Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin 7: The Idolatrous Snake

December 18, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Over and over again the Torah warns us not to allow avodah zara, idolatry, in the Land of Israel. Yet, as is often the case, things are not always quite so simple and at times there can be other considerations that outweigh a seemingly clear Torah command. As we discussed in our last post the nachash hanechoshet, the copper snake, that had saved many lives in the desert, eventually became an object of (idol) worship. Yet Asa...
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Chulin 7: Time for Something New

December 13, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
"It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam]…to teach that no man is the same as another; therefore, every person must say, ‘For my sake ‎the world was created’” (Sanhedrin 37a). The desire to be different and to make a difference is part and parcel of being human. We are unique individuals and must be allowed to express that uniqueness. The need for personal creativity helps...
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Chulin 5: The Stroke of a Pen

December 11, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
In the fall of 1860, Rav Yaakov Ettlinger penned what is likely the most revolutionary responsa of modern times; one that opened the door to allowing, for the first time in Jewish history, those who publicly desecrated the Shabbat to remain part of the (observant) Jewish community. This teshuva (Binyan Tzion[1] Hachadasot #23) set the stage for the existence of the "non-Orthodox, Orthodox" and successfully kept many within...
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Chulin 4: The Idolatrous Shochet

December 10, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Some years back I attended a talk by Rabbi Dr. M.D. Tendler who spoke about the most important teshuvot written by his father-in-law, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l. Amongst the most important teshuvot[1] he discussed, was his allowance of observant parents whose children had become irreligious to eat at their children’s house (see Yoreh Deah #1:54). One could, Rav Moshe argued, rely on the assurances of the children that out of...
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Chulin 3: Meet the Shochet

December 05, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
That the role of a modern rabbi in the Western World is far different than that of the rabbi of Eastern Europe is rather obvious. The typical 19th century Polish rabbi, for example, did little pastoral work, did not deliver sermons, raise money for the shul, nor officiate at bar-mitzvas. His time was primarily taken up with learning, teaching and paskening shailot, answering halachic queries[1], something many modern-day...
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