Moed Katan

Some Concluding Thoughts on Masechet Moed Katan

September 10, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The commitment to learn Daf Yomi is a remarkable one. It is the only study project I know that takes seven and half years to complete (2,711 days, to be precise). Even the most complex and difficult Ph.D programs are generally finished in less time. And of course, once the cycle is finished, it's time to start all over again. Those who want rest and relaxation must look elsewhere. And this, without even one day of vacation. Not one--not even...
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Moed Katan 28: Beyond Our Control

September 09, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is to be expected that, in a chapter dealing with the laws of mourning, a discussion of the philosophical implications of death will follow. Such discussions are scattered in various places in the Talmud and tend to present a variety of complementary, contrasting, and contradictory views. We find our Sages disputing whether there is reward for mitzvoth in this world, or if all the reward due awaits us in--and only in--the World to Come (...
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Moed Katan 27: Leading By Example

September 07, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
No idea is stressed more in the Torah than that of being kind to strangers, “because we were strangers in the land of Egypt”. This notion, in various forms, appears no less than 36 times in the Torah. Concern for the vulnerable is the hallmark of the Jew. There is little we are told about Moshe prior to his being chosen by G-d, save for his concern for the weak of society--Jewish or not. The need of sensitivity to the weak is...
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Moed Katan 21: A Living Torah

September 04, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
As previously discussed, both mourning and Chol Hamoed share a prohibition of shaving. Yet the reasons for such are very different; the prohibition to shave for a mourner is an expression of that mourning, whereas the prohibition of shaving on Chol Hamoed is a decree meant to ensure all would shave before Yom Tov. The former aims to make one look disheveled, while the latter aims to ensure we come into Yom Tov properly attired. Yet even...
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An Outsider: Moed Katan 17

August 29, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the greatest and the most tragic figure of Talmudic literature is Rav Eliezer ben Hurcanus, known simply as Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol, Rabbi Eliezer the Great. His teacher, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zackai, declared that "he was like a plastered cistern that does not lose one drop" and, "if all the Sages of Israel were on a scale and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurcanus was on the second side, he would outweigh them all" (Avot 2:12). Yet...
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