Eiruvin 100: Cats and Ants

November 19, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Imagine if the Torah had not been given. While for many, such a thought is unthinkable—“for they are our life and the length of our days, and on them we will meditate day and night”—for many, actually, most Jews, such is the reality. Raised with little connection to Judaism, with little or no Jewish education, and part of the 70% of Jews who do not attend synagogue on Yom Kippur[1], the Torah, for all intents and...
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For the Sake of Heaven

November 03, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
I often ask my high school students what they consider the most difficult mitzvah to observe. The two most common answers I receive are keeping Shabbat and keeping kosher. Considering that I teach in a communal high school where the overwhelming majority of the students are not shomer Shabbat and few are strictly kosher, this is pretty much what one would expect to hear. From the outside looking in, these mitzvot do appear...
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Eiruvin 65: Time to Laugh

October 21, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabbi Elai said: A person is recognized through three ways: b’koso, b’kiso, u’b’kaaso” (Eiruvin 65b).   This teaching of Rav Elai, one of the more famous teachings of our Sages, advises that if one wants to get to know someone, one should look “in their cup, their pocket, and their anger” (it has a much better ring to it in the Hebrew).  Nichnas yayin yatza sod[1...
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Eiruvin 65: Davening Less, Learning More

October 19, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Two of the most fundamental mitzvot are those of prayer and Talmud Torah. Observant Jews pray three times a day, and for those who daven with a minyan, the time spent going to shul, davening, and coming back home can easily take up to two hours a day - a rather startling amount of time that does not even include Shabbat and Yom Tov. There is little need to dwell on the importance of learning: Talmud Torah...
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Eiruvin 53: Curriculum Planning

October 06, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“One cannot compare one who learns the chapter 100 times to one who learns it 101 times” (Chagiga 9b). The mitzvah of Talmud Torah involves much more than spending time learning Torah, important as that may be. The mitzvah requires that we become knowledgeable in Torah to the best of our ability, understanding what we learn and remembering it. This requires reviewing that which we have learned over and over and over again. ...
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