It Sure Doesn't Sound Jewish: Gittin 11

January 02, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
    In a well-known Midrash our Sages assert that one of the factors that prevented the total assimilation of the Jews in Egypt thereby allowing the Jews to be redeemed was that they did not change their names (Vayikra Rabba 32). Whatever the exact meaning of this Midrash it is quite clear that throughout history Jews have adopted names from the surrounding culture. Such ironically begins with the name of our redeemer Moshe, a name...
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A Line in the Parchment:Gittin 6

December 28, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
How does one measure greatness in Torah learning? We can glean an important insight from the Talmudic discussion regarding the status of gittin in Bavel. As we have discussed in our prior posts the Mishna requires that those who bring a get from outside the land of Israel must say “before me it was written and before me it was signed”. This was needed as testimony that the get...
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The Good Old Days: Gittin 5

December 24, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
    We live in a generation in which many seek chumrot, religious stringency. This can be most positive, hamachmir tavo alav bracha,a blessing accrues to one who is stringent. This can also be most negative as oftentimes chumrot do more harm than good. Chumrotcan be wonderful when one is observing the entire gamut of mitzvoth appropriately.But to add a chumra...
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One is Enough: Gittin 6

December 21, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  One would not expect the laws of divorce to be affected by one's location. Thus it comes as a bit of a surprise to open masechet Gittin and read "one who brings a get from across the sea must say 'in front of me it was written and in front of me it was signed" (Gittin 2a). Such a declaration is absent when the get is being written and delivered in Israel. Why the difference?...
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An Introduction to Masechet Gittin

December 16, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
After detailing the laws of the suspected adulteress the Mishna moves to masechet Gittin. While the law of the Sotah is no longer applicable the laws of gittin are unfortunately very much so.   The masechet begins with the law that an agent who brings a getfrom medinat hayam, across the sea, must say “before me it was written and before me it was signed”. Right from the beginning...
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