Sanhedrin 98: Not Worrying About Mashiach

November 07, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Torah talks very little – actually, not at all (at least explicitly)– about the coming of the Mashiach, the Messianic Era, or the World to Come. The Torah is very focused on this world, worrying about such subjects such as treating one’s employees fairly, damages caused by person or property, ensuring safety around the house, what we may eat, supporting the poor, justice, being kind to strangers and a host of other subjects...
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Sanhedrin 97: It's Almost Over

November 06, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the philosophical debates between the Greeks and Jews concerned the eternity of the world. The Greeks believed that the world has existed from time immemorial and thus, had no actual beginning. Jewish thought has traditionally believed—based on the opening word of the Torah, Breisheet, “in the beginning”—that there was a beginning to the world[1].   What the Torah (and for that matter, ...
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Sanhedrin 97: Nothing But the Truth

November 01, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Stay far away from a lie” (Shemot 23:7). Unlike the other mitzvot in the Torah where we are just told not to do something, when it comes to lying, we are enjoined to stay far away from an untruth. Presumably, this is so because man’s nature is to lie—as King David cried out, “all men are liars” (Tehillim 116:11). Like a recovering alcoholic who must stay far away from alcohol lest he relapse, we are all in...
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Sanhedrin 91: The Greek Court

October 29, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Jewish people have long been accused of being robbers and thieves. The importance of countering this accusation was so crucial that it is, at least according to Rashi (Breisheet 1:1), the reason the Torah begins with the story of creation. As the Torah’s description does little to explain the process of creation – in fact, it complicates rather than expounds – it was included, Rashi posits, to teach that G-d is...
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Sanhedrin 90: What's In Your Mind?

October 24, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The last chapter of masechet Sanhedrin is like no other in the Talmud. Almost devoid of legal discussion, it contains some 23 double-sided pages of aggadic material, more than any other chapter of the Talmud. The exact status of aggadah has been the subject of a long-standing debate, with many of our great commentators arguing that it is not fully, if at all, authoritative. It often reflects the views of individual rabbis whose opinions may be...
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