I Don't Know: Kiddushin 25

April 10, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"More than the calf wants to suck, the cow wants to give milk.” (Pesachim 112a) So said Rabbi Akiva to his student Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai noting the truism that it is the teacher who has more desire to teach than the student has to learn. But just as a king cannot reign without subjects, a teacher cannot teach without students.   While a good teacher is yearning to share their knowledge the...
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Where is it Written: Kiddushin 24

April 07, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  One of the best-known "facts" about the Torah is that it contains 613 mitzvoth.  Even Jews who are not very learned tend to know this. They are often somewhat surprised to discover that it was not until the 8th century that the first such list was composed. Clearly this was a topic of little importance to our Talmudic Sages.     The Ramban in his introductory comments to the Rambam's listing of the 613...
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He's My Master: Kiddushin 20

March 31, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  "From here it was said: Whoever acquires a Hebrew slave is as if they acquired a master for themselves." (Kiddushin 20a) "From here" is the verse in the Bible "And it shall be, if he say unto you: 'I will not go out from you'; because he loves you and your house, because he fares well with you" (Devarim 15:16) describing the desire of a slave to remain such even after his period of slavery was over...
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A Second Marriage: Kiddushin 13

March 29, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the sacred and most enjoyable aspects of the rabbinate is being amesader kiddushin, joining two people together in marriage. Yet for many rabbis acting as a mesader kiddushin would seem to be in violation of a rabbinic admonition that "whoever is not expert in matters of divorce and marriage should have nothing to do with them." (Kiddushin 13a) Traditionally the laws of marriage and divorce are...
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Wordplay:Kiddushin 2

March 20, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the "new" approaches to Tanach study today is the use of literary tools and analysis to help us better understand the Torah itself. This is not really a new method - though it had fallen into disuse over the centuries - as its origins date to the Torah itself.   "Write down this song and teach it to the Jewish people" (Devarim 31:19) is the last of the 613 mitzvot, obligating each one of us to write or...
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