Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin 3: Meet the Shochet

December 05, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
That the role of a modern rabbi in the Western World is far different than that of the rabbi of Eastern Europe is rather obvious. The typical 19th century Polish rabbi, for example, did little pastoral work, did not deliver sermons, raise money for the shul, nor officiate at bar-mitzvas. His time was primarily taken up with learning, teaching and paskening shailot, answering halachic queries[1], something many modern-day...
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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...
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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 [...
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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...
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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...
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