Thoughts from the Daf

Brachot 2: Who's on First

January 06, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“From when may one recite the kriat shema in the evening? From the time the kohanim enter to eat their terumah until the end of the first watch; these are the words of Rabbi Eliezer” (Brachot 2a). It might be coincidental—after all, someone has to be first—but it is instructive that Rabbi Eliezer is the first of our sages mentioned in the Talmud. Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkunos, known...
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Brachot: A New Cycle Begins

January 05, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Rashi begins his commentary to Chumash asking why the Torah begins with the story of creation and not with the first mitzva given to the Jewish people, that of establishing a calendar. Put slightly differently, Rashi wonders why do we begin with a divine clock and not a human one? Rashi answers that the Torah wanted to impress upon us that the world is G-d’s to divide as He pleases. In other words, the Torah opens with the notion...
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Nidah 73: The Last Word

January 04, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Tanna devei Eliyahu, the school of Eliyahu, taught: Kol hashoneh, all who study (and review) halachot every day are guaranteed that they are destined for the World-to-Come, as it is stated: ‘His ways, halikhot, are eternal’ (Habakkuk 3:6). Do not read the verse as halikhot; rather, read it as halakhot” (Nidah 73a). With no Tanna by...
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Daf Yomi, Football and New Year's

January 01, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is something surreal about 92,000 people gathering at a football stadium on New Year’s Day to make a siyum on the entire Talmud. That thousands should gather in a football stadium on New Year's is not at all surprising. Growing up it was the only time I might have watched college football. Between The Rose Bowl, The Sugar Bowl, The Cotton Bowl, The Orange Bowl (am I forgetting any?) there was little else to watch on...
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Nidah 30: The Lord is Against Me

December 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And it does not leave the womb before it is made to take an oath…and what is the oath one is made to take? Be righteous and do not be wicked” (Nidah 30b). As He was set to destroy Sedom, G-d—talking to Himself—muses that He is choosing Avraham to bring His message to the world because, “I know that he will command his children and his household to follow in the path of G-d, to do righteousness and justice...
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