IMAGES THAT FORBID 'KELIM' (cont.)
Question: The Seifa permits all forms, except for a Darkon. One may make a Darkon!
"Lo Sa'asun Iti Elohei Kesef..." - Hash-m's servants above are forbidden, but not the form of a Darkon!
Answer: We must say that this clause discusses benefit from images that one found.
(Mishnah): If one finds... Darkon, he should cast them into the Dead Sea.
Question: Do the Reisha and Seifa discuss benefit from found images, and the middle clause discusses making them?!
Answer #1 (Abaye): Yes!
Answer #2 (Rava): The entire Beraisa discusses benefit from found images. The middle clause (which forbids a human face) is like R. Yehudah;
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): (We forbid) also the forms of a nursing woman and Sar Afis (one who saw, i.e. the lack (or gathering) of grain)
These represent Chavah, who (effectively) nursed the entire world (by nursing her children, from whom the whole world descends) and Yosef, who was Mefis (relieved, i.e.fed) the entire world (during the years of famine).
The form of a woman is forbidden only if she is nursing. The form of a man is forbidden only if he is giving food from a bucket.
(Beraisa - R. Shimon ben Elazar): What is the form of a Darkon? It is any (serpent) with fins (some say - hairs) between the joints.
(Rav Asi): This refers to the joints of the neck.
(R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): The Halachah follows R. Shimon ben Elazar.
'BITUL' OF IDOLS
(Rabah bar bar Chanah): Once, R. Elazar Hakapar found a ring on the road with a form of a Darkon. A Nochri child came by; R. Elazar did nothing. An adult Nochri came, and R. Elazar asked him to Mevatel it.
The Nochri did not. R. Elazar slapped him, and the Nochri was Mevatel it.
Conclusion: We learn three laws from this:
A Nochri can be Mevatel his idolatry or that of another Nochri;
He can be Mevatel only if he is proficient in idolatry;
Bitul works even if the Nochri was coerced.
Question (R. Chanina): Does R. Elazar argue with the following?!
(Beraisa - R. Shimon ben Elazar): One may keep the following: what he saves from a lion, bear, leopard, or polecat, what a high tide deposited, what he finds at the bottom of the river, in a big encampment or thoroughfare, or in any place where many people pass;
This is because the owner despairs. (Why did R. Elazar require Bitul?)
Answer (Abaye): Granted, the owner despairs of getting it back, but he does not despair that it will be Ne'evad (therefore, it is still forbidden);
The owner reasons that if a Nochri found it, he will worship it. If a Yisrael finds it, since it is expensive, he will sell it to a Nochri, who will worship it.
WHICH FORMS ARE PERMITTED?
(Mishnah): Raban Gamliel had forms of the moon on a tablet on the wall. He would ask witnesses who saw the new moon which forms resembled what they saw.
Question: "Lo Sa'asun Iti" - do not make things in the form of things that serve Me!
Answer (Abaye): The Torah forbids only replicas that could be made in the same dimensions.
(Beraisa): One may not build a house (whose dimensions are) like those of the Heichal, an Achsadra (a building open in at least one direction) like the Ulam (the hall in front of the Heichal), a courtyard like the Azarah, or a table like the Shulchan in the Heichal;
One may make a candelabra of any number of branches except for seven. One may not make seven from any metal;
R. Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah forbids even from wood, for the Chashmona'im made a wooden Menorah (after defeating the Yevanim, who had taken all the Kelim from the Mikdash).
Chachamim: No, they made an iron Menorah covered with tin. When they got richer, they made one of silver. When they got richer, they made one of gold.
Question: Even replicas that cannot be made in the same dimensions are forbidden!
(Beraisa): "Lo Sa'asun Iti" - do not make things in the form of those who serve Me above!
Answer (Abaye): The Torah forbids only images with all four faces (of Chayos under the Merkavah).
Question: This implies that a human face by itself is permitted, but this is not so!
(Beraisa): All faces are permitted, except for a human face.
Answer (Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua): We read "Lo Sa'asun Iti" like 'Lo Sa'asun Osi' - do not make My image (R. Chananel, Rosh Hashanah 24b - Hash-m appears to Nevi'im "k'Mar'eh Adam" (Yechezkeil 1:26)).
Other servants of Hash-m are permitted.
Question (Beraisa): "Lo Sa'asun Iti" - do not make things in the form of those (angels) who serve Me above, such as Ofanim, Serafim, Chayos ha'Kodesh, or ministering angels.
Answer (Abaye): This forbids forms of those who serve Him above. (Tosfos and Ran - all of Abaye's Drashos are true, but he did not say them to answer the questions in the Gemara. The Gemara thought that Abaye meant 'only this is forbidden, and everything else is permitted', and that this would answer the question. Really, Abaye taught that among lower servants, only replicas in the same dimensions are forbidden to keep if others made them, that the three forms on the Merkavah other than man are permitted as long as all four are not made, and that only images of upper servants (but not lower servants, unless they are in the same dimensions) are forbidden to keep if others made them.)
Question: Also Hash-m's servants below (the sun and moon...) are forbidden!
(Beraisa): "Asher ba'Shamayim" includes the sun, moon, stars and constellations. "Mi'Ma'al" includes ministering angels.
Answer #1: That forbids worshipping them (but one may make their forms).
Objection: One may not worship anything (except Hash-m), even a worm!
Answer #2: (Indeed, one may not make images of the sun, moon...) The end of the verse "Asher ba'Aretz" forbids worshipping seas, rivers and mountains. "Mi'Tachas" includes even a small worm.
Question: One may not make forms (of His servants, even if one will not worship them. How could Raban Gamliel make forms of the moon?)!
(Beraisa): "Lo Sa'asun Iti" - do not make forms of those who serve Me above, such as the sun, moon, stars and constellations.
Answer #1: A Nochri made them for Raban Gamliel.
Question: A Nochri made Rav Yehudah's signet ring, and Shmuel told Rav Yehudah to damage its form!
Answer: His ring had a protruding form. Shmuel told him to blunt it to avoid suspicion.
(Beraisa): If a signet ring has a protruding form, one may not wear it, but one may sign with it (for this makes a recessed form);
If it has a recessed form, one may wear it, but one may not sign with it (for this makes a protruding form).
Question: Are we really concerned lest Yisraelim be suspected of idolatry?!
A statue was placed in the Beis ha'Keneses of Shaf v'Yasiv (some explain that its stones were taken from Yerushalayim to Bavel). Shmuel's father and Levi prayed in the Beis ha'Keneses. They were not concerned for suspicion!
Answer: People will suspect an individual, but not a large group.
Question: Raban Gamliel was an individual. He should have been concerned! (Rosh - regarding the sun and moon, we do not permit even recessed forms.)
Answer #1: He was the Nasi and people constantly came to him, so he is considered like a large group.
Answer #2: Raban Gamliel's images came in parts. (He would assemble them only when needed, therefore there was no suspicion.)
Answer #2: For the sake of learning, such images are allowed.
(Beraisa): "Lo Silmad La'asos (do not learn witchcraft to use it)", but you may learn in order to understand and give Halachic rulings.
DIGNIFIED AND DISGRACEFUL 'KELIM'
(Mishnah - R. Shimon ben Gamliel): Images on dignified (Kelim) are forbidden, those on disgraceful (Kelim) are permitted.
Question: What are considered dignified (Kelim), and what are disgraceful (Kelim)?
Answer #1 (Rav): Above the level of water (that is held in the Keli) is (the) dignified (part of a Keli). Below the water level is (the) disgraceful (part of a Keli).
Objection (Shmuel): All parts of such Kelim are disgraceful;
Answer #2 (Shmuel): Dignified Kelim are bracelets, noserings and rings (ornaments). Disgraceful Kelim are pots, kettles, sheets and cloths (R. Chananel's text - coins) (they are used).
HOW TO DESTROY IDOLS
(Mishnah - R. Yosi): One should grind up (idols) and throw the dust to the wind, or cast it to the sea.
Chachamim: No, this will fertilize the ground (that it is deposited on), and we may not derive any benefit from idols - "Lo Yidbak b'Yadcha Me'umah Min ha'Cherem."