Thoughts from the Daf

Eiruvin 6b: Choosing Your Rabbi

March 25, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Traditionally, Jewish law allowed for a good deal of local autonomy in the application of Jewish law. While questions of national import were to be decided for all by the Sanhedrin, there was, for the most part, little centralization of Jewish law. Hence, the concept of mara d'atra: the rabbi of a community who, due to his intimate knowledge of the community, was better able to rule on a given question, even if others who did...
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Eiruvin 5a-6b: Building Fences

March 21, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The halachic system, like most other disciplines, has both a theoretical framework and a practical application--and the two do not always coincide. While this may be frustrating at times, no system can operate in an abstract world, devoid of a multitude of factors that may impact on practical rulings. An important measure of a great posek(decisor of Jewish law) lies in his ability to apply his expert knowledge in halacha from the...
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Eiruvin 4a: Measuring Up

March 20, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is impossible, at least from a Jewish perspective, to understand the Bible without the tools to interpret the text.  It is this "reading between the lines" that brings the Torah to life, allowing for its multiple meanings and eternal relevance. The most famous formulation of the rules of these interpretations--and there definitely are rules--is the 13 hermeneutic principles enumerated by the second-century sage, Rabbi Yishmoel...
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Eruvin 3: Stirring the Pot

March 15, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"A pot with two cooks is neither hot nor cold" (Eruvin 3a). This popular folk saying is used by the Talmud to explain Rava of Parzkiah's view regarding the validity of an eiruv. First, some background information: In Talmudic times, it was common for a few homes to share a common courtyard, and a few courtyards to share an alleyway leading to a public thoroughfare. This alleyway, referred to as a mavui,...
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Some Opening Thoughts on Eruvin

March 14, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism has long recognized that we need both private and public space. Man is both an individual and a member of a community. At times, the individual must conform to communal norms, but more often than not, it is the community that must respect the rights of the individual. That these spaces must remain separate is given legal form in the biblical prohibition of transferring objects from a public to a private domain (and vice versa). While...
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