Thoughts from the Daf

Menachot 6: Benefitting Sinners

August 19, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In 1977, the New York State Legislature passed the “Son of Sam law”. Named for serial killer David Berkowitz’s adopted name, the law forbade criminals from profiting from their actions; for example, by selling book rights to their stories for millions of dollars. In 1991, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the law, arguing that it violated the Constitution’s First Amendment...
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Menachot 2: The Power of Logic

August 15, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is seemingly no better proof for a Talmudic viewpoint than support from a biblical verse. Expressions such as dik’teev, “it is written”, or shene’emar, “as it says”, appear on almost every Talmudic page and are used to introduce biblical texts in support of a given view. While sages may argue on how to interpret the verse—and thus, often reach different conclusions...
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An Introduction to Masechet Menachot

August 13, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Now it came to pass after many days, that Cain brought of the fruit of the soil an offering, a mincha, to the Lord” (Breisheet 4:3).  The first korban recorded in the Torah is not an animal offering, but rather a korban mincha, brought from the fruit of the land. Cain's korban was immediately followed by that of Hevel, who brought “the choicest of his flock”. Yet...
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Zevachim 88: Clothes Make the Man - and Woman

July 29, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The fashion industry is a one that employs millions of people worldwide and both reflects and molds societal trends. Top designers are paid astronomical sums for creating both popular and exclusive lines of clothing. Clothes literally do make the man –and woman. We instinctively know that how we dress impacts both upon how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves. Clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality,...
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Zevachim 88: Back-to-Back

July 19, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the frequent questions Rashi asks in his commentary to the Chumash is lamah nismicha, why are two parts of the Torah juxtaposed next to each other? The underlying assumption of the question is that these sections should not have been placed next to each other, i.e., the events did not occur successively. If such were not the case, there would be no basis for the question.  When Rashi, for example, asks why the...
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