Thoughts from the Daf

An Introduction to Masechet Keritot

August 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with heavy mitzvah” (Avot 2:1). Contrary to what is often taught, not all mitzvot are created equal. Some are more important, some less so. The mitzvah to accept upon oneself to observe the commandments (done through the recital of the shema) is clearly of greater importance than, say, ensuring we put salt on all our sacrifices[1]. Yet one who wants to maximize...
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Temurah 14: Get it in Writing

August 08, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Night and day reflect polar opposites. The former symbolizes hope and excitement, the latter fear and trembling. They join together to form a complete day, but separate they must remain. Hence, those mitzvot that are to be done in the daytime, such as shofar, tzitzit, hallel, or lulav, can be performed during the day only. And those mitzvot that are to be performed at night, such as harvesting and counting of...
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Erachin 16: To Rebuke or Not to Rebuke

August 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“How do we know that one who sees something unseemly in his friend, that he must rebuke him? Because it says (Vayikra 19:17), ‘You shall rebuke, rebuke, amitecha, your friend’” (Erachin 16b). While on the surface this seems like a straightforward question and answer, it is in fact much more. It is not, for good reason, the practice of the Gemara to ask, “how do we know” that which is explicitly...
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Erachin 16: Where's The Fire!

July 25, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Which would you prefer? That those who gossip about you do so behind your back and thus, you may never hear about it? Or that the gossip be said to your face, even in the presence of others? One might argue that ignorance is bliss, and that it is best that we not hear what others have to say about us. Yet only with “in-your-face" lashon hara is it possible to “have it out” with those who think ill...
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Erachin 15: To Speak or Not to Speak

July 23, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“What is lashon hara?” (Erachin 15b). This is a most reasonable question—had it been asked at the beginning of a discussion on the laws of lashon hara. However, this question appears after more than a page of Talmudic discussion regarding the prohibition of lashon hara. Why the wait[1]?   Furthermore, the answer to this question is rather opaque, to say the least. “Rava says...
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