Yevamot 105: Don't Get It in Writing

January 21, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One would not think that a discussion about the intricacies of the laws of chalitzah would lead to a discussion regarding Divine justice. But such is the nature of the Gemara, where one idea flows seamlessly to the next. Torah is one broad subject with manifestations in all areas of life.  In discussing chalitzah, the Gemara (Yevamot 105a) questions whether a woman who does not have...
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Yevamot 101: If the Shoe Fits

January 20, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For those who do not live in Toronto--and perhaps for many who do--you may not be familiar with the Bata Shoe Museum. This unique museum is the place to go if you are interested in the history of shoes and their symbolism and status. To quote from their website (, "What was it like to be a knight going into battle and donning long pointed sabatons? What can intricately crafted beaded moccasins...
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Yevamot 99: A Healthy Diet

January 14, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our last post, we discussed why Rav Yochanan was so angry when his student, Rav Elazar, repeated a teaching of his without attribution.   In unsuccessfully[1] trying to appease him, Rav Ami and Rav Asi warned of the danger of anger by recounting how Rav Elazar and Rav Yossi were once arguing about the laws of muktza and, due to their anger, a sefer Torah was ripped[2]. They would not be the first or the...
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Yevamot 96: Beyond the Grave

January 12, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Perhaps the greatest fear of man is that he will be forgotten, that ultimately his life will be devoid of meaning. Even, perhaps especially, the most powerful harbour this fear, often going to heroic efforts to leave their permanent mark on history.   In the midst of a rather technical discussion as to the status of "yibum" performed by a minor from the age of nine onwards, the Gemara records the view of Rav...
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Yevamot 90: Changing with the Times

January 07, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Rav Elazar ben Yaakov said: I heard that the beit din may hit and punish not according to the [laws of the] Torah, not to violate the words of the Torah, but to make a fence around the Torah" (Yevamot 90b). In our last post, we discussed on what basis the rabbis accepted the testimony of one witness that a man had died, thereby freeing his widow from the status of an agunah ...
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