Thoughts from the Daf

Brachot 32a: Forcing G-d to Forgive

September 04, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the exciting aspects of Talmud study is the range of ideas presented, and the openness to expressing radical ideas—including those bordering on the heretical. Even more fascinating is that the Talmud finds license for such views in the biblical texts themselves.“Now, therefore, leave Me alone [so that] My anger may flare up against them, and I shall annihilate them and will make of thee a great nation” (Shemot 32:10). The Jewish people...
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Brachot 31: Where to Pray

September 04, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Talmud spends a good deal of time discussing the proper frame of mind for prayer. In a rather obvious remark (yet, much easier said than done), the Gemarah notes that “One must aim their thoughts towards heaven”. Proof for this is provided by the great sage, Rabbi Akiva, as follows: “Rav Yehuda says this was the custom of Rabbi Akiva, when he would pray between him and himself, one would leave him in this corner and find him in a different...
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Brachot 27: Too Close for Comfort?

September 04, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Gemarah, in discussing the propriety of making an “early Shabbat”, records that Rav Yirmiya davened just behind his teacher, Rav, on Friday afternoons while Rav was reciting the prayers for Shabbat. The Gemarah questions how he could do so, as it was Rav himself, the founder of the great academy in Sura, who taught that it is inappropriate to daven next to or behind one’s teacher.Rashi explains that to do so is a violation of yuhara,...
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Daf Yomi Thoughts: Going for Gold

August 02, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Mei’emati korin et hashema b’arvit, from what time may one begin reciting the evening shema?" So begins the Talmud Bavli, the first volume of the Gemara and the page that will be studied by hundreds of thousands of Jews around the globe as they begin the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi on Friday. The hundreds of thousands who celebrated the completion of the 12th cycle highlight the enduring relevance of this...
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