Sanhedrin 37: The World Was Created for Me

September 11, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is nothing more precious than human life. As we discussed in our last post, it is due to the crucial importance of one individual life that man was created alone. Yet there is more to learn from the fact that man, unlike all other creatures, was created alone.  “And for peace amongst the created: that a person should not say my father is greater than your father” (Sanhedrin 37a). It is harder to think of a more important...
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Sanhedrin 37: 1+1=Eternity

September 07, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the most famous and beautiful teachings of Judaism is, “whoever preserves one life, it is as if he has preserved an entire world”. Less well known is the source of this teaching, which originates in the Mishna (Sanhedrin 37a) detailing the warning given to witnesses prior to their testimony in a capital case—one where the outcome could be the death penalty. “You should know,” the court warns the witness...
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Sanhedrin 37: Back to School

September 05, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
With thousands going back to school today (myself included), parents, teachers and students are looking forward (well, maybe not all are looking forward) to a year of learning and growth. There is much to do to prepare for a successful year of learning. While one might be unlikely to search masechet Sanhedrin with its discussion of court proceedings as a source of educational ideas, one would be remiss if they do not...
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Sanhedrin 36: The Mean Judge

September 04, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The conflict between truth and peace dates back at least as far as the creation of the world, with “truth” arguing that being that man is full of deceit, G-d should not create the world, and “peace” arguing that yes, indeed, G-d should create the world (Breisheet Rabba 8:5). These approaches found expression in the leadership styles of Moshe and Aharon. Moshe, the exemplar of divine truth, was unable and unwilling to...
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Sanhedrin 29: I Hate that Rabbi

August 31, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Based on the words of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established” (Devarim 19:15). While absent cause, we have little reason to doubt the integrity of any particular person, the Torah was afraid that the testimony of one witness—as well meaning as it may be—is likely to contain errors. Only the cross examination of two witnesses done separately gives the court the confidence that events unfolded as...
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