Beitza 15: How to Celebrate Yom Tov

April 20, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We live in an age of specialization. Whether it is business, medicine, sports, Torah, or technology, we train people to be expert in one small area, so that people today know increasing amounts about less and less. Trying to do too many things will often result in none being done particularly well.   Apparently, this notion has Talmudic roots, at least as it relates to the celebration of Yom Tov. "Rabbi Eliezer...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 11: Beyond the Beginning

April 18, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages defined a chacham as one who is roeh et hanolad, who foresees the results of his actions. We live in a world which is focused on the here and now, with only the great amongst us able or even willing to try and see the impact on tomorrow of what we do today[1]. “Ulla said: Three things the end was allowed due to the beginning, and these are they; placing leather hides before those who trample upon them, returning...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 5: The Wrong Note

April 09, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is doubtful the Jewish life would exist as we know it if not for the leadership of Rav Yochanan ben Zackai. Seeing the terrible infighting that had beset the Jewish people, he realized that a rebuilding process was necessary. That rebuilding was to take place in the coastal town of Yavneh, ushering in the flourishing of rabbinic law, and ultimately the Talmud. It was a decision that haunted him his entire life—after all, he willingly...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 4b: The Second Day of Yom Tov

April 07, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
I have a confession to make. I really like Yom Tov and look forward to having an extra day to celebrate. I know that is not the way the Torah envisioned Yom Tov, and I know my feelings may represent agalut mentality, yet I still love Yom Tov. So the struggle many have with the continued relevance of the second day of Yom Tov, considering it an unnecessary burden, is not one I share. Of course, having the ...
Continue Reading »

Beitza 4: Take Your Time

April 06, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The very first teaching in all of rabbinic literature[1] is the saying of the Men of the Great Assembly that those who render decisions on matters of Jewish law must be “metunim badin, deliberate in judgment” (Pirkei Avot 1:1). Rendering decisions is a very serious issue, and one must take one’s time before issuing a ruling, examining all angles of the question, taking into account not just the theoretical legal...
Continue Reading »