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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah

Folio 32a

The vinegar which the Arameans make of beer is forbidden because they mix yeast of idolatrous wine with it. R. Ashi said: If however it had been in store it is permitted, for if it contained such admixture it would have got spoilt.

HADRIANIC EARTHENWARE. What does HADRIANIC mean? — Said Rab Judah in the name of Samuel: Earthenware of King Hadrian.1  When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said: Virgin soil, which had not been tilled before, used to be tilled by [the Romans] and planted with vines; the wine [produced] they used to pour into white jugs2  which absorbed the wine. These vessels they broke into fragments which they used to carry, and wherever they came they soaked them [in water] and drank of it. R. Joshua b. Levi said: Our first [quality wine] is only equal to their third [soaking].

The question was asked: How about placing these shards as supports of the legs of a bedstead? Is this intention to preserve a [forbidden thing]3  for some other purpose allowed or forbidden? — Come and hear! For R. Eleazar and R. Johanan [argued about it], one pronouncing it as forbidden and the other as permitted. An objection was raised: Wine kept in barrels or leather bottles belonging to idolaters is forbidden for drinking but permitted for deriving benefit. Simeon b. Gudda testified in the presence of R. Gamaliel's son4  that R. Gamaliel5  drank of such in Acco, but this was not accepted. As to flagons belonging to idolaters, R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says in the name of R. Joshua b. Kapusai that it is forbidden to make of them covers for an ass. Now in this latter case there is an intention to preserve [the forbidden thing] for some other purpose and yet we are taught that it is forbidden! — According to your opinion then, the sale of [earthenware] flasks of heathens should also be forbidden, for what difference is there between [leather] flagons6  and [earthenware] flasks? But Raba said: There is this risk: if his flask be split he might take the one of the heathen and patch his own with it.7  Now according to the one who holds that the intention to preserve [a forbidden thing] for some other purpose is forbidden, why is the use of [earthenware] flasks allowed? — His answer might be: In that case the forbidden matter is not there in substance,8  whereas in the other case9  the substance of the forbidden matter is there.

[It has been stated above:] 'But this was not accepted.' A contradiction was raised: Wine contained in leather bottles of heathens is forbidden for drinking but permitted for deriving benefit. Simeon b. Gudda' testified in the presence of R. Gamaliel's son that R. Gamaliel drank of such in Acco, and it was accepted! — What is meant there is that it was not accepted by the whole company, but it was the son who did accept it. Or, if you wish, it may be said that Gudda is one and Gudda' is another.10

SKINS PIERCED AT THE ANIMAL'S HEART. Our Rabbis taught:11  What is [the sign of] such a heart-rent skin? If it is rent opposite the heart and is round like a circular aperture, and there is a drop of coagulated blood on it, it is forbidden,12

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. [Which Hadrian took with him on his journeys with his troops (Rashi)]. Elmslie, A.Z. p. 31, quoting Lewy, Philologus, 52 p. 571, explains it as earthenware jars coming from the Adriatic coast.
  2. [I.e., of unburnt clay.]
  3. [By putting these shards to such use there is incidentally evidence of a desire to preserve them, though not for the sake of the wine they contain, but for some other purpose. Any act which involves the preservation of idolatrous wine is forbidden. V. infra 73b.]
  4. [Hanina b. Gamaliel II (Tosaf.).]
  5. [Gamaliel II, v. Buchler, gal. 'Amh. p. 313, n. 1.
  6. [Which as stated do not render prohibited for use the wine kept in them, cf. Tosaf. The passage is, however, difficult and does not occur in Ms.M. and several other texts.]
  7. In which case the idolatrous wine will actually flavour the contents of his flask.
  8. The flavour only is retained.
  9. Of Hadrianic wine which is absorbed and emitted by the vessel.
  10. The name given in the first report is Gudda [H] while that in the second is Gudda' [H]. [While they may not have accepted the report of one, when reported by the other too they accepted it.]
  11. Tosef. A.Z. Ch. V.
  12. It proves that the skin was rent while the animal was alive.
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‘Abodah Zarah 32b

but if it has no such drop of blood it is permitted. R. Huna said: That is only if it has not been treated with salt, but if salt has been applied to it, it is forbidden in either case, as the salt may have removed it.

R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS WHEN ITS RENT IS ROUND [THE SKIN] IS FORBIDDEN, BUT IF OBLONG IT IS PERMITTED. Said R. Joseph in the name of Rab Judah who said it in the name of Samuel: The halachah rests with R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. Said Abaye: 'The halachah [rests with him]' implies that the matter is disputed!1  But what difference does it make to you? retorted the other. To which he replied: Is the learning of Gemara, then, to be like the singing of a song?2

MEAT WHICH IS BEING BROUGHT INTO AN IDOLATROUS PLACE IS PERMITTED. What Tanna's opinion might this represent? — Said R. Hiyya b. Abba in the name of R. Johanan: Not that of R. Eliezer; for were it R. Eliezer's, surely he holds the opinion that an idolater has generally idolatry in his mind.3


What is the reason? Because it is impossible for some idolatrous sacrifice not to have taken place. Whose [opinion might this represent]? — That of R. Judah b. Bathyra; for it has been taught: R. Judah b. Bathyra says: Whence can we deduce that idolatrous offerings defile by overshadowing?4  From the verse, They joined themselves unto Ba'al-Peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead5  — as a dead body defiles by overshadowing, so also an idolatrous sacrifice causes such defilement by overshadowing.6

WITH IDOLATERS GOING ON A PILGRIMAGE IT IS FORBIDDEN TO HAVE ANY BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS. Samuel said: With idolaters going on a pilgrimage it is forbidden [to transact business] on their journey there, for they will go and offer thanks to the idols; but on their return journey it is permitted, for bygones are bygones. If an Israelite however goes on such a pilgrimage [to idols], it is permitted [to deal with him] on his journey there, for he may change his mind and not go; but on his return it is forbidden, for as

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Whereas no other opinion is mentioned at all.
  2. Where precision is of no consequence.
  3. He must have therefore appointed it in his mind for idolatry already at the time of the slaughtering of the animal.
  4. [H] cf. Num. XIX, 14. Whatever is overshadowed by the same roof or object that is over a corpse.
  5. Ps. CVI, 28.
  6. Hul. 13b.
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