Friday, 16 February 2018

Avodah Zara 31: wine, beer, venom and Gentiles

The rabbis suggest that we avoid wine that was offered to idols, and thus we should avoid taking any wine from Gentiles.  The rabbis also share their concerns about Gentiles who might exchange their own things with Jewish things that have been left in their care.  They argue about things - including wine - that might be stored in a corner separated from the things of others.  And what about things like homes - or sealed barrels?

Gentile beer is forbidden, and the rabbis say that his is because Jews and Gentile might intermarry after meeting over beer.  The rabbis also mention guards and their usefulness in keeping items kosher.  Beer in the end is deemed kosher for Jews to drink, even when taken from Gentiles.

At the end of our daf, the rabbis note that people who ate forbidden foods might also be hurt by the venom left in those poorly supervised foods.  Particularly susceptible would be those who are ill.

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