Monday, 12 March 2018

Avodah Zara 56: When Do We Tithe Wine?, Hands or Feet

The rabbis begin today's daf with their conversation about when exactly one should tithe in the process of making wine.  If the hands of a Gentile touch the grape product before this time, perhaps the wine can still be used for libation.  We learn that the rabbis were particularly stringent about consecrating wine.  The rabbis speak of the wicker basket that was used to strain through the wine and grape product left after most of the wine had fallen through to the collection vat.

In their discussion, the rabbis note that there was a six year-old boy who learned this very tractate, Masechet Avodah Zara.  The child was asked whether or not a Jew could benefit from his work together with a Gentile, treading on grapes at a particular time.  The child said that this was permitted in accordance with the Mishna.  He explained the contradiction regarding the forbidden touch of a Gentile by noting that the touch of a Gentile's foot is different from the the touch of his hand. 

Today's daf ends with the beginning of another case example.  Here we learn that a Jew and Gentile trod on wine together.  Shmuel delayed his ruling on whether or not the Jew was permitted to benefit from his wages.  Tomorrow's daf begins with the his reasoning behind waiting for so long to rule on this case.

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