Nedarim 40: Time for a Visit

July 22, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
At first glance one would not expect a Talmudic discussion on the mitzva of bikkur cholim in the midst of a discussion of vows. However upon reflection of the nature of the human psyche such becomes readily understandable. "One who is forbidden by a vow to receive benefit from another and he enters to visit him [when the other is sick] he [the visitor] may stand but he may not sit" (Nedarim 38b).   As we see...
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Nedarim 38: Moshe's Torah

July 20, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  In our last post we discussed the renewed interest today in the study of Tanach. Concurrent with that, for the first time in Jewish history the study of Talmud has become mainstream, studied by the masses. Up until World War II Talmud was the domain of the elite (one of the factors that led to the emergence of Chassidut). Typically Jews studied Chumash with Rashi, Mishnayot, Ein Yaakov, recited Tehillim but no more than 5-7%...
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Nedarim 37: Benefiting From Torah

July 19, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Over the past generation - primarily in Israel but also to a lesser extent in the Diaspora - there has been a renewed focus on the study of Tanach. Such is a much needed antidote to the almost complete neglect of Tanach study in traditional yeshivot over the past two centuries[1].  While many of our greatest (early) Medieval authorities (Rishonim) wrote commentaries on Tanach - Rashi, Rashbam and Ramban readily come to mind - the same...
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Nedarim 28: The Murderer and the Tax Collector

June 30, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Dina demalchuta Dina, the law of the land is the law, is one of the most famous teachings of Jewish jurisprudence. While ostensibly a law relating to the paying of taxes, it reflects the deep loyalty Jews are to have to their countries of residence. This idea was initially formulated by the prophet Yirmiyahu (see chapter 29), when the Jewish people were about to go into exile for the first time following the Babylonian conquest of...
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Nedarim 31: Look Who Loves Shabbat

June 29, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  The Mishna Berura - the most widely used halachic code of the 20th century - in his introduction to the laws of Shabbat explains the crucial importance of learning the laws of Shabbat. With all its myriad details it is, he writes, virtually impossible to properly keep Shabbat without a solid understanding of its laws.    These words were written over 100 years ago and I can only imagine what the Chafetz Chaim might write...
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