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that if one planted an orla nut, or sank the shoot of an orla tree into the ground, or grafted an orla tree, that which grows as a result is permitted.

And if you would say that this is not difficult, as Rabbi Yosei distinguishes between items that are forbidden due to other prohibitions and items that are forbidden due to idol worship, does he indeed distinguish in this manner? But isn’t it taught that with regard to a field that was fertilized with dung that came from an animal used in idol worship, and similarly, with regard to a cow that was fattened with vetches used in idol worship, there are opposing opinions: It is taught in one baraita that the field may be sown in the normal manner and the cow may be slaughtered and eaten, and it is taught in another baraita that the field should be left fallow, and the cow should be made lean, until the effects of the dung or vetches have passed.

What, is it not that this baraita that rules leniently is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, who holds that when both permitted and forbidden items contribute to a result, the result is permitted, and that baraita that rules stringently is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis? If so, it is clear that Rabbi Yosei does not distinguish between other prohibitions and idol worship, as in this case of idol worship he still permits the result of permitted and forbidden causes. The Gemara answers: No, these baraitot do not reflect the opinions of Rabbi Yosei and the Rabbis. Rather, this baraita is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, and that baraita is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, who disagree with him.

The Gemara asks: Which dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and the Rabbis is referred to here? If we say that it is the dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and the Rabbis with regard to leaven, that dispute does not necessarily correspond to the controversy between these two baraitot.

As we learned in a mishna (Orla 2:11): In the case of non-sacred leaven and teruma leaven that fell into a non-sacred batch of dough, and this one alone was not potent enough to cause the dough to become leavened, and that one alone was not potent enough to cause the dough to become leavened, and they combined and caused the dough to become leavened, there is a dispute as to whether this dough has the status of teruma, and is therefore forbidden to non-priests, or whether it has the status of non-sacred bread.

Rabbi Eliezer says: I follow the final element that fell into the dough. If the teruma fell in last, the dough is forbidden to non-priests. And the Rabbis say: Whether the forbidden item, i.e., the teruma, fell in first, or whether the forbidden item fell in last, the dough is not forbidden unless there is enough of the forbidden leaven alone to cause the dough to become leavened.

And Abaye says: Rabbi Eliezer taught that when the permitted leaven fell in last, the mixture is permitted only in a case where one first removed the forbidden leaven, before the permitted leaven fell into the dough and made it rise. But if one did not first remove the forbidden leaven, the dough is forbidden even if the permitted leaven fell in last. Apparently, Rabbi Eliezer holds that when both permitted and forbidden leaven cause dough to become leavened, the dough is forbidden.

The Gemara rejects this interpretation: But from where is it apparent that the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer is in accordance with Abaye’s explanation? Perhaps the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer is as he says explicitly: I follow the final element. If the dough’s leavening is completed by the forbidden item, it is forbidden; and if it is completed by the permitted item, it is permitted. And this is the halakha whether one removed the forbidden item or whether one did not remove the forbidden item. Accordingly, Rabbi Eliezer does not necessarily hold that when both a forbidden and a permitted item contribute to a result, the result is forbidden.

Rather, the two conflicting baraitot cited with regard to a field fertilized with dung used in idol worship can be attributed in accordance with the opinions of Rabbi Eliezer and the Rabbis with regard to wood from an ashera tree.

As we learned in a mishna (49b): If one took wood from an ashera, it is prohibited to derive benefit from it. In a case where one kindled a fire in an oven with the wood, if it is a new oven and by kindling the fire he hardened the oven and made it stronger for use in the future, then the oven must be shattered. Since forbidden items were used in the process of forming the oven, one may not derive benefit from the use of the forbidden items. But if it is an old oven it may be cooled; it is prohibited to use the oven only while it is still hot. If one baked bread with wood from the ashera as the fuel, it is prohibited to derive benefit from the bread.

If this bread was intermingled with other bread, it is prohibited to derive benefit from all the bread. Rabbi Eliezer says: One must take the benefit and cast it into the Dead Sea. In other words, one is not required to destroy the bread. Instead, one should designate money equal in value to the wood that he used from the ashera, and he should destroy this money to offset the benefit he derived from the forbidden wood. The Rabbis said to him: There is no monetary redemption for objects that are forbidden due to idol worship. Once the bread becomes forbidden, it cannot be redeemed by having the value of the forbidden wood cast into the Dead Sea. In any event, Rabbi Eliezer apparently holds that the result of both forbidden and permitted causes is forbidden, as the bread was baked with both forbidden fuel, i.e., the wood from the ashera, and the permitted oven.

The Gemara asks: If the two conflicting baraitot cited with regard to a field fertilized with dung used in idol worship are attributed in accordance with the opinions of Rabbi Eliezer and the Rabbis, and if this is referring to Rabbi Eliezer’s statement with regard to bread baked in an oven that was heated with fuel from an ashera, then who are the Rabbis who disagree with Rabbi Eliezer, to whom the other baraita is attributed?

If we say that the reference is to the Rabbis who disagree with Rabbi Eliezer with regard to bread baked with wood from an ashera, this cannot be, as they are even more stringent than Rabbi Eliezer with regard to this matter. Not only do they deem bread that was baked with both forbidden and permitted fuel to be forbidden, but they require that it be destroyed and not redeemed. In others words, with regard to the status of the bread there is no dispute; all agree that it is forbidden. Therefore, both opinions are in accordance with the baraita that prohibits the result of both forbidden and permitted causes.

If the reference is rather to the Rabbis who disagree with Rabbi Eliezer with regard to teruma leaven that mixed with non-sacred leaven, as the Rabbis permit the mixture as long as the teruma leaven was not potent enough to cause the dough to rise, the more lenient of the two baraitot cannot be attributed in accordance with this opinion either; as say that you heard that these Rabbis are lenient with regard to the case of leaven; does that mean that they are lenient with regard to cases involving items of idol worship?

As a result of this question, the Gemara retracts its suggestion that Rabbi Yosei’s opinion in the mishna is based on the opinion that a result caused by both permitted and forbidden items is forbidden. Rather, Rabbi Yosei holds that the result is permitted, as is evident from the case of a ground-up and dispersed object of idol worship and from the case of a planted orla nut. Therefore, the baraitot can actually be attributed as follows: This baraita that permits the use of the field is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, and that baraita that prohibits its use is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis.

And as for the mishna, which seems to indicate that Rabbi Yosei holds that when a result is caused by both permitted and forbidden items it is forbidden, the Gemara explains that Rabbi Yosei was not expressing his own opinion. Rather, when he said that one may not plant vegetables under an ashera even during the rainy season, he said so in accordance with the statement of the Rabbis that a result caused by both permitted and forbidden items is forbidden. Rabbi Yosei said to them: According to my own opinion, when both this and that cause it, i.e., when both permitted and forbidden items contribute to a result, the result is permitted. It is therefore permitted to plant vegetables under an ashera during all seasons.

But according to your opinion, as you say that when both this and that cause a result it is prohibited, as seen from your ruling that it is prohibited to plant under an ashera during the summer because of the positive effect of the ashera tree’s shade, you should concede to me, in any event, that planting the vegetables even during the rainy season, when there is no shade, is prohibited, because they are fertilized by the fallen foliage.

The Gemara asks: And how would the Rabbis reply to Rabbi Yosei’s point? The Gemara answers: They would reply in accordance with the aforementioned statement that Rav Mari, son of Rav Kahana, says (48b), that when a certain activity causes both a benefit and a greater or equal loss, it is not regarded as a benefit. Here, the positive effect on the plant from the tree’s foliage is offset by the fact that its shade prevents rainwater from reaching the plant. Therefore, since there is no overall benefit gained from the ashera, the Rabbis permit planting underneath it in the winter.

The Gemara concludes: Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: The hala-kha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei. The Gemara recounts an incident supporting this ruling: There was a certain garden that was fertilized with dung that came from an animal used in idol worship. Rav Amram sent a query to Rav Yosef, asking what the halakha is in such a case. Rav Yosef said to him that this is what Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei; the produce of the garden is therefore permitted.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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