Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin7: Pass the Pork

December 20, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the questions I am often asked by those of my students who do not keep kosher, is have you really never eaten non-kosher food? I generally reply along the lines that I have never knowingly eaten non-kosher food, have never eaten at McDonalds or Pizza Pizza and I have no idea what lobster tastes like (I hear it is very good) and I will not even eat some salad at a vegetarian restaurant[1]. But of course I cannot be sure that I have not...
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Chulin 7: The Idolatrous Snake

December 18, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Over and over again the Torah warns us not to allow avodah zara, idolatry, in the Land of Israel. Yet, as is often the case, things are not always quite so simple and at times there can be other considerations that outweigh a seemingly clear Torah command. As we discussed in our last post the nachash hanechoshet, the copper snake, that had saved many lives in the desert, eventually became an object of (idol) worship. Yet Asa...
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Chulin 7: Time for Something New

December 13, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam]…to teach that no man is the same as another; therefore, every person must say, ‘For my sake ‎the world was created’” (Sanhedrin 37a). The desire to be different and to make a difference is part and parcel of being human. We are unique individuals and must be allowed to express that uniqueness. The need for personal creativity helps...
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Chulin 5: The Stroke of a Pen

December 11, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In the fall of 1860, Rav Yaakov Ettlinger penned what is likely the most revolutionary responsa of modern times; one that opened the door to allowing, for the first time in Jewish history, those who publicly desecrated the Shabbat to remain part of the (observant) Jewish community. This teshuva (Binyan Tzion[1] Hachadasot #23) set the stage for the existence of the "non-Orthodox, Orthodox" and successfully kept many within...
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Chulin 4: The Idolatrous Shochet

December 10, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Some years back I attended a talk by Rabbi Dr. M.D. Tendler who spoke about the most important teshuvot written by his father-in-law, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l. Amongst the most important teshuvot[1] he discussed, was his allowance of observant parents whose children had become irreligious to eat at their children’s house (see Yoreh Deah #1:54). One could, Rav Moshe argued, rely on the assurances of the children that out of...
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