daf yomi

Yoma 54: Love in the Temple

The relationship between G-d and the Jewish people is often compared to that of a husband and wife. Full of love and even desire, it is meant as a lifelong bond--which for the Jewish people means eternity. The occasional spat, where there is some degree of distance, is to be expected; but the love remains. Even in the tragic case of divorce--when the Temple was destroyed, and we were exiled from our land--G-d promised that He would take us back, and the bond of love for His nation would never be fully severed.

Yoma 52: There's No Way to Know

Great literature lends itself to multiple, even contradictory, interpretations. And the Bible is--in addition to everything else--great literature. "Isi ben Yehuda said that five verses in the Torah ein lo hechreh, have no definitive reading: shet (lifted up), mesukadim (shaped like almond blossoms), machar (tomorrow), arrur (cursed), v'kam (stand up)" (Yoma 52a-b).

Yoma 47: Raising Great Children

There is nothing more challenging and important, for a parent and for a community, than raising children. There is no formula for producing wonderful children, and siblings can be so different that it makes us wonder how they came from the same home. The fact that our founding families had great difficulties with their own children should be both frightening and comforting. If Abraham, the paragon of loving kindness, could only inspire one of his eight children to follow in his path, should we be shocked that so many Jewish children throughout the ages have rejected Judaism?

Yoma 36: What Sin Comes First?

The kohen gadol performed vidui, confession, three times on Yom Kippur. The first two were done using his own personal bull offering, asking for forgiveness for the sins of his family and for his fellow kohanim. The third vidui, for the sins of the people of Israel, was done with the shair hamistalech, the "scapegoat" that would then be led off to the desert and hurled off a mountain.

Yoma 35: Not Such a Good Excuse

One of the most difficult things for we humans to do is to admit that we are wrong. Even when we know we have acted in ways that leave much to be desired, we are great at offering excuses, rationalizations, justifications, and the like. This is especially so when we are dealing with an act of omission, rather than one of commission. There are always good reasons to explain why we did not do something.

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