Pesachim

Pesachim 49: A Great Family

January 20, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Language is much more than a method of communication. It conveys the values and culture of those who speak it. The Hebrew language is known as lashon hakodesh, the holy tongue, explains the Ramban (Shemot 30:13), because it is the language G-d used to create the world: “With ten utterances, the world was created” (Avot 5:1). It is the language of the Torah, of the prophets, and the Mishna. The Rambam (Guide 3:8) notes...
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Pesachim 50: A Very Clear World

January 19, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
I am on occasion asked by my (generally non-observant) students questions about the afterlife. This is a most welcome question, indicating some thinking about the meaning of life. Yet they quickly learn I have little to offer in the way of answers. I tell them I know nothing about the afterlife. More importantly, it is not something we should concern ourselves with or spend much time thinking about. Our job is to make this world a better...
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Pesachim 43: Chametz at the Seder

January 13, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our last post, we discussed the fascinating view of Rabbi Yehuda (at least, as understood by Rashi) that the prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach does not apply to chametz that is owned by a non-Jew. In this post, I would like to discuss a hava aminah, a theoretical possibility, raised by the Gemara that women might not be included in the prohibition of eating chametz, allowing them to feast on some...
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Pesachim 21: Welcome Stranger

December 23, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is no more oft-repeated command in the Torah than the charge to be kind and sensitive to the ger—ki because[1],  gerim hayeetem, you were strangers in the land of Egypt". Thirty-six times, possibly even forty-six times (Bava Metzia 59b) the Torah exhorts us to treat the ger properly. Clearly, this is a most difficult mitzvah, on both a personal and national level. If it were easy to...
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Pesachim 13: Time for a Joke

December 15, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In describing our Talmudic Sages, one would not put a sense of humour at the top of the list—maybe not even at the bottom. Yet that would be unfair. The Gemara (Shabbat 30b) notes that Rabba would open every shiur with a joke, bringing a smile to the face of his colleagues. Like Jews throughout the generations, our Talmudic rabbis were not averse to telling jokes, though their style was somewhat different than ours. Their jokes...
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