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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah


which had been used [by a Gentile] the same day since the effect is not to worsen the flavour. Then let [the utensils which had been used] from then onwards be permitted [without cleansing]! — The decree was made against those which had not been used the same day on account of those which had been used the same day.1  What of the other authority? — [His view is] that a utensil used the same day also imparts a worsened flavour.2

R. Amram pointed out the following contradiction to R. Shesheth: We learn: A SPIT AND GRILL MUST BE MADE WHITE-HOT; but it has been learnt with reference to the holy flesh: A spit and grill must be scalded with boiling water!3  — He replied: Amram, my son, what have the sacred utensils to do with Gentiles' vessels since the former absorbed what is permitted and the latter what is prohibited! Raba said: At all events what they discharge is prohibited!4  — But, said Raba, what does the term hag'alah ['scalding'] imply?5  Merikah and shetifah ['rinsing and washing'].6  Abaye said to him: What comparison is this? Merikah and shetifah are with cold water whereas hag'alah applies to boiling water! — But, said Abaye, let his fellow tell concerning him.7  Here [in the Mishnah] he taught that it must be made white-hot and scalding also applies,8  and there [in connection with the holy flesh] he taught that they must be scalded and making them white-hot also applies. Raba answered him: If that be so, let him teach both in one passage and one of them in the other, and then it would be possible to say, 'Let his fellow tell concerning him'!9  But, said Raba, [in the case of] the holy flesh [the cleansing of the vessels by means of scalding] follows the reason given by R. Nahman in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha, viz., Every day scalding was carried out with respect to the preceding day's [offerings].10  This is quite right with the peace-offerings which could be eaten on the second day [after the sacrificial act]; in this case the process of scalding would be performed before [the traces of the offering] became 'left over'.11  With a sin-offering, however, since it must be eaten the same day [as sacrificed] and the following night, when he cooks to-day a sin-offering, there would be [traces thereof] 'left over'; so if he further cooked in it on the morrow either a peace-offering or sin-offering, then what was 'left over' of to-day's sin-offering would be discharged into the sin-offering or peace-offering of the next day!12  — I can reply: It is not necessary [to arrive at such a conclusion], for if he cooks to-day a sin-offering, then he again cooks to-day a peace-offering [so that the time-limit of the morrow's sin-offering and the peace-offering of the preceding day will expire simultaneously;] and then he may cook in it the morrow's peace-offering!13  If that be so, then scalding would likewise be unnecessary!14  This [indeed] is a difficulty. R. Papa said: [The reason is that] one is encrusted and the other is not.15  R. Ashi said: [The reason is] certainly as was originally explained, viz., in the former they absorbed what is permitted and in the latter what is prohibited, and as for your16  objection that what it gives forth when it discharges is prohibited, [the reply is] that at the time of discharging there is nothing which is prohibited apparent.17

For how long must they be made white-hot? — R. Mani said: Until the accretion falls off. And how is scalding done? — R. Huna said: A small vessel must be placed inside a large vessel.18  What, however, is to be done with a large vessel? — Come and hear: There was a pot in the house of R. Akabiah19  [which had to be scalded]; so he made for it

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Theoretically they do not need cleansing, but as a precaution Rabbinic law does not draw the distinction.
  2. [The prohibition against the use of such utensils proves that the effect of a deteriorating flavour is also prohibited.]
  3. Zeb. 97a. Before they may be used again on account of the 'remnant' they have absorbed of previous sacrifices. V. next note.
  4. If the flesh of the sacrifice remains on them beyond the prescribed period it becomes prohibited and the traces of it left behind affect the next offering which is roasted on them. If a priest ate of it he incurred the penalty of excision, v. Lev. VII, 18.
  5. In the passage quoted about the 'holy flesh.' [Delete with Ms.M. 'also' in curr. edd.]
  6. [I.e., in addition to the cleansing by fire, the Torah has demanded 'rinsing and washing'.]
  7. I.e., let one passage explain the other. The phrase is actually a quotation from Job XXXVI, 33, but given a different sense.
  8. Both processes are necessary.
  9. Only when the Mishnah or Baraitha expressly mentioned that both processes are necessary either with the sacred utensils or a Gentile's vessels could such an inference be drawn.
  10. The cooking of each day served to clean away what the utensil absorbed on the preceding day before it actually became 'left over', so that nothing could remain beyond the prescribed period. For that reason the process of making it white-hot was not required with the spit or grill, and scalding sufficed.
  11. Which may no longer be eaten and must be burnt as 'an abomination'. V. Lev. VII, 18.
  12. Because before the daily scalding occurred, the time-limit of the preceding day's offering would have expired. [The text in curr. edd. is difficult. Read with Ms.M., 'When he cooks to-day's sin-offering and boils in it tomorrow's peace-offering, then what etc.']
  13. In this way the difficulty of the 'left over' is obviated. [The bracketed passage is likewise difficult, and is best deleted with Ms.M.]
  14. Since there would be nothing 'left over' to remove from the utensil.
  15. The Gentile's utensil, which may not have been in constant use, becomes encrusted and must be made white-hot. The sacred vessels, on the other hand, are in regular use and escape this crust. For that reason scalding is sufficient.
  16. I.e., Raba's.
  17. What is 'left over' is nothing more than vapour of the cooked flesh and that need not be treated so seriously.
  18. The utensil to be cleansed must be placed inside a larger pot, filled with boiling water. The whole of the former is thus affected by the boiling water.
  19. [V.l. Mar 'Ukba or R. 'Ukba.]

‘Abodah Zarah 76b

a rim of dough around its mouth and filled it with water which he boiled up.1  Raba said: Who could have been clever enough to do this if not R. Akabiah who is a great man! He was of the opinion that as [a vessel] absorbs so it discharges; as [its rim] absorbs by the splashings [of the food which is cooked in the pot] so [the boiling water] would cause [the rim] to discharge by means of the splashings.

BUT A KNIFE MAY BE POLISHED AND IS THEN RITUALLY CLEAN. R. 'Ukba b. Hama said: One plunges it ten times in soil.2  R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: That is, in untilled soil. R. Kahana said: [This holds good only] of a knife which is in sound condition and has no notches. It has been also taught to the same effect: With a knife in sound condition and without notches one plunges it ten times in soil. R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: [This holds good only] to eat cold food with it.3  Thus Mar Judah and Bati b. Tobi were sitting with King Shapur and a citron was set before them. [The king] cut a slice and ate it, and then cut a slice and handed it to Bati b. Tobi. After that he stuck [the knife] ten times in the ground, cut a slice [of the citron] and handed it to Mar Judah. Bati b. Tobi said to [the king], 'Am I not an Israelite!' He replied, 'Of him I am certain that he is observant [of Jewish law] but not of you.' According to another version he said to him, 'Remember what you did last night!'4

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The purpose of the rim was that the boiling water should overflow the top of the vessel and every part of it be scalded.
  2. In addition to polishing it with a rough cloth (Rashi).
  3. For hot food it must be scalded.
  4. According to the Persian rule of hospitality, the king sent a slave-girl to each of them the night before. Mar Judah refused to receive her but the other did not. [Bati was a half-manumitted slave. Tosaf. s.v. [H].]