Daf Yomi

For the week ending 9 October 2010 / 30 Tishri 5771

Avodah Zarah 58 - 64

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • An unintentional contact with wine by an idol worshipper
  • Food cooked by a non-Jew
  • Receiving compensation from idol worshipper who caused wine to be forbidden
  • What is considered contact with wine
  • When there is a suspicion of such contact
  • Placing a seal on wine to assure its kashrut
  • Wages paid for working with forbidden wine or other forbidden items
  • Burning and burying of wheat received as payment for transporting forbidden wine
  • A gift that is disqualified as a sacrifice
  • Exchanging items forbidden because of idol worship
  • Definition of a ger toshav

Burning and Burying Wheat

  • Avoda Zara 62b
"What must I do with this wheat?"

This was the question put to Rabbi Chisda by a Jew who had received the wheat as payment for renting out his ship for the transportation of wine that idol worshippers had handled. He realized that he could not derive any benefit from this wheat but wished to know how to properly dispose of it.

"Burn it and bury the ashes" was the reply.

Why, asks the gemara, is burying the wheat without burning not sufficient? We find that the instrument used for the execution of a sinner is buried together with him with no need for prior burning. The answer given is that since these items are buried in a special cemetery of the court, there is no danger that anyone will mistakenly unearth them for forbidden use, while in regard to the wheat there might be an assumption that it was stored in the grave by a thief.

Tosefot raises another challenge. In Mesechta Temura (33b) we learn that the carcass of an executed murderous ox and the hair of a nazir are among the items which must be buried because they are forbidden for use – and there is not need for prior burning!

The resolution of this problem is that since it is not customary to bury flesh or hair, there is no danger of anyone mistakenly unearthing them for use while one might assume that the buried wheat was brought there by a thief.

What the Sages Say

"Go, go" we say to the nazir, "go far around and do not come anywhere near a vineyard."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Avoda Zara 58b

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