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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah

Folio 34a

them: I observed that such vessels exude, and being porous they certainly absorb and are therefore forbidden, the reason being that the Torah testified that an earthenware vessel can never be rid of its defect.1  Why then should this be different from wine used for idolatry concerning which [we are told] Meremar expounded that all glazed vessels [which had been used for it] are permitted? And should you say that leaven [on Passover] is forbidden by the Torah, whereas idolatrous wine is merely a Rabbinic prohibition, [surely it is an established principle] that whatever is instituted by the Rabbis is [treated] as [that which is ordained] by the Torah!2  [The difference is this:] In the one case [the use of the vessel, is for hot things,3  while in the other only for cold.

R. Akiba4  happened to come to Ginzak;5  he was asked: Is fasting by hours considered a fast, or is it not considered a fast?6  He had no answer to give them. [They then asked him:] Is the use of bottles of idolaters ever permitted? Again he had no answer. In what garments [he was then asked] did Moses minister during the seven days of consecration?7  He had no answer to this either. He then went and enquired at the House of Learning and they said to him: The law is: Fasting by hours is considered a fast, so that if he completed the day, he may say the prayer for a fast; as to bottles of heathens, the law is that they are permissible for use after twelve months;8  and as to the garment in which Moses ministered during the seven days of consecration, [he ministered] in a white frock without border.9

GRAPE-STONES AND GRAPE-SKINS OF HEATHENS etc. Our Rabbis taught: Grape-stones and grape-skins of heathens are forbidden while fresh but permitted when dry. Which are considered fresh and which dry? — Said Rab Judah in the name of Samuel: They are considered moist during the first twelve months, and dry after the twelve months. It has been stated that Raba b. Bar-Hana said in the name of R. Johanan: When they are forbidden, the prohibition extends to any benefit to be derived from them, and when they are permitted, they are permitted even as food. Said R. Zebid: Yeast made of wine of Arameans is permitted after a full year. R. Habiba the son of Raba said: Jugs are permitted after a complete year. R. Habiba said:

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. V. Pes. 30b, where instead of [H] the word is [H] which Mss. have also here.
  2. And the earthen vessel shall be broken, Lev. XV, 12, thus, the same Meremar pronounced glazed vessels forbidden on Passover on account of the leaven they may have absorbed.
  3. In the case of a vessel which had been used all the year for leaven its prohibition on the Passover is based on the fact that it had been used for hot matter which is more liable to penetrate.
  4. [Ta'an, 11a: Mar 'Ukba, which appears to be the proper reading.]
  5. [Ganzaka, identified with Shiz, S.E. of the Urmia lake, N.W. of Persia. V. Obermeyer, op. cit. p. 10.]
  6. If one undertakes to fast part of a day and happens to abstain from food during the rest of the day, is he entitled to say 'Anenu, the prayer which is appointed for a fast day (Rashi). V. Ta'an. 11b.
  7. Lev. VIII, 33.
  8. Without any special cleansing.
  9. [To indicate that it was for temporary ministration only (Tosaf.).]
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‘Abodah Zarah 34b

Travellers' wine-bags are permitted after a twelve-month. Said R. Aha the son of R. Ika: Kernels sold by Arameans are permitted after a twelvemonth. R. Aha the son of Raba said: Those red or black jugs are likewise permitted after twelve months.

MURIES1  etc. Our Rabbis taught: Muries made by an expert is permitted.2  R. Judah b. Gamaliel says in the name of R. Hanina b. Gamaliel: [Brine of] heilek3  prepared by an expert is likewise permitted. Abimi the son of R. Abbahu learned that muries of an expert is permitted; while he had learnt it thus, he however explained that only the first and second [extracts] from this fish are permitted, but the third is forbidden, the reason being that these first and second [extracts] are quite fat and require no admixture of wine; after these, however, wine is put into it.

Once a ship-load of muries reached the port of Acco4  and R. Aha of Acco placed a guard by it.5  Said Raba to him: And who watched the ship till now? — Till now, he replied, there was no cause for suspicion: as to mixing the brine with wine, a xestos6  of muries cost7  a luma8  while a xestos of wine cost four lumas. Said R. Jeremiah to R. Zera: Might they not have come by the way of Tyre where wine is cheap? — He replied: There are narrow bays and shallow waters.9

AND BITHYNIAN CHEESE etc. Said R. Simeon b. Lakish: The reason why Bithynian cheese has been forbidden10  is because the majority of calves of that place are slaughtered [as sacrifices] to idols.11  Why say 'the majority of calves'? Even if it were the minority it would have sufficed, since R. Meir always takes the minority into consideration!12  — When we say the majority [of calves] we really have only a minority [of cattle],13  but were only a minority of calves slain for idolatry — seeing that there would have been a majority of calves not slain for idolatry to which would have to be added all other cattle that are not slaughtered for idolatry — they would really have formed a minority of a minority, and even R. Meir does not take a negligible minority into consideration. Said R. Simeon b. Eliakim to R. Simeon b. Lakish: What matters it if they are slaughtered for idolatry, seeing that you yourself permit [something similar]? For it has been stated:14  If one slaughters an animal with the intention of sprinkling its blood for idolatry, or offering its fat for idolatry, R. Johanan says that the animal is forbidden, as in his opinion the one sacrificial process is to be connected with the other process,15  and the slaughtering without the sanctuary is deduced from that within it;16  R. Simeon b. Lakish, however, says it is permitted! — He replied: You are to be congratulated17  [on your acumen; but in our case we assume that] he18  declares that he worships [the idol] with the completion of the slaughtering.19

SAID R. JUDAH: R. ISHMAEL PUT A QUESTION etc. Said R. Ahdaboi in the name of Rab: If one acquires20  a woman with the dung of an ox which is to be stoned21  she becomes 'consecrated' to him; but if with dung of calves used for idolatry, she does not become 'consecrated' to him. You can say that this can be proved by common sense, or, you may prove it from Scripture: As a matter of common sense — in the case of calves to be offered to idols it pleases [the owner] that they be stout,22  whereas in the case of the ox to be stoned there is no pleasure to him in its being stout. And as to Scripture-here the verse says, There shall cleave nought of the banned thing to thy hand,23  while there the words are, The ox shall be surely stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten24  — its flesh only is forbidden, but its dung is permitted [to profit by]. Raba said: We have learnt both these cases [in our Mishnah]. The fact that when R. Joshua replied:25  BECAUSE THEY CURDLE IT WITH THE RENNET OF A NEBELAH AND R. ISHMAEL RETORTED, BUT IS NOT THE RENNET OF A BURNT OFFERING MORE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN THAN THAT OF A NEBELAH?26

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Fish-brine.
  2. As no unclean fish is used in its preparation, the only objection is offered by its being mixed with wine; an expert, however, will avoid such practice (Rashi).
  3. L. Alec, halec, alex — a small fish not easily distinguished from unclean ones; an expert will, however, take care to use the genuine kind only.
  4. Acre, a town and harbour on the Phoenician coast.
  5. To watch lest wine be mixed with the brine.
  6. [H], Sixtarius, a measure of about the size of a log.
  7. In the place from where the cargo came.
  8. [H], Luma, corrupt from a nummus (-sesterius) (Jast.), a small coin.
  9. Between the ports of Tyre and Acco; and the pilot would not risk taking that course.
  10. Even as to deriving any benefit according to R. Meir.
  11. And the rennet of these calves is used in preparing the cheese.
  12. Infra 40b.
  13. Whose rennet might be used in preparing cheese.
  14. V. Hul. 38b; Sanh. 60b.
  15. The sprinkling of the blood or the offering of the fat affects also the slaughtering.
  16. The Biblical injunction (Lev. VII, 18) which is taken to declare any sacrifice offered within the sanctuary with an improper intention as 'an abhorred thing' ([H]) is to be applied also to ordinary slaughtering without the sanctuary.
  17. [H], lit., 'may the hour of thy birth prove lucky.'
  18. Whoever slaughters a sacrifice to an idol.
  19. In such a case I, too, forbid.
  20. Lit., 'Consecrates'. One of the ways of effecting a betrothal is the handing by the man to the woman of a coin or an article of some value (a perutah, a small coin), pronouncing at the time the formula: 'Behold, thou art consecrated unto me by this… according to the law of Moses and of Israel.' V. Kid. I, 1, Ter. 30b.
  21. From which animal no benefit may be derived.
  22. He would therefore give them extra food on that account, so that even the dung is associated with idolatry.
  23. Deut. XIII, 18, referring to things connected with idol worship.
  24. Ex. XXI, 28.
  25. To the question as to why heathen's cheese is forbidden.
  26. And yet benefit may be derived from the rennet of a burnt offering, though the animal itself, like an ox which is to be stoned, is forbidden as to any benefit.
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