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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah

Folio 75a

did Rab intend with water and then with ashes, and Rabbah b. Bar Hanah intended with ashes and then with water. Nor is there any difference between them, since one was referring to what is dry and the other to what is moist.1

It has been stated: The School of Rab said in the name of Rab: [The number of processes is] two and three;2  but Samuel maintained that it is three and four.3  Thus they taught in Sura, but in Pumbeditha they taught: The School of Rab said in the name of Rab: [The number of processes is] three and four; but Samuel maintained that it is four and five. Nor is there any contradiction [in the two versions], since the latter counts the final rinsing with water [as a separate process] whereas the former does not.

The question was put to R. Abbahu: How is it with wicker-nets4  used by Gentiles? — R. Abbahu answered: You have learnt the law: If his winepress and oil-press were defiled and he wished to prepare [wine or oil] in them in a state of purity, the boards [on the sides], the troughs and supporting-beams5  must be rinsed, and as for the wicker-work, if it is made of willows and hemp, it must be scoured, but if of bast and reeds, it must remain unused for twelve months.6  R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: He leaves them from one period of wine-pressing to another and from one period of oil-pressing to another. But that agrees with the statement of the first Tanna!7  — The issue between them is the matter of the early and late ripening [of the grapes].8  R. Jose says: If he desires to purify them at once, he should pour over them boiling water or scald them with olive-water.9  R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says in the name of R. Jose: He leaves them beneath a pipe through which there is a continuous stream of water or in a fountain with flowing water. For how long? — An 'onah.10  The same provisions made with regard to yen nesek are made with regard to purification.11  But is not the order reversed, since we are dealing here12  with purification? — Rather [say] they made the same provisions with regard to yen nesek as they made for purification.

How long is an 'onah? — R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: Either a day or a night. R. Hana-She'ina — according to another version, R. Hana b. She'inah — reported that Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: Half a day and half a night. R. Samuel b. Isaac said: There is no contradiction [in the two definitions], the former referring to the time of the spring and autumn equinox13  and the latter to the summer and winter solstice.14

Rab Judah said: Filter-bags used by Gentiles, if made of hair, are to be rinsed, if of wool they must be scoured, and if of flax they must be left unused [for twelve months]; and if there be any knots in them they must be untied.15  Wicker-baskets and strainers used by Gentiles, if plaited from strips of palm-fibre, must be rinsed,

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. If the traces of the wine had dried in the vat, it is rinsed with water and then rubbed with ashes; but if the moisture of the wine was still present the order was reversed.
  2. I.e., with a moist vat first ashes then water, and with a dry vat first water then ashes and again water.
  3. With a moist vat, ashes, water and ashes, and if he then rinses with water, this is not counted because the purpose is only to wash away the ashes; and with a dry vat the process is water, ashes, water and ashes.
  4. Which are placed over the grapes to prevent them from being scattered during the pressing (Rashi). How are these cleaned for use by a Jew?
  5. [Or 'twigs used as brooms in the wine press' (Rashi).]
  6. [This solves the question put to R. Abbahu. V. Asheri a.l.]
  7. Since the interval was twelve months; so why is it mentioned separately?
  8. The time of pressing varies according to the state of ripening and it may not be exactly twelve months.
  9. The water in which olives are boiled to make them soft.
  10. Half of the day and night. The definition is discussed below.
  11. Tosef. Toh. XI.
  12. In the Tosef. just cited.
  13. When day and night are of equal duration, i.e., twelve hours.
  14. At such times of the year it is not correct to say either a day or a night since they are unequal. We then have to say half a day and half a night, i.e., twelve hours.
  15. Before they are rinsed or scoured.
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‘Abodah Zarah 75b

if of twigs they must be scoured, and if of flax they must be left unused [for twelve months]; and if there be any knots in them they must be untied.

It has been stated: If an 'am ha-arez1  stretched his hand into a winepress and touched [one of] the clusters, Rabbi and R. Hiyya [express different opinions]. One says that the cluster and all that is around it are defiled2  but the press as a whole is undefiled, whereas the other says that the entire press is also defiled. According to him who maintained that the clusters and all that is around them are defiled but the press as a whole is undefiled, why should there be a difference, since we learnt:3  'If a reptile is found in an oil-mill, it only defiles the place it touches, but if there is flowing liquid it is all defiled'? — In this latter case there is no division at all,4  but in the former the clusters are separate. The Rabbis taught R. Jeremiah — another version is, [they taught] R. Jeremiah's son — in agreement with him who says that the cluster and all that is around it are defiled but the press as a whole is undefiled.


GEMARA. It has been taught: They all7  need to be immersed in [a ritual bath containing a minimum of] forty se'ah.8  Whence is this derived? — Raba said: Because Scripture states, Every thing that may abide the fire ye shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean.9  Scripture10  has here added for you an additional [process of] cleansing. Bar Kappara taught: From the text, [Nevertheless it shall be purified] with the water of separation,11  I might have inferred that [a Gentile's utensil] requires sprinkling [with this water] on the third and seventh day;12  therefore the word nevertheless is used, the purpose of which is to make a distinction. If that be so, what is the purpose of the words with the water of separation [niddah]? It signifies water in which a niddah13  immerses. And it was necessary for Scripture to write both and it shall be clean, and with the water of separation. If it had only written, and it shall be clean, I might have thought, it shall be clean means by any quantity of water, so the Divine Law wrote, with the water of separation; and if the Divine Law had only written, with the water of separation, I might have thought that [it only becomes ritually clean] at sunset as happens with a niddah, so the Divine Law wrote and it shall be clean, i.e., immediately [after the immersion].

R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: Even new utensils14  must be included, since old ones when made white-hot are regarded as new and for all that require to be immersed. R. Shesheth raised the objection: If this be so, shearing-scissors should likewise [be immersed if obtained from a heathen]! — [R. Nahman] replied: The Scriptural passage deals with utensils connected with a meal. R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: The teaching only applies to utensils which are purchased as then happened,15  but not when they are borrowed.

R. Isaac b. Joseph bought a vessel made from a mixture of earth and animal's ordure from a heathen and thought to immerse it. A certain Rabbi, named R. Jacob, said to him: It was explained to me by R. Johanan that the Scriptural passage deals only with utensils of metal.

R. Ashi said: Utensils of glass, since they can be repaired when broken, are like utensils of metal.16  As for a glazed utensil R. Aha and Rabina differ; one maintains [that it must be treated] according to its original state,17  while the other maintains [that it must be treated] according to its final state.18  The legal decision is [that it must be treated] according to its final state.

The question was asked: How is it with [a new vessel which had been given by a heathen] as a pledge? — Mar son of R. Ashi said: A heathen deposited a silver goblet with my father as a pledge, and he immersed it and drank from it; but I do not know whether it was because he considered a pledge to be the same as a bought article or for the reason that he saw that the heathen's intention was to leave it with him.19

Our Rabbis taught: If [an Israelite] purchases cooking-utensils from a heathen, the unused articles are to be immersed and are then clean; as for those which were used for cold things, such as cups, jugs and flasks, they must be rinsed and immersed and are then clean; but as for those which were used for hot things, such as boilers, kettles and heating vessels, they must be scalded and immersed and are then clean. Utensils used with fire, such as spits and grills, must be made white-hot and immersed and are then clean. If, with all of them, any had been used [by an Israelite] before it was immersed or scalded or made white-hot, one authority teaches that [the contents] are prohibited whereas another teaches that they are permitted. There is, however, no contradiction; for one decides according to him who said that when [the forbidden element] imparts a worsened flavour it is prohibited and the other according to him who said that when it imparts a worsened flavour it is permitted.20  But according to him who maintains that when it imparts a worsened flavour it is permitted, in which circumstance can the prohibition of the Divine Law against the use of Gentiles' vessels21  apply?22  — R. Hiyya, the son of R. Huna23  said: The Torah only forbade a utensil

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. V. Glos.
  2. And must be removed.
  3. Toh. IX, 8.
  4. The olives are not in clusters where the twigs separate one from the other as with grapes, and the oil unites them together. Therefore the defilement affects them all.
  5. Lit., 'utensils of service.'
  6. Before they may be used by a Jew.
  7. Even after being scalded or made white-hot.
  8. Approximately 120 gallons.
  9. Num. XXXI, 23.
  10. By adding the words, and it shall be clean, the inference is that something more is required, viz., immersion besides making the article white-hot.
  11. Ibid.
  12. As is done with one that had been defiled by a corpse. Cf. ibid., XIX, 12 ff.
  13. V. Glos. The reference is to the ritual bath containing a minimum of forty se'ah.
  14. Which belonged to a heathen; although not used by him, must be immersed.
  15. When the Israelites captured such utensils from the Midianites; i.e., they must be the property of the Jew to require cleansing by him.
  16. And require immersion.
  17. Like earthen vessels and need not be immersed.
  18. Like utensils of metal, since lead is used for the glazing.
  19. And not redeem it. For that reason he considered it to be his property and cleansed it.
  20. V. supra 36a.
  21. Without previous cleansing.
  22. [It is assumed that the vessels taken from the Midianites imparted a deteriorating flavour.]
  23. Supra 67b, the name is given as R. Huna b. R. Hiyya. The present reading is preferable.
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