ABOLITION OF THE YETZER HA'RA FOR IDOLATRY
Answer: After they were steeped in idolatry, they felt attached to it.
Question: It says "va'Yiz'aku b'Kol Gadol El Hash-m";
Question: What did they (Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah, the Great Assembly) say?
Answer (Rav Yehudah): They moaned 'the Yetzer ha'Ra (evil inclination for idolatry) caused the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash and the Heichal, the killing of Tzadikim, the exile of Yisrael from Eretz Yisrael, and it still wreaks havoc among us. You (Hash-m) gave to us the Yetzer ha'Ra only to overcome it and receive reward. We prefer not to have it, nor its reward!'
Answer: After they were steeped in idolatry, they lusted to serve it.
(Rav Yehudah): They fasted for three days and asked Hash-m to hand the Yetzer ha'Ra over to them. A note fell from Shamayim. It said 'Emes.'
(R. Chanina): This teaches that Hash-m's stamp is 'Emes.'
A lion of fire came out from the Kodesh ha'Kodoshim; Zecharyah told them that it is the Yetzer ha'Ra. They seized it. A hair came out. It roared, and it was heard for 400 Parsa'os. They were concerned lest Hash-m had mercy on it.
Zecharyah: Throw it in a lead pot and cover it with lead - "Zos ha'Rish'ah va'Yashlech Osah El Toch ha'Eifah... Oferes Al Piha."
Since they were granted this, they requested the Yetzer ha'Ra for Arayos. Hash-m agreed. They held it for three days.
A fresh egg was needed for a sick person, and it could not be found. (Hens were not laying even eggs finished inside the hen.)
They reasoned that Hash-m would not consent to remove only half the Yetzer (for what is forbidden). They blinded it. This helped that people would not lust for their relatives.
(Rav Yehudah): A case occurred in which a Nochris was very sick. She said that if she recovers, she will serve every idolatry in the world. She recovered and went to serve every idolatry. When she came to Ba'al Pe'or, she asked its priests how to serve it.
The priests: Eat beets and drink beer (these induce bowel movement) and excrete in front of it.
The woman: It is better to be sick than to do so!
(Rav Yehudah): Yisrael sunk lower than this Nochris! "Ha'Nitzmadim l'Ba'al Pe'or" - Yisrael clung to Ba'al Pe'or like a Tzamid Pasil (a tightly sealed container);
"V'Atem ha'Devekim ba'Shem" - they clung to Hash-m like dates (that do not cling to each other so tightly).
(Beraisa): "Ha'Nitzmadim l'Ba'al Pe'or" - like a Tzamid (bracelet) on a woman's hand (that does not cling);
"V'Atem ha'Devekim ba'Shem" - truly clinging.
(Beraisa): A case occurred in which Savta ben Eles rented a donkey to a Nochris. When she came to Ba'al Pe'or, she went to serve it. Afterwards, he told her that he wants to serve it.
The woman: Aren't you a Yisrael?!
Savta: What difference does it make?
He excreted in front of it, and wiped his rectum with its nose. The priests were ecstatic - 'no one ever served like this before!'
Excreting in front of Ba'al Pe'or is its normal Avodah. One is liable (Rambam - a Korban, if he was Shogeg; Rashi - and if he was Mezid and warned, Misah) even though he intends to disgrace it (Tosfos - to serve it through disgrace). Throwing rocks at Markulis is its Avodah. He is liable even if he intends to stone it.
Rav Menasheh was traveling. They told him 'there is idolatry here.' He threw a clod of earth at it. They told him that it was Markulis.
Rav Menasheh: The Mishnah forbids only throwing rocks to Markulis, i.e. to honor it!
Rabanan: The Mishnah forbids throwing rocks at Markulis, even if he intends to stone it.
Rav Menasheh: I will remove what I threw (lest it be adorned by my act)!
Rabanan: One is liable for taking rocks from or throwing rocks at Markulis (Rambam - both of these are ways of serving it);
One who takes away makes room for others to throw.
(Mishnah): To be liable for giving a child to Molech, he must give his child to (the priests of) Molech and pass him through a fire;
If he only gave his child to Molech, or only passed him through a fire, he is exempt.
(Gemara) Question: Another Mishnah teaches about liability for idolatry!
Answer (R. Avin): Our Tana holds that Molech is not idolatry. (Rather, it is a forbidden ritual for which one is stoned.)
(Beraisa): If one gives a child to Molech or to any other idolatry and passes him through a fire, he is liable;
R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon says, he is liable for Molech, but not for any other idolatry.
(Abaye): R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon and R. Chanina ben Antigonus agree with each other.
(R. Chanina ben Antigonus): The Torah says Molech because people were Mamlich (crowned) it upon themselves. It can be anything, even a pebble or chip of wood.
(Rava): R. Elazar and R. Chanina argue about a temporary Molech (such as a pebble or chip, which is not likely to be served again. R. Shimon exempts for it.)
(R. Yanai): He is not liable until he gives his child to the priests of Molech and passes him through a fire - "umi'Zar'acha Lo Siten Leha'avir la'Molech." (He explains that when the Mishnah discusses giving to Molech, it means to the priests.)
Support (Beraisa) Suggestion: Perhaps one is liable for passing a child through a fire, without giving him to the priests!
Rejection: "Lo Siten."
Suggestion: Perhaps one is liable for giving a child to the priests, without passing him through a fire!
Rejection: It says "Leha'avir."
Suggestion: Perhaps one is liable for giving him to the priests and passing him through a fire to an idolatry other than Molech!
Rejection: It says "la'Molech."
Suggestion: Perhaps one is liable for giving him to the priests and passing him to Molech, but not through a fire!
Rejection: It says here "Leha'avir", and it says "Ma'avir Beno u'Vito ba'Esh." Just like there it refers to fire, also here. Just like here it refers to Molech, also there.
(Rav Acha brei d'Rava): If one gave all his children (to the priests of Molech and passes them) through a fire, he is exempt - "umi'Zar'acha", and not all your children.
Questions (Rav Ashi): What is the law if one gave a child that is blind, sleeping, or the son of his son or daughter?
Answer (to one of these - Beraisa) Question: What do we learn from "Ki mi'Zar'o Nosan la'Molech"?
Answer - Suggestion: Perhaps "Lo Yimatzei Becha Ma'avir Beno u'Vito ba'Esh" obligates only for his own son or daughter!
Rejection: "B'Sito mi'Zar'o" obligates even for a grandson.
Question: The Tana asked what we learn from "Ki mi'Zar'o...", and he answered with a Drashah from a different verse, "b'Sito mi'Zar'o"!
Answer: Really, "Ki mi'Zar'o" obligates even for a grandson. "B'Sito mi'Zar'o" teaches something else:
Suggestion: Perhaps "(Ki) mi'Zar'o" obligates only for legitimate children!
Rejection: "B'Sito mi'Zar'o" obligates even for illegitimate children.
(Rav Yehudah): He is liable only for passing through in the normal way (of Molech).
Question: What is this?
Answer #1 (Abaye): He passes his child along a brick wall, with a fire on each side of it.
Answer #2 (Rava): He makes the child jump over a fire in a pit, like children jump on Purim.
Support (for Rava - Beraisa): He is liable only for passing through in the normal way;
If he made him walk across, he is exempt.
He is liable only for his own descendants:
He is liable for (giving and passing ) a son or daughter. He is exempt for a parent, sibling or for himself.
R. Elazar bar Shimon obligates for giving and passing oneself.
He is liable for giving and passing to Molech or to any other idolatry;
R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon says, he is liable only for Molech.
(Ula): R. Elazar bar Shimon (who obligates for oneself) learns from "Lo Yimatzei Becha" - yourself.
Question: Also Chachamim expound 'Becha'!
(Mishnah): If Reuven sees his lost object and his father's, and he cannot save both, he should save his own.
Question: What is the reason?
Answer (Rav Yehudah): "Efes Ki Lo Yihyeh Becha Evyon" (do not allow yourself to become poor) - save your lost object before anyone else's.
Answer: There we expound "Efes" (this word is extra), and not "Becha."
THE PUNISHMENTS OF KARES REGARDING IDOLATRY
Question (R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): Why does the Torah say three times that one is Chayav Kares for idolatry (once regarding idolatry in general, and twice regarding Molech)?
Answer: One obligates Kares for serving k'Darko, one obligates for Lo k'Darko, and one is Mechayev for Molech.
Question: According to the opinion that Molech is an idolatry, what do we learn from the third?
Answer: It obligates for passing one's child to a different idolatry.
(Tana'im argue about whether "Megadef" refers to blasphemy or idolatry.)
Question: According to the opinion that Megadef refers to idolatry, what do we learn from the Kares written regarding it?
Answer (Beraisa - R. Akiva): "Hikares Tikares" - he will be cut off from this world and the next;
R. Yishmael: It already says "v'Nichresa." Is there a third world?!
Rather, "v'Nichresa" - he will be cut off from this world. "Hikares" - he will be cut off from the next world. "Tikares" - the Torah speaks like people do (we need not expound the extra word).