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Avodah Zarah, Daf Ayin Bet, Part 6
Reading for Friday, November 2
Avodah Zarah 72-6




Today’s section contains some concrete rulings and stories concerning Gentiles either sharing drinking instruments with Jews or Jews selling wine to non-Jews.


אמר להו רב חסדא להנהו סביתא כי כייליתו חמרא לעובדי כוכבים קטפי קטופי אי נמי נפצי נפוצי


Hisda told the [Jewish] wine-dealers: When you measure wine for non-Jews, either cut off [the outflow] or pour it in with a splash.


Hisda does not want the Jewish wine dealers to pour directly into non-Jewish containers. Evidently he thinks that flow does cause a connecting link and the fact that the bottom wine is nesekh will contaminate the wine in the Jewish container.


אמר להו רבא להנהו שפוכאי כי שפכיתו חמרא לא ליקרב עובד כוכבים לסייע בהדייכו דלמא משתליתו ושדיתו ליה עליה וקאתי מכחו ואסיר


Rava told those who pour wine: When you pour wine, do not let a non-Jew come near to help you, lest you forget yourselves and rest [the vessel] upon his [hands] and [the pouring] will be from his power and [the wine will] be prohibited.


Rava thinks that wine poured by a non-Jew is prohibited, even if he is only assisting a Jew. Therefore, when pouring wine, Jews should make sure that non-Jews do not help pour out th wine in any way.


ההוא גברא דאסיק חמרא בגישתא ובת גישתא אתא עובד כוכבים אנח ידיה אגישתא אסריה רבא לכוליה חמרא


There was a man who was drawing wine through [a siphon consisting of] a large and small tube. A non-Jew came and put his hand upon the large tube, and Rava disqualified all the wine.


The non-Jew puts his hand at the end of the siphon, and therefore, the entire barrel of wine is resting on his hand—if he took his hand away, the wine would flow out through the siphon. Therefore, Rava prohibits the entire barrel.


א”ל רב פפא לרבא וא”ל רב אדא בר מתנה לרבא ואמרי לה רבינא לרבא במאי בנצוק שמעת מינה נצוק חיבור שאני התם דכולי חמרא אגישתא ובת גישתא גריר


Papa said to Rava — and other says R. Adda b. Matana said to Rava; and still others say Ravina said to Rava: Was it on account of the flow? Deduce from this that the flow is a connecting link?

[Rava answered: No;] it is different in this instance, because all the wine is drawn through the siphon.


Some rabbis wonder if the wine is prohibited because of the principle of flow. The wine would pour out onto the non-Jew’s hand, and since one part of the wine is nesekh, the entire barrel is nesekh. Rava explains that his reason to prohibit the wine is not simply flow. It is that the siphon is like a hole at the bottom of the barrel, and even without pouring, the wine will flow through the siphon.


אמר מר זוטרא בריה דרב נחמן קנישקנין שרי וה”מ דקדים פסק ישראל אבל קדם פסק עובד כוכבים לא


Mar Zutra son of R. Nahman said: It is permitted [to drink from] a “knishknin” [a vessel containing several straws,] provided the Jew stops first but not when a non-Jew stopped first.


The instrument referred to here is a multiple straw which allows many people to drink at the same time. As long as the Jew is drinking, he will not be drinking the backwash of the non-Jew. But if the non-Jew stops while the Jew is still drinking, some backwash may go in, and the Jew might drink wine that is considered nesekh. I’m putting a picture in here of people in modern Uganda drinking beer through a straw. This instrument is very common in the ancient and modern world for beer drinking. It would allow many people to share the beer and for the beer to be filtered. Traditional beer would have been full of a large amount of sediment.



רבה בר רב הונא איקלע לבי ריש גלותא שרא להו למשתא בקנישקנין איכא דאמרי רבה בר רב הונא גופיה אישתי בקנישקנין:


Rabbah son of R. Huna visited the house of the exilarch and allowed them to drink from a knishknin.

Some say that Rabbah son of R. Huna himself drank from such a vessel.


Such a device was evidently used at the house of the exilarch, the Jewish governor in Babylonia. It is not surprising to hear that in such a place, Jews and Gentiles would drink together. In any case, the rabbis permitted, and maybe even used, this device.