Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Avodah Zarah 59

On the bottom of Avodah Zarah 59a, the gemara relates a story where Rav Kahana was asked whether the transport of grapes to a wine press by an Akum could render the resulting product forbidden. The question struck a chord with me, as I have often times wondered whether I should be concerned when I give the supermarket cashier a bag of grapes to ring up.

The short answer to my illogical concern is that there is no issue of creating stam yaynam when buying grapes. The Tosafos (d'h Mahu) explains why there is no problem.

Tosafos brings two explanations of what was being asked of Rav Kahana. The Rashbam explains the question literally and therefore indicates that the question posed to Rav Kahana was whether the Akum can be permitted to carry the grape containers because grape juice will leak from the grapes in the container and there is a possibility that the Akum will have contact with the juice.

The problem with the Rasham's explanation is that we previously learned on Avodah Zarah 55b that juice cannot become forbidden as yayin nesech until the grapes are crushed in the basin and the wine begins to flow down. As such, Tosafos offers the explanation of the Ri, who states that the question involved baskets of grapes which were being brought up and poured into a winepress by the Akum, and the wine in the press had already begun to flow down into the basin.

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