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Avodah Zarah, Daf Ayin Bet, Part 4
Reading for Wednesday, October 31
Avodah Zarah 72-4
Today’s section continues to discuss whether downward flow serves as a connecting link for yayin nesekh.
תנן נטל את המשפך ומדד לתוך צלוחיתו של עובד כוכבים וחזר ומדד לתוך צלוחיתו של ישראל
אם יש בו עכבת יין אסור הא עכבת יין במאי קא מתסרא לאו בנצוק ש”מ נצוק חיבור
We learned: If [a Jew] took a funnel and measured [wine] into a non-Jew’s flask and then measured some into a Jew’s flask, should a drop of the [first] wine have remained [in the funnel], then [the wine measured into the second flask] is prohibited.
How is the wine left [in the funnel] rendered prohibited? Is it not by the flow, and we could deduce from here that flow is a connecting link.
The Talmud now tries to prove that it does serve as a connecting link from the first half of the mishnah. How does the wine in the funnel become yayin nesekh—through downward flow, it is suggested. The bottom wine which is yayin nesekh flows up into the funnel and contaminates it.
תני ר’ חייא שפחסתו צלוחיתו
Hiyya taught: [Our Mishnah refers to the circumstance where] his flask reached back.
Hiyya says that it is not flow that causes the wine in the funnel to become nesekh. It is the fact that wine in the flask overflows and actually goes up into the funnel. The wine in the funnel is not “connected” to the yayin nesekh below. It is the same wine. As many of you know, I dabble in homebrewing. Whenever I fill up a bottle, I use a filling tube. The beer from the bottom always flows up onto the part of the tube that’s in the bottle. If you want to fill up a bottom container with a funnel, this is what will happen.
אבל לא פחסתו צלוחיתו מאי לא תפשוט דנצוק אינו חיבור
לא פחסתו צלוחיתו תפשוט לך דאסור נצוק תיבעי
But if his flask did not reach back, what is the rule? It is not [prohibited]. Then learn from here that flow is not a connecting link?
No; it merely proves that when his flask reached back it is prohibited, but the question about flow remains.
The Talmud points out here that while we cannot use the mishnah to prove that flow is a connecting link, the opposite is also not true—we cannot use the mishnah to prove that it is not a connecting link. All that we can learn is that when the lower wine reaches back into the funnel, the wine in the funnel is prohibited.