Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day
Avodah Kochavim Chapter Seven, Avodah Kochavim Chapter Eight, Avodah Kochavim Chapter Nine
It is a positive commandment to destroy false deities, all their accessories, and everything that is made for their purposes, as [Deuteronomy 12:2] states: "You shall surely destroy all the places [where the gentiles... served their gods]" and, as [implied by Deuteronomy 7:5]: "Rather, what you should do to them is tear down their altars."
In Eretz Yisrael, the mitzvah requires us to hunt after idol worship until it is eradicated from our entire land. In the diaspora, however, we are not required to hunt after it. Rather, whenever we conquer a place, we must destroy all the false deities contained within.
[The source for this distinction is Deuteronomy 12:3, which] states: "And you shall destroy their name from H3this place," [implying that] you are obligated to hunt false deities in Eretz Yisrael, but you are not obligated to do so in the diaspora.
It is forbidden to benefit from false deities, their accessories, offerings for them, and anything made for them, as [implied by Deuteronomy 7:26]: "Do not bring an abomination to your home."
Anyone who derives benefit from any of the above receives two measures of lashes: one because of the prohibition, "Do not bring an abomination...," and one because of the prohibition, "Let nothing which is condemned cling to your hand."
It is forbidden to benefit from an animal which was sacrificed to false deities in its entirety - even its excrement, its bones, its horns, its hooves, and its hide. It is forbidden to benefit from it at all.
To cite an example, the hide of an animal which is marked by a sign that indicates that it was offered as a sacrifice to false deities - e.g., it has a round hole in the place of the heart through which the heart is extracted, which was a common practice [of idolaters] - It is forbidden to benefit from all of these hides and others of the like.
What is the difference between an idol belonging to a gentile and one belonging to a Jew? It is forbidden to benefit from an idol belonging to a gentile immediately [after it is fashioned], as [implied by Deuteronomy 7:25]: "You shall burn the sculptures of their gods with fire" - i.e., they are considered gods as soon as they have been sculpted.
[In contrast,] it is not forbidden to benefit from a Jew's [idol] until he worships it, as [implied by Deuteronomy 27:15]: "[Cursed is the person who makes an idol...] and places it in a hidden place" - i.e., it is not forbidden until he does private acts - i.e., worship - on its behalf.
The accessories of idol worship, whether belonging to a Jew or to a gentile, are not forbidden until they were actually used for the purpose of idol worship.
[When] a person makes an idol for another person - although he receives lashes - his wage is permitted. [This applies] even when he made [the idol] for a gentile, and it is therefore forbidden immediately.
[What is the rationale for the latter decision? The idol] is not forbidden until it is completed and the hammer-stroke which completes it is not worth a penny.
[The following rules apply when] a person buys scrap metal from a gentile and finds idols within it: If he has already paid the money, but has not taken possession of it, he should return it to the gentile. The same [rules] apply if he took possession of it, but did not pay the money. Though taking possession represents a formal transfer of ownership in dealings with a gentile, the transaction was made in error. If he paid the money and took possession [of the scrap], he must take [the idols] to the Dead Sea.
Similarly, when a gentile and a convert [divide] the estate of their father - a gentile - the convert may tell the gentile, "Take the idols and I will take the money," "Take the forbidden wine and I will take the produce." Once [idols] come into the possession of the convert, however, they are forbidden.
We are allowed to benefit from images which gentiles made for aesthetic purposes. It is forbidden, however, to benefit from images that are made for the purpose of idol worship.
What is implied? It is forbidden to benefit from any images found in villages, for one may assume that they were made for the sake of idol worship. When images are found in a city, they are forbidden only when they are found at the entrance to the city and hold a staff, bird, globe, sword, crown, or ring in their hands. Otherwise, we may assume that they were made for aesthetic purposes, and benefit from them is permitted.
Statues of false deities which are found discarded in the marketplace or in a scrap metal heap are permitted. Needless to say, this applies to pieces of statues.
In contrast, should one find a hand, a foot, or another limb from the form of one of the constellations or celestial signs, it is forbidden to benefit from it. Since one knows that this limb is one of the images that is worshiped, the prohibition against [benefiting from it] remains until one knows that the gentiles who worshiped it, nullified it.
[The following laws apply when] a person finds articles which have the form of the sun, the moon, or a d'rakon upon them: If they are golden or silver objects, or silk garments, or if these forms were engraved on a nose-ring or finger-ring, they are forbidden. If these forms are found on other articles, they are permitted, since we may assume that they were made for aesthetic purposes. Similarly, we may assume that any other form which is found on an article was intended for aesthetic purposes. Therefore, [the articles] are permitted.
A false deity, its accessories, and the objects offered to it are always forbidden, regardless of the proportion [of a mixture they make up].
What is implied? If an idol becomes mixed together with statues made for aesthetic purposes - even if the proportion is merely one in several thousand - the entire group must be taken to the Dead Sea. Similarly, if a goblet [used for] idol worship becomes mixed together with many other goblets, or a piece of meat [coming from a sacrifice to a false deity] becomes mixed with other meat, the entire group must be taken to the Dead Sea. Similarly, if a hide with a hole through which the heart was removed becomes mixed with other hides, it is forbidden to benefit from the entire mixture.
[When] a person transgresses and sells a false deity, one of its accessories, or an object that was offered to it, it is forbidden to benefit from the money received, and that prohibition [remains if these funds become mixed with others], regardless of the proportion [of the mixture] they make up. [Deuteronomy 7:26] states: "Lest you become condemned like it." [From this we infer,] that anything that comes from a false deity, from any of its accessories, or from [anything] offered to it is [governed by the same prohibitions] as it is.
When a false deity or an asherah is burned, it is forbidden to benefit from its ashes. A coal taken from an idol is forbidden; a flame [from an idol] is permitted, for it is not an entity with substance.
When there is a doubt whether an object is connected to idol worship or not, it is forbidden. If, however, that doubt is questionable, it is permitted.
What is implied? Should a goblet used for idol worship fall into a storage room of goblets, they are all forbidden, because a false deity and all its accessories are always forbidden, regardless of the proportion [of a mixture they make up]. If one of the cups from this mixture falls together with two other cups, the the [entire second mixture] is permitted.
Should a ring [used to adorn] an idol become mixed together with one hundred other rings, and then two of them fall into the Mediterranean Sea, it is permissible to use all of them. We presume that the [forbidden] ring was among the two [which fell].
Should [a forbidden ring] become mixed together with a hundred others and then [the group] becomes divided, forty being separated in one group and sixty in another, and then the entire [group of] forty fall into another group of rings, it is permissible to use all of them. We presume that the forbidden ring remained among the majority. If the [group of] sixty fall into another group of rings, they are all forbidden.
Sitting under the shade of the trunk of an asherah - whether it is worshiped itself or whether an idol was placed under it - is forbidden. It is, however, permissible to sit under the shade of its branches and its leaves.
If a person has another route, it is forbidden for him to pass under it. If he has no other route, he may pass under it, provided he runs.
Chicks which do not need their mother and nest in [an asherah] are permitted. In contrast, the chicks and eggs which need their mother are forbidden for the asherah is considered as if it is a base for them. The nest itself - [even though it is] in the top of the tree - is permitted, for the birds bring the wood for it from other places.
It is forbidden to benefit from wood which one takes from it. Should a person have heated the oven with such wood, he must cool it off. Afterwards, he should kindle it with other, permitted, wood and then bake within.
Should he bake bread in [an oven heated in this manner] without cooling it, he is forbidden to benefit from the bread. If [such a loaf] became mixed together with others, he must bring the value of that loaf to the Dead Sea so that he will never benefit from it. The other loaves, however, are permitted.
If one took [a piece of wood from an asherah to use as] a shuttle, and wove a garment with it, it is forbidden to benefit from [the garment]. Should the garment become mixed together with other garments, he must bring the value of that garment to the Dead Sea. All the other garments, however, are permitted.
It is permissible to plant vegetables under [an asherah] - whether in the summer - when they need the shade - or in the winter. [This leniency is granted] because the vegetables' growth is produced by two factors: the shade of the asherah, which is forbidden, and the earth, which is permitted. Whenever an effect is produced by the combination of a forbidden factor and a permitted factor, it is permitted. Therefore, if a field was fertilized with fertilizer [that was forbidden because of a connection with] idol worship, one may sow it. Similarly, [the meat of] a cow that was fed with beans [that were forbidden because of a connection with] idol worship, may be eaten. The same principle applies in other similar situations.
It is not forbidden to benefit from meat, wine, and fruits that were prepared as offerings for idols. Although they were brought into the temple of a false deity, [they are not prohibited] until they are actually brought as offerings.
Once they are brought as offerings, [their status changes] and they remain forbidden forever, even if they were later removed [from the temple].
Torah law forbids benefiting from anything that is found in a temple of a false deity, even water or salt. If a person eats even the slightest amount from such substances, he is [punished by] lashing.
[The following laws apply when] a person finds garments, utensils, or money [placed] on the head of an idol. If he finds them [placed] in a derisive manner, they are permitted. If he finds them [placed] in a deferential manner, they are forbidden.
What is implied? If one finds a purse hanging around its neck, folded garments placed on its head, or a utensil overturned on its head, they are permitted, because [they were placed] in a derisive manner. The same applies to other similar situations. [In contrast,] if one finds an object of a type which is used as an offering for the [Temple] altar on the head [of an idol], it is forbidden.
When does the above apply? When one finds such articles outside its [usual] place of worship. When, however, one finds such articles within the [idol's place of worship], regardless of whether it was placed in a derisive manner or in a deferential manner, or whether it is of the type of objects used as sacrifices for the [Temple] altar, any article found within [such a structure] - even water or salt - becomes forbidden.
[Different laws apply regarding] Pe'or and Marculis. It is forbidden to benefit from anything that is found together with them, whether [it is found] in their [temple] or outside of it. Similarly, with regard to the stones [found near a symbol of] Marculis: If a stone appears to be together with it, it is forbidden to benefit from it.
When [the shrine of] a false deity possesses a bathhouse or a garden, benefit may be derived from it, provided one does not offer appreciation [in return]. [If] one must offer appreciation, it is forbidden.
[If the garden or bathhouse] is mutually owned by [the shrine] and another entity, one may derive benefit from it even if one provides its priests with appreciation. One may not, however, pay a fee.
It is permitted to bathe in a bathhouse even though an idol is located within, because it is placed there for aesthetic purposes and not to be served. [This leniency can be inferred from the use by Deuteronomy 12:2 of the term:] "their gods" - i.e., the prohibition applies when they treat them as gods, and not when they humiliate them, such as in an instance where [the idol] stands over the sewage pipe and they urinate before it.
Should [the idol's] worship involve such activities, it is forbidden to enter [the bathhouse].
It is permitted to benefit from [an animal] slaughtered using a knife [forbidden because of its connection to] idol worship, because one is detracting from [the animal's] value. If the animal is in danger [of dying], it is forbidden, because one is enhancing its value, and this improvement involves benefit from an accessory of idol worship.
Similarly, it is forbidden to cut meat with [such a knife], because one is enhancing its value. Should one cut with a destructive intent, causing a loss, the meat is permitted.
It is permitted to derive benefit from anything that has not been manipulated by man or that was not made by man, even though it was worshiped [as a deity]. Therefore, it is permitted to benefit from mountains, hills, trees - provided they were planted originally with the intent of harvesting their fruit - springs which provide water for many people, and animals, despite their having been worshiped by pagans. It is permitted to partake of fruits that were worshiped in the place where they grow and to partake of such an animal.
Needless to say, it is permitted to partake of an animal that was set aside for the purpose of idol worship. It is permitted regardless of whether it was set aside to be worshiped or to be sacrificed [to another deity].
When do the above statements permitting the use of an animal apply? When a deed involving it was not committed for the sake of idol worship. If, however, any deed whatsoever was committed involving it, it is forbidden; for example, one cut one of its signs for the sake of an idol. Should one exchange it for an idol, it is forbidden. Similarly, it is forbidden if it was exchanged for an article that was itself exchanged for an idol, since the latter article is considered to be "payment for an idol."
When does the above apply? Regarding one's own animal. If, however, one slaughtered a colleague's animal for the sake of a false deity, or exchanged it for an idol, it does not become forbidden, because a person cannot cause an article that does not belong to him to become forbidden.
When a person bows down to virgin earth, he does not cause it to become forbidden. If he digs pits, channels, and caverns in it for the sake of a false deity, it becomes forbidden.
When a person bows down to water which was lifted up by a wave, he does not cause [the water] to become forbidden. If, however, he picked [water] up with his hands and bowed down to it, it becomes forbidden.
If rocks which had slid down from a mountain were worshiped in the place where they [landed], they are permitted, since they were not manipulated by man.
When a Jew stands a brick up with the intention of bowing down to it, but does not bow down to it, and then a gentile comes and bows down to it, benefit from [the brick] becomes forbidden, because standing it up is considered to be a deed. Similarly, if he stands an egg up and a gentile comes and bows down to it, it becomes forbidden.
If one cuts off a gourd or the like and bows down to it, it is forbidden. Even when one bows down to only half the gourd, and the other half is still attached to it, it is forbidden because of the doubt involved: perhaps the second half is considered to be a handle for the half which was worshiped.
It is forbidden to benefit from a tree which was planted for the purpose of being worshiped. This is the asherah that the Torah mentions. When a tree which had been planted previously was pruned and carved for the sake of idol worship - even if it was extended or a growth was grafted onto the trunk of the tree - and branches grew, one must cut off [these] branches, and benefit from them is forbidden. The remainder of the tree, however, is permitted.
Similarly, when a person bows down to a tree, even though the tree itself is not forbidden, it is forbidden to benefit from all the branches, leaves, sprouts, and fruits which it produces during the time it is worshiped.
When gentiles guard the fruits of a tree and say that they are designated to be used to make alcoholic beverages for a particular pagan temple, and [the fruits] are used for alcoholic beverages which are drunken on their pagan holidays, it is forbidden to benefit from this tree. This is the ritual associated with an asherah. Accordingly, we can assume that [the tree] is an asherah, and therefore its fruits will be used for such purposes.
[The following rules apply to] a tree under which a false deity was placed: It is forbidden to benefit from it as long as the deity is located under it. When it is removed, we are permitted [to benefit] from it, since the tree itself is not the entity which was worshiped.
When a gentile constructs a building with the intention that the building itself be worshiped, and, similarly, when a person bows down to a building that has already been constructed, they become forbidden.
When a [building] which had already been constructed, was plastered and embellished for the sake of worship to the extent that it is considered to be a new entity, one must remove all the new additions, and it is forbidden to benefit from them, since they were made with the intention of being worshiped. It is, however, permitted to benefit from the remainder of the building.
If one placed an idol within a house, it is forbidden to benefit from the house while the idol is located within. When it is removed, the house becomes permitted.
Similarly, it is forbidden to benefit from a stone which was hewn from a mountain with the intention that it be worshiped. If it had already been hewn out, but was adorned and embellished with the intention that it be worshiped - even if the stone itself was adorned and embellished and, needless to say, if the adornment was added to it - one must remove all the new additions, and it is forbidden to benefit from them, since they were made with the intention of being worshiped. It is, however, permitted to benefit from the remainder of the stone.
A stone on which an idol is placed is forbidden as long as the idol is upon it. Once [the idol] is removed, it is permitted.
When a person's house which is located next to [a shrine of] an idol falls, it is forbidden for him to rebuild it. What must he do? He must move [the wall] within his own four cubits, and then rebuild it. The empty space must not be left free for the sake of the shrine of the idol. Rather, he should fill it with thorns or feces.
If the wall belonged jointly to both a private individual and an idol, it should be considered to belong to them equally. It is permitted to benefit from his half; the [half] belonging to the idol, however, is forbidden. [Similarly,] it is forbidden to benefit from all [the wall's] stones, beams, and earth.
How must one destroy a false deity and the other entities which are forbidden on its account - e.g., its accessories and offerings? One must grind them and scatter [the dust] in the wind, or burn them and deposit the ashes in the Dead Sea.
Although [as mentioned above,] an entity which cannot be manipulated by man - e.g., a mountain, animal, or tree - even when worshiped remains permitted, it is forbidden to benefit from its coatings. A person who derives any benefit from them whatsoever is [liable for] lashes, as [Deuteronomy 7:25] states: "Do not desire the silver and gold which are upon them."
Any coating of a false deity is considered to be one of its accessories.
It is permitted to benefit from a false deity belonging to a gentile whose deification was nullified [by gentiles] before it entered the possession of a Jew, as [Deuteronomy, ibid.] states, "You must burn the statues of their gods with fire." [This command applies] only if they are treated as gods when they enter our possession. If, however, their deification was nullified, they are permitted.
A false deity belonging to a Jew can never be nullified. Even if he owns it in partnership with a gentile, its nullification is of no consequence. Rather, it is forbidden to benefit from it forever, and it must be entombed.
Similarly, when a false deity belonging to a gentile enters the possession of a Jew, and then is nullified by a gentile, the nullification is of no consequence, and it is forbidden to benefit from it forever.
A Jew cannot nullify a false deity even when it is in the possession of a gentile. A gentile who is a minor or a fool cannot nullify a false deity. When a gentile is forced to nullify a false deity - whether it belongs to him or to other gentiles, even when he is forced to do so by Jews - the nullification is of consequence.
The gentile who nullifies idol worship must himself be an idolater. If he is not an idolater, his nullification is of no consequence.
When [a gentile] nullifies a false deity, he also nullifies [the connection to idol worship of] its accessories. When he nullifies [the connection to idol worship of] its accessories, it is permitted to benefit from the accessories. [The deity] itself, however, remains forbidden until it is nullified. [The connection to idol worship of] an object that was brought to an idol as an offering can never be nullified.
How is [an idol] nullified? When one cuts off the tip of its nose, the tip of its ear, or the tip of its finger, smoothes out its face - even though none of its substance was destroyed - or sells it to a Jewish jeweler, it is nullified.
If, however, one gave it as security for a loan, sold it to a gentile, [sold it] to a Jew who is not a jeweler, [left it] after it was covered by fallen articles without removing them, did not demand its return after it was stolen by thieves, spat in its face, urinated upon it, dragged it [in mud], or threw feces upon it, it is not nullified.
When a false deity was abandoned by its worshipers in a time of peace, it is apparent that they nullified it. Hence, benefit may be derived from it. [If it was abandoned] in a time of war, it is forbidden. The only reason they abandoned it was the war.
When a false deity becomes broken in the course of nature, it is forbidden to benefit from its broken pieces until they have been nullified. Accordingly, when a person finds broken pieces of an idol, [he must regard them] as forbidden, lest the gentiles have not nullified them.
[The following principles apply to an idol] which comes in pieces: If it could be reassembled by an ordinary person, each piece must be nullified individually. If [an ordinary person] could not reassemble it, once one has nullified one of its limbs, all of them are nullified.
Though an altar for idol worship has been damaged, it is still forbidden to benefit from it until the majority of it has been destroyed by gentiles. A platform which has been damaged is permitted.
What is considered a platform, and what, an altar? A platform consists of a single stone; an altar, of many stones.
How are the stones of Marculis nullified? When one constructs a building from them or uses them to pave the roads or the like, it is permitted to benefit from them.
How is an asherah nullified? When one pulls off a leaf, cuts off a branch, takes a staff or scepter from it, or planes off its sides in a manner which does not benefit it, it is nullified. When one planes its sides in a manner which benefits it, it is forbidden, but its shavings are permitted.
If [the sides of] an asherah which belongs to a Jew [are planed off], both it and its shavings are forbidden forever, regardless of whether [it was planed] for its benefit or not, because a false deity belonging to a Jew can never be nullified.
It is forbidden to purchase or sell any durable entity to an idolater within three days of one of their holidays. [Similarly, within this period, it is forbidden] to borrow from them, to lend to them, to accept payment from them or to repay them for a loan that is supported by a promissory note or collateral. It is, however, permitted to collect a loan which is supported by a verbal commitment alone, because one is saving one's property from being lost to them.
It is permitted to sell them an entity which will not endure - e.g., vegetables, or a cooked dish - until the day of their festival.
When does the above apply? In Eretz Yisrael. In other lands, however, it is forbidden [to engage in such activities] only on the day of their festival itself.
If one transgressed and did business with them during these three days, one may derive benefit from the results of these transactions. When, however, one does business with them on the day of their festival itself, it is forbidden to benefit from the results of these transactions.
It is forbidden to send a present to a gentile on one of his holidays, unless one knows that he does not acknowledge or worship idols. Similarly, if a gentile sends a present to a Jew on one of [the gentile's] holidays, the Jew should not accept it. If, however, there is the possibility of ill-feeling arising, he should take it from him. Nevertheless, he should not derive any benefit from it until he finds out that the gentile does not acknowledge or worship idols.
If the idolaters' festival lasts several days - whether three, four, or ten - all the days [of the festival] are considered as a single day. [Carrying out transactions] on any of these days, or on the three days preceding them, is forbidden.
The Canaanites are idol worshipers, and Sunday is their festival. Accordingly, in Eretz Yisrael, it is forbidden to conduct transactions with them on Thursday and Friday each and every week, and, needless to say, on Sunday itself, when transactions with them are forbidden everywhere.
The day on which the idolaters gather together to crown a king and offer sacrifice and praise to their false deities is considered to be one of their holidays, since it is comparable to their other holidays. In contrast, on a day which is celebrated by an individual idolater as a festival on which he gives thanks and praise to the star he [worships] - for example, his birthday, the day on which he shaves his beard or hair, the day on which he returns from a sea-voyage, the day on which he leaves prison, the day on which he makes a [wedding] feast for his son, and the like - it is forbidden [to do business] on that particular day only with that individual man.
Similarly, when [it is customary] that the day on which one of them dies is marked with festivities, it is forbidden [to do business] with those individuals on that day. Whenever [a person's] death is marked by the burning of his utensils and the offering of incense, we can assume that idol worship is [involved in the ritual].
The [above] prohibition applies only to those who worship [the false deity]. In contrast, it is permitted to do business with those who join in the celebrations by eating, drinking, and observing it as a matter of custom or in deference to the king.
Articles which are distinguished by their use [in the worship] of one of the false deities in a particular locale may never be sold to the worshipers of that deity in that locale. Articles which are not characterized by such uniqueness may be sold to them without enquiring [about the purpose for which they will be used].
If, however, an idolater specifically states that he is purchasing the article for the sake of idol worship, it is forbidden to sell it to him unless one blemishes it in a manner which disqualifies it for use as an offering to the idol. An animal lacking a limb is not offered as a sacrifice to an idol.
It is permitted to sell articles which are distinguished [by their use in the worship of a false deity] that are mixed together with articles that are not used for such purposes - e.g., pure frankincense with black frankincense - without enquiring [about the purpose for which they will be used]. We do not suspect that [the purchaser] will separate the pure frankincense to use for idol worship. The same applies in other similar situations.
Just as it is forbidden to sell idolaters articles that assist them in idol worship, it is forbidden to sell them articles that can cause harm to many people - for example, bears, lions, weapons, fetters, and chains. [Similarly,] it is forbidden to sharpen their weapons.
Everything that is forbidden to be sold to idolaters is also forbidden to be sold to a Jew who is suspect that he will sell to idolaters. Similarly, it is forbidden to sell dangerous objects to a Jewish thief.
When the Jews dwell among the idolaters and have established a covenant with them, it is permissible to sell weapons to the servants of the king and his to his soldiers, because they use them to wage war against the enemies of the country and to protect it. Thus, they also protect us, for we dwell among them.
It is permitted to walk around a city in which an idol is located. It is, however, forbidden to enter [the city]. If the idol is located outside the city, it is permitted to walk within it.
A person who is journeying from one place to another may not pass through a city in which a false deity is located.
When does this apply? When this is the only way to his destination. If, however, there is an alternate route to his destination and, by chance, he took [the route which passed through this city], it is permissible.
It is forbidden to build - [even] together with an idolater - a dome under which an idol is placed. If one transgressed and built such a structure, however, one's wage is permitted. A priori, one may construct the palace or the courtyard where that dome is located.
[The following laws apply] when an idol is located within a city and there some shops which are adorned and some which are not: It is forbidden to benefit from those which are adorned or [to use] anything they contain, since we can assume that they were adorned for the sake of idol worship. It is permitted to benefit from those which are not adorned.
It is forbidden to do business with a store owned by a false deity, because one offers benefit to the false deity.
When a person sells his house to an idol, it is forbidden to benefit from the proceeds of the sale. Rather, they must be taken to the Dead Sea. If, however, an idolater steals a Jew's house against his will and places an idol within, it is permitted [to accept whatever] money [he offers]. [The Jew] may compose [a bill of sale] and formalize it in accordance with the civil law procedures.
Flutes belonging to idolaters should not be used in a funeral dirge.
One may attend a pagan commercial fair and purchase livestock, gentile servants and maidservants before they convert, houses, fields, and vineyards. One may compose a bill of sale and formalize it in accordance with the civil law procedures, since by doing so one saves [one's property] from them.
When does the above apply? When one buys from a private individual who does not have to pay a tax [to the false deity]. If, however, one buys from a merchant, it is forbidden, for a merchant must pay a tax which must be given to the false deity. Hence, [by making such a purchase], one is giving benefit to a false deity.
[The following laws apply] if one transgressed and purchased [merchandise] from a merchant: If one purchased livestock, one should cut off the animal's hooves from below the anklebone. If one purchased garments or other objects, one should let them rot. If one purchased money or metal utensils, one should bring them to the Dead Sea. If one purchased a servant, one may not help him up [from a pit], nor should one push him into one.
When an idolater makes a [wedding] party for his son or daughter, it is forbidden to benefit from the feast. It is even forbidden for a Jew to eat and drink his own food there, since it is being consumed at a celebration of idolaters.
When is it forbidden to eat such an idolater's food? From when he began to prepare for the wedding feast, the entire duration of the wedding feast, and for thirty days afterwards. [Furthermore,] if he makes another celebration because of the wedding even after thirty days have passed, it is forbidden [to participate] until twelve months [have passed].
This stringency was imposed because of idol worship, as [implied by Exodus 34:15-16]: "And he shall call to you and you shall eat from his slaughter, and you shall choose from his daughters for your sons. His daughters will stray after their gods, and they will lead your sons astray after these gods."
A Jewish woman should not nurse the child of an idolater, since, by doing so, she raises a son who will be an idolater. She should not serve as a midwife for an idolatrous woman [without charge]. She may, however, do so for a fee, lest strife arise.
An idolatrous woman may serve as a midwife for a Jewess and nurse her child. [This must be done] in premises belonging to a Jew, lest the idolatrous woman kill the child.
It is forbidden to trade with [gentiles] on their way to reproachful places of idol worship, but it is permitted to trade with them when they return. This applies when they do not journey in a caravan. If, however, they are traveling in a caravan, they may change their mind and return.
If a Jew journeys to a reproachful place of idol worship, one may trade with him on his way, since he may change his mind. On his way back, it is forbidden. [It is forbidden to trade with] an apostate Jew on his way there and on his way back.
When a Jew attends a fair of idol worshipers it is forbidden to trade with him when he returns. Perhaps he sold an idol to them, and it is forbidden to benefit from the proceeds of the sale of idol worship possessed by a Jew.
It is, however, permitted to benefit from [the proceeds of the sale of an idol] possessed by an idolater. Therefore, it is permitted to trade with an idolater coming from such a fair, but not with a Jew. It is forbidden to trade with an apostate Jew on his way to and on his way from such a fair.
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Wherever our feet tread, it is all in order to cleanse and purify the world with words of Torah and prayer. We, all of Israel, are emissaries of G-d, each of us as Divine Providence has decreed for us. None of us is free from this sacred task placed on our shoulders
–Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch (Hayom Yom, 5 Adar I)