Thoughts from the Daf

Pesachim 50: That's My Minhag

January 25, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In one of his teshuva derashot, Rav Soloveitchik lamented the fact that, while there are many shomer Shabbat Jews in America, there are very few “shomer erev Shabbat Jews”. Many, especially (but not only) in the winter months, make it home from work, or elsewhere, with little time to spare and rush to switch from a weekday mindset to a Shabbat one. All who have spent Shabbat in Israel know what it...
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Pesachim 49: A Great Family

January 20, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Language is much more than a method of communication. It conveys the values and culture of those who speak it. The Hebrew language is known as lashon hakodesh, the holy tongue, explains the Ramban (Shemot 30:13), because it is the language G-d used to create the world: “With ten utterances, the world was created” (Avot 5:1). It is the language of the Torah, of the prophets, and the Mishna. The Rambam (Guide 3:8) notes...
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Pesachim 50: A Very Clear World

January 19, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
I am on occasion asked by my (generally non-observant) students questions about the afterlife. This is a most welcome question, indicating some thinking about the meaning of life. Yet they quickly learn I have little to offer in the way of answers. I tell them I know nothing about the afterlife. More importantly, it is not something we should concern ourselves with or spend much time thinking about. Our job is to make this world a better...
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Pesachim 43: Chametz at the Seder

January 13, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our last post, we discussed the fascinating view of Rabbi Yehuda (at least, as understood by Rashi) that the prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach does not apply to chametz that is owned by a non-Jew. In this post, I would like to discuss a hava aminah, a theoretical possibility, raised by the Gemara that women might not be included in the prohibition of eating chametz, allowing them to feast on some...
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Pesachim 29: Enjoying Some Chametz on Pesach

December 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There are few ritual prohibitions as widely and carefully observed than that of the prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach. It is not uncommon for people to start “cleaning for Pesach” weeks or even months in advance of the holiday, ensuring that no chametz is eaten outside of the kitchen. Many a household literally (and unnecessarily, but that is a discussion for another time) turns their house upside down...
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