Some Concluding Thoughts on Masechet Yoma

February 05, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Masechet Yoma deals almost exclusively with mitzvoth between man and G-d. Most of the tractate painstakingly records the intricate details of the special Temple service carried out on Yom Kippur. The few pages that are left focus primarily on the parameters of the mitzvah to "afflict our souls". Only at the very last Mishnah in Yoma  do we finally hear anything about the power of teshuva and the importance of...
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Yoma 77: Swimming on Yom Kippur

February 03, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Our Sages compared the (positive) mitzvoth in the Torah to the limbs of the body and (the negative) to the days of the year” (Makkot 23b). No limb in the body operates independently. Rather, each is part of a larger system, with a defect in one part of the body impacting on others. So, too, mitzvoth are part of a broader system of morals, and no mitzvah exists in isolation. In rendering psak halacha, practical rulings, one...
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Yoma 75: The Penalty Box

January 30, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the most challenging roles for a parent or teacher is to figure out how to administer discipline that it fair, effective, and meaningful. The goal of such should be not to punish, but to educate and elevate. But alas, such is not a simple task, and it's most difficult to get it right.  And if such is difficult when we have the best of intentions, it is impossible when our goal is to punish or get even. "It...
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Yoma 74: Great Looking Food

January 28, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Thanks to Rabbi Jonathan Ziring for his help with this Daily Daf and with countless other divrei Torah. After seven chapters detailing the Temple service of Yom Kippur, the eighth and final chapter of Masechet Yoma discusses the laws of Yom Kippur that we know today. "Yom Kippur is forbidden in food, drink, washing oneself, anointing oneself, wearing of shoes and marital relations" (Mishna Yoma 73b). The Torah never...
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Yoma 72: Time For Some Fun

January 27, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Any Torah scholar whose inside is not like his outside [whose piety does not match their learning] is no Torah scholar" (Yoma 72b). It is a given that Torah study is meant to make one a better person; more sensitive to the needs of others, aiding in the refinement of character, the development of moral excellence, and greater observance of mitzvoth between man and G-d. Rabban Gamliel went so far as to exclude...
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