One would not expect to find the major Talmudic discussion on the laws and moral failings of speaking lashon hara in masechet Erachin. This masechet concerns itself with technical laws of gifts of valuations to the Temple, laws that are no longer applicable today. But as we have encountered many times, Talmudic discussions flow from one topic to another—always in a most precise and logical fashion.
Rabbi Jay Kelman's blog
In our last post, we began our discussion as to why in so many disparate cases, one might have thought that kohanim are exempt from a mitzvah and hence, must be specifically obligated in that mitzvah.
Judaism is a religion that celebrates life. "Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than the entire life of the world to come" (Pirkei Avot 5:22). It is only while we are alive that we can elevate ourselves through the performance of mitzvot, that we can contribute to the betterment of the world, and that we can become partners with G-d in the process of creation. There is no nobility in death. Death defiles. "Whoever touches the corpse of any human being shall be contaminated for seven days" (Bamidbar 19:11).
Visiting Morocco leaves one with both a sense of hope and of despair. The sense of despair does not refer to the decline of Jewish community, which at approximately 3,000 souls, totals some 1% of its pre-1948 numbers.
The city of Marrakech was, for many years, home to the largest Jewish population in Morocco. Today it has two functioning shuls: one in the mella, the old Jewish quarter, which at one time housed some 40,000 Jews; and the other some four miles away in the “new city”, where most of the Jews moved after 1956 when Morocco gained its independence from France.
“Eizo asheer? Hasameach bechelko, Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot”. It is often hard for many of us raised in the affluence of the West to appreciate the beauty of a simple way of life, devoid of all the modern conveniences we take for granted—and can't live without. A visit to a Berber village can help with some perspective.
It is in times of crisis that effective leadership is most important--and the years spent wandering in the desert represented the first major crisis of the Jewish people. Aimlessly wandering with little to look forward to, knowing that they would die in the desert, the hope and excitement of the Exodus was long gone. It is not surprising that, when faced with a crisis, instead of looking inward, people often look to blame others for their predicament. Who better to blame than one's leader?
Outside of the world of the yeshiva, it’s a safe bet to assume that most who study Talmud do so as part of the Daf Yomi cycle. This innovation of Rav Meir Shapiro was special not only because Jews around the world study the same page of Talmud every day, but because Jews around the world would study Talmud at all.
“With fidelity to its irreversible choice to construct a democratic State of Law, the Kingdom of Morocco…having as its bases the principles of participation, of pluralism and of good governance. It develops a society of solidarity where all enjoy security, liberty, equality of opportunities, of respect for their dignity and for social justice…
In our opening post on masechet Erachin we discussed how the use of the word hakol, everybody, comes to obligate one in a mitzvah, someone whom we might otherwise have exempted. We discussed no fewer than ten examples appearing on the first page alone.