Shabbat 83 - Idol assembly
Earlier we learned that pieces of an idol that are broken off cease to convey ritual impurity. However, this is talking about pieces, about which the idolater reasons, "The idol could not protect itself, surely it is not going to protect me."
Rav Chama asked a related question, "If one uses an idol that is assembled from parts, does it still convey impurity when disassembled? When a layman can reassemble the idol," - he added - "I don't even need to ask, since this is considered as if it was intact. My only question is when only an expert can reassemble it. Do we say that this is better than a broken one, and the impurity is back, or do we say that right now the idol is unusable, and it conveys no impurity?"
Others presented his question in a different way: where a layman cannot assemble it, there is no need to ask, since it is as good as broken. The only question is when a layman can in fact assemble it back. Do we say that it is considered as whole, or do way say that on the contrary, right now it is pulled apart and dismantled, and is therefore unusable, and carries no impurity? - Which? This question remained unresolved.
Art: Rombout Van Troyen - Grotto with Statues and Numerous Figures Worshipping Idols