Bava Batra

Bava Batra 29: My Friend's Friend

March 16, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Canadian law requires one to keep tax records for six years, after which time they can be destroyed and government audits are no longer possible. Talmudic law was not quite as onerous, requiring one to keep supporting documentation for up to three years only. The opening Mishna of the third chapter of Bava Batra (28a) teaches that one can acquire ownership of real estate by demonstrating that one has lived on the property or worked the...
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Bava Batra 22: Talmudic Competition

March 05, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, posits that it takes 10,000 hours of practice for people to become expert in any field, be they NHL hockey players, pilots, guitarists for the Beatles, or computer programmers. It is quantity that produces quality[1]. Yet practice does not make perfect; doing something over and over again ensures only that a mistake, once made, will continue to be made over and over again. It requires perfect...
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Bava Batra 21: The Talmudic Tuition Plan

February 28, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is unlikely that Yehoshua ben Gamla would make very many listings of the five or even ten most important Sages of Talmudic times – let alone in all of Jewish history. Yet according to the Talmud itself, it would seem that with the possible exception of Moshe Rabbeinu (and perhaps Ezra HaSofer), Yehoshua ben Gamla is the most important figure in all of Jewish history. Yehoshua ben Gamla was not a Sage at all, but rather one of...
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Bava Batra 29: Ode to Rashi

February 23, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is hard to imagine what the Jewish world would be like without Rashi. Well, maybe not so hard. Without Rashi our understanding of Chumash would be greatly diminished, and for 99.9% of us  - at least – the Talmud would be a closed book. For those who doubt that assessment just ask yourselves: when was the last time you opened a Talmud Yerushalmi, the Palestinian Talmud, on which Rashi did not write a commentary? Plain and simple,...
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Bava Batra 14: Make it Beautiful

February 20, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Every once in a while one comes across a Talmudic story that makes one shake one’s head in disbelief. As we discussed in our last post, the Talmudic discussion regarding the division of property segues into one of how to divide the scrolls of Tanach, and from there to a discussion of the writing of a sefer Torah. The Torah places great importance on aesthetics. We will soon be reading the parshiot of the Mishkan and if nothing else, it is...
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