Thoughts from the Daf

Keritot 28: Please Go First

September 26, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabbi Shimon says: Kevasim, lambs, precede se’irim, goats, in all places” (Keritot 28a). Rabbi Shimon notes that while lambs and goats are often mentioned together, the Torah (almost) always refers to lambs first. “Is it possible [that this is] because they are preferred? Thus, the verse states: ‘And he shall bring for his offering a goat’ (Vayikra 4:28) after which...
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Keritot 28: And all it Pathways are Peace

September 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, when asked to define the main role of a rabbi, responded that it is to help the poor, the widow and the orphan. This towering genius—who refined and systemized an analytical approach to Talmudic study that literally changed the course of Talmudic study around the world—well understood that helping those in need is more important than resolving a contradiction in the Rambam.  Ironically, his genius often...
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Keritot 25: When in Doubt

September 17, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One brings a korban for one of two reasons: either because one wants to or because one has to. One may offer a korban as a way of saying thank you for the blessings of life. Instead of, or perhaps in addition to inviting some friends over to celebrate, one transforms the feast into a seudat mitzvah by celebrating in Jerusalem, publicly offering thanksgiving to G-d and sharing their bounty with...
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Keritot 13: Under the Influence

September 10, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our last post, we discussed the serious prohibition of issuing halachic rulings after having had even minimal amounts of alcohol. Yet the practical impact of this prohibition is rather limited.  “Is it possible [the teaching of] Mishna is also [forbidden]?” (Keritot 13b). To this seemingly strange question—why would one think teaching Mishna[1] after having a drink is allowed?—the Gemara says there is no...
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Keritot 13: Let's Not Drink to That

September 06, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Jewish tradition teaches that we are to celebrate joyous occasions—Shabbat and Yom Tov, brit milah, a wedding—by drinking wine. Used appropriately, “Wine gladdens the heart of man” (Tehillim 104:15); used inappropriately, wine can literally kill.  “Drink no wine or other intoxicant, you or your sons, when you enter the Tent of Meeting, that you may not die. This is a law for all time...
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