THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Avodah Zarah, 32
AVODAH ZARAH 32 - dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Esther (bas Moshe) Farber of
Riverdale, NY, who passed away on 13 Shevat 5763, in honor of the Hakamas
Matzevah. A descendant of the Chasam Sofer, Esther was a courageous woman,
clinging strongly to her heritage despite personal tragedies, who affected
the lives of many students and friends.
1) HALACHAH: KEEPING POTS DURING PESACH IN WHICH "CHAMETZ" IS ABSORBED
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (29b) states that it is prohibited to derive benefit
from "Cheres Hadriyani" (potsherds soaked in wine which were then sent to be
used for making wine elsewhere by soaking the pieces in water). The
prohibition is obviously based on the prohibition against consuming Yayin
Nesech and Stam Yayin.
The Gemara asks whether one may use such pieces of clay to support one's
bed. Is it permitted for a person to use the potsherds for a purpose other
than the purpose for which they were prohibited?
The Gemara cites an argument whether or not this is permitted. In some
texts, the Gemara says that the Halachah follows the view that it is
This question has practical implications today. We know that it is forbidden
to cook on Pesach with pots that were used for Chametz, because the Chametz
will be absorbed into the Pesach food. However, is it permitted to keep such
pots in one's possession, or to use them for purposes other than cooking,
during Pesach? It seems that if it is forbidden to use "Cheres Hadriyani"
for a purpose such as supporting one's bed, then it should also be forbidden
during Pesach to keep pots in which Chametz is absorbed.
(a) TOSFOS (DH v'Ha) says that there are Poskim who indeed rule that one is
not allowed to use these pots for any purpose on Pesach, just like "Cheres
The PRI CHADASH (OC 450:7) asserts that this is also the opinion of the TUR.
The Tur says that one is not allowed, during Pesach, to rent his pot to a
Nochri who will cook Chametz in it, because the owner shows that he wants
the existence of his Chametz because he wants the existence of his pot. In
addition, the Tur writes that one is prohibited from deriving benefit from
the pot itself, and thus he definitely may not derive benefit by renting it
to a Nochri. The Pri Chadash explains that the Tur applies the ruling of our
Gemara, which is discussing Yayin Nesech, to other Isurim (such as Chametz).
The SHULCHAN ARUCH agrees with the ruling of the Tur.
(The PERISHAH has a slightly different understanding of the Tur. He explains
that the Tur does not agree that a pot in which Chametz is absorbed is
comparable to "Cheres Hadriyani." In the case of "Cheres Hadriyani," the
forbidden object (i.e. the wine of the Nochri) is considered present (see
Tosfos DH v'Ha at length) because of the large quantity of wine absorbed in
the clay and because of the fact that the wine strengthens the clay vessel.
These conditions do not exist in the case of a regular pot in which a very
small and insignificant amount of food is absorbed. The Perishah explains
that the Tur does not prohibit renting the pot to a Nochri because of the
Chametz that is absorbed in the pot, but rather because of the Chametz that
*will* become absorbed into the pot when the Nochri cooks his Chametz in
(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU TAM who argues with this view. Rabeinu Tam says
that one is permitted use his Chametz vessels during Pesach to store in them
dry items. Similarly, he states that one may store dry items in pots in
which meat and milk were cooked together.
The Pri Chadash also argues with the Tur. He states that even with regard to
Yayin Nesech, the prohibition is mid'Rabanan and not mid'Oraisa. He says
that RASHI (64a, DH Rabanan) and the RAN point out that one is not allowed
even to indirectly want an object of Isur to exist in the case of Yayin
Nesech. This is because Yayin Nesech is prohibited because of Avodah Zarah,
and a Jew is commanded to destroy all forms of Avodah Zarah and items used
to serve it. This reasoning does not apply to Chametz. While we are not
allowed to own Chametz on Pesach, we are not required to destroy all of the
Chametz in the world, even that which belongs to Nochrim, during Pesach, in
the same manner that we should want to destroy all Avodah Zarah in the
world. Accordingly, there is no reason to be stringent with regard to
Chametz when, anyway, the prohibition is mid'Rabanan.
The Pri Chadash cites a number of proofs to the principle that one is
allowed to want indirectly the existence of Chametz on Pesach. For example,
the Shulchan Aruch (OC 448:2) rules that if a Nochri brings a present of
Chametz to a Jew on Pesach he may not accept it, but he does not have to
destroy it, and he may use it after Pesach. We do not say that this Chametz
is forbidden after Pesach because the Jew wanted it to exist on Pesach.
The CHESHEK SHLOMO (32a) says that all of the proofs of the Pri Chadash
against the Tur can be refuted with one answer. All of his questions and
proofs deal with Chametz in the possession of a Nochri, which the Jew
indirectly wants. Chametz in the possession of a Nochri indeed is not a
problem, because one is not required to destroy Chametz of a Nochri on
Pesach (unlike Avodah Zarah, as the Pri Chadash himself explains). However,
a Jew is not allowed to want *his own* Chametz to exist on Pesach. This
Chametz *is* similar to Avodah Zarah, since he has an obligation to destroy
any Chametz in his possession. The Cheshek Shlomo therefore says that the
Halachic conclusion of the Tur and Shulchan Aruch is correct. (However, the
Cheshek Shlomo admits that the Tur seems to say that it is forbidden even to
want the existence of the Chametz of a Nochri (like the opinion of the
Perishah. See SEDER YAKOV (DH Kelim) for further explanation of the Tur, and
why, according to the Tur, one is permitted keep a pot during Pesach if he
does not use it for any purpose.) (Y. Montrose)
2) MEAT BROUGHT TO AND FROM AN "AVODAH ZARAH"
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (29b) discusses the status of meat that was brought
to an Avodah Zarah but has not yet been presented to it, and meat that is
coming out of a place of Avodah Zarah. The Mishnah states that if the meat
has not yet been presented to the Avodah Zarah, it is still permitted.
The Gemara explains that this is not in accordance with the view of Rebbi
Eliezer, who states that the usual intention of an idolater is to use for
Avodah Zarah any animal that he has slaughtered. The very thought to use the
animal for Avodah Zarah makes the animal forbidden, even if a Jew slaughters
the animal (see Chulin 38b).
The Gemara continues and says that when the meat is coming out of a place of
Avodah Zarah it is forbidden, because we assume that it was certainly
offered to the Avodah Zarah. This is similar to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah
ben Beseirah, who states that an object that is brought to Avodah Zarah will
be Metamei any room it enters through Tum'as Ohel like a k'Zayis of a
TOSFOS (DH v'ha'Yotzei) states that it seems that the Rabanan who argue with
Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah do not compare these objects offered to Avodah
Zarah with a corpse. This is problematic for two reasons, as RABEINU TAM
First, the Gemara earlier (29b) says that just as it is prohibited to derive
benefit from a corpse, it is prohibited to derive benefit from an object
that was offered to Avodah Zarah. The Gemara there, however, does not say
that this is solely the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseirah. Why, then,
does the Gemara here state that this is solely the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah
ben Beseirah, implying that there is an argument about it?
Second, if the Rabanan do not compare an offering to Avodah Zarah with a
corpse, then why does the Gemara here say that the case of meat being
brought to Avodah Zarah is not in accordance with the view of Rebbi Eliezer?
Even according to Rebbi Eliezer's principle that an idolater's meat has been
designated for Avodah Zarah, this does not make the meat forbidden if Rebbi
Eliezer agrees with the Rabanan that an offering to Avodah Zarah is not
comparable to a corpse! Why, then, does the Gemara say that this ruling is
definitely not in accordance with the view of Rebbi Eliezer?
(a) RABEINU TAM answers that the Rabanan partially agree to Rebbi Yehudah.
They agree that objects that are sacrificed for Avodah Zarah, such as an
animal offering, libations, or incense, are comparable to a corpse and are
forbidden from benefit. This is why the Gemara earlier -- which discusses
wine and sacrifices -- does not mention any argument between Rebbi Yehudah
and the Rabanan. The Gemara here, in contrast, is discussing a piece of
meat, and not a sacrifice. This is indicated by the wording of the Mishnah
itself which says that the meat is "like sacrifices," implying that the meat
is not an actual sacrifice. The Rabanan argue that an object which is not
brought as a sacrifice and is only presented to the Avodah Zarah is not
comparable to a corpse.
This approach also answers the second question. As long as Rebbi Eliezer
holds that an idolater always sacrifices his animal for the sake of Avodah
Zarah, the Rabanan agree that according to him the animal is always
sacrificed for Avodah Zarah. This is why the Mishnah cannot be following the
view of Rebbi Eliezer. (See TOSFOS HA'ROSH in Chulin 13b, DH Zu.)
(b) The RI gives a different answer to these questions. The Rabanan fully
agree with Rebbi Yehudah that all objects presented to an Avodah Zarah are
forbidden from benefit. However, they do not agree that these objects can
create Tum'as Ohel as a corpse can. The Gemara deduces that the Mishnah
follows the view of Rebbi Yehudah and not the view of the Rabanan from the
wording of the Mishnah. After stating that the meat that departs from an
Avodah Zarah is forbidden, the Mishnah adds, "because it is like sacrifices
to the dead." Why does the Mishnah need to add this explanation? It must be
telling us that the meat is completely comparable to the dead, and even
creates Tum'as Ohel as does a corpse. TOSFOS in Chulin (13b, DH Tikroves)
adds that according to this explanation, although the Rabanan do not agree
that such objects cause Tum'ah mid'Oraisa, they agree that they cause Tum'ah
This explanation of the Ri implies that according to the Rabanan, any
placement of meat in front of Avodah Zarah makes the meat forbidden from
benefit, even if it was not slaughtered with intention to be used for Avodah
Zarah. The BI'UR HA'GRA (YD 139:14) asks that the Ri himself says later
(50a, Tosfos DH Ba'inan) that the Rabanan always require some form of
sacrificial action to make an object brought for Avodah Zarah forbidden from
The SEDER YAKOV answers that the Ri indeed holds that the Rabanan only
prohibit meat that was sacrificed for Avodah Zarah. However, he understands
that the reason meat which departs from Avodah Zarah is prohibited is
because of a suspicion that the animal was slaughtered for Avodah Zarah,
even if it not clear to us that this was the case. Since meat departing from
Avodah Zarah is usually slaughtered for this purpose, we suspect that
because the idolater already offered it to his Avodah Zarah, he does not
mind relinquishing it. Meat which is entering the house of the Avodah Zarah
but which has not yet been offered is not subject to this suspicion. If the
idolater had indeed slaughtered it for the purposes of Avodah Zarah, he
would not give it away until after he had brought it to the Avodah Zarah.