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Avodah Zarah, Daf Samech Tet, Part 6
Reading for Friday, October 12
Avodah Zarah 69-6
Today’s sugya offers a halakhic ruling in the case of the wine jar left in the hands of the non-Jew.
אמר רבא הלכה כרשב”ג הואיל ותנן סתמא כוותיה דתנן היה אוכל על השולחן עמו והניח לגין על השולחן לגין על הדולבקי והניח ויצא מה שעל השולחן אסור מה שעל הדולבקי מותר ואם אמר לו הוי מזוג ושותה אף שעל הדולבקי אסור חביות פתוחות אסורות סתומות מותרות כדי שיפתח ויגוף ותיגוב
Rava said: The halakhah agrees with R. Shimon b. Gamaliel, since we teach an anonymous mishnah in accordance with him; for we learn: If [a Jew] was eating with [a non-Jew] at a table and set some flasks upon the table and others upon a side-table and leaving them there went out, what is upon the table is prohibited and what is upon the side-table is permitted.
And should he have said to him, “mix [some of the wine with water] and drink,” even what is upon the side-table is prohibited.
Opened casks are prohibited, and the closed ones are permitted [except when he was absent a length of time] sufficient for [the non-Jew] to open it, put a new stopper on and [the new stopper] to become dry.
The last clause of the mishnah does not contain a dispute between the rabbis and R. Shimon b. Gamaliel and yet seems to follow R. Shimon b. Gamaliel’s opinion. This indicates, according to Rava, that the halakhah follows Rabban Shimon b. Gamaliel. In other words, the editor of the mishnah hinted here that the halakhah follows Rabban Shimon b. Gamaliel.
פשיטא מהו דתימא כולה רשב”ג קתני לה קמ”ל
This is obvious! What might you have said? The whole passage was taught by R. Shimon b. Gamaliel. Hence he teaches it that it is not so.
The Talmud raises a difficulty—obviously this last passage follows R. Shimon b. Gamaliel. Why did Rava need to even state thi? The answer is that we might have thought that this last passage was actually stated by R. Shimon b. Gamaliel. If this were true it would not be a case of the mishnah following him, but just R. Shimon b. Gamaliel again stating his opinion. To teach you that this is not the case, Rava says that the halakhah follows R. Shimon b. Gamaliel because the anonymous mishnah follows him.
וכי מאחר דקיימא לן כוותיה דרשב”ג דלא חייש לשתומא והלכתא כוותיה דרבי אליעזר דלא חייש לזיופא האידנא מאי טעמא לא מותבינן חמרא ביד עובדי כוכבים משום שייכא
Now since we have established that [the halakhah] agrees with R. Shimon b. Gamaliel, who is not concerned about the possibility of a hole being bored in a jar, and the halakhah also agrees with R. Eliezer, that we need not be concerned about the possibility of the seal being forged, what is the reason that we do not nowadays leave [stoppered casks] in the hands of a non-Jew? On account of the bunghole.
The Talmud here offers a rare remark on current practice. Theoretically, the rulings have consistently followed the lenient opinions among the tannaim. We are not concerned with a hole being bored in a jar nor are we concerned that seals will be forged. And yet, Jews do not leave wine in the hands of unsupervised non-Jews. Why not? The answer is that we fear that the non-Jew will use the bunghole to extract some wine. Rashi says that this is a small hole put in the side of the jar to let some smell out. Perhaps, Jews fear, the non-Jew will slightly widen the hole and take some wine out.