web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Daf Yomi

Daf-Yomi-logo

An Art Collector’s Dilemma!
‘Rabban Gamaliel Had The Form Of Various Moon Shapes…’
(Rosh Hashanah 24a)

The Gemara reports that Rabban Gamliel kept images of the moon on a tablet, which he used when interrogating unlearned witnesses who came to testify regarding the new moon. He would show them various shapes and positions of the moon and ask them to describe how the new moon appeared in the sky, in order to determine the veracity of their testimony.

‘You Shall Not Make With Me’

The Gemara questions the permissibility of making images of the moon since Shemos 20:20 states, “You shall not make with me,” which teaches us that it is forbidden to form or sculpt celestial images – even if not for the purposes of idol worship.

The Gemara answers that Rabban Gamliel did not make the images himself, but rather used images that were formed by a non-Jew.

The Gemara is not satisfied with this answer, though, because there is a rabbinic issur against keeping celestial images in one’s possession, even if made by a non-Jew, because people may suspect the owner of practicing idolatry.

Living In A Fishbowl

The Gemara answers that since Rabban Gamliel was a nasi whose house was always full of visitors, the concern of suspicion did not apply because people would not suspect a person of worshiping idols publicly.

Different Views As To What Is Forbidden

The Rambam (Hilchos Avodas Kochavim u’Mazzalos, end of chapter 3) writes that it is only forbidden to manufacture (and maintain) the images mentioned in the Gemara, which include the sun, moon and stars; the four faces that are on the heavenly chariot as described in Yecheskel 1:10 (i.e., of a man, lion, ox and eagle); and the mazalos and angels. Images of other things, such as animals and trees, are permitted.

The Ramban (as cited by Tur, Yoreh De’ah 141) disagrees and asserts that the concern of suspicion applies to all types of images (Taz, Yoreh De’ah, ad loc., opines that one should be stringent in light of the Ramban’s view). The Ran (R.H. loc. cit.), while agreeing with the Ramban, limits the concern of suspicion to images that gentiles sometimes worship.

Images: Protruding Vs. Recessed

The Gemara distinguishes between an image that protrudes and an image that is recessed. The Rambam (Hilchos Avodas Kochavim, ad loc.) writes that it is prohibited to make or maintain a protruding image of a man, but it is permitted to engrave or paint a recessed picture of a man. This distinction, however, does not apply to images of celestial beings. Tosafot (43b, s.v. “Veha Rabban Gamaliel”) explain that since the sun and moon always appear to us as two-dimensional figures, it is prohibited to paint even a two-dimensional picture of them. However, it is permitted to maintain a two-dimensional picture of a human being since its appearance is different from that of an actual human (which is viewed in real life as three-dimensional).

Maintaining Art In The Home

The Ramban contends that one is permitted to maintain any type of picture in one’s home, even one of the sun and moon, as long as it is not one that protrudes.

The Ramban asserts, though, that the distinction between raised and recessed images pertains only to the rabbinic issur of maintaining images due to suspicion, but the biblical issur to form celestial images applies even to recessed images.

In any event, we see from the above that producing and maintaining non-protruding pictures or paintings of non-celestial images is permitted according to everyone.

Synagogue Art, Public Art

The Mabit (vol. 1:30) rules that due to the concern of suspicion, it is forbidden to have paintings of celestial beings in a synagogue. Even though the Gemara says that we need not be so concerned about such images in public places, a synagogue is different because one must be particularly careful to avoid the appearance of idolatry in our houses of worship (Orach Chayim 90:23).

About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Daf Yomi”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz Calls for Financial Boycott of Universities Backing BDS Israel
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

What if someone would come to you and offer you everything that is desirable in this world, but with one condition: you have to give up your essence.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Torah learning is valueless unless it enhances personal morality, fostering closer connection to God

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Why did so many of our great sages from the Rambam to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein live outside Israel?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Casting A Doubt
‘Shall We Say [They] Are Not Valid?’
(Nedarim 5a-7a)

I was about six years old at the time and recall that very special occasion so well.

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Why was Samson singled out as the only Shofet required to be a nazir from cradle to grave?

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

Tosafos suggests several answers as to how a minor can own an item, m’d’Oraisa.

This week’s video discusses the important connection between the Priestly Blessing and parenting.

Many of us simply don’t get the need for the Torah to list the exact same gift offering, 12 times!

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
Daf-Yomi-logo

Casting A Doubt
‘Shall We Say [They] Are Not Valid?’
(Nedarim 5a-7a)

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Twice Promised
“Such And Such [I Give My Son]…”
(Kesubos 102b)

Seller’s Remorse
‘He Sold Because He Ostensibly Needed The Funds’
(Ketubbot 97a)

The Debt Lives On
‘The Orphans’ Mitzvah To Repay Their Father’s Debts’
(Ketubot 91b)

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

The Heiress?
‘Determining The Daughter’s Status’
(Kesubos 68b-69a)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-130/2014/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: