Pisqa’ 81

Pisqa’ 811


“Take care” (Dt.12:30)—

this phrase denotes a proscription.

“Lest” (Dt.12:30)—

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].

Another word:

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!

  1. H:135; JN1:227.
  2. F: 146, n.6 ascribes this construction to Mechilta Shimon, p. 105 (ed. Hoffmann). But I cannot find it in ed. Epstein-Melammed or ed. Nelson.