Daf Yomi Avodah Zarah 54

The daf for today (3/10/18) comes from Meseches Avodah Zarah 54. The gemara introduces some aggadic stories relating to the sages debating with “philosophers” about idol worship (translation from The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren Noe Talmud Bavli):

The questions concern whether or not Hashem should destroy the idols Himself or punish those who worship idols? We are not sure who the “philosopher” is, but the use of logical premises leading to conclusions, indicates that it may be an Aristotelian or the Talmud is creating a debate scenario as a rhetorical device. Clearly, there are people who worshiped, mountains, stars, the sun, and the moon, but those objects themselves were not “punished” or eliminated (as they serve a purpose). Rabban Gamaliel often argues with Roman officials. The use of parables as moral stories to illustrate points, is the gemara’s way of relating a complex idea on a more common level.

We are commanded in the Torah that there is only Hashem. We can perceive the work of Hashem in nature through careful examination. Consider Psalm 19 (from The Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures by JPS):

With a still, small voice, when all is quiet, we can hear the voice of Hashem calling to us. As we approach the month of Nissan (the start of spring and the month of Aviv), and the season of our redemption, May Hashem Bless all of us with health and peace.

About the Author
Jonathan Wolf is a retired high school physics teacher. He retired to NJ with his wife. He is an adjunct professor of physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has published professional papers and has been the author of AP Physics review books as well as general HS and college physics review books. He is a past President and ritual chairman at a conservative synagogue on Long Island, NY before he retired to NJ.
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