Laws of Idolatry | Mishneh Torah | Part Fourteen

All that which can not be seized by the hand of man, and man made it not, although it is being worshiped, is permissive property. Therefore, idolaters who worship mountains, hills, trees originally planted for fruit-production, public springs, or cattle, all such are permissive property, and the fruit worshiped at the place of its growth, and such cattle may be eaten; needless to say that a cattle designated to idolatry may be eaten, regardless of whether it was designated to be worshiped or sacrificed, for such is permissive property. Thence onward is it said that a cattle does not become forbidden property? Prior to any act done to it in the name of idolatry; but after the last act was done to it, it becomes forbidden thereby. For example? If he severed one of its carotids in the name of idolatry. If he made barter therewith to use the proceeds thereof for idolatry, he made it forbidden property, and so is also the proceeds out of that barter, because it becomes the capital of idolatry. Whereat are these words directed? At his own cattle; but if he slaughtered his neighbor’s cattle to idolatry, or exchanged it, it does not become forbidden property, because no man can make forbidden property out of something which is not his. One who bows down to ownerless land does not make it forbidden property; if he dug therein wells, pits, or caves to the worship of idolatry, it does become forbidden property.

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