Baa Baa Black Sheep: Bava Kamma 80

August 23, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
One of the beautiful features of the Land of Israel is its wide-ranging topography. The lowest point on earth some 1,300 feet below sea level is mere miles from the hills of Jerusalem some 2,500 feet above sea level. Mountain ranges, desert, lush farmland, great gorges, hills and flatlands are in close proximity to each other - even within walking distance. When one adds in the tiny geographical size of Israel such is all the more remarkable -...
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Man and G-d: Bava Kamma 79

August 21, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
  “The disciples of Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai asked him ‘why was the Torah stricter regarding a ganav, thief than a gazlan, robber?’” (Bava Kamma 79b)    The Torah distinguishes between a ganav, one who steals clandestinely, and a gazlan who steals out in the open, say at gunpoint. The former must pay kefel, double the amount...
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VaEtchanan: World Leaders

August 19, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Attempts to understand the rationale behind the mitzvoth of the Torah have generated much debate and discussion through the millennia. Many have feared that the search for answers is irrelevant at best, and possibly even outright dangerous. What reason other than the Divine command does anyone need?    No less a person than Shlomo Hamelech was led astray by this error, as he incorrectly assumed that he completely understood...
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Talking too Much: Bava Kamma 72

August 17, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
  “Al pi [1], according to the testimony of two or three shall something be established.” (Devarim 19:15) With so much power given to the word of witnesses Jewish law does not take kindly to those whose word cannot be trusted. This includes not only known liars, cheats and thieves but even those who we fear may not, to use modern parlance, “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth....
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Tisha B'Av: Doing Nothing

August 12, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza Jerusalem was destroyed.” (Gitin 55b) So begins the most famous Talmudic story relating to the destruction of the Temple and exile of the people, a story epitomizing the sinnat chinam that had taken hold amongst the people of Israel.   We readily understand the role of bar-Kamtza in the destruction. Rightfully angry over being publically humiliated he (wrongly) initiated a plan to...
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