Thoughts from the Daf

Shabbat 63: I Did Not Know

May 15, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the changes accompanying the creation of the State of Israel is the flourishing of the study of Tanach. Returning to our ancient homeland, and able to see with our own eyes where much of the Tanach actually happened, the Tanach comes alive in ways it just cannot outside of the Land of Israel. Furthermore, there has been a return to placing much greater emphasis on the pshat[1], the plain meaning of the text[2]. The output of...
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Shabbat 33: Silence is Golden

May 12, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When our Sages entered the vineyard in Yavne, Rabbi Yehuda, and Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yossi, and Rabbi Shimon were there, and a question was asked before them…Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Ila’i, rosh hamedabrim b'kol mamkom, the head of the speakers in every place, responded” (Shabbat 33b).  The Gemara’s simple question as to why Rabbi Ila’i is called rosh hamedabrim b'kol mamkom...
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Shabbat 32: The Uneducated Jew

May 07, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says: The laws of hekdesh, consecrated items; terumot; and ma’asarot, tithes, are the essence of Torah, and they were given over to the amei ha’aretz, the uneducated people of the land” (Shabbat 31a-b)[1].  The laws regarding hekdesh and tithes are amongst the most serious in our tradition. Eating untithed...
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Shabbat 31: Farming and Faith

April 30, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Torah is full of mitzvot relating to farmers. Whether one is plowing, planting, or harvesting, the Torah has clear guidelines to direct us. One must separate wheat and the vine, avoid plowing with two different animals, leave the corner of the field for the poor, take our first fruits to Jerusalem, and give some of our produce to the kohen, levi and the poor. We must not pick up that which we might drop, nor...
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Shabbat 31: Awe and Fear

April 22, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your G-d demand of you but l’yirah, to revere the Lord your G-d, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the Lord your G-d with all your heart and soul” (Devarim 10:12).  There is little, our tradition teaches, that is more important than yirat Hashem, awe[1] of the Creator. Imbued with it, we are only too happy to “submit our will to...
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