Thoughts from the Daf

Horayot 6: You Call This A Temple?

April 10, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
In his best-selling book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely notes how very rare it is for humans to make decisions in absolute terms. Rather, we weigh our options, compare one choice to another, and decide accordingly. It is the relative merits of one choice against another that determines our actions. Truly, everything is relative and context is crucial.  “When the builders had laid the foundation of the Temple of the...
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Horayot 2: What Do You Think?

April 08, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
In the days before instant replay took over much of sports officiating[1], the rule of thumb was that the ‘umpire is right even when he is wrong’. In the fast paced nature of sports it is inevitable that the umpire (or referee) will make the occasional mistake and such was accepted as part of the game. Occasionally, actually very rarely, games were won or lost due to a “bad call” but such was the price of live action...
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An Introduction to Masechet Horayot

April 04, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
One of the most inspiring aspects of the Torah is its very real portrayal of its personalities. People—heroes and villains alike – are presented in all their complexity. The sins of our greats are not only not whitewashed, but are often highlighted and punished all too severely. As Nehama Leibowitz often noted, the Torah is no respecter of persons. The Torah does not hesitate to tell us that “the brothers hated Yosef” (if...
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Avodah Zarah 54: The Wise Men of Rome

March 25, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
It is the rare business that looks to create competition for itself. In fact, the success of a CEO is often judged less by profits than by market share. Growing the latter, even at the expense of the former, is generally viewed as a mark of success; whereas rising profits often will not save the job of a CEO if accompanied by a shrinking market share. Reaching effective monopoly status is the ticket to great riches. Firms do their best to...
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Avodah Zarah 27: Time for a Haircut

March 12, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Imagine going to the barber and fearing that barber may take his razor and slit your throat. Or going to a doctor who may purposely give you medicine that is designed to kill you. What if one had to live in constant fear of one’s neighbours, never knowing whom to trust? Sadly, such was the reality for much of our history. “One may not get a haircut from them [idolaters] in any place. These are the words of Rav Meir. The Sages...
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