Thoughts from the Daf

An Introduction to Seder Taharot

October 31, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Jewish law is generally divided into three distinct areas: issur v’heter, ritual law; dinei mammonot, monetary law; and tumah v’tahara, laws of purity and impurity. Just as the laws regarding criminal and civil law differ—the former requiring evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and the latter a balance of probabilities—each area of Jewish law has its own rules and procedures....
Continue Reading »

An Introduction to Masechet Tamid

October 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“The one sheep you shall do in the morning and the second sheep you shall do in the evening”. Cited twice in the Torah (Shemot 29:39 and Bamidbar 28:4), this verse, is, at least according to one view, its most important. Many are familiar with the view of Rabbi Akiva who, echoing Hillel, teaches that “to love your neighbour as yourself” is the most important verse of the Bible. However, in the introduction to the Ein...
Continue Reading »

Keritot 28: Please Go First

September 26, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabbi Shimon says: Kevasim, lambs, precede se’irim, goats, in all places” (Keritot 28a). Rabbi Shimon notes that while lambs and goats are often mentioned together, the Torah (almost) always refers to lambs first. “Is it possible [that this is] because they are preferred? Thus, the verse states: ‘And he shall bring for his offering a goat’ (Vayikra 4:28) after which...
Continue Reading »

Keritot 28: And all it Pathways are Peace

September 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, when asked to define the main role of a rabbi, responded that it is to help the poor, the widow and the orphan. This towering genius—who refined and systemized an analytical approach to Talmudic study that literally changed the course of Talmudic study around the world—well understood that helping those in need is more important than resolving a contradiction in the Rambam.  Ironically, his genius often...
Continue Reading »

Keritot 25: When in Doubt

September 17, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One brings a korban for one of two reasons: either because one wants to or because one has to. One may offer a korban as a way of saying thank you for the blessings of life. Instead of, or perhaps in addition to inviting some friends over to celebrate, one transforms the feast into a seudat mitzvah by celebrating in Jerusalem, publicly offering thanksgiving to G-d and sharing their bounty with...
Continue Reading »

Pages