“Take care” (Dt.12:30)—
this phrase denotes a proscription.
and this also denotes a proscription.
“Lest you be enticed to follow them” (Dt.12:30)—
perhaps you will be drawn after them,
or, perhaps, you will resemble them,
emulating their behavior,
and they will become a trap for you.
“After He has annihilated them from before you” (Dt.12:30).
Why shall I annihilate them from before you?
So that you do not emulate their behavior,
causing others to come to annihilate you.
“Lest you seek out their gods, saying” (Dt.12:30)—
do not say:
since they go about in a toga,
I, too, will go about in a toga!
Since they go about in purple,
I, too, will go about in purple!
Since they go about in broad pants,
I, too, will go about in broad pants!
”And I shall do the same!” (Dt.12:30).
“Do not treat HASHEM your God in this way” (Dt.12:31)—
this way can refer to
the one serving the god,
or this way can refer to
the object that is served as a god.
On this basis, they taught:
Regarding an item normally offered on the Altar—
if they offer it in service of a foreign cult,
[the officiant] is held liable
[for serving a foreign cult].
Regarding an item normally offered in a foreign cult—
if they offer it on the Altar,
[the officiant] is exempt from liability.
Regarding an item not normally offered on the Altar,
yet they offered it in service of a foreign cult—
if a similar item is offered on the Altar,
he is held liable.
But if not, he is exempt.2
Is it possible to say that
they should not offer Purification-offerings or Guilt-offerings
[on the Altar, to avoid the appearance of idolatrous service]?
The Teaching states:
“For they performed for their gods
every abomination that HASHEM your God hates” (Dt.12:31)—
this refers to offering an item that is both
hateful and abominable to the All-Present,
[excluding legitimate offerings].
Their intention was only to offer
what the All-Present hates.
“For also their sons and daughters
they immolated in fire to their gods” (Dt.12:31)—
I might infer only that
they offered up their children.
How do I know
to include their fathers and mothers?
The Teaching states:
“Also their sons”—
meaning not just their sons.
“Also their daughters”—
meaning not just their daughters.
Said R. Akiva:
I saw a certain gentile
who tied up his father before his dog.
And the dog ate him!