Thoughts from the Daf
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).
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.
The Jewish people are a most contentious one. We argue about (almost?) everything and then some. Debate is most healthy and part and parcel of our tradition, reflecting the vitality of our people, and the seriousness with which we address the issues of the day. There is little that is sadder than having one’s views ignored, not even deemed worthy of debate. Ideally all involved in debate, fierce as they may be, share a common set of values and beliefs as they seek to properly understand the Torah.
"All korbanot mincha, flour offerings, are to be made of matza with the exception of the chametz of the korban todah, thanksgiving offering, and the shtei halechem, two loaves of bread [offered on Shavuot] that are made of chametz” (Menachot 52b).