Thoughts from the Daf

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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Keritot 8: The Rabbinic Market

September 02, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The most basic rule of economics is that of supply and demand. The interaction between these two forces is the key—often the only—factor in determining the price of an object or service. In order to maximize economic efficiency, providing consumers with the goods they want at the lowest possible price, market forces must not be tampered with. Hence, violation of anti-trust laws, which forbid companies from colluding to limit supply...
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An Introduction to Masechet Keritot

August 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with heavy mitzvah” (Avot 2:1). Contrary to what is often taught, not all mitzvot are created equal. Some are more important, some less so. The mitzvah to accept upon oneself to observe the commandments (done through the recital of the shema) is clearly of greater importance than, say, ensuring we put salt on all our sacrifices[1]. Yet one who wants to maximize...
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Temurah 14: Get it in Writing

August 08, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Night and day reflect polar opposites. The former symbolizes hope and excitement, the latter fear and trembling. They join together to form a complete day, but separate they must remain. Hence, those mitzvot that are to be done in the daytime, such as shofar, tzitzit, hallel, or lulav, can be performed during the day only. And those mitzvot that are to be performed at night, such as harvesting and counting of...
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