Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin 94: What a Nerve!

February 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One would not normally associate the prohibition to eat the gid hanashe, the sciatic nerve, with issues of business ethics. But  related they are. The Mishna teaches that “One may send the thigh [of an animal] to an idol worshipper [even though] it contains the gid hanasheh, because one can recognize its place” (Chulin 93b). The Gemara immediately notes one can only send a whole thigh to the non...
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Chulin 83: Cow and Calf

February 21, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of most famous mitzvot of the Torah is that of shiluach haken, the obligation to send away the mother bird before taking her little chicks or even unhatched eggs. So important is this mitzvah that it is one of the very few in which we are promised long life for its observance.  This well-know mitzvah has a “cousin”, one not quite as well-known—that of oto v’et beno,...
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Chulin 60: The Essence of Torah

February 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the teachings that is ingrained in us from a young age is that every letter, and surely every verse and story, found in the Torah is of great significance. We have elsewhere discussed that this premise is far from unanimous, with some of the greatest rabbis throughout the ages maintaining that “the Torah speaks in the language of men” (see, for example, here) and hence, not every word is necessarily of great...
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Chulin 60: Once in a Blue Moon

February 08, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The least observed of biblical holidays is undoubtedly Rosh Chodesh. As a holiday based in the Temple, with no home or synagogue based rituals, there is little to distinguish Rosh Chodesh from any other day.  Yet in the Torah itself, Rosh Chodesh is a most important day—and with 12 of them a year, it is arguably the most important of the biblical holidays. It is the mitzvah of kiddush hachodesh, the sanctification of...
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Chulin 54: We Can Talk Later

February 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Dan Arielly begins his best-selling book, Predictably Irrational, by noting that for we humans it’s all relative. We do not by evaluate A by looking at A alone, we do so by comparing A to B. Much the same applies in religious life. Fasting on Yom Kippur is most important, but not when compared to the importance of preserving a life. It was this idea that underlined a comment I heard from Rabbi Moshe Tendler back in my...
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