Thoughts from the Daf

Erachin 15: To Speak or Not to Speak

July 23, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“What is lashon hara?” (Erachin 15b). This is a most reasonable question—had it been asked at the beginning of a discussion on the laws of lashon hara. However, this question appears after more than a page of Talmudic discussion regarding the prohibition of lashon hara. Why the wait[1]?   Furthermore, the answer to this question is rather opaque, to say the least. “Rava says...
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Erachin 15: Money Talks

July 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One would not expect to find the major Talmudic discussion on the laws and moral failings of speaking lashon hara in masechet Erachin. This masechet concerns itself with technical laws of gifts of valuations to the Temple, laws that are no longer applicable today. But as we have encountered many times, Talmudic discussions flow from one topic to another—always in a most precise and logical fashion[1]....
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Erachin 4: More Priestly Obligations

July 14, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our last post, we began our discussion as to why in so many disparate cases, one might have thought that kohanim are exempt from a mitzvah and hence, must be specifically obligated in that mitzvah.  “All are obligated in shofar: kohanim, levi’im and yisraelim” (Erachin 3b). It is hard to imagine that kohanim might be exempt from the mitzvah of shofar. However, when one considers...
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Erachin 3: Priestly Obligations

June 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In our opening post on masechet Erachin we discussed how the use of the word hakol, everybody, comes to obligate one in a mitzvah, someone whom we might otherwise have exempted. We discussed no fewer than ten examples appearing on the first page alone.  Moving to the second page of the masechet, the Gemara continues on this same theme, where the use of the word hakol ...
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All are welcome to Masechet Erachin

June 24, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Amongst the most obscure laws of the Torah are those of erachin, which form the subject matter of the last chapter of sefer Vayikra. The Torah details the amount of money that one must give to the Temple treasury when one proclaims his or her erech, loosely translated as one’s value. The amount is determined by one’s age and sex with no reference to one’s personal attributes. In contradistinction, if...
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