Thoughts from the Daf

Chulin 7: Time for Something New

"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.

An Introduction and Overview of Masechet Chulin

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.

Menachot 110: A Sweet Smell

“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

Menachot 99: Loving Mitzvoth

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.

Menachot 99: The Broken Tablets

“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). 

Menachot 65: An 11 Day Journey

The opening Mishna of masechet Megillah teaches that those living in small rural communities could fulfill the obligation to hear the Megillah on the Monday or Thursday prior to Purim. With no one to read the Megillah in their villages, a special Megillah reading was arranged for them when they came to the cities on the market day, i.e., the Monday or Thursday that preceded Purim. Expecting the farmers to come in an additional time was just too onerous.


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