THIEVES OF BAVEL
Thieves came upon Rav Menasheh. He said 'I am heading to Pumbadisa.' When he reached Bei Tursa (his true destination), the thieves realized that they were tricked.
The thieves: You are a Talmid of (Rav) Yehudah the swindler!
Rav Menasheh: You know him? You should be excommunicated!
For the next 22 years, they tried to steal, but did not succeed. All but one (a weaver) came to ask to permit the Cherem; that one was eaten by a lion.
The thieves of Bavel are so much coarser than those of Eretz Yisrael (who praised R. Akiva)!
WE DO NOT HELP NOCHRIM PROPAGATE
(Mishnah): A Bas Yisrael may not help a Nochris give birth, for the child will serve idolatry;
A Nochris may help a Bas Yisrael give birth.
A Bas Yisrael may not nurse a Nochris' baby;
A Nochris may nurse a Bas Yisrael's baby when the mother is there.
(Gemara - Beraisa - R. Meir): A Bas Yisrael may not help a Nochris give birth, for the child will serve idolatry;
A Nochris may not help a Bas Yisrael give birth. We are concerned lest she kill the baby.
Chachamim say, a Nochris may help a Bas Yisrael in front of Yisraelim, but not alone.
R. Meir forbids even in front of others. Perhaps she will crush the forehead and they will not see.
A Nochris scolded her friend: why do you help Benos Yisrael give birth?!
Her friend: Your suffering should be as great as the number of babies I have killed, like the number of branches in the river!
Chachamim: The friend was fibbing.
(Mishnah): A Bas Yisrael may not nurse a Nochris' baby.
(Beraisa - R. Meir): A Bas Yisrael may not nurse a Nochris' baby, for the child will serve idolatry.
A Nochris may not nurse a Bas Yisrael's baby. We are concerned lest she kill the baby.
Chachamim say, she may nurse when others are there.
R. Meir forbids even when others are there, lest she put poison on her breast.
We needed to teach the argument in both cases.
Had we taught only about helping to give birth, one might have thought that Chachamim permit because she cannot kill the baby without them seeing, but they agree that nursing is forbidden, lest she put poison on her breast.
Had we taught only about nursing, one might have thought that R. Meir forbids lest she put poison on her breast, but they agree that she may help a Bas Yisrael give birth, for she cannot kill the baby without them seeing.
Contradiction (Beraisa): A Bas Yisrael may help a Nochris give birth for pay, but not for free. (The Mishnah forbids, since the child will serve idolatry. Surely this is not permitted even for pay!)
Answer (Rav Yosef): It is permitted for pay, to avoid animosity.
(Rav Yosef): A Bas Yisrael may help a Nochris give birth for pay on Shabbos, to avoid animosity.
Rejection (Abaye): There will be no animosity. She can say 'we may desecrate Shabbos to deliver a baby that will observe Shabbos, but not for a baby that will not observe Shabbos.'
(Rav Yosef): A Bas Yisrael may nurse a Nochri baby for pay, to avoid animosity.
Rejection (Abaye): There will be no animosity;
A single girl can say 'I cannot nurse, for (then men will not desire me, and) I want to get married!'
A married woman can say 'I cannot nurse, lest my husband despise me!'
(Beraisa): We do not throw into a pit (actively kill) shepherds (who constantly graze their own small animals on others' property, which is theft) or Nochrim, nor may (Me'iri - must) we raise them from a pit to save them.
(Rav Yosef): It is permitted (Me'iri - obligatory) to raise them for pay, to avoid animosity.
Rejection (Abaye): There will be no animosity. He can say 'I cannot save you now, my son is (in great danger) on the roof', or 'I must meet the officer now, or else I will suffer a great loss.'
(R. Avahu - Beraisa): We do not throw into a pit Nochrim or people who graze small animals, nor do we raise them;
We throw into a pit Minim (priests of idolatry), informers (who lie to extortionists, causing them to take people's property) and Mumrim (people who habitually transgress a certain Mitzvah), and we do not raise them.
Objection (R. Yochanan - Beraisa): "L'Chol Avedas Achicha" includes the Aveidah (lost object) of a Mumar;
If we must return his property, and all the more so we do not kill him!
Rather, we must delete 'Mumrim' from the Beraisa.
Question: Perhaps we must return the Aveidah of a Mumar who eats Neveilos l'Te'avon (to fulfill his appetite), and the Beraisa teaches that we kill a Mumar who eats Neveilos Lehach'is (to anger Hash-m)?
Answer: R. Yochanan holds that a Mumar Lehach'is is considered a Min (which was already mentioned in R. Avahu's Beraisa).
(Rav Acha or Ravina): A Mumar l'Tei'avon is considered a Mumar. A Mumar Lehach'is Lehach'is is considered a Min.
(The other of Rav Acha and Ravina): Even a Mumar Lehach'is is a Mumar.
Question: According to the latter opinion, what is a Min?
Answer: One who serves idolatry is a Min.
Question (Beraisa): If one ate one flea or mosquito, he is a Mumar.
Surely, this was Lehach'is, and he is a Mumar!
Answer: He did not intend to anger Hash-m. He merely wanted to taste forbidden food.
(R. Avahu's Beraisa): We throw them into a pit. We do not raise them.
Objection: Obviously, if we throw them into a pit, we do not raise them!
Answer #1 (Rav Sheshes): This teaches that if there was a way to climb out of the pit, one should find a pretext to close it, e.g. 'I do not want my animals to fall in.' (Tosfos - this applies even when the Nochrim rule the area. We throw them in a pit only when Yisraelim rule; Ritva - we never throw them into a pit. We only prevent them from leaving).
Answer #2 (Rabah and Rav Yosef): One covers the pit with a rock, saying 'I must pass my animals over the pit.'
Answer #3 (Ravina): One removes the ladder, and says 'I need it to save my son. He is on the roof.'
MAY NOCHRIM CIRCUMCISE YISRAELIM?
(Beraisa - R. Meir): A Yisrael may circumcise a Nochri for the sake of conversion.
He may not circumcise him for medical reasons, e.g. if there is a worm in the foreskin.
A Nochri may not circumcise a Yisrael, for they are suspected of killing.
Chachamim say, a Nochri may circumcise a Yisrael, but only if others supervise.
R. Meir forbids this, lest he tilt the knife and castrate the baby.
Question: Elsewhere, R. Meir permits a Nochri to circumcise a Yisrael!
Contradiction (Beraisa - R. Meir): If there is no Yisrael Mohel (one who knows how to circumcise) in the city, one should use a Nochri Mohel, and not a Kusi Mohel;
R. Yehudah says, one should use a Kusi Mohel, and not a Nochri Mohel.
Answer #1: The opinions must be switched: R. Meir says, one should use a Kusi Mohel, and not a Nochri Mohel;
R. Yehudah says, one should use a Nochri Mohel, and not a Kusi Mohel.
Objection: Does R. Yehudah really permit using a Nochri Mohel?!
(Beraisa #1 - R. Yehudah): Circumcision by a Nochri is invalid - "v'Atah Es Brisi Tishmor."