Talmud Tips

For the week ending 24 March 2018 / 8 Nisan 5778

Avoda Zara 58 - 64

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
ArtscrollLibrary

Rabbi Yochanan said: "Go, go”, we tell a nazir, “around, around; don’t come near the vineyard.”

Even when there is no Torah prohibition against doing a particular act, our Rabbis sometimes enacted a decree to forbid certain actions in order to prevent a person from transgressing a Torah command. Although the Torah does not forbid a nazir from entering a vineyard, the Rabbi Yochanan taught that we tell him not to enter. Since he is not allowed to eat the fruits of the grapevine, he might come to eat from the forbidden fruits there, even if he does so unwittingly. Rabbi Yochanan’s sage advice here is that a nazir should be told to “Stay away!” from a vineyard, even if this involves inconvenience, such as going around the vineyard instead of taking a shortcut through it. As one might easily imagine, this teaching may find practical application in making smart and correct choices in our daily lives. Even if the Rabbis did not make a special enactment in a particular case, it might very well be a “Talmud Tip,” and perhaps even halacha, to avoid certain situations.

  • Avoda Zara 58b

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