Moed Katan

Moed Katan 17: How to Sin

August 28, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The primary way we can tell which commandments are more important than others is by the punishment recorded in the Torah for various offences[1]. Thus, murder and adultery carry the death penalty; whereas eating on Yom Kippur "only" subjugates one to karet, heavenly excision.  The Torah prescribes that a clandestine thief, a ganav, must--in addition to retuning the amount stolen--pay a 100% fine,...
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Moed Katan 9: To Fast or Not To Fast

August 25, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Gemara (Megillah 5b) relates that Rebbe wanted to abolish Tisha B'Av. Interestingly, no reason is given for this idea of Rebbe's[1]. And while this might be a popular move, "his colleagues would not consent". So much so, that Rabbi Abba the son of Zavda could not fathom that Rebbe truly meant to abolish Tisha B'Av. As much as we might prefer to get rid of it, it is a crucial day in our calendar. "Whoever eats and...
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Moed Katan 8: Mazel Tov--Soon

August 21, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
As we discussed in our last post, mourning and Yom Tov[1] are polar opposites, and mourning has no place on these days of joy.  Such is readily understandable. What is less understandable is the following Mishnah. “We do not marry on the holiday, neither virgins, nor widows, nor a levirite marriage, because there is great joy for him [and her]” (Moed Katan 8b). At first glance, this makes little sense. The joy of a wedding...
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Moed Katan 8: Mixed Emotions

August 19, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Halacha reflects not only legal truths, but moral, psychological, and philosophical (and other) truths, as well. The wide observance of the laws of mourning--one of the major themes of Masechet Moed Katan--is likely due more to the psychological comfort it offers than to the legal requirements mourning entails. When one buries a relative hours before Yom Tov, the halacha requires that all mourning cease with the advent of the chag...
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Moed Katan 5: Stand By

August 19, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For better or worse most people pay little attention to the proof texts brought to support various Talmudic views and positions, focusing on the teaching itself and little else. Often in order to properly follow how the proof text is used one needs to understand the context of the verse. The Talmudic editors assumed that when a verse was quoted the learner was well acquainted with chapter and verse. This helps explain why often the actual part...
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