Friday, 23 February 2018

Avodah Zara 38: Specific Foods Prepared by Gentiles

Some points from today's daf:

- we were forbidden from eating food cooked by Gentiles
- exclusions

  • foods that can be eaten raw
  • anything that could be eaten with bread at a king's table
  • small fish, mushrooms, porridge are not eaten raw nor proper for a king's table (argued)
  • foods that are primarily oil can be eaten raw
  • foods that are primarily flour cannot be eaten raw
  • roasted grasshoppers or a Gentile's roasted head of an animal might be allowed perhaps because it was not intentionally roasted
  • one can eat one's steak turned by a Gentile so that it will not burn; the steak is cooking itself on the new side
  • similar examples: A Jew leaving soup,meat on coals may allow a Gentile to turn it until the Jew returns from shul or the studyhall - the Jew must finish or end the cooking
  • the Rabbis differ in their opinions on what foods are permitted when prepared by a Gentile:
    • salted fish prepared by a Gentile
    • roasted egg roasted by a Gentile
    • a Gentile's oil
    • caper fruit
    • matalya, seeds
    • hot water and dried grain
  • drinking vinegar might sometimes be used as idol worship
A story: when the Jews left Eygpt, they brought seeds of celery, flax and clover.  They were soaked in water and planted in a keli of water, then in clay.  Rav Ashi denied that this could be true, then said it must have been witchcraft to make the plants grow so quickly.

The daf ends with an extended discussion about different Gentile dishes and their preparation.