Monday, December 30, 2013

Yoma 54a - A goy Making Tzuros for a Jew

The gemara says that there were tzuros of keruvim that were painted and carved into the wall of the beis hamikdash which were there even in the second beis hamikdash, after the keruvim on the Aron and the keruvim of Shlomo that stood on the floor were no longer present.
Tosafos launches into a discussion as to how there can be animal pictures printed in the machzorim. Although Tosafos begins by saying that pictures in siddurim and machzorim serve as a distraction so they are not a good thing, it is nonetheless permitted. Tosafos begins by saying we find that Rabban Gamliel had tzuros of the moon that he would show to the witnesses who came to testify about rosh chodesh, and the gemara says that although they are forbidden to make, "others made it for him". Meaning, it was done by goyim. Although the gemara says that it would still be forbidden to own and maintain, due to chashad (Rabban Gamliel was an exception since there were always people there so there was no chashad), Tosafos explains that since the pictures in the machzorim are not 3 dimensional, there is no chashad. There are 3 stages in Tosafos. In stage one the implication is that it would be forbidden for a Jew to make these tzuros in the machzorim, and it was only permitted to be maintained since it was not 3 dimensional. In the second stage Tosafos proceeds to explain that since they are not 3 dimensional, it is even permitted for a Jew to actually make pictures of these animals. In the final stage Tosafos explains that since the pictures were of animals, not of human faces, there is no prohibition whatsoever even to make 3 dimensional pictures.
R. Akiva Eiger, in the Gilyon HaShas asks that according to the first stage of Tosafos where it was forbidden for a Jew to make, but permitted because it was made by goyim, there should be an issur of amirah l'nachri? The Tosafos in Rosh Hashana explains that the only reason that Rabban Gamliel was able to have them made by goyim was because it was for a mitzvah purpose, implying that without that advantage it would be an issur d'rbonon of amirah l'nachri. Why then would it be permitted here to have a goy do it?
In truth the placement of R. Akiva Eiger's question is difficult. At the end of Tosafos because the distinction at the beginning of Tosafos is only a hava amina before Tosafos develops that there is no issur at all. In the end of Tosafos they make a practical distinction between the mador elyon and mador tachton, whether they can be made by others. R. Akiva Eiger could have asked his question on what Tosafos actually concludes. The Rashash rejects the question of R. Akiva Eiger by saying that we are not dealing from the perspective of those making it, we are dealing from the perspective of once it was already done whether it can be maintained. It may be assur to commission a goy to make it, but once it is done there is no issur in purchasing the machzor and using it.

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