Thoughts from the Daf

Eiruvin 19: Abraham to the Rescue

April 07, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d wanted to give merit to the Jewish people; therefore, He increased for them Torah and mitzvoth". A Jewish way of life offers so many opportunities for mitzvoth. We accumulate mitzvoth--and hence, merit--for such things as saying good morning to a passerby, conducting a business transaction honestly, showing up in shul to hear shofar, eating a meal on Shabbat, and many other activities that are both easy and...
Continue Reading »

Eiruvin 19a: Going to Gehenom

April 05, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Rav Yirmiya ben Elazar said, there are three entrances to Gehenom: one in the desert, one in the sea, and one in Jerusalem" (Eiruvin 19a). The Talmud finds scriptural support for this from the narrative of the earth swallowing up Korach and his supporters in the desert, the description of Yonah crying out to G-d from the depths of the ocean, and from the verse in Isaiah, "Whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem...
Continue Reading »

Eiruvin 17a: Pesach and the Salt of Sedom

March 31, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Four obligations were nullified in a [military] camp" (Eiruvin 17a). The Torah goes to great lengths to ensure that the Jewish army fulfills the biblical mandate that "your camp shall be holy" (Devarim 23:15). The laws of ba'al tashchit, the wanton destruction of property, are recorded specifically in regard to a war situation (how much more was human life to be valued); sanitation standards had to be...
Continue Reading »

Eiruvin 13b: Following Beit Shammai

March 29, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is well known that the halacha, with rare exceptions, follows the opinion of Beit Hillel over that of Beit Shammai. What is less well known is why this is so. The Talmud notes that "a heavenly voice declared; these and those are the word of the living G-d, and the halacha follows Beit Hillel" (Eiruvin 13b). The Talmud presents three reasons as to why, if Beit Shammai's views are also the...
Continue Reading »

Eiruvin 13a: Just One Letter

March 28, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"When I [Rav Meir] came to Rabbi Yishmael, he said to me, 'My son, what is your occupation?' I told him, 'I am a scribe', and he said to me, 'Be meticulous in your work, for your work is the work of heaven—perhaps you will omit one letter or add one letter; you would thereby destroy the entire world'" (Eiruvin 13a).  Being a sofer, a religious scribe, is hard work, requiring great...
Continue Reading »