POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Avodah Zarah 53
1) BITUL OF IDOLATRY
(a) Version #3 (Beraisa - R. Shimon ben Menasiya): Idolatry
of a Yisrael can never be Batel.
2) WHEN IS A NOCHRI MEVATEL?
(b) Question: What does 'never' come to include?
(c) Answer (R. Hilel brei d'R. Vilas): Even if the Nochri is
a partner in the idolatry, he cannot Mevatel the
1. This is because a Yisrael serves according to his
(d) (Mishnah): The following are Bitul of idolatry - cutting
off the top of the ear, nose or finger, or bashing it
(even though nothing is cut off).
(e) The following are not Bitul - spitting or urinating in
front of it, dragging it in mud, or throwing excrement at
(f) Rebbi says, if he sold it or gave it as collateral for a
loan, it is Batel;
(g) Chachamim say, it is not Batel.
(h) (Gemara) Question: When he bashes it, why is it Batel?
(i) Answer (R. Zeira): He bashed in its face.
(j) Question: What is the source that spitting or urinating
in front of it is not Bitul?
(k) Answer (Chizkiyah): "Ki Yir'av v'Hiskatzaf v'Kilel
b'Malko u'Veilokav u'Fanah Lemalah" - after cursing his
idol and turning his heart to Hash-m, "V'El Eretz Yabit",
he will return to his idol.
(l) (Mishnah - Rebbi): If he sold it or gave it as collateral
for a loan, it is Batel...
(m) (Opinion #1 - Ze'iri or R. Yirmeyah bar Aba): They argue
when he sold it to a Nochri smelter, all agree that
selling to a Yisrael smelter (Rashi - the same applies to
any Yisrael) is Bitul;
(n) (Opinion #2 - the other of Ze'iri and R. Yirmeyah bar
Aba): They argue when he sold it to a Yisrael smelter.
(o) Question: Does opinion #2 say that they also argue when
he sold to a Nochri smelter, or do all agree that selling
to a Nochri smelter is not Bitul?
(p) Answer (Beraisa - Rebbi): My opinion seems correct when
he sold it to be destroyed, Chachamim's opinion seems
correct when he sold it to be Ne'evad.
1. Question: What does it mean 'to be destroyed' and
'to be Ne'evad'?
(q) Rejection: No, Rebbi means, my opinion seems correct *to
Chachamim* (i.e. they agree with me) when he sold it to
be destroyed, i.e. a Yisrael smelter, they only argue
when he sold it to be Ne'evad, i.e. to a Nochri smelter.
i. Suggestion: He sold on condition that the buyer
will destroy it or serve it.
2. Answer: Rather, 'to be destroyed' means selling to
one who will destroy it, i.e. a Yisrael smelter; 'to
be Ne'evad' means selling to one who will serve it,
i.e. a Nochri smelter. (We see that they argue in
ii. Rejection: Surely, all agree that the former is
Bitul, the latter is not!
(r) Question (against Opinion #1 - Beraisa): A Yisrael bought
scrap metal from a Nochri, and found idolatry among it:
1. If he did Meshichah but did not yet give the money,
he can return it (it was a mistaken sale);
(s) Answer: All agree that this sale was not Batel, because
the Nochri did not know that idolatry was among the
2. If he did Meshichah after giving the money, he must
cast the idolatry to the Dead Sea (even though it
was a mistaken sale, if he asks for his money back,
it *looks like* he is selling back the idolatry).
3. We understand according to Opinion #2, the Beraisa
is Chachamim, who say that selling to a Yisrael
smelter is not Bitul.
4. But according to Opinion #1, all agree that selling
to a Yisrael smelter is Bitul - which Tana forbids
to return it?
(a) (Beraisa): The following are not Bitul - the owner gave
it as collateral for a loan, a house collapsed on it (and
he did not try to uncover it), or robbers took it (and he
did not try to recover it);
(b) If he went abroad and left it - if he will return, like
in the war with Yehoshua, it is not Batel.
(c) We must teach all these cases.
3) BASES FOR IDOLATRY
1. If we only taught when he gave it as collateral, one
might have thought that this is not Bitul because he
did not sell it, but when a house collapsed on it,
since he did not try to uncover it, it is Batel;
(d) Question: The Beraisa said 'If he will return, like in
the war with Yehoshua...' - the Nochrim did not return
from that war!
2. If we only taught when a house collapsed on it, one
might have thought this is not Bitul because it is
there whenever he wants to uncover it, but when
robbers took it, since he did not try to recover it,
it is Batel.
3. If we only taught when robbers took it, one might
have thought that here, he expects that it will
still be Ne'evad:
i. If Nochrim took it, they will serve it;
4. But when he went abroad, since he did not take it
with him, this is Bitul;
ii. If Yisraelim took it, they will sell it to
Nochrim because it is valuable as an idol.
5. The Beraisa teaches that none of these cases is
(e) Answer: It means, if he will return, it is forbidden like
idolatry taken in Yehoshua's conquest of Eretz Yisrael,
it was forbidden (because the Kana'anim *expected* to
(f) Question: Why did the Tana compare this to Yehoshua's war
(and not say the law directly)?
(g) Answer: By the way, he teaches Rav Yehudah's law.
1. (Rav Yehudah): If a Yisrael erected a brick and
never bowed to it, but a Nochri bowed to it, it is
(h) Question: What is the source that the Nochri forbids it?
(i) Answer #1 (R. Elazar): We learn from the conquest of
Eretz Yisrael, the Torah commanded "Va'Ashereihem
1. Question: Why were the Asheiros forbidden - Eretz
Yisrael belonged to the Avos, one (a Nochri) cannot
forbid what he does not own!
i. We cannot say that only the Asheiros from
before the Avos were forbidden - the Torah
would not command to burn them, one could
(force a Nochri to) Mevatel them!
2. Answer: We must say, when Yisrael served the Egel,
they showed that they approve of idolatry, and
consented to Nochri worship of Asheiros in Eretz
Yisrael (therefore, they became forbidden).
3. Question: Perhaps Yisrael served the Egel, but did
not approve of other idolatry!
4. Answer: "Eleh Elohecha Yisrael" - they desired many
5. Question: Only Asheiros served at that time should
be forbidden, not those served after (Yisrael
6. Answer: True - but we did not know when they were
served, so all must be burned.
(a) (Mishnah): If a Nochri abandoned his idolatry in
peacetime, it is permitted; if he abandoned it in
wartime, it is forbidden.
(b) Bimusi'os (bases on which to put idolatry) of kings are
permitted, for they put idolatry on them when the king
passes (this will be explained).
(c) (Gemara - R. Yirmeyah bar Aba): The tower Nimrod built is
like idolatry abandoned in peacetime, it is permitted.
1. Even though Hash-m dispersed everyone, they could
have returned to it if they wanted;
(d) (Mishnah): Bimusi'os of kings are permitted.
2. Since they did not return, this shows that they were
(e) Question: The fact that they put idolatry on them when
the king passes is no reason to permit them!
(f) Answer (Rabah bar bar Chanah): It means, because the
Bimusi'os were only set up to put idolatry on them for
the king to serve when he passes, and the king often
chooses another path (because he has no desire to serve
it), they are Mevatel them.
(g) Ula sat on a dented Bimus (a piece had come off).
(h) Rav Yehudah: Rav and Shmuel taught that a dented Bimus is
1. Even the opinion that permits broken idolatry, he
only permits it because people do not serve broken
idolatry, it is a disgrace;
(i) Ula: We greatly revere Rav and Shmuel - but the Halachah
follows R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish, who say that a
dented Bimus is permitted.
2. People do not care if the Bimus on which they put
idolatry is broken.
1. Even the opinion that forbids broken idolatry, he
only forbids it because people do not Mevatel broken
idolatry, it is a disgrace;
(j) Support (for R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish - Beraisa): A
dented Bimus is permitted, a dented Mizbe'ach is
forbidden, until the majority breaks off.
2. People have no remorse about discarding a broken
Bimus and erecting a new one.
(k) Question: What is the difference between a Bimus and a
(l) Answer (R. Yakov bar Idi): A Bimus is one stone, a
Mizbe'ach is made of many stones.
(m) (Chizkiyah): We learn this from "B'Sumu Kol Avnei
Mizbe'ach k'Avnei Gir Menupatzos Lo Yakumu Asherim
veha'Manim" - if they are broken like frost, they will
not offer on them; if not, they will.