Thoughts from the Daf

An Introduction and Overview of Masechet Chulin

December 03, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Masechet Chulin, a derivative of the word chol, translates as “The Secular Tractate”, and stands in contrast to the first two masechtot of seder Kodshim, those of Zevachim and Menachot, which deal with the laws of animal and grain sacrifices, respectively.  With Jewish thought of the view that everything has the potential for holiness, masechet Chulin is a relative term. In fact, it is...
Continue Reading »

Menachot 110: A Sweet Smell

November 29, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“It is said of the olah sacrifice of cattle, ‘rei’ach nichoach, an offering made by fire of pleasing odor’ (Vayikra 1:9); and [it is said] of the olah sacrifice of birds, ‘An offering made by fire of pleasing odor (Vayikra 1:17); and [it is said] of a grain offering, ‘An offering made by fire of pleasing odor’ (Vayikra 2:2), to teach you that whether one offers much or little [...
Continue Reading »

Menachot 99: Loving Mitzvoth

November 27, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Sochochover Rebbe, in the introduction to his classic work on the laws of Shabbat, Eglei Tal, explains that Torah study is meant to be enjoyable. This should be rather obvious; it was King David (Tehillim 100:2) who taught that we should “worship G-d with joy”, something we say in our davening every day. That learning is an act of joy is reflected in the halacha that a mourner is prohibited from studying Torah...
Continue Reading »

Menachot 99: Let's Break Some Bread

November 23, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And you shall place on the table showbread before Me tamid, at all times” (Shemot 25:30). The lechem hapanim consisted of 12 loaves of bread, baked fresh erev Shabbat and eaten fresh the following Shabbat, split between the outgoing and incoming kohanim who were on duty that week. The Mishna (Menachot 99b) quotes a rather obscure argument regarding the exact method for placing...
Continue Reading »

Menachot 99: The Broken Tablets

November 20, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“At that time, the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to Me onto the mountain, and make for yourself a wooden ark. And I shall inscribe on the tablets the words that were upon the first tablets, אֲשֶׁ֣ר שִׁבַּ֑רְתָּ  וְשַׂמְתָּ֖ם בָּֽאָרֽוֹן, which you shattered and you shall place them into the ark” (Devarim 10:2).  The plain meaning of the verse is that...
Continue Reading »