Pesachim 54: The Heart of Darkness

August 22, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Man, unique amongst all creations, was blessed by G-d with a soul. We are not just physical creations, doomed to death in due course, but spiritual beings whose souls can live forever. The distinction between something physical and something spiritual is the capacity for sharing without diminishing. Physical things cannot truly be shared; even if I "share" my chocolate bar with you, while I may be a nice guy, I have less chocolate for...
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Pesachim 50b: The Wrong Reason

August 20, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our tradition has long taught that it is a great mitzvah to do the right thing, even if for the wrong reason. “A person should, leolam, always be engaged in Torah and mitzvoth even if sheloh lishma, not for its own sake; as from doing them not for their sake, one will come to do them lishma, for their own sake” (Pesachim 50b). This teaching, quoted in the name of Rav, the founder of the great...
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Pesachim 50: Custom-Made

August 18, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This Daf Yomi Thought is dedicated in honour of the upcoming wedding of Yonah Dorfman to Laurel Dayan. May they have many years of good health and happiness together. Mazal-Tov!  Almost by definition, there can be no laws regarding customs, which reflect extra-legal observances Jews have taken upon themselves over the centuries. Nonetheless, even customs are not totally independent of the halachic system,...
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Pesachim 49b: Shul Weapons

August 16, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
To produce excellence, a certain degree of elitism is required. We are influenced by those around us; and if those who surround us are average, then it becomes much harder to produce greatness. It is to be expected that many great Torah scholars are the children of other great Torah scholars--they do have an "unfair" advantage.  If having a father who is a professional athlete gives one an 800 times greater chance of becoming one...
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Pesachim 49a: A Pesach Wedding

August 13, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Getting married is a very big deal, and a mitzvah that supersedes almost all else. And like all mitzvoth, this is something we should do at the earliest possible opportunity. Our Sages recognized that, unlike other mitzvoth, twelve or thirteen would be too young for this mitzvah and recommended an age of eighteen. While that made sense in an era when most were working by their bar mitzvahs and life spans were much shorter, for most today,...
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