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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah
R. Samuel b. Isaac said in the name of Rab: Whatever is eaten raw does not come within [the law of what is prohibited] on account of having been cooked by heathens. Thus was it taught in Sura;1 but in Pumbeditha2 they taught this version: R. Samuel b. R. Isaac said in the name of Rab: Whatever is not brought upon the table of kings to serve as a relish with bread does not come within [the law of what is prohibited] on account of having been cooked by heathens. What is the difference between the two versions? — [The permissibility of] small fish, mushrooms and pounded grain.3
R. Assi said in the name of Rab: Small fish when salted [by heathens] do not come within [the law of what is prohibited] on account of having been cooked by heathens. R. Joseph said: If a heathen roasted them, an Israelite may rely upon them in connection with 'erube tabshilin.4 If, however, a heathen made them into a pie of fish-hash it is prohibited. This is obvious! — You might argue that [in such a pie] the fish-hash is the principal element;5 hence he informs us that the flour is the principal element.
R. Berona said in the name of Rab: If a heathen set fire to uncleared ground,6 all the [roasted] locusts found in the uncleared ground are prohibited. How is this to be understood? Is it to say that the reason is because he could not distinguish between the clean and unclean species; why, then, specify that a heathen [kindled the fire] since it would be the same if even an Israelite did so! Or is it on account of [the locusts] having been cooked by a heathen? But in such a circumstance7 would they be prohibited! Did not R. Hanan b. Ammi declare that R. Pedath said in the name of R. Johanan: If a heathen singed the head,8 it is permissible to eat of it even from the tip of the ear!9 This proves [does it not?] that it is assumed that his intention, was to remove the hair; so similarly [in the other case it should be allowed] because his intention was to clear the ground! — [No, the true reason was] certainly because he could not distinguish between the clean and unclean species, and the incident actually happened with a heathen.10
The above text stated: 'R. Hanan b. Ammi declared that R. Pedath said in the name of R. Johanan: If a heathen singed the head, it is permissible to eat of it even from the tip of the ear.' Rabina said: Consequently if a heathen threw a coulter into a stove and an Israelite had previously deposited a pumpkin there, it is all right.11 This is obvious! — You might argue that his intention had been to boil the blade;12 hence he informs us that his intention was to harden it.13
Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: If an Israelite left meat on the coals and a heathen came and turned it over, it is permitted. How is this to be understood? If I say that the meat would have been cooked without being turned over, obviously [it is permitted]; is it not then [to be inferred] that we have here a case where it would not have been cooked without being turned over? Why, then, is it permitted seeing it is food cooked by a heathen! — No; it is necessary to suppose a circumstance where it would have taken two hours to cook if he had not turned it over, but now it was cooked in one hour. You might consequently have argued that hastening the process of cooking is a matter which is taken into consideration;14 hence he informs us [that it is not considered]. But R. Assi said in the name of R. Johanan: Any food which is [already cooked to the extent] of that which was eaten by Ben Drusus15 does not come within the law prohibiting the cooked food of heathens,16 hence if it is not cooked to that extent it does come within the prohibition!17 — The circumstance referred to [by R. Johanan] is where, e.g., [an Israelite] placed the meat in a pot and a heathen took and set it in an oven.18 There is a teaching to the same effect: An Israelite may set meat upon the coals and let a heathen then come and turn it over pending his return from the Synagogue or House of Study, and he need not take notice of it; and [an Israelite] woman may set a pot on a stove and let a Gentile woman
‘Abodah Zarah 38bthen come and stir it pending her return from the bathhouse or Synagogue, and she need take no notice of it.
The question was asked: How is it if a heathen placed [meat upon the coals] and an Israelite turned it over? — R. Nahman b. Isaac said: The answer can be deduced by a fortiori reasoning — if the food is permitted when its cooking is completed by a heathen, how much more so when it is completed by an Israelite! It has been similarly stated: Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan — another version is, R. Aha son of Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: Whether a heathen placed it there and an Israelite turned it over or vice versa, it is permitted; and it is not prohibited unless both the beginning and completion of the cooking are performed by a heathen. Rabina said: The law with reference to bread is, if a heathen kindled the fire and an Israelite baked it or vice versa, or if a heathen both kindled the fire and baked the bread but an Israelite came and raked the fire, it is all right. Fish salted [by a heathen] is permitted by Hezekiah but prohibited by R. Johanan.1 An egg roasted [by a heathen] is permitted by Bar Kappara2 but prohibited by R. Johanan. When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said: Both salted fish and roasted eggs are permitted by Hezekiah and Bar Kappara but prohibited by R. Johanan.
R. Hiyya Parva'ah visited the house of the Exilarch where he was asked, 'How is it when an egg is roasted [by a heathen]?' He replied, 'Hezekiah and Bar Kappara permit it, but R. Johanan prohibits it, and the opinion of one authority cannot stand against that of two.' R. Zebid said to them, 'Pay no attention to him, because Abaye declared that the legal decision agrees with R. Johanan.' [The Exilarch's heathen servants were infuriated by R. Zebid's remark and] gave him a draught of spiced vinegar from which he died.
Our Rabbis taught: The caper-flower, leeks and liver-wort [preserved by heathens],3 water boiled and ears of corn4 roasted by them are permitted, but a roasted egg is prohibited. As regards oil, R. Judah the Prince and his Court took a vote on it and declared it permitted. It has been taught: The rule which applies to liver-wort holds good also of the beans called pesilya and Egyptian beans [shi'atha]. What are shi'atha? — Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: It is forty years since this preparation was imported from Egypt; while Rabbah b. Bar Hanah himself said: It is sixty years since this preparation was imported from Egypt. There is no contradiction since each statement was made in the corresponding year.5 [The manner of its preparation is as follows:] Take the seeds of parsley, flax and fenugreek, soak them together in lukewarm water and leave them until they begin to sprout. Then take new earthenware pots, fill them with water and soak therein red clay into which the seeds are planted. After that go to the bathhouse and by the time of coming out they will have blossomed, and on eating of them you will feel cooled from the hair of the head down to the toe-nails. R. Ashi said: R. Hanina told me that this is an empty tale; according to another version [he told him that the effect was achieved] through magical spells.
Our Rabbis taught: Date-husks6 belonging to a heathen when boiled in a large cauldron are prohibited, but if in a small cauldron they are permitted.7 Which is a small cauldron? — R. Jannai said: One into which a swallow cannot enter. But perhaps it is cut up in pieces and placed in it [to be cooked]!8 — Rather [must a small cauldron be defined as] one into which the head of a swallow cannot enter.9 But it has been taught: Whether it be a large or small cauldron [the brew] is permitted! There is no contradiction; for where [the teacher forbids the large cauldron] he is in agreement with the view that when [the forbidden element of a mixture] imparts a worsened flavour it is prohibited, while in the other case the teacher is in agreement with the view that when [the forbidden element] imparts a worsened flavour the mixture is permitted.10
R. Shesheth said: The cooked oil of a Gentile is prohibited. R. Safra said: Why should we be concerned about it [to declare it prohibited]? If because of the possibility that he may have mixed [yen nesek] with it, the effect would be to turn it rancid! If it is on account of [the prohibition against] all things cooked by a heathen, it is something which is eatable in its raw state!11 If on account of the rule that vessels used by heathens must be scoured before they may be used by a Jew,12 it is an instance where a worsened flavour is imparted and it should therefore be permitted! R. Assi was asked: What of dates cooked by a Gentile? — As regards the sweet species the question does not arise since they are certainly permitted;13 as regards the bitter species the question also does not arise since they are certainly prohibited;14 but there is a question about the middle species?15 How is it with them? — He replied: Why do you ask me this question seeing that my teacher, viz. Levi, has declared them prohibited!
As for shattitha'a16 [brewed by a heathen], Rab permits it but Samuel's father and Levi prohibit it. If it is made from wheat or barley, they all agree that it is permitted.17 If from lentils and vinegar all agree that it is prohibited; where there is disagreement is when it is made from lentils and water.18 [Samuel's father and Levi] are of the opinion that we decree it prohibited from fear [that being permitted with water people will drink it when it has been prepared with vinegar], whereas [Rab] held that we do not declare it prohibited because of that fear. Another version is: When [the shattitha'a] is made from lentils and water all agree that it is prohibited; where there is disagreement is when it is made from wheat or barley [and prepared with water, Samuel's father and Levi] being of the opinion that we decree it prohibited from fear [that being permitted with water people will drink it when it has been prepared with vinegar], whereas [Rab] held that we do not declare it prohibited because of that fear. Rab said: Two kinds of shattitha'a did Barzilai the Gileadite send to David, as it is said, Beds and basons and earthen vessels and wheat and barley and meal and parched [corn] and beans and lentils and parched [pulse].19 Nowadays people carry out basketfuls to the markets of Nehardea and no attention is paid to the view of Samuel's father and Levi.
AND PRESSED FOODSTUFFS INTO WHICH THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO PUT WINE. Hezekiah said: This teaching only applies when they are merely accustomed [to put wine or vinegar into them]; but when it is certain [that they actually do so], the foodstuffs are prohibited even for all use. Why, then, the distinction in that the Rabbis permit muries brine20 for every use? — There the purpose [of the wine] is to overcome the bad smell [of the fish] and here the purpose is to sweeten the taste. R. Johanan, however, said: Even when it is certain [that wine is included in the pressed foodstuffs] they are also permitted. Why, then, the distinction in that R. Meir prohibits muries brine for every use? —
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