Concluding Thoughts on Masechet Nedarim

August 26, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the primary messages of masechet Nedarim is how negatively [most of] our Sages viewed the taking of vows. More often than not a vow reflected weakness of character and/or was taken in a moment of anger. The idea that one prohibits another from deriving benefit from oneself (a common type of vow) is playing G-d in the most negative of ways.   The entire approach to nedarim is subtly hinted at in the last ...
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Nedarim 80: Don't Forget the Laundry

August 18, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Just this past Shabbat, we read of the mitzvah of tzedakah. The Torah describes the case where the poor are our neighbours, and we must open our hearts and hands to them. In the time of the Bible, international communication was non-existent, there was no way to wire money, and pretty much all charity was local.  All that has changed today, leading to the question of how far, literally, does our responsibility to others...
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Nedarim 81: The Next Generation

August 14, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Adam and Cain, Noah and Cham, Abraham and Yishmael, Yitzchak and Eisav. Our children do not always turn out as we would like. Even children who are great in their own right often chart their own paths, differing from even the greatest of parents[1].   “And why is it not common for scholars to give birth to sons who are scholars? - Said Rav Joseph, ‘That it might not be maintained, the Torah is their inheritance’...
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Nedarim 66: Miss Israel

August 09, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Everybody loves a good story. And what one cannot accomplish through direct teaching, one can often accomplish through a story. Yet it is understandably rare to find stories in a code of law, and with the Mishnah being the first code of Jewish law, there are few stories to be found there (as opposed to the Gemara--a very different genre of writing, which abounds with stories). Yet perhaps to signify the importance of a story, the first Mishnah...
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Nedarim 65: How Could I Know?

August 08, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our past couple of posts (here and here), we have discussed the notion of a petach, an opening to allow one to annul a vow. The operating premise is that the vow was valid; however, upon being made aware of an aspect that had he been cognizant of such when making the vow he would not have done so, we can annul such a vow.    There are two other types of "potential annulments" discussed in...
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