Month: November 2021

Rosh Hashanah 9

Much of Massechet Rosh Hashanah explores the concept of time, and in today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 9a) we encounter a profound notion about our ability to sanctify time.Significantly, as has been noted by Rabbi Avraham Joshua Heschel in his exquisite book ‘The Sabbath’, Judaism emphasizes holy time above holy space: “Holiness in space, in nature,…

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Rosh Hashanah 8

We are taught in today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 8a) that Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said that the first of Tishrei is the New Year for judgement. And how does he derive this? From Devarim 11:12 where we are told how God observes our behaviour מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה – ‘from the beginning of the…

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Rosh Hashanah 7

Many years ago I read a unique book which unfortunately has few parallels before or since. Titled ‘One People, Two Worlds: A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues that Divide Them’, this book reflects ‘an unprecedented eighteen-month e-mail correspondence on the fundamental principles of Jewish faith and practice’ between Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch…

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Rosh Hashanah 6

Much of today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 6a) explores the laws of נדרים (vows), and it is here that a Beraita explains the words of Devarim 23:24 of: מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ – ‘what emerges from your mouth’, תִּשְׁמֹר – ‘you shall observe’, וְעָשִׂיתָ כַּאֲשֶׁר נָדַרְתָּ לַה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ – ‘and you shall do just as you vowed to…

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Rosh Hashanah 5

Yesterday, the 7th of Cheshvan, was the 88th yartzheit of Rav Meir Shapiro (1887-1933) who is regarded by many as being the founder of the Daf Yomi movement. A Hasidic rabbi with a truly brilliant mind, Rabbi Shapiro was a high achiever who, already from a young age, had a reputation for Torah greatness. Over…

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Rosh Hashanah 4

Today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 4b) contains a rabbinic aphorism that I regularly invoke which, though mentioned in our daf as part of a highly specific discussion about delayed sacrifices, has applications to every aspect of our life and our overall philosophy of life itself. In terms of the Gemara’s discussion, the question is raised by…

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Rosh Hashanah 3

There is an interesting phrase used in today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 3b) in relation to Daryavesh (Darius) who, as is claimed by a Beraita, is the same king that is also referred to by the (non-exclusive) titles Koresh (Cyrus) and Artachshasta. In terms of the background of this statement, the Gemara is confused by the…

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