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Avodah Zarah 2:5-6

Avodah Zara 2:5

Rabbi Yehuda related that Rabbi Yishmael asked Rabbi Yehoshua why the Sages prohibited non-Jewish cheeses. Rabbi Yehoshua replied because they are curdled in the stomach of an animal carcass. Rabbi Yishmael then asked whether the stomach of a burnt offering shouldn’t be treated more stringently than that of an animal carcass, since one is not permitted to benefit from the former and yet a kohein could drink the milk he found in it. The Sages don’t happen to agree with Rabbi Yishmael’s assertion, maintaining that a person may not benefit from such milk but that if he did, he would not be obligated to bring a sacrifice. Rabbi Yehoshua then replied to Rabbi Yishmael that the reason they prohibit non-Jewish cheeses is because they are curdled in the stomachs of calves used in idolatry. Rabbi Yishmael then asked, if this is the case, why didn’t the Sages prohibit benefiting from such cheeses? Rabbi Yehoshua then changed the subject, asking Rabbi Yishmael how he reads Shir HaShirim 1:2 ("For your love is better than wine”) – dodecha (“your love” in the masculine) or dodayich (in the feminine). Rabbi Yishmael said dodayich (feminine); Rabbi Yehoshua replied that this is inaccurate, as we see from the next verse (1:3), in which “your ointments” is written in in the masculine (and therefore the “woman” – Israel – is addressing the “man” – God – in these verses).

Avodah Zara 2:6

The following things are prohibited to Jews (for eating) when they are owned by non-Jews but Jews are not prohibited to derive benefit from them: milk that was milked by a non-Jew without a Jew seeing it, bread, oil – though Rebbi and his court permitted oil – boiled and pickled foods to which wine and vinegar are added, minced herring, brine that doesn’t have small fish in it, chilak (a type of fish that grows fins and scales later in life), grains of asafetida (a spice) and salkontis salt (into which non-kosher fats were mixed). All of these things are prohibited (to be eaten) but benefit from them is not prohibited.

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz