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Tractate Sanhedrin, Herbert Danby tr. [1919], at

8. The Idolater.

6. In a case of idolatry it is all one whether a man worship, sacrifice, offer incense, or pour out

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M.libations; or whether he bow himself down, accept it as a god, or say to it "Thou art my God." But he who puts his arm round it, kisses, sweeps, 1 besprinkles, washes, anoints, clothes, or shoes it breaks a negative commandment. 2 He who makes a vow in its name, and keeps it in its name, breaks a negative commandment; so also does he who excretes 3 to Ba’al Pe’or--for such is his cult, and he who tosses a stone on a merkolis 4--for such is its cult.

T. X. 3. In a case of idolatry it is all one whether a man worship, sacrifice, offer incense, or pour out libations, or bow down and accept it as a god and say to it, "Thou art my God, save me! " They are to be stoned. He who makes an idol, carves it, or sets it up, speaks with it, or wipes or scrapes it, transgresses a negative commandment; they are not liable to stoning until there is in their action some similarity to sacrificing, offering incense, pouring out libations, or bowing down. So also he who embraces, kisses, sweeps, sprinkles, clothes, shoes, or shrouds it, offends against a negative commandment. R. Jehuda says, "It is written: AND I WILL LEAVE ME SEVEN THOUSAND IN ISRAEL, ALL THE KNEES THAT HAVE NOT BOWED TO BAAL, AND EVERY MOUTH WHICH HATH NOT KISSED HIM, 5--comparing kissing with kneeling. As kneeling incurs guilt, so

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does kissing; and their death is left in the hands of Heaven."



99:1 C reads "sifts (?), embraces."

99:2 Cf. Exod. 20.; 23. 24; Deut. 5. 9.

99:3 Word-play on Pe’or. Cf. Isa. 5. 14; Psalm 119. 131, for meaning of root.

99:4 Mercurius, Hermes. A merkolis was a representation of the head of Hermes on the top of a square-shaped pillar, placed in prominent positions at cross-roads or boundaries. Passers-by signalized their homage to Hermes Enodios, the patron deity of the wayfarer, by throwing stones at it, gradually forming a cairn. Cf. Vulgate of Prov. 26. 8 and Aboda Zara, III. 7.

99:5 1 Kings 19. 18.

Next: 9. He who offers his Children to Moloch