Bava Metzia 107: A Good Neighbour

January 23, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Reish Lakish said: Whomever has a beit knesset in his city and he does not enter it, he  is called a bad neighbour” (Brachot 8a). All too often today, people do not even know their neighbours, let alone visit them. Such is the sad reality in today’s impersonal world that one can live with hundreds of people in the same apartment building and yet be extremely lonely. Hearing a friendly knock on the door can be a...
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Bava Metzia 105: Will that be Wheat or Barley?

January 22, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Throughout most of history wealth was primarily a result of land ownership. The more land one owned the wealthier one was. It is quite likely that it is the importance of land, and the Torah’s desire to ensure that one forced to sell his land not doom his descendants to perpetual poverty, that stands behind the Torah’s law of Yovel, where every 50 years, land reverts back to its original owner. It is only in recent times that real...
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Shemot: A New Leader

January 20, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In today's world of the 30-second soundbite, good oratory skills are a necessary ingredient for any aspiring politician. Good politicians are often able to talk themselves out of difficult positions spouting half truths, equivocations, and at times, outright lies. A good politician knows how to talk without saying anything. Yet the greatest political leader of all time, Moshe Rabbeinu was a kvad peh...
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Bava Metzia 103: Time to Move

January 16, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
We often imagine that the ancient world was one in which almost all lived on farms tilling their land, and only in modern times with the advent of the industrial revolution did cities become the centre of economic activity. There is much truth to this – as recently as the turn of the 20th century some 63% of Canadians lived on farms (compared to some 2% today). Students have farmers to thank for their long summer vacations –...
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VaYechi: Family Ties

January 13, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the recurring and unfortunate themes of the book of Breisheet is that of sibling rivalry and even hatred: Cain and Hevel, Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaakov and Eisav, Leah and Rachel, Yosef and his brothers. In fact, we often see better relationships with non-Jews than with our own brothers. Thus, Avraham and Malchitzedek, and Yosef and Pharaoh, seem to have had good relationships without any hint of bitterness. While it...
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