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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah
What is it that they did not mind?2 Said Abaye: The possibility of eating 'flesh of nebelah:3 We are not to presume that while the Israelite turned his face, the heathen dropped some nebelah into his pot; as a parallel case, here too the Sages should not mind the possibility of receiving money of an idolater.4 Raba said, what the Sages did not mind there is the cooking by a heathen; the parallel being that here too, the Sages should not object to the transacting of business on account of the festivity.5 Rabbah b. 'Ulla said: What the Sages raised no objection to is only the splashing,6 the analogy to our case is [only] that the sages would not object to the period before the festivity.
WHAT ABOUT GOING THERE? etc.
Our Rabbis taught: It is forbidden to enter a city while idolatrous worship is taking place therein — or [to go] from there to another city; this is the opinion of R. Meir. But the Sages say, only when the road leads solely to that city is it forbidden; if however the road does not lead exclusively to that place it is permitted. If a splinter has got into his [foot] while in front of an idol, he should not bend down to get it out, because he may appear as bowing to the idol; but if not apparent7 it is permitted. If his coins got scattered in front of an idol he should not bend and pick them up, for he may be taken as bowing to the idol; but if not apparent it is permitted. If there is a spring flowing in front of an idol he should not bend down and drink, because he may appear to be bowing to the idol; but if not apparent it is permitted. One should not place one's mouth on the mouth of human figures, which act as water fountains in the cities, for the purpose of drinking; because he may seem as kissing the idolatrous figure. So also one should not place one's mouth on a water pipe and drink therefrom for fear of danger.8
What is meant by 'not being apparent' — Shall we say that he is not seen? Surely Rab Judah stated in the name of Rab that whatever the Sages prohibited merely because it may appear objectionable to the public, is also forbidden in one's innermost chamber! — It can only mean that if [by bending] he will not appear as bowing to the idol.
And all [three instances given] are necessary. For if we were taught the case of the splinter only, [we would have thought that it is forbidden] because he can well walk away from the idol and take it out, but in the case of the coins where this could not be done, the prohibition does not apply. If, on the other hand, we were given the case of the coins only [we might say that the prohibition holds good] because only a loss of money is incurred, but in the case of the thorn, where pain is caused, the prohibition is not to be applied. Were we given both these instances, [we might still say that the prohibition applied to them] because there is no danger involved, but in the case of the spring where there is danger, for it may mean dying of thirst, we might say that the prohibition should be waived, hence all the instances are necessary.
‘Abodah Zarah 12bWhy then mention the instance of [placing one's mouth on the mouths of the] figures? — That is only because he wanted to teach the instance, which resembles it, of not placing one's mouth on the water-pipe to drink therefrom for fear of danger. What is the danger? — The swallowing of a leech.
Our Rabbis taught: One should not drink water either from rivers or from pools direct with his mouth or [by drawing the water] with the one hand;1 if he drinks it, his blood shall be upon his head, for it is dangerous. What danger is there? That of [swallowing] a leech.
[This statement] supports R. Hanina: for R. Hanina said: For one who swallows a leech it is permissible to get water heated on the Sabbath.2
There was actually a case of one swallowing a leech, when R. Nehemiah declared it permissible to get water heated for him on the Sabbath. 'Meanwhile', said R. Huna son of R. Joshua, 'let him sip vinegar'. Said R. Idi b. Abin: One who has swallowed a wasp cannot possibly live. Let him however drink a quarter3 of strong vinegar; perhaps [by this means] he will live long enough to set his house in order.
Our Rabbis taught: One should not drink water in the night;4 if he does drink his blood is on his head, for it is dangerous. What danger is there? The danger of Shabriri.5 But if he be thirsty, how can he put things right? — If there is another person with him, he should wake him and say: 'I am athirst for water'. If not, let him knock with the lid on the jug and say to himself: 'Thou [giving his name] the son of [naming his mother], thy mother hath warned thee to guard thyself against Shabriri, briri, riri, iri, ri, which prevail in blind vessels.'6
MISHNAH. A CITY IN WHICH IDOLATRY IS TAKING PLACE, SOME OF ITS SHOPS BEING DECORATED WITH GARLANDS AND SOME NOT DECORATED7 — THIS WAS THE CASE WITH BETH-SHEAN,8 AND THE SAGES SAID: IN THE DECORATED ONES IT IS FORBIDDEN [TO BUY] BUT IN THE UNDECORATED ONES IT IS PERMITTED.9
GEMARA. Said R. Simeon b. Lakish: This only refers to [shops] decorated with garlands of roses and myrtle, so that he enjoys the odour,10 but if they are decorated with fruit, it is permissible [to buy in them]. The reason is this: Scripture says, There shall cleave naught of the devoted thing to thy hand;11 hence it is to derive an enjoyment that is forbidden
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