Shabbat 128

Today’s daf (Shabbat 128b) contains a ruling with respect to the laws of childbirth on Shabbat which provides us with profound insight and considerable halachic precedent with respect to the…

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Shabbat 127

Today’s daf (Shabbat 127b) contains three stories relating to the virtue of הדן את חבירו לכף זכות - judging your friend favourably, and while each are fascinating, I would like…

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Shabbat 126

The Mishna in today’s daf (Shabbat 18:1, Shabbat 126b) informs us that the moving of boxes of straw or grain, which is both a highly strenuous activity and is also…

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Shabbat 124

Today’s daf (Shabbat 124b) contains a fascinating teaching about the laws of Mukzeh and how we indicate our intentionality towards certain objects.As we know, בונה (building) is listed as one…

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Shabbat 123

In today’s daf (Shabbat 123a), reference is made to the previous Mishna (Shabbat 17:1-2, 122b) beginning with the words כל הכלים (‘these are all the utensils that may be moved…

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Shabbat 122

Today’s daf (Shabbat 122b) returns to the topic of ‘Mukzeh’, i.e. objects that are ‘set’ aside as having no purposeful use on Shabbat which therefore may not be moved on…

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Shabbat 121

For many years I have worked in the field of curriculum development, and around 12 years ago I was invited to suggest learning topics and reading references for a soon-to-be-launched…

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Shabbat 120

The Mishna (Shabbat 16:3) found in today’s daf (Shabbat 120a) informs us that if a fire is consuming a home on Shabbat, the homeowner can tell others to retrieve food…

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Shabbat 119

In today’s daf (Shabbat 119b) we find 8 different teachings attempting to answer the question of why Jerusalem was destroyed, and some years ago I wrote explanations to each of…

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Shabbat 118

Today’s daf (Shabbat 118a) examines the duty to eat three meals on Shabbat, and among the sources it brings in support of this halacha is Mishna Peah 8:7 which teaches…

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Shabbat 117

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 117b) teaches us about the duty to have two loaves of bread for each of our Shabbat meals, and it then relates how, upon reciting the bracha…

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Shabbat 116

Today’s daf (Shabbat 116a) makes reference to ‘The House of Avidan’ which was a location where scholars of various nations and faiths met to conduct philosophical discussions and debates.We are…

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Shabbat 115

As we know, the Jewish people have been referred to as ‘the people of the book’, and since the beginnings of Jewish history, Jews have revered the word of God…

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Shabbat 114

Having previously been discussing Shabbat clothes, today’s daf (Shabbat 114a) relates a story about a form of clothes as well as an important lesson about the extent to which we…

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Shabbat 113

Today’s daf (Shabbat 113a-b) informs us that a person should wear different clothes (מלבוש) on Shabbat than those that they wear during the week, they should walk differently on Shabbat…

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Shabbat 112

Whenever a halachic decisor is approached by someone with a halachic question, their task is to listen very carefully to every word and inflection of the questioner before starting to…

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Shabbat 111

When reading the first few lines of the Mishna (Shabbat 15:1) in today’s daf (Shabbat 111b), I was reminded of an incident that took place 20 years ago which shocked…

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Shabbat 110

Today we continue the exploration of the rabbinic prohibition on healing on Shabbat. The mishnah on Shabbat 109b informs us that specific herbs that are only consumed for their medicinal…

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Shabbat 109

Today we continue the exploration of the rabbinic prohibition on healing on Shabbat. The mishnah on Shabbat 109b informs us that specific herbs that are only consumed for their medicinal…

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Shabbat 108

Bathing in salt water has long been considered to have medicinal benefits, and bathing eyes in salt water has long been regarded as being beneficial for the health of the…

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Shabbat 107

Amid our discussion concerning the prohibition of ‘trapping’ an animal on Shabbat, today’s daf (Shabbat 107a) explores the Shabbat prohibition of החובל - inflicting a wound to an animal.As we…

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Shabbat 106

The Mishna (Shabbat 13:5) on today’s daf (Shabbat 106a) presents a fascinating debate concerning the melacha of צוד - trapping.According to Rabbi Yehuda, when a bird is trapped in a…

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Shabbat 105

The Mishna (Shabbat 13:3) in today’s daf (Shabbat 105b) discusses the forbidden melacha of weaving, and in doing so it teaches us that someone who tears a garment in anger…

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Shabbat 104

Today’s daf (Shabbat 104a) contains some of the most exquisite Torah insights that can be found throughout the Gemara - insights that are both incredibly simple, yet also incredibly profound.Having…

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Shabbat 103

The Mishna (Shabbat 12:3) in today’s daf (Shabbat 103a) informs us that the melacha of כותב (writing) is contravened when two letters are written together to form a word or…

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Shabbat 102

Today’s daf (Shabbat 102b) begins the 12th Chapter of Massechet Shabbat titled ‘HaBoneh’ (one who builds), and having reached this point it should be clear that to transgress - at…

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Shabbat 101

Much of today’s daf (Shabbat 101b) discusses the case mentioned in the Mishna (Shabbat 11:5, 100b) involving two boats that are tied together thereby enabling carrying from one to the…

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Shabbat 99-100

Towards the end of today’s daf (Shabbat 99b) and continuing into tomorrow’s daf (100a) is a fascinating halachic discussion about what it means to be at rest which I believe…

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Shabbat 98

In today’s daf (Shabbat 98a) we find a debate about whether carrying in a covered public area is prohibited since the דגלי מדבר (literally ‘the flags of the wilderness’ but…

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Shabbat 97

Today’s daf (Shabbat 97a) makes reference to an important principle about the pursuit of good vrs. bad which has significant implications on how we speak and how we should live…

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Shabbat 96

At the end of today’s daf (Shabbat 96b), Rabbi Akiva - on the basis of a gezera shava (where identical words or expressions found in different places in the Torah…

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Shabbat 95

Today’s daf (Shabbat 95a) tells a story of which variations have sadly been repeated many times since and which illustrates how Torah knowledge can often be weaponised to insult others.The…

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Shabbat 94

Sometimes when reading a Talmudic story it seems quite clear that there is more to the story than meets the eye, and in today’s daf (Shabbat 94b) I think we…

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Shabbat 93

Much of today’s daf (Shabbat 93a) is dedicated to examining the debate introduced in yesterday’s daf (see Shabbat 92b) concerning the liability of two people who, together on Shabbat, carry…

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Shabbat 92

One of the 39 melachot is הוצאה (carrying from one domain to another), and in today’s daf (Shabbat 92a) our Sages attempt to define the usual way of carrying that…

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Shabbat 91

Today’s daf (Shabbat 91b) contains a fascinating philosophical discussion about the extent to which individual items remain distinct within, or coalesce into, a large whole when held together in a…

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Shabbat 90

In today’s daf (Shabbat 90b) reference is made to locusts and how carrying a locust in a public domain contravenes the laws against carrying on Shabbat. At the same time,…

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Shabbat 89

Among the many fascinating aggadic teachings found in today’s daf (Shabbat 89a) is a cryptic and curious story which I believe communicates an incredibly powerful lesson that is incredibly important…

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Shabbat 88

Today’s daf (Shabbat 88a) contains one of the most challenging aggadic insights in the entire Talmud.We are told that when Bnei Yisrael were to receive the Torah they stood בתחתית…

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Shabbat 87

Today’s daf (Shabbat 87a) cites a Beraita informing us of three decisions, each on first glance seem hard to justify, that Moshe made מדעתו (‘from his own understanding’) which God…

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Shabbat 86

Today’s daf (Shabbat 86b, as well as the first few lines of Shabbat 87a) records a debate between the Sages and Rabbi Yossi concerning the date when the Jewish people…

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Shabbat 83-85

Unfortunately, due to a variety of work pressures as well as the need to prepare a number of shiurim I did not have the time to learn the daf from…

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Shabbat 82

Today’s daf (Shabbat 82a) begins with a record of a conversation that took place between the 3rd century Amora Rav Huna and his son Rabbah about Rav Huna’s friend, disciple,…

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Shabbat 81

Continuing the theme of this chapter concerning the measure of an item/items that is deemed to have inherent purpose, value and importance and that would render someone liable if they…

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Shabbat 80

In today’s daf (Shabbat 80b) we find fascinating story about a Galilean who came to Babylon, likely in the late 2nd century, and who was asked by a group of…

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Shabbat 79

Among the various items previously listed in the Mishna (Shabbat 8:2, see Shabbat 78b) as having inherent purpose, value and importance is a קלף (i.e. a small piece of parchment…

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Shabbat 78

As previously explained in my comments to Shabbat 76a-b, ‘if a product is of sufficient value or use to a person that they would deliberately store it for future use,…

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Shabbat 77

Today’s daf (Shabbat 77b) contains a number of fascinating aggadic (non-legal) passages but one which particularly stood out for me was the following Beraita:‘There are five instances of fear [cast]…

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Shabbat 76

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Shabbat 75b) was a Mishna (Shabbat 7:3) outlining the general rules (כללים) pertaining to the type of product or size of product that, if…

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Shabbat 75

To my mind, the most intriguing of all the 39 prohibited Shabbat melachot listed in the Mishna (Shabbat 7:2) is המכה בפטיש, literally ‘one who strikes with a hammer’, but…

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Shabbat 74

Today’s daf (Shabbat 74b) discusses some of the 39 prohibited melachot listed in the Mishna (Shabbat 7:2) including the melachot of הקושר (tying) and המתיר (untying).As we know, we derive…

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Shabbat 73

Within today’s daf (Shabbat 73a) is the Mishna (Shabbat 7:2) listing all of the 39 prohibited Shabbat Melachot. Yet rather than simply stating that there are 39 melachot, the Mishna…

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Shabbat 72

Having discussed the spiritual liabilities of someone who unintentionally transgresses the melachot of Shabbat, today’s daf (Shabbat 72b) considers the spiritual liabilities of someone who involuntarily worships an idol. However,…

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Shabbat 71

There are times when the biographical background of Talmudic scholars should not be presumed to frame their particular position on matters of Jewish thought and law. However, there are other…

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Shabbat 70

In today’s daf (Shabbat 70a) we are taught that there are 39 ‘melachot’ (i.e. creative acts) that are prohibited by the Torah. But while the Written Torah does not explicitly…

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Shabbat 69

In his book ‘Faith in the Future’, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains that ‘the clearest contrast between communal faith and an individualistic culture’ can be seen in how we relate to…

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Shabbat 68

The opening Mishna of Perek Klal Gadol (7:1, 67b) informs us that השוכח עיקר שבת - anyone who “forgets the essence of Shabbat” is only obligated for one sin offering…

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Shabbat 67

Mishna Shabbat (6:10, 67a) lists a number of curious objects which Rabbi Meir allows to be carried on Shabbat and which the Sages forbid because they constitute דרכי האמורי -…

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Shabbat 66

There are times when a curious or cryptic Gemara beckons its learner to dig beyond its initial reading, and a case in point is today’s daf (Shabbat 66b) which, based…

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Shabbat 65

Having been taught in the Mishna (Shabbat 6:6-7, Shabbat 65a) that a woman may use a stone, nut or coin as a button to fasten her cloak on Shabbat, Abaye…

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Shabbat 64

Continuing its discussion of various ornaments that may be worn on Shabbat, the Mishna (Shabbat 6:5, 64b) informs us that a woman may go out on Shabbat wearing a פאה…

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Shabbat 63

The Mishna (Shabbat 6:4) in today’s daf (Shabbat 63a) opens with a clear statement that a man may not go out in the public domain on Shabbat with a sword,…

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Shabbat 62

While I endeavour to learn, understand and appreciate the significance and symbolism of the mitzvot that I perform, there are times when I encounter a text which takes my understanding…

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Shabbat 61

Today’s daf (Shabbat 61a) begins by relating how Rav Yochanan, whose tefillin (like all right-handers*) were worn on his left arm, would first put on his left shoe in order…

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Shabbat 60

While our clothes and shoes may have a functional purpose to provide us with protection from the elements, our clothes and shoes are also reference points for some of our…

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Shabbat 59

Among the head and hair ornaments discussed in today’s daf (Shabbat 59b) that according to rabbinic law may or may not be worn in a public domain on Shabbat is…

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Shabbat 58

I have always thought that the reason why bells are often attached to the Torah cover and atop of a Sefer Torah was merely ornamental in order to add further…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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),…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Shabbat 30

 In today’s wide-ranging daf (Shabbat 30a-b) Rav Tanchum from the town of Navi poses the question whether a candle may be extinguished on Shabbat to help someone who is gravely…

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Shabbat 29

  Shavua Tov! In today’s daf (Shabbat 29b) we continue the discussion concerning which lamps, wicks and oils may or may not be used for the Shabbat lights, and specifically, whether…

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Shabbat 28

 While yesterday’s daf explored some of the laws pertaining to tzitzit, today’s daf (Shabbat 28b) addresses a number of laws relating to tefillin including the fact that tefillin must only…

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Shabbat 27

 Having previously made reference to liquids that are susceptible to spiritual contamination (tum’ah), today’s daf (Shabbat 27a-b) begins by discussing different fabrics that are also susceptible to spiritual contamination, and…

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Shabbat 26

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 26a) continues the discussion of the Mishna (see Shabbat 24b) listing the fuels that may not be used to kindle the Shabbat lights, and among those listed…

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Shabbat 24

 In today’s daf (Shabbat 24a) reference is made to an ancient and discontinued custom of reciting a Haftarah following the Torah reading on Shabbat Mincha. As Rashi notes, “I found…

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Shabbat 23

 While the word ‘Triage’ is most often used to describe the difficult decisions that need to be made when there are insufficient medical resources, it can also be used with…

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Shabbat 22

 As part of its ongoing discussion about the laws of Chanukah lights, today’s daf (Shabbat 22a) cites a fascinating teaching of Rav Yehuda that one should not use the glow…

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Shabbat 21

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 21b), which outlines laws of kindling Shabbat candles, is also the primary Talmudic source discussing the laws of kindling Chanukah candles, and it is here where we…

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Shabbat 20

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 20b) concludes the end of the first chapter of Massechet Shabbat and begins our study of the second chapter with the Mishna of במה מדליקין which is…

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Shabbat 19

 In today’s daf (Shabbat 19a) we are taught a Beraita stating that a person may not board a ship within three days before Shabbat. Though there are a variety of…

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Shabbat 18

 Shabbat 18a continues to explore questions concerning the initiation of a melacha on Erev Shabbat that continues on Shabbat.As previously noted (Shabbat 17b), we rule in accordance with Beit Hillel…

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Shabbat 17

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 17b) includes Mishnayot (Shabbat 1:5-9) listing numerous disputes between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel about the resting of utensils on Shabbat.According to Beit Shammai, the Torah requires…

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Shabbat 16

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 16b) tells a story which appears to imply that the rabbinic leadership at the time of the story were both very strict and very insensitive. However, after…

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Shabbat 15

 In today’s daf (Shabbat 15b) we continue our discussion relating to the enactments made by our early sages concerning the laws of ‘tumah’ - spiritual impurity.According to Torah law, earthenware…

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Shabbat 14

 Mishna Shabbat (1:4), found on Shabbat 13b, informs us that there were 18 rulings that the Rabbis enacted which reflected the position of Beit Shammai, and in the ensuing pages…

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Shabbat 13

 We previously studied the Mishna (see Shabbat 11a) listing a variety of acivities that should not be done on Erev Shabbat. For example, we are told that a tailor should…

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Shabbat 12

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 12a) addresses the question of whether one should go to console mourners (Nichum Aveilim) or visit the sick (Bikur Cholim) on Shabbat.According to Beit Shammai we should…

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Shabbat 11

 We previously discussed the Mishna (Shabbat 9b) which listed a range of activities that we should not start just prior to the time for Mincha, and this Mishna then concluded…

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Shabbat 10

 Having previously noted (see Shabbat 9b) that one should not start a Torah tribunal just prior to the time for Mincha, today’s daf (Shabbat 10a) addresses a number of points…

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Shabbat 9

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 9b) begins with a Mishna (Chapter 1 Mishna 2) which brings us back to the core theme of the first Chapter of Massechet Shabbat, ie. the actions…

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Shabbat 8

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 8a) contains a fascinating debate between Rebbi and the Sages about the halachic status of a tree versus its branches.The case in point concerns a tree that…

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Shabbat 7

  Today’s daf (Shabbat 7b) involves a discussion, based on a later Mishna (Shabbat 11:3 - see Shabbat 100a), about the halachic liability of someone who throws a sticky object the…

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Shabbat 6

 In today’s daf (Shabbat 6a) we are formally introduced to four different halachic areas which have significant implications to the prohibition of carrying on Shabbat: (i) Reshut HaYachid - private…

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Shabbat 5

 Shabbat 5a presents a fascinating philosophical-halachic question posed by Rav Yochanan. However, to understand the question a little background is necessary.Previously (see Shabbat 3a) we discussed how the Shabbat prohibition…

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Shabbat 4

Much of todays daf (Shabbat 4a) addresses a fascinating halachic question posed by Rav Bivi bar Abaye (see Shabbat 3b) about how we deal with accidental or deliberate transgressions on…

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Shabbat 3

Today’s daf (Shabbat 3a-b) explores the implications of the Mishna discussing concerning the prohibition of transferring an item from one area (eg. private) to another (eg. public) which is biblically…

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Shabbat 2

The first Mishna of Massechet Shabbat (Shabbat 2a) discusses the prohibition of transferring an item from one area (eg. private) to another (eg. public) by giving a practical example of…

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