1)'BITUL' OF IDOLATRY
(a)Version #3 (Beraisa - R. Shimon ben Menasiya): Idolatry of a Yisrael can never be Batel.
(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 be Mevatel the Yisrael's share;
1.This is because a Yisrael serves according to his own will.
(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 it.
(f)Rebbi says, if he sold it or gave it for 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'Veilohav u'Fanah l'Ma'alah" - 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 for collateral for a loan, it is Batel...
(m)(Opinion #1 - Ze'iri or R. Yirmeyah bar Aba): They argue in a case that 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 in a case that he sold it to a Yisrael smelter.
(o)Question: Does opinion #2 say that they argue also about one who 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'?
i.Suggestion: He sold it on condition that the buyer will destroy it or serve it.
ii.Rejection: Surely, all agree that the former is Bitul, and the latter is not!
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. (They argue in both cases!)
(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 argue only in a case that he sold it to be Ne'evad, i.e. to a Nochri smelter.
(r)Question (against Opinion #1 - Beraisa): If 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);
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, which is void, if he asks for his money back, it looks like he sells back the idolatry.)
3.Granted, according to Opinion #2, the Beraisa is Chachamim, who say that selling to a Yisrael smelter is not Bitul.
4.However, according to Opinion #1, all agree that selling to a Yisrael smelter is Bitul. Which Tana forbids to return it?
(s)Answer: All agree that this sale was not Batel, because the Nochri did not know that idolatry was among the metal.
2)WHEN IS A 'NOCHRI' 'MEVATEL'?
(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)The Tana needed to teach all these cases.
1.Had he taught only about 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;
2.Had he taught only about 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.Had he taught only about 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;
ii.If Yisraelim took it, they will sell it to Nochrim because it is valuable for an idol.
4.However, when he went abroad, since he did not take it with him, this is Bitul;
5.The Beraisa teaches that none of these cases are Bitul.
(d)Question: The Beraisa said 'if he will return, like in the war with Yehoshua... ' The Nochrim did not return from that war!
(e)Answer: It means, if he will return, it is forbidden like idolatry taken in Yehoshua's conquest of Eretz Yisrael (because the Kena'anim expected to return).
(f)Question: Why did the Tana compare this to Yehoshua's war (and not say the law directly)?
(g)Answer: He alludes to 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 forbidden.
(h)Question: What is the source that the Nochri forbids it?
(i)Answer (R. Elazar): We learn from the conquest of Eretz Yisrael. The Torah commanded "va'Ashereihem Tisrefun ba'Esh";
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, for one could (force a Nochri to) Mevatel them!
2.Answer: We must say that 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 gods.
5.Question: Only Asheiros served at that time should be forbidden, but not those served after (Yisrael repented)!
6.Answer: Correct! However, we do not know when they were served, so all must be burned. Melo ha'Ro'im asks why we do not follow the majority, which presumably were not worshipped at that time. Seemingly, a tree planted after the Egel should be permitted. Perhaps we are concerned lest a branch of a forbidden Asherah was planted in the ground, and this tree resulted - Beni Betzalel Feldman she'Yichyeh
3)BASES FOR IDOLATRY
(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 that 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;
2.Since they did not return, this shows that they were Mevatel it.
(d)(Mishnah): Bimusi'os of kings are permitted.
(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 forbidden!
1.Even the opinion that permits broken idolatry, he permits it only because people do not serve broken idolatry, it is a disgrace;
2.People do not care if the Bimus on which they put idolatry is broken.
(i)Ula: We greatly revere Rav and Shmuel, but the Halachah follows R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish, who permit a dented Bimus.
1.Even the opinion that forbids broken idolatry, he forbids only it because people do not Mevatel broken idolatry, for it is a disgrace;
2.People have no qualms about discarding a broken Bimus and erecting a new one.
(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.
(k)Question: What is the difference between a Bimus and a Mizbe'ach?
(l)Answer (R. Yakov bar Idi): A Bimus is one stone. A Mizbe'ach is made of many stones.