Yoma 28: Prehistoric Torah

December 11, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"The Holy One blessed be He looked into Torah and created the world" (Breisheet Rabba 1:2). Our Sages viewed the Torah as the architectural blueprint for the world, predating creation and serving as the very basis for that creation. The Sages wanted to emphasize that the Divinely ordained ethic is the most natural of lifestyles. It is with this mindset that we must understand the teaching of Rav, the founder of the great Yeshiva in...
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Yoma 22: Murder in the Mikdash

December 03, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the fundamental teachings of Judaism is that nothing is inherently good or bad--it all depends on how it is used. Even the evil inclination can be most positive and without it, we would not have children or an advanced economy (see Yoma 69b). Greed, revenge, money, even kindness[1] can be used for both positive and negative purposes. It can be no other way, as G-d is the Creator of all. If G-d "saw all that He did, and it...
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Yoma 19: Yom Kippur Sleep

December 02, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The kohen gadol had a hard day of work on Yom Kippur. The avodah, the special Yom Kippur Temple service, was intricate and difficult, and had to be performed after the kohen gadol was forced to stay up all night. He was kept up to avoid the possibility of a seminal emission, which would disqualify him from working on Yom Kippur. The Gemara relates how the mikarei Yerushalayim, the important...
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Yoma 18: Look Who Saved Torah From Oblivion

November 27, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sometimes the choices we make turn out to be better than we could have imagined in our wildest dreams. The baseball player drafted in the 11th round who becomes a superstar; the shul rabbi who is the fourth choice of the board, yet is an inspiration for so many; the unassuming summer student who so impresses and eventually becomes CEO. The Mishnah, in describing the preparations of the kohen gadol to ensure his readiness for the Yom...
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Yoma 13: When the Competition Gets Tough...

November 25, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And he shall atone for himself and for his household” (Vayikra 16:6). The Rabbis derive from this verse that the kohen gadol, in order to effect atonement, must be married[1]. What if the kohen gadol should suddenly become single? What would happen if his wife were to die suddenly, just prior to Yom Kippur? The Sages argue that we need not worry about such. While the kohen gadol becoming impure is...
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