Yevamot 49: An Exceptional People

November 24, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Shimon ben Azzai said: I found a scroll of genealogy, and it was written, 'So-and-so is a mamzer, [having been born] from [a forbidden union with] a married woman; and it was written, 'the teaching of Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob is small in quantity, and clean'. And in it was also written, 'Menashe slew Isaiah'" (Yevamot 49b). The context of this Talmudic passage is to weigh in on the...
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Yevamot 47: Judaism 101

November 23, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"A convert who comes to convert bizman hazeh, nowadays...we inform him of the importance of leket, shichichah, peah and  ma'aser ani[1]" (Yevamot 47a). The Gemara lists only six specific mitzvoth we must teach a convert. There is no surprise that this list includes Shabbat and kashrut--probably the two most distinguishing aspects of being a Jew, sanctifying as they do our...
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Yevamot 44: The Practice of Law

November 20, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Halacha, Jewish law, has a multiplicity of voices, each reflecting the word of the living G-d. Of course, in practice, we must choose between often "competing" or even contradictory views. Many rules have been developed to help determine which halachic opinion should be the one followed in practice.   Most interesting is that many of these rules do not focus on trying to determine the ruling we should follow in...
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Yevamot 40: The Economics of Chalitzah

November 18, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Ishto k'gufo, ba'al k'ishto", one's wife is like one's own self; a husband is as one with his wife. Jewish thought viewed a husband and wife as one unit. Flowing from this assumption is the notion that all monies earned by the family would be pooled into one bank account. It was the husband's obligation to provide for the family, at a level on par with the living standard the wife was accustomed...
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Yevamot 39: What Comes First?

November 17, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate unto the elders, and say: 'My husband's brother refuses to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me'... then shall his brother's wife draw near unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face; and...
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