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Avodah Zarah, 33
1) STORING WINE IN LEATHER AND CLAY VESSELS
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses the use of containers formerly owned by
Nochrim that might have contained the wine of Nochrim. The Gemara cites
Beraisos which mention two different types of wine containers -- leather
containers ("Nodos") and clay containers ("Kankanim"). Both Beraisos imply
that if the containers are new and are "Garud," then they may be used. If
the containers are old or are not "Garud," then they cannot be used. Is
there a Halachic difference regarding how each of these types of containers
may be used?
(a) RASHI (DH Garud) says that a leather container, the inside of which was
not lined with pitch ("Garud," according to Rashi's explanation), which
contained wine for a short time is permitted to be used by a Jew since it
did not yet absorb any wine. A container made out of clay, on the other
hand, may not be used even if it contained wine for only a short time, since
the clay vessel immediately absorbs the wine.
According to Rashi, it seems that although the wording of both Beraisos is
almost identical, the cases are different. New leather containers without
pitch are permitted even if there was some Nochri wine in it for a short
time, while a new clay container is permitted only when it never contained
any Nochri wine. This also appears to be Rashi's explanation of Rav Acha's
statement later in the Gemara (see Rashi DH Aval Kankanim).
TOSFOS (32b, DH Kach) asks a number of questions on Rashi's explanation.
Since the wording of the Beraisos is nearly identical, it is not logical to
say that they are discussing different cases. If the case of a "new" leather
container refers to a container that was slightly used, then that must also
be the case of a "new" clay container. In addition, according to Rashi, who
says that the determining factor is how quickly the vessel absorbs its
contents, it should be prohibited to use wooden or silver drinking vessels
of Nochrim without performing Iruy or Hagalah, and yet it was common
practice (in Tosfos' time) to merely rinse out these vessels and use them.
(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU ELIYAHU BEN YEHUDAH who explains the Beraisos
differently. In both Beraisos, the case of "new" containers refers to
containers which never contained wine, and there was never any pitch inside
of them. Since the containers were not lined with pitch, it is easy to tell
whether they every contained wine or not. If they ever had pitch in them, on
the other hand, then even though there is no pitch in them now, such
containers would be prohibited to be used, because it is now impossible to
discern whether or not there was ever any wine in the containers. If the
containers are old (that is, they were used at least once for the purpose of
storage, even if not for a long time), then they certainly are prohibited.
Since the vessels are prohibited only when they were used for the purpose of
storage, we can understand the custom prevalent in Tosfos' time to merely
rinse out the drinking vessels of Nochrim and use them, for they were never
used for storage.
This explanation answers all of the questions of Tosfos except for one.
According to this explanation, how can "Garud" mean that the containers were
never lined with pitch? "Garud" usually means that something was scraped
away, implying here that there *was* pitch and it was removed. In addition,
the BEHAG clearly differentiates (with regard to Rav Acha's statement later
in the Gemara) that leather containers are not used for storage and
therefore have a more lenient status, while clay containers are used for
storage. RABEINU TAM points out that according to the Behag, leather
drinking vessels with pitch in them are forbidden even though they were not
used for storage (unlike Rabeinu Eliyahu's explanation).
(c) RABEINU TAM therefore maintains that the cases are entirely different,
and the correct text in our Gemara is the text as it appears in the Tosefta
(5:4), which says that leather containers that are "Garud" are permitted.
New leather vessels with pitch are forbidden. "Garud" here means that
vessels which currently do not contain pitch are permitted to be used after
rinsing, as they are not used for storage at all and do not absorb easily.
This would include even old, non-pitched leather vessels. The fact that the
pitch absorbs does not make the vessel itself absorb more than it normally
would (see BEIS YOSEF, YD 135, DH b'Mah). Therefore, as long as there is no
pitch left inside, the vessel is permitted. New vessels with pitch are
forbidden, even if they do not appear to have ever been used. This is
because a person would not know if they were used, as the pitch would
immediately absorb the wine.
The case regarding clay containers should read that new vessels are
permitted, while old vessels with pitch are forbidden. The new vessels are
permitted because the Nochri definitely never would put wine in non-pitched
clay vessels and then try to pass the vessels off as new, as the former
presence of wine is too noticeable. Old clay containers and even new
containers with pitch are forbidden, as one cannot tell if they ever
Analyzing Rabeinu Tam's comments, Tosfos mentions two Halachos which result
from his explanation. According to Rabeinu Tam, if a Nochri touched wine in
a drinking vessel containing pitch, the vessel requires Iruy or Hagalah,
since the Yayin Nesech is immediately absorbed into the vessel. Second,
Rabeinu Tam's explanation is in contrast to the custom in all places to buy
and use new vessels with pitch from Nochrim without doing Iruy or Hagalah.
The RI explains that the custom does not contradict the view of Rabeinu Tam.
In the times of the Gemara, the reason one would not know if new vessels
with pitch had contained wine was because part of the vessel-making process
was to put wine in the pitch (as stated in our Gemara). That wine is not a
problem of Yayin Nesech, as the Gemara mentions. However, that wine would
successfully disguise the presence of any other wine that was placed into
the vessel after the vessel was formed. Now that wine is no longer used in
the manufacturing of vessels, people would be able to discern whether wine
had been placed into the vessels. This is why people in Tosfos' time were
not stringent to do Iruy or Hagalah to new vessels bought from Nochrim. (Y.
2) PERFORMING "HAGALAH" WITH AN EARTHENWARE VESSEL THAT WAS USED FOR STORING
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses how to make an earthenware vessel -- that was
formerly owned by a Nochri and used for storing Yayin Nesech -- permitted
for use by a Jew. One method is by placing the vessel back into an oven
until the lining of pitch comes off. Rav Ashi says that it suffices for the
pitch to soften. This is a form of the process of Libun, using fire to burn
out the absorption of liquid or food particles from the vessel.
The Gemara does not discuss the possibility of performing Hagalah, boiling
the vessel to extract whatever is absorbed in it. Does Hagalah permit using
such vessels, or is only Libun effective?
(a) RASHI (DH v'Hilchesa), the RITVA, and the RAMBAN say that Hagalah is not
effective to permit vessels used for Yayin Nesech. This is apparent from the
argument the Gemara cites with regard to whether it suffices to throw
burning twigs into the vessel if doing so burns the pitch off of the vessel.
Rashi explains that since the Gemara says that the Halachah follows the view
that this process does *not* suffice, doing Hagalah would also not suffice.
If fire itself does not suffice to remove the absorption of Yayin Nesech,
then certainly that which is heated by fire (i.e. boiling water) will not
suffice (only Libun, which brings the heat of the flame to both the inside
and outside of the vessel, suffices).
(b) TOSFOS quotes RABEINU TAM who says that Hagalah *is* effective. Not only
does an earthenware vessel become Kosher through regular Hagalah, whereby
the vessel is inserted into a Kli Rishon (a vessel which is resting on the
fire which has the ability to cook), but it even becomes Kosher by pouring
the hot water into the vessel and shaking the water around. Rabeinu Tam
proves this from the Gemara later (75a) which states that one is allowed to
make such a vessel Kosher by pouring boiling olive water in it.
We find that pouring boiling water into the vessel is an acceptable method
only in the case of Yayin Nesech. Rabeinu Tam explains that this is because
the wine was not cooked in the vessel, but rather it was merely stored in it
while cold. Accordingly, the absorption of the wine into the vessel was not
great, and it can be more easily removed than liquids or foods that became
absorbed by being cooked in a vessel.
(c) The RI (cited by the ROSH) argues with Rabeinu Tam's view that shaking
the water around after it is already in the vessel does not suffice. He
argues that the water is not being poured on all parts of the vessel
directly from the Kli Rishon. Rather, the Ri requires that at least the
boiling water be poured from the Kli Rishon directly onto every part of the
vessel (according to Tosfos' version of the Ri, doing so is a Mitzvah but is
not a requirement).
The RAN explains the Ri's opinion. The Gemara earlier says that one may
place a very sharp brine into the vessel in order to permit it to be used.
Rashi (33a, DH Oved) explains that the reason this works is because the
brine completely burns away the wine which is absorbed in the vessel
(opinions vary regarding how long the brine must be left in the vessel in
order to be effective; see RITVA, ME'IRI, TORAS HA'BAYIS (Sha'ar 6)). The
Ran explains that the Ri assumes that Hagalah should not be any less
effective than this very sharp brine. Just as the brine can burn away the
absorption, so can the hot water.
The Ran quotes the BA'AL HA'TERUMOS who suggests, in the name of the Ri,
another way to make this type of vessel Kosher for use. He says that even
though the Gemara states that throwing burning twigs into the vessel is not
sufficient, if the vessel would become so hot that one could not touch the
outside of the vessel, then the burning twigs *are* effective. The Ran
explains that this opinion understands that the argument in the Gemara
regarding burning twigs is assuming that the pitch would only soften and not
burn away, as Rav Ashi states immediately prior to this argument. However,
if the pitch would burn away and the outside of the vessel would also be
very hot, then this would be an acceptable way to make the vessel usable.
The Ran says that Rashi would also agree with this. Rashi (33b) states that
an oven which burns away the pitch of the vessel accomplishes the Libun of
the clay as well. The problem with twigs is that although they burn away the
inside immediately, the clay itself still has not reached the heat of Libun.
This is not the case, though, when we see that the clay itself becomes too
hot to touch. (Y. Montrose)