Sukkah 30: Why Steal a Lulav?

March 11, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
My first introduction to the writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik was in yeshiva in Israel when I read Rabbi Abraham Besdin's Reflections of the Rav. One of the ideas therein that immediately struck me was how the Rav noted that if Orthodox Jewry is to have any hope of influencing the masses of non-Orthodox Jews it will be through integrity and scrupulousness of our business practices. Non-observant Jews are little impressed by...
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Sukkah 27: I Love My Sukkah

March 06, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Considering that one is supposed to live in one’s sukkah as one lives in one’s home one need spend very little time in the sukkah. One “who writes books, tefillin or mezuzot, they and their wholesalers and retailers and all who are involved in heavenly work, including those who sell techelet” (Sukkah 26a) are exempt from the sukkah. Travelers and others whose work takes them far from a sukkah i.e. a security guard,...
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Sukkah 26: I'm Too Busy

March 04, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Rabbi Yossi Haglilee used to say: One who is involved in a mitzvah is exempt from another mitzvah" (Sukkah 26a). A mitzvah is entitled to one's full attention[1], and our Sages long ago understood that when one tries to multi-task, both tasks will end up the poorer for the effort. Despite the inherent logic involved in such reasoning, the Talmud looks for scriptural support for this notion. One might have argued that we...
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Sukkah 22: Seeing Stars

March 03, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the basic requirements of a sukkah is that the s'chach  provide more shade than sun. This requirement, however, is more theoretical than practical. Already on the first page of the masechet, the Gemara validates a sukkah built in the depths of a valley, even though most of the shade comes from the mountains. As the Gemara explains, if we...
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Sukkah 21: Time to Go to Bed

February 26, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
As important as classroom education may be, informal education is often more valuable. "The service of Torah is greater than the study thereof" (Brachot 7b). In a classroom setting, we can only see one facet of a person; but given a chance to spend some time with them over the course of a day, one can learn so much more[1]. As the Maharsha explains, so much that goes on in a formal educational setting that is of little...
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