Beitza 25: Hurry Up and Be Patient

May 03, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In Talmudic times, animals were generally slaughtered only when there was a known buyer ready to eat from the animal before him. Lacking methods of preservation, there was great financial risk in having beautiful displays of meat in a take-out section of the local (super)market. If not enough shoppers purchased the meat, it would go to waste, causing both great financial loss and likely, a violation of ba’al tashchit, unnecessary...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 24: Fishing on Yom Tov

May 02, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Shabbat and Yom Tov are gifts to the Jewish people, and the Jewish people only. As such, we are permitted to benefit from work by a non-Jew on these days--provided the non-Jew is doing such work for his own benefit (Shabbat 122b). It is for this reason that a non-Jewish contractor can do work for a Jew on Shabbat; the hours he chooses to work are his own. However, Jewish law prohibits one from asking for, or even benefiting from, work that a non...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 20: The Path of Hillel

April 29, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is arguably no greater figure in Talmudic literature than that of Hillel the Elder. He combined the Torah leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu[1] with Aharon's peace-making and love for all. It is not by chance the Talmud teaches that if not for Hillel, Torah would have been forgotten from amongst the Jewish people (Sukkah 20a). It is only natural that Hillel's primary teaching[2] is, "be of the students of Aharon, love peace and seek...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 17b: To the Showers...

April 27, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Often, when studying Gemara, we fail to appreciate how different day-to-day life was for our ancestors. Yeshiva study tends to focus on conceptual analysis of the legal sections of the Talmud. Even in the academic world—where there is an appreciation for the importance of “realia”, understanding the daily life patterns[1]—much of the focus is on studying the development of the text, analyzing manuscripts, and the...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 17: Open Sinning

April 24, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
All of us are sinners. To be human means that we make mistakes, both inadvertent and intentional. Our tradition shows great respect for those who admit sin, even those who do not repent. They may be wrong in the eyes of Jewish law, but we can appreciate their honesty. Such cannot be said for those who feign an aura of piety, pretending to act in accordance with Jewish law as they manipulate it to serve their own needs. It is for this reason...
Continue Reading »