Pisqa’ 60

Pisqa’ 601


“You must utterly destroy all the places” (Dt.12:2).

On what basis do you claim that

if a person cut down an Ashera-tree

and it resprouted even ten times,

he is obliged to cut it down again?

The Teaching states:

Utterly destroy!” (Dt.12:2)—

[even if many destructions of a single Ashera-tree are necessary].

All the places at which . . . they served” (Dt.12:2).

This indicates that the Canaanites

were more immersed in serving foreign cults

than all the nations of the world combined.

“All the places at which the nations you are about to dispossess served their gods” (Dt.12:2).

On what grounds

would you dispossess [the nations of] their gods?

So that you don’t follow in their practices,

and others come to dispossess you!


R. Yose the Galilean says:

Is it possible to say that

even if they worship the mountains and hills,

you are commanded to destroy them?

The Teaching states:

“Upon the high mountains, and on the hills, and beneath every leafy tree” (Dt.12:2)—

their gods may be found beneath every leafy tree,

but the leafy tree is not their god!

Their gods may be found upon the hills,

but the hills are not their gods!

So why is the Ashera-tree forbidden?

Because it bears the human imprint;2

and whatever bears the human imprint

is proscribed.

Said R. Akiva:

Allow me to inform you!

Wherever you find a high mountain,

or a lofty hill, or a leafy tree—

you can be sure that a foreign cult is served there.

This is why it is said:

“Upon the high mountains, and on the hills,

and beneath every leafy tree” (Dt.12:2). 3

  1. H:115; JN1:177-178.
  2. Heb: tefisat yad. See JN1:188: “Anything that is subject to the power of a human being.” H:115“ Man’s handiwork.”.
  3. =M. AZ.3:5.