Monday, 5 March 2018

Avodah Zara 49: Stringencies or Leniencies re:Items Related to Idolatry

A brief look at today's daf:

  • the rabbis discuss grafts and shoots of an asheira, a tree or pole that is part of an idolatrous practice 
  • the rabbis consider examples of sometimes fantastical situations that might involve benefitting from an asheira, including fertilizer, parts of cow feed, wood for burning, redeemed items, and others.  
  • to help them determine whether or not an item is forbidden, they consider similar circumstance, like soil that is fertilized by the blood splashed by a priest
  • the rabbis lean toward being less stringent
A new Mishna tells of wood from an asheira that was used to heat a new oven.  If the wood was used to heat an old oven, it must cool down.  If one baked in the forbidden oven or with the forbidden heat, the bread is forbidden.  If the bread mixed with other bread, all are forbidden.  The rabbis argue about whether or not the bread might be redeemed.  If wood from an asheira was used to make a tool for weaving, we cannot benefit from it.  The resulting item is forbidden, and all items are forbidden if more are mixed together.  The rabbis ask about exceptions.  Wine is considered but then dismissed as an item one could compare with the forbidden items.
  • the rabbis describe other things that are forbidden because they are associated with idolatry, including shavings from an asheira or leaves from the tree
  • three rocks close to the asheira, fragments of a broken idol, other items are considered
A new perek and we continue with this discussion. The rabbis argue about whether or not the fragments of an idol are worshipped.  

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