Thoughts from the Daf

An Introduction to Masechet Keritot

“One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with heavy mitzvah” (Avot 2:1). Contrary to what is often taught, not all mitzvot are created equal. Some are more important, some less so. The mitzvah to accept upon oneself to observe the commandments (done through the recital of the shema) is clearly of greater importance than, say, ensuring we put salt on all our sacrifices[1].

Erachin 16: To Rebuke or Not to Rebuke

“How do we know that one who sees something unseemly in his friend, that he must rebuke him? Because it says (Vayikra 19:17), ‘You shall rebuke, rebuke, amitecha, your friend’” (Erachin 16b). While on the surface this seems like a straightforward question and answer, it is in fact much more. It is not, for good reason, the practice of the Gemara to ask, “how do we know” that which is explicitly mentioned in the Torah.

Erachin 15: Money Talks

One would not expect to find the major Talmudic discussion on the laws and moral failings of speaking lashon hara in masechet Erachin. This masechet concerns itself with technical laws of gifts of valuations to the Temple, laws that are no longer applicable today. But as we have encountered many times, Talmudic discussions flow from one topic to another—always in a most precise and logical fashion[1].

All are welcome to Masechet Erachin

Amongst the most obscure laws of the Torah are those of erachin, which form the subject matter of the last chapter of sefer Vayikra. The Torah details the amount of money that one must give to the Temple treasury when one proclaims his or her erech, loosely translated as one’s value. The amount is determined by one’s age and sex with no reference to one’s personal attributes.

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