an idol)- he can't bow down to pick it up

3. Fountain in front of idol (can't bow down in order to drink water.)

Also can't drink from the mouth of the fountain- it'll look as though you are kissing avodah zarah.

R' Yaakov Emden letter- read/ discuss.

He had an ulterior motive in writing this piece- "God forbid that I should write anything that's flattery"- he had obviously read the Gospels (because of anti- Sabation capaign)- found Christian parallels between the two (so that is probably why- just a guess)

The Gemara says that is permitted for Talmidei Chachamim to read texts of Avodah Zara to determine whether or not something truly is avodah zara.

He's describing his view of what Christianity ought to be. Idea that for gentiles this is a good thing- it distances them from idolatry.

There are Jewish groups that have dialogue with non-Jewish groups (Catholic church interested in it: please read "Confrontation" by the Rav. He says no discussions about matters of theology.)

page 11- Before this, somebody (one of the Tannaim0 was taken to jail/ caught by the Romans for something. R' Akiva said "Maybe it happened once that you got ha'naah from a goy in some way that wasn't proper- that's why this happened to you." Says the Tanna, "Exactly! You reminded me- once I was in the shuk and Yaakov Ish Kfar Sarna said "It says in your Torah you're not allowed to use money earned by a prostitute to bring a korban. Will you be allowed to use money from a zonah to build an outhouse for the kohen gadol?" I didn't answer him. So e said (quotes a pasuk of Micha) "You can use it to build a bathroom because it "came from a dirty activity and can be used for a dirty matter" and I liked what he said- taken by this minus, this heresy- and I was over on "Harchik m'aliyah drachecha (zo minus) v'al takreiv el pesach beita (so harishus)." Stay away from minus (heresy) and governments, so don't even go near a house of ill repute. How far away? R' Chisda says four amos away.

Have to physically distance yourself from these things because they are risky- you'll be drawn into beautiful situation (perhaps into thinking that things/ interpretations are beautiful) so that's a problem. So stay away from these things.

TOSFOS used to go to a place called Bi Avidan- but they went there to argue with tem, not for any other reason. But not problem of minus. People who didn't go with them didn't go out of fear (fear of being killed)- not like Rashi's comment that this was a place of Avodas Kochavim.

Place of actual Avodah Zara- ca't go there at all (according to Tosfos.)

page 19- The RUSH. first quotes Gemara, then page 20 starts quoting the Yerushalmi.

(Why do we learn Bavli more than the Yerushalmi? A) Yerushalmi concluded first, year 300 whereas Bavli finished in year 500. B) Bavli underwent editing- 100 year period of editing until it became a real book. Yerushalmi is choppier, harder to read and learn.)

Yerushalmi says that if you are a guest, you can't go to a city where Avodah Zara is taking place. If you live there, then you can. A traveling caravan (shayara) can go because everyone knows that traveling caravans go from city to city. The idea is that someone who lives in that city who comes home to that city; obviously he's not doing Avodah Zarah. But someone who is a guest going to that city; perhaps he is going for that express purpose! So a guest cannot go.

Now you have a city with a festive celebration in honor of Avodah Zara. What now?

RASHI is quoting someone: If Jews live in the city where Avodah Zara is taking place, Jews are allowed to go to that city (because people won't think you're doing Avodah Zarah but rather that you've gone to visit your friend.) But it doesn't appear to be that way according to the Yerushalmi. The Yerushalmi says that a guest can't go out but a ben ha-ir can go because people will know ben ir is going home to his house to sleep whereas if a guest is going, why is he going during the time of this big Avodah Zara celebration? Maybe he's going to join them! dso that's a problem.

V'harav Rabeinu Yonah author of Sha'arei Teshuva (he was related to Ramban and opposed to Rambam)

[Tangential discussion on maras ayin here. 1. Haseir mimcha akshus peh- have to act in proper way and 2. Lifnei iver- idea of yarmulka hashgacha]

page 26- This is the Tur. He says:"It is forbidden to say that you are an idol-worshipper in order for other people not to kil you."

(But what about the Holocaust? this statement of the Tur needs further discussion.)

For pikuech nefesh you can run into a church- but you can't say you're a member of their faith. Clearly Rashi is of the opinion that it's assur to go into a place of Avodah Zara except to save your life.

[Popular misconceptions: Davening is what makes a room holy= Room set aside for that is kedushas beis kneses. An aron doesn't give a room kedusha and covering up an aron doesn't mean you can do whatever you want in there.]

page 1- Diyukna- can't look at this even during the week (writing can't look at it during Shabbat) How do we learn from the words "Al tifnu el ha'elilim?" How do you know you can't look at statues because it says don't look at things you made up yourself-

Look at Rashi: People make pictures/ graven images/ images of people and write under them "This isa house/ the sun/ David son of Goliath." Not allowed to read that on Shabbos because not allowed to read business documents on Shabat (this is not our topic at all) but pay attention to the next line:

Diyukna can't look at during the week- Gemara is very unclear- what kind of images can't you look at during the week? Must have something to do with Avodah Zara- learned out from "Al tifnu el ha'elilim."

page 13- Gemara discussing paving stones used to pave the streets where these stones had been used to serve idols. Who is the binan shel kedoshim? He is Rabbi Menachem and Rabbi Simai- why does he have such a name? Because he didn't even look at the images on coins. (So this is puzzling. What's the matter with that?)

Tosfos: (It's Hey-Gimmel in big letters starting from "V'im tomar? Mah chasidus..?" What is the righteousness of he who didn't look at coins? You're not allowed to look at any pictures (quotes the Gemara on page 1.) So what's such high praise that this man doesn't look at these images? Tosfos says the issur is to go out of your way to look at an image but to look at ones around you (and by extension coins) is fine.

back to page 1

Tosfos: "U'diyaknu atzma af b'khol assur" What kind of images are you talking about? When you made them to be Avodah Zara (so now questions- does he mean pictures of Avodah Zara or where the image is the Avodah Zara? Unclear.) This man was very pious that he didn't look at coins- why are we calling him pious? Because he's allowed to look at coins!

Why can you look at coins?

page 1- Because it's not Avodah Zara- not made to be Avodah Zara

page 13- Because it is only assur if you go out of your way to look at Avodah Zara

So these two Tosfos (on page 1 and page 13) disagree with each other. The two different approaches are that the Avodah Zara is Avodah Zara vs not Avodah Zara or common vs uncommon.

[Tangent: Are you allowed to look at religious art in museums? Coins/ stamps that may have crosses or other things on them/ can you look at these?)

page 14-Very important principle in hilkhos avodah zara- "Oved kochavim m'vatel avodas kochavim shelo v'shel chaveiro."

If a non-Jew has avodah zara, he can make it NOT Avodah Zara- he can deconsecrate it. Halakha will then no longer view it as Avodah Zara (exactly how you mevatel things is not so clear yet)

Look at Rashi on the left-hand side:"Yisrael aino mevatel avodas kochavim shel oved kochavim d'oved kochavim posel eloko"

Jews can't be mevatel the Avodah Zara of a gentile and certainly can't be mevatel his own Avodah Zara.

page 15- The mishna here explains how to mevatel the Avodah Zara- if gentile cut off top of the Avodah Zara's ear, top of the nose or just pascha (squashed it in/ hammered it in) [so for example a metal statue that just caves in, even though nothing fel off..] this is all batul. On the other hand, if the guy spat in front of his Avodah Zara (sign of derision or disrespect) or urinated in front of it- threw some waste material at it (tzoah)- in these cases it's not batil.

Rashi: Why no? Because he was temporarily angry, but that doesn't mean he won't worship it later on.

page 16- A deserted place of idol worship- ifit's in a time of peace (and the place has simply been abandoned) then it's a form of bittul but in a time of war where they've simply run away (but have every intention of coming back in peacetime and using this temple once more) it is not bittul. [certain kinds of benches-puto ut when king passes by/ put idols on them- this isn't relevant to us]

R' Auman clarifies: Bittul Avodah Zara doesn't mean people had ideological change of heart- it just means that this particular Avodah Zara they're not interested in anymore.

page 12- Amar Rabah bar bar Chana- There's a story of R' Elazar Ha'Kaper b'Rivi who was walking on the road and found a beautiful ring (but it was inscribed with an image of Avodah Zara.) A young non-Jew passed by and R' Elazar said nothing and then an older person came along and R' Elazar asked him to be mevatel this Avodah Zarah. The older person didn't want to do it! So R' Elazar smacked him and then the older gentile was mevatel it. We learn 3 things fro this.

1. Oved kochavim can mevatel his Avodah Zarah and that of his friend

2. Only one who knows about Avodah Zara may be mevatel it- older person as opposed to younger child

3. Oved Avodah Zara can be mevatel an Avodah Zara against his will (here, only because he was slapped)

Rabbi Chanina strongly disapproved of this whole story/ "cursed"

Didn't R' Elazar know the following mishna- if you find an aveida/ save it from a lion (or any other kind of ferocious animal- or river or soldier- any of these thigns) or you find something in the middle of the street you can take it for yourself (even if you know to whom it belongs)- that's because of yeiush (where owner gives up hope of getting it back)

Yeiush is sometimes situational and automatic- situation makes it yeiush, not the person's actually having given up hope.

So if yeiush, isn't it automatically batul (despite the fact that the ring has some kind of image/ inscription on it?)

So what does the gentile think? If an oved Avodah Zara finds this ring, he'll worship it (so in fact this man is giving up hope of finding it himself doesn't mean others won't worship it) or he assumes that a Jew will sell it to a gentile (he doesn't know that a Jew is forbidden to do that), therefore it's not batul.

page 37- This is Igros Moshe from Yoreh Deah, siman Samach-Tes.

The question is whether it's muttar to sell stamps of countries that have on hte stamps the whoof and warp (shesi v'erev) = the CROSS on it. (Whoof & warp refres to loom, horizontal and vertical, hence the cross.)

R' Moshe responds: This man's a stamp dealer- is he allowed to sell and buy the stamps with crosses? He says there is no issur because it's no different than the images on the coins- cross on stamp is not there to worship; it has the connotation of Avodah Zara but it's not there to be worshipped (so quoting the Tosfos, saying this isn't specifically for the purpose of avodah zara.) Second heter which was _____.

Clearly it doesn't mean that once you get used to looking at Avodah Zara all the time, that means it's okay! It being a davar ragil doesn't help!

Since the coin is made to be used all the time (as opposed to an idol which is made for a specific purpose) if coins are muttar, stamps are muttar!

So he says that stamps are muttar but now goes further and says he's not even sure that looking at a cross constitutes an issur. However there is a halakha to be marchik from anything bad so not right to look at it if it's associated with avodah zara.

Suggests stamps are made to be disrespected- they are dirtied in the post office because they cancel/ stamp the stamp- so they are mevazeh the image and then people throw the envelope into the garbage- something gentiles themselves don't venerate- no need for Jew to be concerned (idea by Aphrodite in Gemara- statue of her outside of public bathhouse. Since everyone walks around her naked, obviously no respect for her)

So two ideas that Tosfos mentioned:

1. Cross is not really Avodah Zara

2. Stamp is made to be disrespected/ m'vazeh

37a and b - Question asked by Rabbi Yehudah Parnes (person who was part of YU and now is part of Landers)- person who is a public school teacher; is he allowed to teach Greek and Roman mythology? Read the teshuva on your own. The question was asked to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.

37b written in 1964- Possibly in Pittsburgh- wanted to put up a statue of Kennedy (was assasinated the year before) so asks if that is okay so R' Moshe discusses whether it is permissable to be on the committee deciding whether to do that


All right, now let's talk about mentioning idolatrous names!

page 5- V'shem elokim acheirim lo tazkiru- don't mention the names of other gods. Not just don't say the names of idols in terms of prayer but even just to say "meet me by the statue of Zeus" is problematic. lo yishma al picha- shouldn't mention names of avodah zara.

[random sidepoint: Rashi modeled codes after the Rif]

page 6- Hanoded b'shmo- "Wait for me under the statue of Zeus"- can't say that because you are getting benefit since the avodah zara is "helping" you. Han'aa is not okay. But it is probably assur even if you are not getting benefit from it

back to page 5- Asa Ulla- Ulla came from Israel to Bavel- someone questioned him, "Where did you sleep last night?" He said he slept in Kolbno. Reva asked "How can you say that?! That is the name of an avodah zara!" So quotes R' Yochanan (who represents Torah from Israel) saying that "Any avodah zara mentioned in the Torah we can mention (like asheira, Ba'al, etc)." So then the question becomes, "Where is Kolbno written in the Torah?" So gives him a pasuk. So you mean to say an avodah zara not mentioned in the Torah you can't mention?

So R' Masha brings up idea- hilkhot of tumah and tahara of zav and zava. Zav is any secretion other than a seminal emission. A woman is zavah if flow of blood other than menstrual blood. Zav and zavah sort of parallel to each other in a number of ways (but not exactly.) So the question here is: This zav has one secretion from body (but so much that it's like 3). Amount of time it takes to walk from Migdion to Shiloh or amount of time it would take to go into mikvah twice, immerse yourself and dry yourself. So Migdion is name of an Avodah Zarah- how could they mention Migdion in the example they give by zav and zavah if it's not mentioned in Tanakh (and we said only avodah zara mentioned in Tanakh can be mentioned by us?)

So Ravina answered that Gad is mentioned (Gad is a god set by the table) so you can really mention Migdion.

[sidepoint: R' Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg is the Sridei Aish]

still on page 5- amar R' Nachman

[quick sidepoint: Shulchan Aruch says stay away from derech avodah zara- 4 amos. Possibly means path. Nowadays probably means the entrance to a place of avodah zara.]

R' Nachman says that you shouldn't mock anything except for avodah zarah. Mocking avodah zara is muttar but that doesn't mean it's always wise (just like not everything that's true ought to be said.)

page 2- This is peirush mishnayos to the Rambam- the Gemara at end of 5th perek of Gittin has a whole bunch of things we do for darchei Shalom. Some things are not completely antithetical to us- sometimes compromise is valuable. They had issues during Gemara times- people who were suspected of doing work during Shmitahyear- you can lend people things that can be used for either assur or muttar behavior- at end makes a comment which is brought down in this Rambam: "U'machazikin yidei ovdei kochavim b'shvias b'dibur bilvad"

If non-Jew working on a field during Shmitah you can say "Have a nice day- good day with your work." You can't help him do the work (since Shmitah year) but you can say nice things to him. If you see him plowing the land you can say "May God be with you."

page 28- This is the Ramah in Yoreh Deah- look at hey. Hey in Kuf Mem Zayin - Muttar l'hitlotzetz b'ellilim

Look here how quoted "Elokecha y'hiyeh b'ezricha oh yatzliach ma'asecha"

Here it is saying your god should be with you! That is very different from the way the Rambam stated it. "Elokim yihiyeh l'cha" - there he just generically said God, not your god!

page 25- The Tur (Bach and Bais Yosef on the sides.) The Bach is quoting the Hagahos Shulchan Aruch by which he means the Rama. Who was the Bach? R' Yoel Sirkes lives in 1600s, father-in-law of the Taz. You can use different leshonos to bless a non-Jew. You can say Shalom Aleichem and Alecha Elokim (Shalom Aleichem denotes God's name.) So there are two theoretical problems:

1. Non Jew working on Shmitah year though a Jew couldn't (can still bless him to do well)- you can still bless him to do well! But it's one thing to say Elokim and another thing to say Elokecha- giving honor to an idol, almost! It's almost as though admitting/ granting that that god (which is perhaps an idol) has the power to bless this man! You can't resolve this by saying that he means God (as in Hashem.) Maybe means everyone's God by saying "your God."

Tet-Saf stands for Ta'us Sofer (scribal error/ printing error) in the old editions of the Rambam. Old editions of Rambam say elokecha. But in this case there's an added complication- the peirush was written by the Rambam in Arabic (wanted to reach the masses.) So in this case you would probably have to go back to the Arabic to check for a scribal error. According to him the correct version is elokim- so it should say elokim (so says the Bach) and says that newer ones have it that way.

My son-in-law pointed this out (the Taz)- he commented this way when studying halakha.

Shuva ra'iti that the Ba'al HaLevush wrote (the Levush was written by R' Mordechai Yafa so the Levush Mordechai said he meant it sarcastically- "May God be with you!" is meant sarcastically.) The Bach says "May God forgive him for saying this- he made up his own peirush!" So the Ba'al Levush gets bashed! So Bach says yes, if you look at this phrase in the Ramah it's in context of mocking but if you look at the source by the Rambam you'll see that he meant it nicely.

page 28- The Shach in gimmel is saying "Elokecha" is assur and it's not like what the Levush (who he calls Ateres Zahav) says (where it's mocking)

Interesting postscript on the right side under Hagahos Ha'Taz (comment the Taz added later on)- To say your god should do good things for you is a violation of "V'shem elokim acheirim lo hizkiru."

page 13- Gemara describing avodah zara known as Markoles (which they worshipped by throwing rocks at it) look at comment of Tosfos that says "Avinu beis koles" - how can you mention this name- it's not written in the Torah! And Rabbeinu Tam says the real name is kilus (l'kaleis means to praise) but they called it koles like an object of scorn (Chazal changed the name to something scornful.)

Chiluf kilus- opposite of koles (derogatory term) The Gemara wouldn't be allowed to mention it if it's the name of an avodah zarah not mentioned in the Torah. So here they can mention it, albeit in derogatory fashion.

page 37a- Teshuva of R' Moshe on mythology- must read/ you will be responsible for this.

Question of whether same avodah zarah which is no longer worshipped- whether assur to study about it. But if teach it in a way to show how ridiculous it is, that would be okay. But also can't say anything bad about current religions that they have.

All right, let's now discuss presenting oneself as being the member of another religion.

page 38- Mishna says "Ain ma'amidim"- The Gemara says that you're nto allowed to have your animals board with gentiles. Why? Because we suspect them of bestiality. Nor should a woman be alone with them (suspect them of sexual relations with women, or perhaps of rape.) And men shouldn't be alone with them (they'll kill the men.)

The Gemara here comments (daf chaf-hey) on that Mishna which is on page 39- how come when it comes to a woman they're afraid of sexual things but not worried they'll murder her? Says Rabbi, they'r etalking about an isha chashuva so they're worried about killing her (and therefore wouldn't.) Otherwise, idea that woman has built-in defense (they'd rather rape her than kill her.)

If problem is with- if she is with other women, not that worried for her. (Side point: Lesbianism is prohibited because of ma'asei eretz mitzrayim- that's what it's considered)

If problem is with shefichas damim then oay. If it's that she has a built-in defense that won't work if she's left alone with other (gentile) women. But if it is that she's left alone with other gentile women, it must be that she is an isha chashuva- that's why we don't think they'd kill her.

So to recap- Isha Chashuva with non-Jewish women:

1. If it's isha chashuva (as the reason) then she can be alone with other non-Jewish women

2. Kli zonah aleha- won't work for women (so the excuse is not that they'd rather rape her than kill her)

Tanu Rabanan- A Jew is walking along the road and along comes a non-Jew. What should he do? Try to get him to be on your right. Rashi says that is because your right hand is stronger than your left. Arrange the way you walk so that you have the strategic advantage. Also you might have the chance to stop him if he's reaching for his sword (you can get to it first.)

But if it's a staff you want him on your left so you can grab it away from him.

Also, you shouldn't bend down in front of him lest he kicks you on the head. If he asks where you're going you should answer "rechov lo es haderech"- tell him much further than you're actually going so he thinks he has time to kill you and then you stop off earlier and he hasn't killed you, huzzah! This is similar to what Jacob did to Esau- he said he was coming to Se'ir but instead got off at Sukkos.

Story with robbers- talmidim ended off at a place shorter than where they said they'd be going. The robber said they were fortunate to use that strategy and asked who their teacher was (was Rabbi Akiva)

So now we have the Rush on page 40.

A woman can hide/ disguise herself and say she's not Jewish (per the Yerushalmi) but a man won't be able to do it (because he has a circumcision.)

We cannot learn from this Gemara that it would be muttar to pass oneself off as a gentile because that's denying God. If they want to kill him because he doesn't follow their religion, he can't pretend to accept their god. So what does Yerushalmi say? Yerushalmi asking question our Bavli asked. (They both comment on the mishnayos, so good.)

Yerushalmi asks same question- how come by women not worried about them being killed? Yerushalmi gives different answer-

1. Pick the thing that's more likely (more likely raped than murdered) because she could always get away by claiming she's not Jewish (Yerushalmi not saying this is muttar but something the woman could get away with)- ovdas kochavim- could still rape her physically, possible to do

page 41- Gemara in Bava Kama- Can't wear shatnez even if not touching his skin- say that in order to get through customs/ don't pay taxes so wearing 10 layers of clothing (this is smuggling.) Because you're not wearing these clothes for the reason people normally wear clothes- only l'havriach es ha'mas (to escape the tax.) So the point is that you can't have shatnez on you (lo ya'aleh alecha) even if not derech levush. Implication is that because it is shatnez you can't do it, regardless of whether it touches the skin.

Dealing with a tax collector who has no limit in this situation. Normally, the king didn't want to be bothered with collecting taxes. So what he did as king is he would sell/ give someone the right to collect taxes for 10 million dollars. So they would give the king 10 million dollars and would pocket the rest/ whatever was left, because he has to make a living off of this too!

1. Moches she'ain lo kitzvah- When there's a tax without a limit, then you're allowed to evade taxes (but normally you can't)

2. He's not authorized by the king to collect taxes but is instead a mafioso who has commandeered a bridge or place- said something like "I own this bridge, better pay me if you want to cross this bridge." Here too you can try to avoid the tax.

That's why there's no issue of cheating here- because normally one is not permitted to cheat the government. But in this case the tax collector is either illegal or unauthorized so it's all right.

page 42- just continuation of cheating (skip)

The Rush- can't be peshat that he dresses up as a goy and therefore evades taxes because Rabbi Akiva would never permit that- the Rush has extended the idea. He says you can't say that you're not Jewish and you can't even dress in a fashion that suggests you're not Jewish.

He offers two ideas- first is avoiding being taxed on what you bring in, which is why you're wearing 10 layers rather than bringing them in as luggage- the other is that perhaps you need to dress like a non-Jew but that is absolutely not permitted; R' Akiva wouldn't allow it.

page 44- Nemukei Yosef was a talmid of the Ran. And the Ran comments on the Rif (this is a page from the Rif.)

During time where they deliberately make a rule that Jews have to wear the same clothing, then forbidden to change so much as a shoelace- then you must give your life rather than wearing that. During a time of shemad (discrimination/ persecution) where the intention is to get the Jews to be over al das (go against their religion) then you can't change. The difference has to do with the purpose/ intention behind the laws.

Intention where they specifically want you to break your religion versus just wanting something fulfilled. But when Jews are simply killed because they aren't non-Jews (and the intention isn't to make you go against your religion) then one is allowed to dress up as a gentile to save your skin.

But there are two stories that are problematic with this point of view:

1. You can't use wood of an asheira to heal yourself even if you're dying

2. Story in Gemara where a person was so lovesick that he was dying- the doctor said even to speak to the woman in question might help her, but they said no because then he would get ha'naa from her

But you would be permitted to play a trick on this lovesick man and have his own wife stand behind the fence and speak to him (so he would think it was that woman)

So the thing going on here is ha'naah- but you are not getting ha'naah out of wearing the gentile clothing.

page 45- Now quotes story: A talmid is allowed to say he is the slave of fire and therefore he doesn't have to give taxes (the religion at the time was Zoroastrianism which worshipped light and fire.) So you're allowed to do this to get out of paying this unfair tax. But what about saying you're a servant of fire? Well, you're the servant of God (God is Aish Achla) so you are not really saying you are an oved avodah zara.

Otherwise idea that they simply served the worshippers of fire (so once again people would assume they were non-Jewish so that's okay.) Midrash Rabbah where two studnets changed their headgear and a Roman official saw them and said "Are you servants of Torah and if so why did you change your headgear?" So they said "Yes, we are and we're willing to die for Torah." But if they hadn't been recognized as Jews, it would have been fine for them to have changed their headgear.

page 46- This is from Mesechtas Nedarim. There's a Ran on the right side of the Tosfos. And where it says Rashi on top- Rashi on Nedarim is suspect (some see him as not actually being Rashi.) Tosfos is on the right in little print. Standard meforash in Nedarim is the Ran.

The Ran says that even a talmid chacham can say that they are a servant of the fire (his intention is for heaven) or servant of the worshippers of fire.

postscript to this: Many Jews survived the Holocaust by dressing up/ pretending to be goyim. It might not be assur- why? Because when goyim persecuting Jews for religious reasons (like in Middle Ages) then by saying you're a Catholic you are being modeh to the religion. But the Nazis didn't particularly care about religions- only about race so under those circumstances avodah zara is not an issue at all. Adraba- if you converted to Catholicism, it didn't help you! If you had Jewish blood, you were still taken. So it's a statement of race versus religion. Could be they instinctively understood that. Persecution of Holocaust is a different kind of religious persecution.

[And I am pretty sure this is all we need to know for the test, because the next section is where we start discussing bechukoseihem.]


Daniel said...

Why do we learn Bavli more than the Yerushalmi? A) Yerushalmi concluded first, year 300 whereas Bavli finished in year 500. B) Bavli underwent editing- 100 year period of editing until it became a real book. Yerushalmi is choppier, harder to read and learn.

I had heard this, but I was taught that the main reason we learn Bavli is simply that in the post-Mishnaic period, the best scholars were in Bavel.

Who is the binan shel kedoshim? He is Rabbi Menachem and Rabbi Simai- why does he have such a name? Because he didn't even look at the images on coins. (So this is puzzling. What's the matter with that?)

Can I offer an alternative explanation? The answer you’ve given turns on whether an image on a coin is automatically forbidden. I would suggest that the Gemara has in mind Roman coins in particular. It is often mistakenly assumed that the Roman emperor was revered as a god in his lifetime. This is not quite true. The image of the emperor was revered as divine, including on coins. The cult of the emperor was instituted primarily to create a unifying creed for the whole empire, hence the emphasis on the image of the emperor as ruler e.g. on coins, which is how the vast majority of imperial subjects ‘saw’ him.

Rabbi Simai lived in Bavel, so this may not be what is referred to here. However, coins in ancient times had inherent value because of the semi-precious metals from which they were made. As such, they often turned up outside of the state in which they were coined, especially in places that had a substantial and regular trade with the coin’s place of origin and which did not have a particularly stable or trusted currency of their own. I don’t know enough about the ancient Persian Empire to tell if that was the case, but it’s an interesting point to consider.

[Tangent: Are you allowed to look at religious art in museums? Coins/ stamps that may have crosses or other things on them/ can you look at these?)

Did I miss something, or was the first half of the question not answered? In particular, how does it apply to non-Christian art?

My personal justification for studying this stuff is that it often does come in useful for me when studying Torah (e.g. my point above about the image of the emperor, which I wouldn’t have learnt without going around the Roman galleries at the British Museum). Also, in contemporary society it is impossible to be completely insulated from this stuff, so I feel it is better to confront it head on and learn about it in detail to understand it properly, including its flaws, than to leave it as tempting forbidden fruit. I do sometimes worry that I’m making false justifications for myself, though.

the whoof and warp (shesi v'erev) = the CROSS on it. (Whoof & warp refres to loom, horizontal and vertical, hence the cross.)

Point of pedantry: ‘woof’ has no ‘h’. It’s also referred to as the ‘weft’; you can remember the difference between warp and weft because the weft goes left to right, while the warp goes up and down.

Teshuva of R' Moshe on mythology- must read/ you will be responsible for this.

Question of whether same avodah zarah which is no longer worshipped- whether assur to study about it. But if teach it in a way to show how ridiculous it is, that would be okay. But also can't say anything bad about current religions that they have.

This is tricky, because an awful lot of ancient pagan belief-systems have been resurrected over the last few decades. Going back to my point before, unless these are dealt with head-on, they are going to seem attractive to a certain minority of people.

2. Story in Gemara where a person was so lovesick that he was dying- the doctor said even to speak to the woman in question might help her, but they said no because then he would get ha'naa from her

Interesting. If I’ve understood the point here correctly, it is that the woman here is not Jewish. The way I was taught the story is that she was married, so the issue was adultery rather than anything else.

jackie said...

This is tricky, because an awful lot of ancient pagan belief-systems have been resurrected over the last few decades. Going back to my point before, unless these are dealt with head-on, they are going to seem attractive to a certain minority of people.

That's the source of the Maypole issue, perhaps.

SJ said...

Daniel - as regards viewing religious art in musuems, the conclusion we drew was that me'ikar hadin it's a machloket between the two Tosfots: if the hetter is for common items, viewing art would be assur, because it isn't common; if the hetter is for items of decoration it would be muttar, because the art isn't meant to be worshipped; however, there is room to be machmir either way, because of the principle of distancing yourself from bad things (harchik min hakiyor)

jackie said...

Does anyone from the class studying these notes know if we ever learned what rebeinu Yonah (quoted by the Tur) says? My notes, like Chana's, are blank there.

If no one has it, I'm guessing we're not responsible for it.

(I guess I can look it up anyway, but for know I more want to know if we mentioned it in class.)

Anonymous said...

While you are obviously correct that RASH"I was born in 1040,
I would suggest that your later references to Rashi as
1) a Talmid of MaHaRaM mi'Rootenberg, and 2) moved to Spain are clearly references to the RO"SH (spelled raish, aleph shin; he was the father of the Toor)

Have Much Hatzlochoh on your test;
please let us know how you did.

(P.S. I can't remember the details of the episode of the four Rabbonim on the ship who were sold for ransom; how can I find out?
Thank you very much.)

- Mordechai