daf yomi

Yevamot 89: The Top Three

"Three signs are there for this nation: they are rachmanim, merciful; bayshanim, have a sense of shame[1]; and gomlei chasadim, perform acts of kindness[2]" (Yevamot 89a). The distinguishing mark of the Jewish people is not our observance of Shabbat, kashrut, and a host of other mitzvoth. Important as they may be, they are reflections of the values that are (or at least should be) the true hallmark of the Jew: mercy, shame, and kindness. 

Yevamot 69: The Sweet Taste of Shmitta

One of the key distinctions between the land of Israel and the Diaspora is the ability to observe the many mitzvot between man and the land. The seventh chapter of Yevamot focuses on the intricacies of the laws of terumah, which may be eaten only by a kohen or a member of his household. The chapter begins by analyzing the case of a kohen marrying someone prohibited to him, such as a divorcee.

Yevamot 65: Childless Isn't Barren

One of the famous concepts of Jewish law is the exemption of women from time-bound positive mitzvoth. The reason for such is specified neither in the Torah nor in rabbinic literature, leading medieval and modern commentaries to speculate as to the nature of this exemption--speculation made much more difficult by the fact that there are almost as many exceptions to this rule as cases governed by the rule itself.  
 

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).

Yevamot 52: Preparing for Marriage

Masechet Kiddushin opens by delineating the three methods by which one is mekadesh, betroths, a woman. Masechet Yevamot, on the other hand, opens by delineating the fifteen cases where yibum is not required and hence not allowed. The first fifty pages of the masechet focus on analyzing various scenarios and their impact on the mitzvah of yibum. Only after we near the midway point of the masechet does the Gemara actually discuss the process of yibum.

Yevamot 47: Judaism 101

"A convert who comes to convert bizman hazeh, nowadays...we inform him of the importance of leket, shichichah, peah and  ma'aser ani[1]" (Yevamot 47a). The Gemara lists only six specific mitzvoth we must teach a convert. There is no surprise that this list includes Shabbat and kashrut--probably the two most distinguishing aspects of being a Jew, sanctifying as they do our time and our bodies.

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