Shabbat

Shabbat 13: Fasting or Feasting

March 30, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When it was still forbidden to write down the Oral Law, one of the very few written texts was that of Megillat Taanit, the scroll of fast days. This Megillah lists 35 days on which it was forbidden to fast, as they were days commemorating joyous events in Jewish history. Of the 35 days listed, only two remain applicable today, that of Purim and Chanukah. The others lost all meaning with the destruction of the Temple.  “Our Rabbis...
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Shabbat 10: A Special Gift

March 25, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rava bar Machsseya said in the name of Rav Chama bar Gurya in the name of Rav: One who gives a gift to another must inform him” (Shabbat 10b).  As the Tosafists (Shabbat 10b, s.v. hanoten) note, this law applies only if the gift is given as a demonstration of friendship and love. To anonymously give such a gift would be counterproductive, preventing greater closeness between people. However, a gift that is liable...
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Shabbat 4: Praying Alone

March 16, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the hardest mitzvot to properly fulfil is that of rebuke, “hocheiach tocheech et amitecha” (Vayikra 19:17). We are commanded, when necessary, to “prove” to our fellow Jews that what they are about to do is wrong and thus, they must desist. We must do so in a manner that does not cause embarrassment—hence, the continuation of the verse, “You shall not bear a sin because of him...
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Shabbat 2: From Place to Place

March 12, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“The carrying out on Shabbat are two that are four [for one] inside [a home] and two that are four [for one] outside [the home]” (Shabbat 2a). The Mishna discusses who violates Shabbat, and under what circumstances, when an object is passed from a private, “inside”, to a public, “outside”, domain. It is with these laws of carrying that we begin masechet Shabbat, the opening tractate of Seder Moed,...
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Shabbat 157: Some Concluding Thoughts on Masechet Shabbat

March 12, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Masechet Shabbat deals primarily with the 39 forbidden activities on Shabbat--especially that of carrying. Yet, as is the norm for Talmudic discussion, one subject leads to another, so that we have a wide range of discussion. As we go through its pages, we find the primary discussion of Chanukah; the laws of brit milah; debates on the role, if any, of astrology; the discussion of mama'ad har Sinai (the giving...
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