Pekudei: Remember the Count

"These are the accounts, pekudei, of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of testimony, as they were pukad, rendered, according the commandment of Moshe, through the service of the Levites, by the hand of Itamar the son of Aharon the high priest" (Shemot 35:1). The word pekudei, from the root pkd, seems a rather odd choice. Words such as meispar,...
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Chulin 97: It Tastes Great

March 07, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Rabbinic debates are not for the faint-hearted. They can be most intense, and sadly, can lead to tragic consequences. One of the most famous of Talmudic debates, that regarding the tanur shel achnai, led to the excommunication of Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol and the death of Rabban Gamliel (see here for further analysis).  An discussed here an obscure debate regarding the ritual purity of a knife led to the end of the...
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Chulin 94: Let's Have Some Wine

March 05, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
In our last post, we spoke about geneivat da’at, generating false goodwill, in the context of gid hanasheh. I imagine very few people reading this devar Torah have ever sent a cut-up thigh containing a gid hanasheh to a non-Jew, and fewer still would be able to identify the gid hanasheh even if it was staring them in the face. We can more easily relate to some...
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Vayakhel: Building the Shabbat

“The laws of Shabbat…are like a mountain being held up by a thread” (Chagigah 10a). Shabbat is the pivot around which Jewish life revolves. Its laws are vast and detailed, and are applicable week in and week out. Yet beyond the mitzvah to “remember” and “guard” the Shabbat, we are told next to nothing about how to observe it. One little verse—“Do not light a fire in all your dwelling places...
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Chulin 94: What a Nerve!

February 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
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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