daf yomi

Eiruvin 19: Abraham to the Rescue

"G-d wanted to give merit to the Jewish people; therefore, He increased for them Torah and mitzvoth". A Jewish way of life offers so many opportunities for mitzvoth. We accumulate mitzvoth--and hence, merit--for such things as saying good morning to a passerby, conducting a business transaction honestly, showing up in shul to hear shofar, eating a meal on Shabbat, and many other activities that are both easy and enjoyable. 

Eiruvin 19a: Going to Gehenom

"Rav Yirmiya ben Elazar said, there are three entrances to Gehenom: one in the desert, one in the sea, and one in Jerusalem" (Eiruvin 19a). The Talmud finds scriptural support for this from the narrative of the earth swallowing up Korach and his supporters in the desert, the description of Yonah crying out to G-d from the depths of the ocean, and from the verse in Isaiah, "Whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem" (31:9). The exact nature of Gehenom need not concern us; it is the path leading to it that should worry us more.  

Eiruvin 17a: Pesach and the Salt of Sedom

"Four obligations were nullified in a [military] camp" (Eiruvin 17a). The Torah goes to great lengths to ensure that the Jewish army fulfills the biblical mandate that "your camp shall be holy" (Devarim 23:15). The laws of

ba'al tashchit, the wanton destruction of property, are recorded specifically in regard to a war situation (how much more was human life to be valued); sanitation standards had to be enforced; and it was the Torah's fear of rape that led to the law of a captured woman (see Devarim 21:10-15).

Eiruvin 6b: Choosing Your Rabbi

Traditionally, Jewish law allowed for a good deal of local autonomy in the application of Jewish law. While questions of national import were to be decided for all by the Sanhedrin, there was, for the most part, little centralization of Jewish law. Hence, the concept of mara d'atra: the rabbi of a community who, due to his intimate knowledge of the community, was better able to rule on a given question, even if others who did not live in the community were greater in stature.

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.

Eiruvin 4a: Measuring Up

It is impossible, at least from a Jewish perspective, to understand the Bible without the tools to interpret the text.  It is this "reading between the lines" that brings the Torah to life, allowing for its multiple meanings and eternal relevance. The most famous formulation of the rules of these interpretations--and there definitely are rules--is the 13 hermeneutic principles enumerated by the second-century sage, Rabbi Yishmoel. Its importance is such that it has made its way into our daily prayers.


Subscribe to RSS - daf yomi