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Avodah Zarah 45

AVODAH ZARAH 45 (25 Nisan) - dedicated by Sandy and Les Wiesel in memory of Les's father, Menachem Yehuda ben Avigdor Yosef Wiesel, who perished in the Holocaust.

1a) [line 1] HARIM - mountains
b) [line 2] GEVA'OS - hills

2) [line 2] MAH SHE'ALEIHEM - what is on them, i.e. if the idolaters were to adorn the mountains and hills with gold or silver, even though the mountains and hills do not become prohibited as Avodah Zarah, their adornments do become prohibited

3) [line 3] "[PESILEI ELOHEHEM TISREFUN BA'ESH;] LO SACHMOD KESEF V'ZAHAV ALEIHEM [V'LAKACHTA LACH, PEN TIVAKESH BO...]" - "[The engraved images of their gods you shall burn with fire;] you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, [nor take it for yourself, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to HaSh-m, your G-d.]" (Devarim 7:25)

4) [line 4] "[ABED TE'ABDUN ES KOL HA'MEKOMOS ASHER AVDU SHAM HA'GOYIM ES] ELOHEHEM; AL HE'HARIM [HA'RAMIM V'AL HA'GEVA'OS, V'SACHAS KOL ETZ RA'ANAN.]" - "[You shall completely destroy all of the places, where the nations which you shall possess served] their gods, upon the [high] mountains, [and upon the hills, and under every leafy tree.]" (Devarim 12:2)

5) [line 6] ASHEIRAH
(a) Asheirah is a tree that serves as a form of Avodah Zarah. (Asheirah was a popular fertility goddess in the Near East. She is identified with Astarte (Ashtaros) and Aphrodite.) An Asheirah tree must be cut down or annulled. No benefit can be derived from it.
(b) The Mishnah (Daf 48a) lists three types of Asheirah trees: 1. A tree that the owner originally planted to worship as Avodah Zarah; 2. A tree that the owner stripped bare of any branches, shoots and the like, either with the intention of serving as an Avodah Zarah the entire tree or only the new growth; 3. A tree under which the owner placed an Avodah Zarah.

6) [line 7] YESH BAH TEFISAS YEDEI ADAM - it contains the contribution (lit. the handhold) of people

7) [line 8] ANI OVIN V'ADUN LEFANECHA - I will explain and deduce before you
8a) [line 10] HAR GAVO'AH - a tall mountain
b) [line 10] GIV'AH NISA'AH - an elevated hill
c) [line 10] ETZ RA'ANAN - a leafy tree
9) [line 13] TZIPUY HAR - a covering for a mountain


10) [line 14] "[V'NITATZTEM ES MIZBECHOSAM, V'SHIBARTEM ES MATZEVOSAM,] VA'ASHEREIHEM TISREFUN BA'ESH, [U'FESILEI ELOHEHEM TEGADE'UN; V'IBADTEM ES SHEMAM MIM HA'MAKOM HA'HU.]" - "[And you shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars,] and burn their Asherim with fire; [and you shall cut down the carved images of their gods, and destroy their names out of that place.]" (Devarim 12:3 -- see Rashi ibid. and Gemara Avodah Zarah 46a)

11) [line 23] "[KI IM KO SA'ASU LAHEM: MIZBECHOSEIHEM TITOTZU U'MATZEVOSAM TESHABERU;] VA'ASHEIREHEM TEGADE'UN, [U'FESILEIHEM TISREFUN BA'ESH.]" - "[But thus shall you deal with them; you shall destroy their altars, and break down their images,] and cut down their Asherim, [and burn their carved idols with fire.]" (Devarim 7:5)

12a) [line 24] GIDU'O - its branches, shoots and the like that are cut off from it
b) [line 24] IKARO - its trunk

13) [line 26] V'HA "VA'ASHEREIHEM TISREFUN BA'ESH" KA NASIV LAH TALMUDA - but the Gemara took [the verse] "va'Ashereihem Tisrefun ba'Esh" [as proof of the prohibition of a tree that was planted without a specific intention to worship it as Avodah Zarah that the owner later did worship]

14) [line 42] L'SHARESH ACHAREHA - to root it out
15) [line 45] L'CHANOS LAH SHEM - to call it a nickname [of scorn or ridicule]
16) [line 46] OKER - uproot, destroy

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