Bava Kama

Let's Have a Party!: Bava Kamma 87

September 05, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our last post we discussed Rabbi Yehuda’s (rejected) view that the blind are exempt from mitzvoth. This exemption actually brought great joy to Rav Yosef. Being blind himself he was exempt from mitzvoth yet he performed them voluntarily. He surmised that he would thereby receive a greater reward for being meticulous in observance of mitzvoth even though there was no obligation to do so. After all he went beyond the call of duty. Yet...
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The Death Penalty?: Bava Kamma 86

September 04, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Rav Yaakov Ettlinger in his collection of responsa (Binyan Tzion #172) discusses the powerful and scary question of whether one has to give up one’s life rather than embarrass somebody in public[1]. If so, “whitening someone’s face” would join adultery, idolatry and murder as one of the cardinal sins of Judaism. A simple reading of the Gemara would indicate this to be so. “It is better to be thrown into a fiery...
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Take Five:Bava Kamma 85

September 01, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Masechet Bava Kamma begins by describing one’s responsibility to pay for damages caused by one’s animals. It then discusses damages one indirectly causes through leaving objects in the public square or causing a fire. In the above cases the owner must pay for damages caused but no more. This is followed by a discussion of the laws relating to a thief where one normally pays double the value of the object stolen though in a case of a...
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A Perfect Ten: Bava Kamma 82

August 30, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rav Yossi said: It would have been proper for the Torah to be given by Ezra had Moshe not preceded him.” (Sanhedrin 21b) It was Moshe who prepared the Jewish people for their first entry to the Land and it was Ezra some 1.000 years later who led them to the land when they returned from the Babylonian exile. And just as Moshe made numerous rabbinic enactments[1] to prepare the people for their new environment so did Ezra as the...
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Only One Chance: Bava Kamma 80

August 26, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When opportunity knocks, answer – you may not get a second chance. Or to quote the language of our Sages “a closed door does not easily [re]open.” (Bava Kamma 80b) One must always be ready to immediately take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. My father z”l would often say that Mazal, can be read as an acronym for makom, place, zman, time and laasot, doing. Being in the right...
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