Over and over again the Torah warns us not to allow avodah zara, idolatry, in the Land of Israel. Yet, as is often the case, things are not always quite so simple and at times there can be other considerations that outweigh a seemingly clear Torah command.
Thoughts from the Daf
"It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam]…to teach that no man is the same as another; therefore, every person must say, ‘For my sake the world was created’” (Sanhedrin 37a). The desire to be different and to make a difference is part and parcel of being human. We are unique individuals and must be allowed to express that uniqueness. The need for personal creativity helps explain why so many children of successful businesspeople strike out on their own.
In the fall of 1860, Rav Yaakov Ettlinger penned what is likely the most revolutionary responsa of modern times; one that opened the door to allowing, for the first time in Jewish history, those who publicly desecrated the Shabbat to remain part of the (observant) Jewish community.
That the role of a modern rabbi in the Western World is far different than that of the rabbi of Eastern Europe is rather obvious. The typical 19th century Polish rabbi, for example, did little pastoral work, did not deliver sermons, raise money for the shul, nor officiate at bar-mitzvas.
Masechet Chulin, a derivative of the word chol, translates as “The Secular Tractate”, and stands in contrast to the first two masechtot of seder Kodshim, those of Zevachim and Menachot, which deal with the laws of animal and grain sacrifices, respectively. With Jewish thought of the view that everything has the potential for holiness, masechet Chulin is a relative term. In fact, it is specifically by elevating the “secular” that we reach the highest level of holiness.
“It is said of the olah sacrifice of cattle, ‘rei’ach nichoach, an offering made by fire of pleasing odor’ (Vayikra 1:9); and [it is said] of the olah sacrifice of birds, ‘An offering made by fire of pleasing odor (Vayikra 1:17); and [it is said] of a grain offering, ‘An offering made by fire of pleasing odor’ (Vayikra 2:2), to teach you that whether one offers much or little [it matters little], so long as one directs o
The Sochochover Rebbe, in the introduction to his classic work on the laws of Shabbat, Eglei Tal, explains that Torah study is meant to be enjoyable. This should be rather obvious; it was King David (Tehillim 100:2) who taught that we should “worship G-d with joy”, something we say in our davening every day. That learning is an act of joy is reflected in the halacha that a mourner is prohibited from studying Torah.
“And you shall place on the table showbread before Me tamid, at all times” (Shemot 25:30). The lechem hapanim consisted of 12 loaves of bread, baked fresh erev Shabbat and eaten fresh the following Shabbat, split between the outgoing and incoming kohanim who were on duty that week.
“At that time, the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to Me onto the mountain, and make for yourself a wooden ark. And I shall inscribe on the tablets the words that were upon the first tablets, אֲשֶׁ֣ר שִׁבַּ֑רְתָּ וְשַׂמְתָּ֖ם בָּֽאָרֽוֹן, which you shattered and you shall place them into the ark” (Devarim 10:2).