Thoughts from the Daf

Shabbat 69: What Time is It?

May 28, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
That we are living in unprecedented times hardly needs to be stated. It is hard to believe that less than three months ago we in the west were living in blissful ignorance, oblivious to what lay just around the corner. We may have heard vague reports of something amiss in China, but we continued along our merry way. As the world came to a virtual standstill time slowed down, if not scientifically, then at least in our perception of it. (And...
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Shabbat 63: I Did Not Know

May 15, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the changes accompanying the creation of the State of Israel is the flourishing of the study of Tanach. Returning to our ancient homeland, and able to see with our own eyes where much of the Tanach actually happened, the Tanach comes alive in ways it just cannot outside of the Land of Israel. Furthermore, there has been a return to placing much greater emphasis on the pshat[1], the plain meaning of the text[2]. The output of...
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Shabbat 33: Silence is Golden

May 12, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When our Sages entered the vineyard in Yavne, Rabbi Yehuda, and Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yossi, and Rabbi Shimon were there, and a question was asked before them…Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ila’i, rosh hamedabrim b'kol mamkom, the head of the speakers in every place, responded” (Shabbat 33b).  The Gemara’s simple question as to why Rabbi Ila’i is called rosh hamedabrim b'kol mamkom...
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Shabbat 32: The Uneducated Jew

May 07, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says: The laws of hekdesh, consecrated items; terumot; and ma’asarot, tithes, are the essence of Torah, and they were given over to the amei ha’aretz, the uneducated people of the land” (Shabbat 31a-b)[1].  The laws regarding hekdesh and tithes are amongst the most serious in our tradition. Eating untithed...
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Shabbat 31: Farming and Faith

April 30, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Torah is full of mitzvot relating to farmers. Whether one is plowing, planting, or harvesting, the Torah has clear guidelines to direct us. One must separate wheat and the vine, avoid plowing with two different animals, leave the corner of the field for the poor, take our first fruits to Jerusalem, and give some of our produce to the kohen, levi and the poor. We must not pick up that which we might drop, nor...
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