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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah

Folio 63a

the prohibition of the harlot's hire should apply retrospectively to [the animal]! — R. Eleazar replied: [It is permitted] when she first offered it.1  How is this to be understood? — If he said to her, 'Take possession of this at once,'2  then obviously it is permitted because it is no longer there at the time of intercourse and he merely presented her with a gift; but if he had not said to her, 'Take possession of this at once,' how could she offer it, since the All-merciful has declared, And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy3  — as the house [which he sanctifies] must be in his possession, so must everything [which is dedicated to the Sanctuary] be in the person's possession! — Rather [must we suppose the circumstance] where he said to her, 'Let it be with you until the time of
    intercourse; but should you require it then take possession of it at once.'4

R. Hoshaia asked: How is it if she dedicated [the animal to the Sanctuary] beforehand?5  Since a Master has said that a declaration6  in connection with the Divine service is like the act of delivery in a secular transaction, is she like one who has actually offered it,7  or perhaps [the animal] is after all still in existence [at the time of intercourse]?8  But why not solve the question from the statement of R. Eleazar who said: Only if she actually offered it beforehand is the offering [lawful] but not if she merely dedicated it? On this statement of R. Eleazar itself the question is to be asked: Is it clear to R. Eleazar that only if she had actually offered it [is it permitted] but not if she merely dedicated it because it is [in her possession] at the time of intercourse; or perhaps he is clear in the circumstance where it had been offered but doubtful when it had only been dedicated? The question remains unanswered.

[It was stated:] If he had intercourse with her and subsequently gave it to her, her hire is permitted. Against this I quote: If he had intercourse with her and subsequently gave it to her, even after the lapse of three years, her hire is prohibited! — R. Nahman b. Isaac said in the name of R. Hisda: There is no contradiction, the latter teaching referring to the circumstance where he said to her, 'Have intercourse with me for this lamb,' and the former teaching to the circumstance where he said to her, 'Have intercourse with me for a lamb.'9  And if he did use the phrase 'for this lamb' what of it, inasmuch as the act of drawing towards oneself is lacking!10  — [It deals here] with a gentile harlot who does not acquire an object by the act of drawing it towards herself.11  Or if you wish I can say that it surely deals with an Israelite harlot when, e.g., it is standing in her courtyard.12  But if it was standing in her courtyard, [how can it be taught that] he had intercourse with her and subsequently presented it to her, seeing that she already had possession of it! — No, it is necessary [to suppose a case] where he used it as a pledge, saying to her, 'If I bring you a certain number of zuz by such a date, well and good; otherwise take [the lamb] for your hire.'13

R. Shesheth quoted in objection:14  A man can say to his ass-drivers and workmen,15  'Go and eat for this denar, go out and drink for this denar,' and he need not be concerned

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. To the Temple and afterwards had intercourse. [In this case the offering is acceptable and valid. V. Yad, Issure Mizbeah, IV, 11.]
  2. Before the intercourse.
  3. Lev. XXVII, 14.
  4. And therefore the prohibition of a harlot's hire does not apply to it.
  5. But intercourse occurred before she presented the animal.
  6. That the animal is to be dedicated to the Temple.
  7. And it may therefore be offered.
  8. And is to be considered a harlot's hire.
  9. In this latter circumstance, what she receives afterwards is not technically her hire.
  10. He merely indicated the lamb which he would give her. Until she actually draws the animal towards her she has not legally acquired it, v. B.M. 47b.
  11. [Ms.M.: Who does not lack 'drawing'. A non-Jew acquires possession by payment (Bek. 13a) in this case by the act of intercourse. V. R. Gershom, Tem. 29b.]
  12. [A courtyard confers possession, v. B.M. 10b.]
  13. [In this circumstance the lamb is partly her property and considered a harlot's hire and yet strictly speaking is not yet presented to her, since he may substitute for it some other gift.]
  14. To the action of R. Jannai's School who used to borrow fruits of the Sabbatical year from the poor and repay them in the eighth year.
  15. Who are Gentiles or Israelites who do not observe the law of tithe.
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‘Abodah Zarah 63b

[about their eating and drinking the produce of] the Sabbatical year or [what has not been subject to] the tithe or yen nesek; but if he said to them, 'Go out and eat and I will pay, go out and drink and I will pay,' he must be concerned [about their eating and drinking the produce of] the Sabbatical year or [what has not been subject to] the tithe or yen nesek.1  Consequently when he pays them he does so at the price of what is prohibited, and similarly in the case [of the School of R. Jannai] when they made repayment they did so for something that was prohibited! — R. Hisda explained: [The teaching just quoted deals] with a shop-keeper who gives [the employer] credit so that he is indebted to him,2  and since it was his custom to give him credit it is as though the latter had himself bought for a denar of him.3  When, on the other hand, he does not give him credit, how is it? It is permitted! If that is so,4  when he teaches the circumstance of, 'Go and eat for this denarius, go out and drink for this denarius,' he should draw a distinction in this very case and teach as follows: When does this apply? [When they make their purchase] of a shopkeeper who gives him credit so that he is indebted to him [it is prohibited], but of a shopkeeper who does not give him credit it is permitted! And further, as regards a shopkeeper who does not give him credit, is not [the employer in such a circumstance] indebted to him? For Raba has declared: If a man says to his neighbour, 'Give so-and-so a maneh5  and let all my possessions be surety to you,' [the lender] has acquired them by the law of security!6  — But, said Raba: It is immaterial whether he gives him credit or not; but although [the employer] is indebted to him, for the reason that he does not specify his indebtedness,7  it is not prohibited.8  Why, then, in the present circumstance9  should he be concerned [about their eating and drinking the produce of] the Sabbatical year inasmuch as he does not specify his indebtedness! — R. Papa said: Here it is when, e.g., he paid him the denar in advance.10

R. Kahana said: I cited this teaching in the presence of R. Zebid of Nehardea who remarked to me: If that were so, then instead of the words 'Go out and eat and drink and I will pay,' we should have expected 'I will have a reckoning with him'!11  [R. Kahana] said to him: Read, 'Go out and I will have a reckoning with him.' R. Ashi said: It is when, e.g., [the employer] took [the foodstuffs] from the shopkeeper and handed them [to his workmen].12  R. Jemar said to R. Ashi: If that were so, then instead of the words, 'Go out13  and eat, go out and drink' we should have expected, 'Take and eat, take and drink'! — He replied to him: Read, 'Take and eat, take and drink.'

R. Nahman, 'Ulla and Abimi b. Papi were sitting together and R. Hiyya b. Ammi sat with them. As they sat the question was raised: How is it if [an Israelite] was hired to break [a cask of] yen nesek [and pour out the contents]?14  Do we say that since his wish is the preservation [of the cask]15  it is prohibited, or perhaps it is right in every case where the effect is to reduce what is improper? — R. Nahman said: Let him break it and may a blessing alight upon him [for so doing]. Is it to be assumed that his opinion receives support [from this teaching]: We may not hoe together with a heathen among mixed plantings

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Because he would then be discharging his obligation to them with what was forbidden. (V. Tosef. A.Z. VIII.)
  2. As soon as the employees receive the food and drink, so that it is as though the shop-keeper handed the goods to the employer.
  3. If, therefore, the foodstuff was prohibited, the employer exchanged his money for what was illegal. In the case of R. Jannai's School, however, the poor were not accustomed to give credit, so that we have not here an instance of unlawful exchange.
  4. Viz., that the decision rests on whether he gives him credit.
  5. V. Glos.
  6. As soon as the loan is made, the lender is technically the owner of what had been given as surety. Therefore when the shopkeeper gives the workmen the food, he is technically the owner of the employer's denarius whether he is in the habit of giving him credit or not.
  7. He owes him a denarius but not any particular one.
  8. Thus is the action of the school of R. Jannai justified.
  9. When the employer added the words 'and I will pay'.
  10. And then told his men to get food for it. In this case he must be concerned about unlawful foodstuffs.
  11. I.e., I will set off what you have had against the money which I have already given the shopkeeper.
  12. In that case the employer became the owner of the foodstuffs and must be concerned about their legality, whether he took them on credit or not.
  13. 'Go out' implies that he does not accompany them and therefore he could not hand the food to them.
  14. May he use the money he earned in this way?
  15. So that he may have the work of breaking it and earn money.
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