Month: March 2021

Massechet Pesachim Siyum Video

Every day I endeavour to share a thought on the daf that is thoughtful and meaningful. Here is a video I have prepared to celebrate our conclusion of Pesachim with quotes from each of my daily posts on Massechet Pesachim accompanied by music performed by Tomer Adaddi.

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Pesachim 121

Today’s daf (Pesachim 121b) – the final page of Massechet Pesachim – concludes with a discussion about Pidyon HaBen (the redemption of the firstborn), and whether it is the father of the boy, or the Kohen, who recites the Shehecheyanu bracha. Before proceeding, I should explain that I adopt the view of a number of…

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Pesachim 120

Today’s daf (Pesachim 120b) records a disagreement between Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah and Rabbi Akiva concerning the time up to which the Korban Pesach was eaten.According to Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah, since the phrase בלילה הזה is used both in reference to the Korban Pesach (see Shemot 12:8) and the smiting of the firstborns (ibid.…

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Pesachim 119

 Shavua Tov! Towards the end of today’s daf (Pesachim 119b) the Gemara quotes and discusses the Mishna (Pesachim 10:8) which states that אין מפטירין אחר הפסח אפיקומן – ‘we may not conclude [the seder meal] with an afikomen (i.e. a dessert) after eating the Korban Pesach’.As the Gemara proceeds to explain, these words of the…

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Pesachim 118

 Among the excerpts from Tehillim which form the Hallel is chapter 116 which begins with the words אהבתי כי ישמע ה’ את קולי תחנוני – “I love the Lord who listens to my voice [and] my pleas”, and in today’s daf (Pesachim 118b) these words are explained by Rava to mean that the Jewish people…

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Pesachim 117

 We often think of Hallel as merely being a collection of joyous songs of praise. However, today’s daf (Pesachim 117a) informs us that – at least the specific section of Hallel starting with the words לא לנו (“Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory…” – Tehillim 115) – was…

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Pesachim 116

 The Mishna (Pesachim 10:5) found in today’s daf (Pesachim 116b) contains the remarkable teaching – which was to then become incorporated into the Haggadah text and which has since inspired many people to dramatize their home seder experience – that: “In each and every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they…

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Pesachim 115

 Towards the end of today’s daf (Pesachim 115b) we are informed that early on in the Pesach seder, the table of the seder leader is removed (nb. this refers to a time when each person ate from a small tray-like table, whereas today, since most of us generally conduct a seder around a single table*,…

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Pesachim 114

 As part of the Gemara’s explanation (Pesachim 114a) for the position of Beit Hillel (see Mishna Pesachim 10:2) that text of the Kiddush which we recite on Seder night should precede the blessing of the festival with the blessing on the wine, we are told that this is due to the principle of תדיר ושאינו…

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Pesachim 113

 Whenever we read a written record of spoken words, it should be clear to us that a dimension of those words is missing. This is because part of the interpretation of spoken words is communicated by the tone and inflection of the speaker – which are not often expressed in the written record of those…

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Pesachim 112

Today’s daf (Pesachim 112a) contains a stunning expression that exquisitely captures the passion and emotions of a teacher. To give some context, we are told that Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, who was a student of Rabbi Akiva, came to visit his beloved teacher who was being held in prison by the Romans for teaching Torah…

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Pesachim 111

There are many Jewish practices which evolve from considerations expressed in Jewish texts, and in general, the more those texts are vague in intent and the more the considerations which they explore are not purely halachic, the greater the evolution. A good example of this can be found in today’s daf (Pesachim 111b) where, listed…

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Pesachim 110

 In order to make sense of today’s daf (Pesachim 110), we must begin by taking a moment to reflect on the theology of dualism – the Zoroastrian belief that there are opposing forces of good and evil within the universe – each aided by an army of demons.As Rabbi Sacks explains in his book ‘Not…

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Pesachim 109

Today’s daf (Pesachim 109a) informs us that ‘a person is obligated to bring joy to his children and to the members of his household on the festivals, as it says וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְּחַגֶּךָ – “and you shall be joyous on your festival” (Devarim 16:14)’. In response to this statement, the Gemara then proceeds to suggest various…

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Pesachim 108

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 108b) cites a Beraita which informs us that the wine used at the Seder ‘must have the appearance of wine’. As the Gemara then explains while referencing a verse from Mishlei 23:31, this means that the wine which we use should be red wine. Interestingly, this same verse is invoked in the…

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Pesachim 107

 Have you ever had the experience of really wanting to consume a certain food or drink, but afterwards coming to realise that no matter how attractive that food or drink may have seemed to you, it wasn’t good for your digestion?We find a story along these lines in today’s daf (Pesachim 107a) where we are…

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Pesachim 106

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 106a) records how those who did not hear Havdalah on Motzei Shabbat may do so up until Tuesday afternoon. However, Rav Yaakov Bar Idi adds that in such a case, a ner (flame) should not be used, to which later commentaries (eg. Tur on Orach Chaim 299) have added that this is…

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Pesachim 105

 Towards the end of today’s daf (Pesachim 105b) we are told that there is a difference between bringing in Shabbat and taking it out.Regarding the start of Shabbat, כמה דמקדמינן ליה עדיף – “the more we bring it in earlier, the better”, because by doing so, מחבבינן ליה – “we demonstrate that we cherish [Shabbat]”.Contrasting…

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Pesachim 104

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 104b) tells a story that contains many layers and many messages:We are told how the great Ulla once came to Pumbedita over Shabbat and how Rav Yehuda – the head the local academy – told his son Rav Yitzchak to take a basket of fruit on Motzei Shabbat to the home where…

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Pesachim 103

 Almost all of today’s daf is concerned with one question – namely, the order of the Havdalah.For example, Pesachim 103a begins by discussing the order of the Havdalah when Yom Tov begins on Motzei Shabbat, and it then proceeds to discuss a ‘regular’ Havdalah and whether the בשמים (spices) should be blessed and smelt prior…

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Pesachim 102

 In today’s daf (Pesachim 102b), while discussing a situation where a meal has been held just prior to the onset of Shabbat, the question is raised why the same cup of wine cannot be used for Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) for the meal that was started before the onset of Shabbat, and for the…

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Pesachim 101

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 101b) focuses its attention on the association between eating, reciting brachot before and after eating, and the location of eating, and as part of its analysis it quotes a Beraita which describes a curious situation:Imagine a group of people are eating and drinking at a location, and upon seeing a groom or…

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Pesachim 100

 Pesachim 100a relates a dispute between Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yossi. According to Rabbi Yehuda, if someone has started a meal on Friday afternoon before the onset of Shabbat, they must cease their meal at nightfall and say Birkat HaMazon. Having done so, they should then recite Kiddush and start a new meal in honour…

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