Day: July 30, 2020

Shabbat 146

Today’s daf (Shabbat 146a) teaches us a key principle about the biblical melacha of מכה בפטיש (literally ‘one who strikes with a hammer’, but understood to refer to any activity – such as striking the final hammer blow – that completes the manufacture of an item) which I believe resonates deeply with the essence of…

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Shabbat 145

Today’s daf (Shabbat 145b) cites a heartrending verse from Sefer Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 9:9 describing the emptiness and loneliness of the land of Israel following the destruction of the First Temple and the exile of the people:“For the mountains I will raise [My voice] in weeping and wailing, and for the pastures of the wilderness a…

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Shabbat 144

In yesterday’s daf, the Mishna (Shabbat 22:1, 143b) stated that ‘we may not squeeze (סוחטין) fruits [on Shabbat] to extract liquid from them’ because, as Rashi explains, סחיטה (squeezing) [certain] fruits on Shabbat falls under the forbidden Shabbat melacha of דש (threshing).Today’s daf (Shabbat 144a-b) continues the discussion of סחיטה (squeezing), but with a particular…

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Shabbat 143

Today’s Mishna (Shabbat 21:3, 143a) discusses the treatment of seemingly purposeless small crumbs of food that remain on a table after a meal – which we are told may be removed from the table because they can be used for animal fodder. However, as the Gemara proceeds to explain, if the crumbs are not used…

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Shabbat 142

Today’s daf (Shabbat 142a-b) discusses a number of questions concerning various forms of בורר (selecting/separating). Firstly, it addresses the words of Rabbi Yehuda taught in the previous Mishna (Shabbat 21:1, 141b) that ‘one many remove [a measure of] terumah from a mixture with one hundred parts of chullin (non-sacred) produce’, and later, it cites a…

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Shabbat 141

Today’s daf (Shabbat 141a-b) discusses the question of whether it is permissible to scrape mud/clay from shoes with a sharp object on Shabbat. As Rashi explains, this is due to the concern that by doing so the leather sole of the shoe will be smoothened (ממחק) which is one of the 39 Biblically forbidden Shabbat…

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Shabbat 140

Two brief incidents recorded in today’s daf (Shabbat 140a) raise the important question of finding the right balance between loyalty to halachic strictures and maintaining Shalom Bayit (harmony in a home).In terms of the laws of Shabbat, one of the 39 prohibited Shabbat transgressions is לישה (kneading), and in today’s daf we consider the case…

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Shabbat 139

In today’s daf (Shabbat 139a) we are told that members of the community of Bashkar sent a question about creating a canopy on Shabbat, and in response, Rav Menashya wrote them a responsum saying: ‘We have reviewed all aspects concerning [your question of creating] a canopy, but we have not found grounds to permit [you…

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Shabbat 138

As someone who spends much of their life either learning, writing or teaching Torah, it is difficult to express the spiritual and emotional fright that I felt when reading the chilling words of Rav found in today’s daf (Shabbat 138b) and based on Devarim 28:59 that ‘There will be a time in the future when…

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Shabbat 137

While we often presume that the text that we have in our Gemara is a perfect rendition of what was originally said by the Tanaim and Amoraim in Israel and Babylon, the many different Talmud manuscripts containing many textual variants provides us with ample evidence that there are words and phrases that appear in the…

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Shabbat 136

Towards the end of today’s daf (Shabbat 136b) Ravina testifies that he had heard Rava render a particular halachic ruling which then confused, surprised and even seemingly angered one of his peers. However, to understand the ruling itself, a little background is necessary.Firstly, there is a Torah rule – although one that many of us…

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Shabbat 135

TRIGGER WARNING: MY ANALYSIS OF TODAY’S DAF ADDRESSES STILLBIRTH & INFANT DEATHEarly on in today’s daf (Shabbat 135a) we are taught a Beraita stating that while it was assumed that babies born in the 7th month were viable (i.e. have the physical ability to survive), it was also assumed that babies born in the 8th…

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Shabbat 134

Not long after Abaye was conceived his father sadly died, and during childbirth, his mother tragically died (see Kiddushin 31b). From then on, while much of Abaye’s Torah training was provided to him by his uncle Rabah, he was nursed and raised by a foster mother whose name is sadly not known but whose wisdom…

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Shabbat 133

Today’s daf (Shabbat 133b) cites a Beraita presenting two approaches to the verse זה אלי ואנוהו – ‘this is my God and I will beautify God (lit. ‘Him’)’ (Shemot 15:2).According to the first approach (expressing the view of Rabbi Yishmael – see Mechilta Beshalach 3, Massechet Sofrim 3, Yerushalmi Peah 1), our task is to…

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Shabbat 132

Much of today’s daf (Shabbat 132a) is dedicated to identifying a suitable biblical prooftext to support the halacha that a Brit Milah (circumcision) may be performed on Shabbat, and though a number of different prooftexts are analysed, two different prooftexts are ultimately identified in the Gemara (Shabbat 132a) with a further valid prooftext being offered…

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Shabbat 131

In the Mishna (Shabbat 19:1) found in yesterday’s daf (Shabbat 130a) we were introduced to the halachic principle, conceived by Rabbi Eliezer, that ‘Machshirei mitzvah dochin et hashabbat’ – which means that just as certain mitzvot such as brit milah (circumcision) may be performed on Shabbat, so too, any activity that enables this mitzvah to…

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Shabbat 130

In today’s daf (Shabbat 130a) we are taught a principle that ‘any mitzvah that [the Jewish people] accepted upon themselves with joy (בשמחה)…is still performed with joy (בשמחה)’, while ‘any commandment that [the Jewish people] accepted upon themselves with a sense of resentment… is still performed with resentment’.What this suggests is that when children and…

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