Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin 15: Please Be Quiet

January 09, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In a beautiful teshuva (Orach Chaim 4 #89) written during Chanukah 1960, Rav Moshe Feinstein was asked (by Rabbi Leo Yung, rabbi of the Jewish Centre in Manhattan) if one should protest the building of an eiruv in Manhattan. As Rav Moshe notes, “we do not have the power to allow” the building of such an eiruv and “I do not see anything that will change my mind in this matter”. In other words,...
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Chulin 15: Shabbat Slaughter

January 07, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“It is a sign between Me and the Jewish people that in ‘six days’ G-d created the heavens and the earth” (Shemot 31:17). Shabbat, more than any other mitzvah, marks the special relationship between G-d and the Jewish people. Our observance of Shabbat is a sign of our faithfulness to our Creator and, G-d forbid, our desecration of it indicates the abandonment of G-d (at least in Talmudic times, it did). The Talmud thus...
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Chulin 13: Family Traditions

January 02, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
That one must be Jewish to shecht an animal is not necessarily obvious. One might have argued that as long as the meat is slaughtered properly, it matters little who actually did so. As we have noted, shechita itself is what we call a matir, as opposed to a mitzvah. It is a necessary prerequisite[1] to allow us to eat meat but, as it is not an actual mitzvah to slaughter an...
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Chulin 10: Watch the Water

December 26, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When I mention to people that it is likely worse to smoke than to eat pork, I often get strange looks. And usually the more observant the person, the stranger the look. Knowing the centrality of kashrut—especially the aversion to eating pork—and the rabbinic debate as to whether smoking is, in fact, prohibited by Jewish law[1], this seems like a ludicrous claim. But ludicrous it is not—it is actually rather obvious. ...
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Chulin 9: Practical Rabbinics

December 24, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There are few, if any, semicha programs that require their students to learn shechita or safrut, and even fewer that require good penmanship. None would accept a student who did not know how to write. But the requirements of rabbis in Talmudic times were of a different nature than today.   “Rav Yehuda, quoting Rav, said: A Torah scholar is required to learn writing, ritual slaughter, and...
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