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17.9.14

The subject of idolatry and the adjacent subject of one who tries to convince another person to do idolatry.


Normally, you would say these are two completely different subjects right?

But in fact they seem to be related in some kind of mysterious way.
First in Sanhedrin page 61a we find the Talmud saying that there is a contradiction between two Mishnas-- one on page 60b and the other on page 67a. The first Mishna says doing idolatry is liable. The other says saying, "Let's go do idolatry is liable." The Talmud says there seems to be a contradiction. Because according to the first Mishna it seems just saying to do idolatry would not be liable. Why would this be a contradiction?
What I mean is this: the Mishna is listing things one is liable for. It goes through a list. One is idolatry and then you get other things in later Mishnas that one is liable for, and then it brings the idea of convincing others to do idolatry. Clearly in the view of the Mishna these are two different subjects.



Furthermore the later Mishna is clearly talking about one who tries to convert  another to idolatry "Meisit U Madiach"; so why does it include "I will go and serve."

I.e. it says these are liable: One who says, "I will go and serve," "Let's go and serve," "I will go and bow," Let's go and bow," "I will go and sacrifice," "Lets go and sacrifice." Why does, "I will go and serve" have anything to be liable for?

On the subject of idolatry my learning partner and I discussed the opinion of the Rambam (Maimonides) that many mitzvoth of the Torah are to make a fence around idolatry and to wean people from it. This is in the Guide for the Perplexed.
The Ramban (Nachmanides) disagrees with this idea of the Rambam. And it was in the Ramban that my learning partner first discovered the idea of the Rambam --when the Ramban brought it in order to disagree.







The last question for today is the difference between when one tries to seduce a single person and trying to seduce two people. With one -person you give him a second chance. You take him to a place where you have hidden two witnesses and ask him to repeat what he said. And you answer, “How can we abandon the God of our fathers and worship other gods?” If he agrees to your objection you let him go. But in the case when he says to two people "let's do idolatry" they take him to court immediately and you don't give him a second chance.

Now what constitutes idolatry? Maimonides says that worship of an intermediary is the real essence of idolatry. But I have been having trouble understanding this idea of the Rambam for some time. Because we do find in the Torah that Avimelech was commanded by God to go to Abraham to ask him to pray for him.
So we do find in the Torah the idea of an intermediary but we don't find that one can worship an intermediary.