Bava Batra

Bava Batra 165: "I Don't Hold by the Eiruv"

July 18, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In his 17th century collection of responsa (#93), the Chacham Tzvi, Rav Tzvi Ashkenazi, discusses whether a golem, perhaps best translated as an artificial human being, may be counted towards a minyan. The Chacham Tzvi rules that it may not be. As is well known, only (male) Jews can be counted towards a minyan and a prerequisite of being Jewish is to be a human being. A golem is not even a human being, so there is nothing to...
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Bava Batra 145: I'm Coming to Your Wedding

July 11, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“The brothers who were groomsmen, shoshbanim, during the lifetime of their father—when the wedding gifts are reciprocated they revert to the common funds of the estate, for the reciprocation of a wedding gift may be claimed in court” (Bava Batra 144b). In Mishnaic times it was customary to send one’s child, bearing gifts, to join the wedding celebration of family friends. It was understood that...
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Bava Batra 144: Not in Heaven

July 05, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Two of most central pillars of Jewish faith, G-d’s foreknowledge of all that will occur and free choice granted to man, seemingly—and perhaps actually—stand in conflict with one another. If we truly have free choice, then how can G-d know what we will do in the future? And if G-d knows what we will do before we have even decided to do so, how can we be said to have free choice? Probably the most famous treatment of this...
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Bava Batra 141: I Love My Sister

June 28, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is something very special about being pregnant with one’s first child. One has grandiose dreams (hopefully) of carrying a great Torah scholar, a Nobel Laureate and a great philanthropist wrapped into one. Unaware of the realities of child rearing, one can live in a dream world. Yet along with great dreams come great responsibilities, one of which is providing for one’s children. And it is never too early to start saving for one...
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Bava Batra 139: From Father to Daughter

June 15, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the great disparities between the modern Western mode of thought and traditional Jewish thought is the concept of egalitarianism. Modern thinking has blurred any form of distinction between classes of people; even the line separating male from female is too thick for many. Notions such as the priesthood, the rights of the firstborn, hereditary leadership, and restrictions based on gender are anachronistic at best, and more likely,...
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