Chayei Sarah: Growing Old, Staying Young

"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; these are the years of Sarah's life” (Breisheet 23:1).

A famous rabbinic comment elucidating the triple expression of years teaches that Sarah maintained her stunning beauty, intuitive wisdom and sinless innocence throughout her life. Furthermore, the seemingly superfluous ending of the verse “these are the years of Sarah’s life” teaches, in the words of Rashi, that her years "were all equally good".   

Yevamot 52: Living With Your In-Laws

“Rav ordered that lashes be given to any person who betrothed by cohabitation, who betrothed in the open street, or who betrothed without previous negotiation; who annulled a letter of divorce, or who made a declaration against a letter of divorce; who was insolent towards the representative of the rabbis, or who allowed a rabbinical ban upon him to remain for thirty days and did not come to the Beit Din to request the removal of that ban; and of a son-in-law who lives in his father-in-law's house” (Yevamot 52a).

Eiruvin 5a-6b: Building Fences

The halachic system, like most other disciplines, has both a theoretical framework and a practical application--and the two do not always coincide. While this may be frustrating at times, no system can operate in an abstract world, devoid of a multitude of factors that may impact on practical rulings. An important measure of a great posek(decisor of Jewish law) lies in his ability to apply his expert knowledge in halacha from the abstract world to real-life situations.

Emor: G-d's Name

Of all possible wrongdoings, only one does not allow for the possibility of teshuva, repentance. Causing a chilul Hashem, a desecration of G-d's name, is not something for which one can just say sorry, promise never to do it again, and move on. The lingering effects of desecrating G-d's name do not go away just because one is sorry. Thus, Maimonides (Teshuva 1:4) writes that it is only upon death that repentance might be obtained. If chilul Hashem is so severe, it follows that kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of G-d's name, would be the greatest of mitzvot.

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