WHICH IMAGES ARE FORBIDDEN?
(Rabah): They argue about statues in villages, but all permit statues in big cities;
This is because they are for beauty, and not to be Ne'evadim (worshipped).
Objection: No one would say that statues in villages are for beauty (all agree that they are to be Ne'evadim, and are forbidden)!
Correction: Rather, they argue about statues in big cities, but all forbid statues in villages.
(Mishnah): Chachamim say, the only forbidden statues...
If he holds a staff (or bird or ball), this shows that he rules over the entire world like over a staff (or bird or ball).
(Beraisa): Additionally, they said that if he holds a sword, crown or ring, it is forbidden.
Originally, Chachamim understood that a sword indicates a mere bandit, a crown indicates a craftsman that makes crowns, and a ring indicates that he is the king's messenger;
Later, Chachamim understood that a sword indicates that he kills whomever he wants, a crown indicates kingship, and a ring indicates that his seal is supreme in the world.
(Mishnah): R. Shimon ben Gamliel says...
(Beraisa): Even if he holds a pebble or chip of wood (it is forbidden).
Question (Rav Ashi): If excrement is in his hand, what is the law?
Does it mean that the whole world is lowly in his eyes, like excrement?
Or, does it mean that the whole world looks down on him, like excrement?
This question is not resolved.
FRAGMENTS OF IDOLS
(Mishnah): If one finds fragments of images, they are permitted;
If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim.
(Gemara - Shmuel): Even if one finds fragments of idols (the idols were definitely Ne'evadim), they are permitted.
Question: The Mishnah permits fragments of images (it is doubtful if the images were ever Ne'evadim). This implies that fragments of idols are forbidden!
Answer: Fragments of idols are also permitted. The Mishnah taught fragments of images due to the Seifa;
(Seifa): If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim. (Had the Reisha taught fragments of idols, it would imply that the Seifa forbids only a form of a hand or leg that came from an idol, but not from an image.)
(Mishnah): If one finds a form of a hand or leg, it is forbidden, for such forms are Ne'evadim.
Question: Even though it is a fragment, it is forbidden!
Answer (Shmuel): The case is, it rests on a base (Rashi - it was fixed there, to be Ne'evad; Tosfos - it is not a fragment. It was made that way.)
(R. Yochanan): If an idol broke by itself, it is forbidden;
(Reish Lakish): It is permitted.
R. Yochanan forbids, for the owner was not Mevatel it;
Reish Lakish permits, for presumably the owner was Mevatel it. He sees that it could not save itself, so he realizes that it cannot help him!
Question (R. Yochanan): "V'Rosh Dagon u'Shtei Kapos Yadav Kerusos El ha'Miftan... Lo Yidrechu Kohanei Dagon... Al Miftan" (even though the idol was mutilated, they still revere it)!
Answer (Reish Lakish): They do not consider it mutilated. They thought that it moved (parts of) itself!
Question (against Reish Lakish - Mishnah): If one finds fragments of images, they are permitted;
Inference: Fragments of idols are forbidden!
Answer: No. Rather, it implies that complete images are forbidden. The Mishnah is like R. Meir.
Question (against R. Yochanan): We can learn from R. Meir to Chachamim!
Even though R. Meir forbids complete images, he permits broken images;
Presumably, the same principle applies to Chachamim. Even though they forbid complete idols, they permit broken idols!
Answer: No. R. Meir permits broken images due to a double Safek. Perhaps the images were never Ne'evadim,and even if they were Ne'evadim, perhaps the owner was Mevatel them;
An idol was definitely Ne'evad (and forbidden), and we do not know if it the owner was Mevatel it. A Safek does not permit what was definitely forbidden!
CAN A 'SAFEK HETER' PERMIT WHAT WAS DEFINITELY FORBIDDEN?
Question: Is it really true that a Safek does not permit what was definitely forbidden?!
(Beraisa): If a Chaver (one trustworthy about tithing) died and left Peros, even if they were harvested that day, we assume that he tithed them.
Even though they were definitely Tevel, and we are in doubt whether he tithed them, we permit them!
Answer #1: There, he definitely tithed them, like R. Chanina Chuza'ah taught.
(R. Chanina Chuza'ah): There is a Chazakah that anything one gets from a Chaver was tithed.
Answer #2: The Peros were not definitely forbidden. Perhaps he did like R. Oshaya's scheme;
(R. Oshaya): One may scheme, and bring Peros into his house with the chaff, and his animal (or himself, if he does not eat in a fixed way) may eat without tithing.