Day: June 21, 2020

Shabbat 57

Whenever halacha as codified does not allign with halacha as lived I am fascinated to explore why this is the case, and a great example of this is the first Mishna introducing Perek ‘BaMah Isha’ on Shabbat 57a which lists the ornaments that may and may not be worn by women in public areas on…

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Shabbat 56

In today’s daf (Shabbat 56a) we are told that an edict was made during the period of King David that the (male) soldiers who went out to war wrote a bill of divorcement for their wives. This means that before going to war, any married soldier would write a conditional ‘War Get’ (writ of divorce)…

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Shabbat 55

Today’s daf (Shabbat 55a) records an incident that I wish I could say has not been repeated since. It describes how a woman came to a court where the senior sage Shmuel and the more junior sage Rav Yehudah were sitting and cried out (צווחה) to them about something terrible that had happened to her…

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Shabbat 54

In our previous Mishna (Shabbat 5:2, 52b) we were taught that ewes may go out in a public domain on Shabbat while כבולות. In today’s daf (Shabbat 54a) the Gemara inquires what the word כבולות actually means, to which it responds that it refers to the tying together of the ewes tails in order to…

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Shabbat 53

In our previous Mishna (Shabbat 5:2, 52b) we were informed that rams may go out in a public domain while לבובין. In today’s daf (Shabbat 53b) the Gemara asks what the word לבובין actually means, to which the answer is given that it refers to being ‘bound together’ and thus the Mishna is informing us…

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Shabbat 52

Today’s daf (Shabbat 52a) continues its discussion of the previous Mishna (5:1, 51b) concerning the use of a halter or a leash on an animal on Shabbat, and whether a halter or a strap – whose primary purpose is not for pulling an animal but instead for adorning an animal – may be worn by…

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Shabbat 51

In today’s daf (Shabbat 51a) Rav Huna cites a teaching of Rebbi (i.e. Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi) that הטמנה (insulating) of cold food is forbidden on Shabbat. However, the Gemara then cites a Beraita stating that Rebbi actually permitted הטמנה (insulating) of cold food on Shabbat. Acknowledging this contradiction, the Gemara then explains that both sources…

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Shabbat 50

Today’s daf (50a) records a debate whether date-palm branches intended for firewood may be used as a seat on Shabbat. According Rabbi Chanina Ben Akiva this can only be done if, prior to Shabbat, a person has the conscious intention to use the branches for this purpose and also expresses this intention by tying the…

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Shabbat 49

In today’s daf (Shabbat 49a) we are taught in a Mishna that it is permitted to insulate a hot pot of food for Shabbat with clothing, with produce (e.g. wheat or beans), with dove’s feathers, with sawdust or with flax combings. Ordinarily, we would expect the subsequent Gemara to discuss one or more of the…

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Shabbat 48

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Shabbat 47b) we started our study of Chapter 4 with the question: ‘With what may we insulate (במה טומנין) [hot food for Shabbat] and with what may we not insulate (ובמה אין טומנין) [hot food]?’, which was then followed by a list of those items that we may not…

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Shabbat 47

The final Mishna in Perek Kirah (Shabbat 47b) – as understood by the Gemara – states that it is permissible to place a plate or bowl under a lamp on Erev Shabbat to catch the sparks that fall from the lamp, but that it is forbidden to place water in that plate or bowl ‘because…

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Shabbat 46

As previously mentioned, Mishna Shabbat (3:6, see Shabbat 44a) records a debate whether an unlit lamp is mukzeh on Shabbat. According to the Sages any lamp may not be handed on Shabbat, while Rabbi Shimon takes the view that only a lit lamp is considered mukzeh. At the same time yesterdays daf (Shabbat 45b) suggested…

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Shabbat 45

Today’s daf (Shabbat 45a) continues its examination of the laws of mukzeh, but rather than examining items that are mukzeh by dint of their prohibited use (eg. a Shabbat lamp), the focus here are items that are deemed mukzeh by dint of their mitzvah use (eg. sukkah decorations). Specifically, it was customary – as it…

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Shabbat 44

Today’s daf (Shabbat 44a) discusses the question of whether a lamp – which in this case would have been an earthenware lamp either simply shaped like a cup or more likely with a nozzle and handle – is considered mukzeh and therefore may not be moved on Shabbat. Though Rabbi Yehuda distinguishes between an ‘old…

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Shabbat 43

Today’s daf (Shabbat 43a-b) focusses its attention on the laws of mukzeh and the situations that may justify infractions of, or the overriding of, the mukzeh laws. Specifically, much of Shabbat 43b discusses the laws of moving a corpse on Shabbat (which halacha categorises as being ‘mukzeh machmat gufo’) either due to it being directly…

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Shabbat 42

Today’s daf (Shabbat 42a) addresses a very practical question that arises in my house every Friday night, but to explain the details of the question a little background is necessary. Jewish law forbids ‘bishul’ – cooking – on Shabbat, and this means that one may not use a fire or other comparable heat source to…

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Shabbat 39

Having discussed the prohibition of cooking with fire on Shabbat as well as any act that manipulates an already lit fire on Shabbat, today’s daf (Shabbat 39a) addresses whether it is permitted or prohibited to harness the heat from more indirect sources that a person cannot directly manipulate to cook on Shabbat. For example, may…

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Shabbat 38

In today’s daf (Shabbat 38a) we encounter a rabbinic disagreement with significant halakhic ramifications – especially for those who are religious who are living in a less religious home. As mentioned, Perek Kira addresses the laws of cooking on Shabbat, and though there are ways in which food can be heated on Shabbat in a…

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Shabbat 37

Today’s daf (Shabbat 37a-b) intensely debates the implications of the case presented in the opening Mishna of Perek Kira: Does it refer to the retaining of food on a Kira oven from Erev Shabbat (Shehiya), or does is address the returning of food to such an oven on Shabbat itself (Hazara)? The primary driving force…

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Shabbat 36

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 36a-b) ends our study of Perek BaMeh Madlikin (i.e. the 2nd chapter of Massechet Shabbat primarily focussing on the types of oils and wicks that may be used to kindle the Shabbat lights) and begins our study of Perek Kirah (i.e. the 3rd chapter of Massechet Shabbat primarily focussing on the manner…

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Shabbat 35

   Today’s daf (Shabbat 35b) cites a Beraita recording a custom of how the shofar was blown six times in Jewish villages, towns and cities in Israel on Erev Shabbat which, as explained in Mishna Sukkah (5:5), was a custom dating back to the time of the Temple. We are told that the first of…

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Shabbat 34

 Moadim LeSimcha! Today’s daf (Shabbat 34a) continues its discussion about Shabbat eve preparations and it reviews the checklist provided in the Mishna of three things that should be verified on Erev Shabbat (Did we tithe? Did we arrange an Eruv? Did we kindle the lights?). However, the Gemara then asks what is meant here by…

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Shabbat 33

   In today’s daf (Shabbat 33b) we are told the story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Elazar who, under the threat of death by the Romans, went to hide in a cave. While in the cave they occupied themselves with deep Torah study, and they were miraculously provided with a carob…

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Shabbat 32

 Much of today’s daf (Shabbat 32b) is very hard to digest since its discussion attempts to attribute specific spiritual transgressions for untimely deaths. For example we read that ‘for three transgressions women die in childbirth’, and ‘for the sin of unfulfilled vows, a man’s wife or children dies’. We are told that parents who ‘neglect…

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Shabbat 31

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 31a) is the source of the famous story of the prospective convert who approached both Hillel and Shammai and asked to be taught the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai’s response was to dismiss the individual, while Hillel taught that, ‘whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your…

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