Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Talmud on white roosters, idolatry, and the Emperor "Antoninus"

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: THOU SHALT SELL NO WHITE ROOSTER AND BOW TO NO IDOLS. Daf Yomi: How could Jews live as a minority among peoples, the Romans and the Persians, whose religion they considered sinful?
Throughout the Talmud, it is clear that the rabbis wanted Jews to live apart from gentiles as much as possible. For instance, Jews are not permitted to eat food prepared by gentiles, nor to live among gentile neighbors. In Tractate Avoda Zara, this message becomes still more pointed. Jews cannot do business with gentiles on their festival days, or for three days before or after, lest they “place a stumbling block before the blind”—that is, assist an idol-worshipper in his sin. This week, we learned that there is a catalog of items that Jews could never sell to pagans at any time because they were commonly used in pagan rites. These include various kinds of herbs, as well as white roosters, which apparently were popular for sacrifices.
And read on for some unlikely legends about a certain Emperor Antoninus.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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