Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin 142: Do You See What I See

April 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is an amazing but all too common phenomenon that two people can witness the same event and yet “see it” very differently. This is the simplest explanation as to why Jewish law requires two witnesses to convict someone in a court of law. No matter how honest and trustworthy a person may be, our inherent human biases—conscious or not—are such that we may only see part of the picture. However, if two people report seeing...
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Chulin 139: Where is Moshe?

April 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Where is Moshe [mentioned] in the Torah?” It is hard to imagine a more—let's be gentle here—superfluous question. A better question would be where isn’t Moshe mentioned in the Torah. Who knows if without Moshe there would even be a Torah. Perhaps the only question that can match it in incomprehensibility is asking where Haman, Esther and Mordechai are mentioned in the Torah. Considering they lived some 1,...
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Chulin 109: Can I Have Some Udder Please

April 11, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When I ask ba’alei teshuva what the hardest thing for them to give up is, the most common response I receive is "lobster". This should come as no surprise. Our Sages recognized that having enjoyed the taste of “forbidden fruit”, it is most difficult to give it up, and those who do so are greater than those who never tasted that forbidden fruit: “In the place where penitents...
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Chulin 105: Time for a Field Trip

April 03, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is an often-cited truism that the Orthodox community, most ironically, tends to place much greater emphasis on kosher food than on kosher money. Of course, it is much easier to keep kosher than to ensure our monetary dealings are kosher[1]. This misplaced emphasis is most unfortunate. Unlike kashrut, which involves a mitzvah between man and G-d only, the laws relating to our business dealings has the added component of being a mitzvah...
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Chulin 105: Can We Drink Milk Yet?

March 27, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Mar Ukva said: I am, with regard to this matter, like vinegar, son of wine, with respect to Father. Father, if he were to eat meat at this time, would not eat cheese until tomorrow at this time. But as for me, only at this meal, do I not eat cheese; at a different meal I will eat cheese” (Chulin 105a). The prohibition of mixing meat and milk form part of the warp and woof of Judaism. Yet...
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