Avodah Zarah, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight



This mishnah deals with the halachic topic of a forbidden substance becoming mixed with a permitted substance.  The question is how much of the forbidden substance must be in the mixture for the entire mixture to become forbidden.


Mishnah Eight

1)                     Yen nesekh is prohibited and renders [other wine] prohibited by the smallest quantity.

2)                     Wine [mixed] with wine and water with water [prohibits] by the smallest quantity.

(a)                                Wine [mixed] with water and water with wine [disqualifies when the prohibited element] imparts a flavor.

3)                     This is the general rule: with the same type [the mixture is disqualified] by the smallest quantity, but with a different type [it is disqualified when the prohibited element] imparts a flavor.



Section one:  As we saw demonstrated in the previous mishnah, if even a drop of yen nesekh falls into a large container of permitted wine, the entire container of permitted wine is forbidden. 

Section two:  If forbidden wine (yen nesekh) should become mixed with permitted (as we learned in section one) or forbidden water (that was used for idolatrous purposes) should be mixed with permitted water, the entire mixture is forbidden, even if the forbidden substance was only a drop. 

However, if forbidden wine should become mixed with permitted water, or forbidden water with permitted wine, as long as the forbidden substance does not impart a flavor to the mixture, the entire mixture is permitted.  If the forbidden substance imparts flavor, the entire mixture is forbidden

Section three:  This section teaches a general rule from which the specific rule taught in the previous section may be extrapolated.


Questions for Further Thought:

·                      Why does the beginning of section two repeat that which was stated in section one?

·                      Why do you think there is a halachic difference between a type of substance mixed with the same type, versus two different types being mixed together?