Avoda Zarah

Avodah Zarah 54: The Wise Men of Rome

March 25, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is the rare business that looks to create competition for itself. In fact, the success of a CEO is often judged less by profits than by market share. Growing the latter, even at the expense of the former, is generally viewed as a mark of success; whereas rising profits often will not save the job of a CEO if accompanied by a shrinking market share. Reaching effective monopoly status is the ticket to great riches. Firms do their best to...
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Avodah Zarah 27: Time for a Haircut

March 12, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Imagine going to the barber and fearing that barber may take his razor and slit your throat. Or going to a doctor who may purposely give you medicine that is designed to kill you. What if one had to live in constant fear of one’s neighbours, never knowing whom to trust? Sadly, such was the reality for much of our history. “One may not get a haircut from them [idolaters] in any place. These are the words of Rav Meir. The Sages...
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Avodah Zarah 36: By the Rabbis; For the People

March 07, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is axiomatic that Biblical laws are of greater importance than rabbinic laws. After all, the former emanate from a Divine Creator, whereas the latter are enacted by human beings, here today and in the grave tomorrow. While in practice we are to observe them with equal care (see Pirkei Avot 2:1), the line between them must never be crossed.  The Rambam (Hilchot Mamrim 2:9) thus notes that one who claims a rabbinic law is of Biblical...
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Avodah Zarah 19: The Right Person for the Right Job

February 28, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Considering the amount of time one spends at work, there is little sadder than being in a job one does not like. How wonderful it is when one loves what one does – with payment for one’s work almost a bonus!   Yet love of a job is not enough – at least from a Torah perspective. The job must be appropriate for the person physically, intellectually and emotionally. Our Sages define avodat parech,...
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Avodah Zarah 19: Learn What You Like

February 20, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“The age of five for the study of Tanach, the age of ten for Mishna and the age of fifteen for Talmud[1]” (Pirkei Avot 5:21). Our Sages clearly spell out the age-appropriate subject matter we should be teaching our children.  Rav Tanchum bar Chanilai, presumably speaking to adults, teaches that “leolam, forevermore, one should divide shenotav, his years, one third Mikra (Tanach), one third Mishna...
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