Eruvin 47

Jewish law prohibits a Kohen from having contact with the dead (see Vayikra Ch. 21), and consequently, a Kohen may not enter a בית הקברות – a cemetery – with the exception of burying a close relative. Significantly, this is a biblical prohibition. However, as we are taught in the Mishna (Ohalot 17:1), if a […]

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Eruvin 46

  When laypeople, Torah scholars and rabbis discuss concepts of halacha (Jewish law), they invoke various halachic principles in order to help understand and determine a particular halacha. In particular, one of the most oft-cited halachic principles in such conversations is יחיד ורבים הלכה כרבים, meaning ‘where there is a disagreement between a single Torah […]

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Eruvin 45

In today’s daf we are taught in a Mishna (Eruvin 4:4, 45a) that a traveler may designate a symbolic residence for themselves (e.g. a nearby city) for Shabbat which can be up to 2,000 amot from where they are presently located, without having physically visited this place before Shabbat, and without having placed an Eruv […]

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Eruvin 44

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Eruvin 43b), an innovative halachic solution was offered in response to a situation where someone had veered beyond their ‘techum shabbat’ and was now limited to his immediate 4-amot radius. Having heard about this situation, Rabbi Nachman suggested that a group of people surround this person – thereby creating […]

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Eruvin 43

In today’s daf (Eruvin 43b), reference is made to the timing and the coming of Moshiach (the Messiah), and as the Gemara explains, we learn from Malachi 3:23 that this great and awesome day will be preceded by the arrival of the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) whose task it will be to inform and inspire us […]

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Eruvin 41-42

Shana Tova! In April of this year, while reflecting on the severe impact of the Coronavirus pandemic as well as the oft-used remark that “We are all in the same boat …”, Damian Barr wrote on his twitter feed that, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. […]

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Eruvin 40

As many of you will know, I have a particular affinity with the Shehecheyanu bracha and that I am writing a book on the subject (which I’d love to complete and publish in the coming year!). And one of the reasons why I have immersed myself into understanding the Shehecheyanu bracha is because – like […]

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Eruvin 39

Nowadays, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated both in Israel and the Diaspora as a two-day festival. However, it is noteworthy that the Torah mandates only one day of Rosh Hashanah (see Vayikra 23:24). We understand why Rosh Hashanah is celebrated for two days in the Diaspora, like other Yamim Tovim, because when the calendar was determined […]

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Eruvin 38

Given that the concept of an Eruv is to establish a symbolic home, the Rabbis were insistent that for any given Shabbat or Yom Tov period, a person can only have one symbolic home which means that they may only establish a single Eruv in a single place. The question raised in the Mishna (Eruvin […]

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Eruvin 37

Today’s daf (Eruvin 37) is tricky to follow. Having previously been taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 3:5, 36b) about the concept of ברירה (literally, ‘selection’, but referring to the retroactive designation of an Eruv in response to events that have yet to occur eg. ‘if this thing happens, then this Eruv shall be valid’), the […]

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Eruvin 36

We often forget that there is a big difference between something that is technically available, and something that is practically and easily accessible.In today’s daf (Eruvin 36a) we are told of a case of two terumah loaves, of which one is ‘tahor’ (pure) and may be eaten, the other is ‘tamei’ (impure) and may not […]

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Eruvin 35

In attempting to make sense of the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 3:4, 35a), we are informed that Rabbi Meir concurs with the opinion of his teacher Rabbi Akiva that the laws of techumin (forbidding someone from walking more than 2,000 amot on Shabbat) are a DeOraita (i.e. they are directly derived from the Torah […]

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Eruvin 34

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 3:3, 34b) discusses the question of whether we may rely on an Eruv (Chatzeirot) which cannot be accessed in the Bein Hashmashot period of Erev Shabbat because – for example – the Eruv is locked in a box or building that cannot be opened.As Rabbi Gil Student explains in […]

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Eruvin 33

Today’s daf (Eruvin 33) discusses the status of an Eruv which has been placed or hung on a tree, and while doing so, it also teaches us an important lesson about inclusion and access. As previously taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 3:3, 32b), if an Eruv is placed on a tree above ten tefachim (approx. […]

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Eruvin 32

On a number of occasions in today’s daf (Eruvin 32a-b) reference is made to a חבר (chaver) which, though generally translated as ‘friend’, actually refers to someone who is very meticulous in their mitzvah observance and who is מחובר (deeply ‘connected’) to the observance of halacha.In particular, the Gemara records a disagreement between Rebbi and […]

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Eruvin 31

Towards the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 31b), while discussing the extent to which various people can be relied upon to deposit an Eruv Techumin in the right location, we are introduced to the fascinating halachic principle of חזקה שליח עושה שליחותו – meaning, ‘it is presumed that an agent will perform their agency’.What this […]

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Eruvin 30

  As previously mentioned, an Eruv Techumin allows someone to walk beyond 2,000 amot from the boundaries of a town or city on Shabbat by establishing a symbolic home – known as an ‘Eruv Techumin’ but which is often simply referred to as an ‘Eruv’ – within those 2,000 amot, which thereby enables them to […]

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Eruvin 29

In general, I only comment on passages in the Gemara whose meaning I believe I have grasped at least on a basic level. However, once in a while I encounter a passage whose basic meaning eludes me, but which nevertheless still speaks to me. A case in point is today’s daf (Eruvin 29a) where, having […]

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Eruvin 28

Today’s daf (Eruvin 28b) informs us that when Rabbi Zeira felt weak from his Torah studies, he would go and sit at the entrance to Rav Yehuda bar Ami’s Beit Midrash in order to show honour to the Torah scholars who were going in and out of the Beit Midrash. Significantly, this is not the […]

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Eruvin 27

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 27a) is focused on exploring Rabbi Yochanan’s principle of אין למדים מן הכללות ואפילו במקום שנאמר בו ”חוץ”, which means that ‘we cannot deduce laws from general rules [stated in the Mishna], even when those general rules seem to be very specific by stating specific exceptions to those rules’. Significantly, […]

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Eruvin 26

One of my all-time favourite movies is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. However, what many people don’t realise is that while ‘Shawshank’ tells a series of powerful stories about prisoners, Shawshank is a profound philosophical debate about the concept of ‘Hope’. While ‘Red’ – having been in prison for many years – had come to believe that […]

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Eruvin 25

Today’s daf (Eruvin 25a) makes reference to various acts used to halachically ‘shotgun’ (i.e. claim rights and acquire) an ownerless field (i.e. what is known as a קנין חזקה), with the general rule of thumb being that an action performed by someone to improve a field enables someone to acquire the field.   With this […]

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Eruvin 24

I have an admission to make which is that I love watching TV shows – like the British DIY SOS – where a house in need of significant improvements and which is not meeting the physical needs of its inhabitants is overhauled by a team of professionals over a short period of time.It is hard […]

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Eruvin 23

The Mishna in today’s daf (2:5, Eruvin 23a) discusses a garden or what is known as a קרפף – an enclosed non-residential space which, despite it being an enclosed and therefore a private domain according to biblical law, was categorized by the Rabbis as being a כרמלית (a semi public/private area) – thereby forbidding carrying […]

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Eruvin 22

Today’s daf (Eruvin 22a) contains a Mishna (2:4) wherein Rabbi Yehuda and the Chachamim (Sages) debate whether the unique private enclosure created by affixing four right-angled posts – known as פסי ביראות – around a public well to enable pilgrims to feed their animals as they journeyed to and from Jerusalem, is halachically undermined if […]

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Eruvin 21

In contrast to the various detailed discussions about the finite physical boundaries of different types of Eruvin, today’s daf (Eruvin 21a) includes an exquisite teaching – quoted by Rav Chisda in the name of Mari bar Mar – about the sheer vastness of Torah.The teaching begins by citing a verse from Tehillim 119:96 stating, “I […]

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Eruvin 20

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 2:2, 17b) about the enclosure created by affixing four right-angled posts around a public well to enable pilgrims to feed their animals as they journeyed to and from Jerusalem, and as the Mishna explained, this enclosure had to be sufficiently large to enable the head and most […]

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Eruvin 19

There are times when the Halachic and Aggadic masters of the Gemara teach ideas and laws that are clearly understandable, while there are other times when we encounter veiled and cryptic teachings which we – as the learner – are then invited to explore what their possible meanings may be.A good example of this is […]

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Eruvin 18

Among the many fascinating lessons found in today’s daf (Eruvin 18b) are a series of teachings from Rabbi Yirmiyah Ben Elazar – one of which I had known for quite some time, but until today, had completely misunderstood.This specific teaching – which, it should be noted, is regularly referenced when introducing a guest of honour […]

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Eruvin 17

Like most people, one of my greatest fears is being alone and in need of assistance – yet when I call out to others to come and help me, they do not hear me and they do not come.I mention this in connection to today’s daf (Eruvin 17a) where we are taught in a Beraita […]

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Eruvin 16

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 16a-b) discusses the various ways in which partitions (מחיצות) can be constructed to create halachic boundaries and to thereby enable carrying on Shabbat.Having already discussed a variety of such examples, our Gemara cites a Tosefta from Massechet Kilayim (4:2-3) which categorises the various different halachic partitions into three groups – […]

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Eruvin 15

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 15a) addresses a disagreement between Abaye and Rava concerning a לחי (sidepost) found at the side of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public domain and leading to a residential area) which was not initially placed there to halachically function as a לחי. According to Abaye, הוי לחי – […]

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Eruvin 14

There is a fascinating contrast found in today’s daf (Eruvin 14a-b) which speaks volumes about a tension within – as well as the ingredients of – the halachic system. For almost all of today’s daf we are taught about the halachically required physical properties of a קורה (crossbeam) – such as how wide it must […]

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Eruvin 13

While there are certain dapim (pages) in the Gemara that, on first glance, seemingly contain a variety of disjointed themes, it is often the case that, upon closer examination, a unifying theme is found that connects the many different teachings and incidents being discussed.A case in point is today’s daf (Eruvin 13a-b) which begins by […]

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Eruvin 12

Today’s daf (Eruvin 12a) tells us about an incident that occurred in a shepherds’ village, where an inlet of the sea breached the outer wall of the courtyard (חצר) of the village leaving that side of the courtyard entirely open to the sea which meant that the residents of the village would no longer be […]

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Eruvin 11

Today’s daf (Eruvin 11a-b) discusses the צורת הפתח (‘a form of a doorway’ – consisting of two vertical sideposts [לחי], on which sits a horizontal beam, pole or twine [קורה], to create ‘a form of a doorway’) which operates as a substantive halachic boundary such that an opening with a צורת הפתח is considered to […]

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Eruvin 10

 We have previously discussed how a קורה (crossbeam) or a לחי (sidepost) placed at the entrace of a מבוי enable carrying in the מבוי. However, as should be clear from the ongoing Talmudic discussion, while a קורה and a לחי must have certain physical properties, their function is primarily symbolic, and thus the first teaching […]

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Eruvin 9

In addition to my belief that rich Jewish values can be found in nuanced halachic details, I also believe that halachic writings are deeply spiritual texts which are even, on occasion, profoundly poetic – and a case in point is an exquisite phrase found twice in today’s daf (Eruvin 9a).In terms of the nuanced halachic […]

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Eruvin 8

One of the great fascinations of the Rabbis of the Talmud were threshholds and boundaries in space and time, and in today’s daf (Eruvin 8b) we encounter a lengthy discussion about the liminal space immediately below a קורה (crossbeam) at the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public domain and leading to […]

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Eruvin 7

Yesterday, in the Torah reading of Parshat Re’eh (Devarim 13:15), we encountered a fascinating phrase which appears once again in the Torah reading of Parshat Shoftim (Devarim 17:4) that we will be reading next Shabbat.In both instances, the verses are describing the task of a judge to verify a matter of legal weight, and in […]

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Eruvin 6

Today’s daf (Eruvin 6a-b) is one of the most fundamental throughout Massechet Eruvin in outlining the principles and details necessary for the contemporary eruvin that surround various cities around the world:“Our Rabbis taught [in a Beraita]: How do we create an eruv [and therefore halachically privatise] a street of the public domain (רשות הרבים)? [The […]

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Eruvin 5

We have previously explained that a קורה (cross-beam) can be placed across the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway adjoining a public domain and leading to a residential area which, though an area where carrying is permitted on Shabbat according to biblical law, was decided by our rabbis to be an area where carrying is […]

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Eruvin 4

Kohelet 4:12 famously states that ‘a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken’ – which is understood to teach us that a three-stranded cord has a level of strength far exceeding a single or two-stranded cord.However, in todays daf (Eruvin 4b) we seem to encounter a quite different message. While we are told that […]

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Eruvin 3

In yesterday’s daf (Eruvin 2a) we contrasted the law of the מבוי with the law of the Sukkah, and in today’s daf (Eruvin 3a) we continue this discussion and are taught by Rabbah that while a קורה crossbeam (which bridges and thereby ‘closes’ the opening of a מבוי to a public domain) that is positioned […]

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Eruvin 2

The opening line of the first Mishna of Massechet Eruvin (Eruvin 1:1, 2a) informs us that an קורה (cross-beam), which has been placed across the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public domain and leading to a residential area) to permit carrying in that area at a height greater than 20 amot […]

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Shabbat 157

 Today, after 157 days, we reach the final page of Shabbat, and with this, the final lines of this Massechet close with reference to the rabbinic decree against measuring on Shabbat as well as the exemption, as noted in the Mishna (Shabbat 24:5, 157a), that water may be measured on Shabbat for the sake of […]

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Shabbat 156

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 156), which is the penultimate page of Massechet Shabbat, primarily focusses on two quite different themes: i) A brief analysis of the laws of kneading on Shabbat, and ii) A lengthy discussion about the concept of ‘Mazal’ (i.e. the extent to which the day or time or month that a person is […]

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Shabbat 155

In today’s daf (Shabbat 155b) we are told that Rabbi Yona shared a biblical exposition at the entrance of the house of the Nasi.Basing himself on the words of Mishlei 29:7 stating that ‘the righteous one knows the status of the poor’, Rabbi Yona interpreted the phrase ‘the righteous one’ to refer to God and […]

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Shabbat 154

In yesterday’s Mishna (Shabbat 24:1, 153a) we were taught that if someone arrives at a city once Shabbat has commenced, they may directly remove any non-mukzeh items from their donkey. However, if their donkey is carrying any bags of mukzeh items, these can only be indirectly removed from the donkey by releasing the ropes that […]

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Shabbat 153

Having already spent much of the past few pages presenting various philosophical teachings relating to the preciousness of life and how to lead a good life based on the wisdom of Kohelet and Mishlei, today’s daf (Shabbat 153a), which contains the final lines of Chapter 23 of Massechet Shabbat, are dedicated to exploring the meaning […]

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Shabbat 152

This morning I will be delivering my penultimate shiur on Sefer Mishlei (The Book of Proverbs) to a fabulous and incredibly learned group of women. Yet, notwithstanding the significant Jewish learning accomplishments of many of those in the shiur, most of the participants would admit that this year has been the first time that they […]

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Shabbat 151

While much of today’s daf (Shabbat 151b) considers the halachot pertaining to what may and may not be done for the dead on Shabbat, it also includes various philosophical teachings relating to the preciousness of life and our need to maximise the opportunities that we have in life to do good and to help others. […]

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Shabbat 150

Today’s daf (Shabbat 150a) explores the halachic implications of the verse ממצוא חפצך ודבר דבר – “[Refrain] from pursuing your business [on Shabbat] and [from] speaking words [about non-Shabbat] issues [on Shabbat]” (Yeshaya 58:13), and it lists a range of topics that may and may not be spoken about on Shabbat. However, before proceeding to […]

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Shabbat 149

Much of the 23rd Chapter of Massechet Shabbat concerns permitted and forbidden actions and expressions that may lead to, or that appear similar to, financial dealings on Shabbat, and in this spirit the Mishna at the end of yesterday’s daf (23:2, 148b) – which is discussed at length in today’s daf (Shabbat 149b) – teaches […]

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Shabbat 148

In today’s daf (Shabbat 148b), reference is made to the rabbinic decree, originally stated in Mishna Beitzah (5:2, 36b), that one may not clap hands together, clap one’s body (thigh/chest), or dance on Shabbat and Yom Tov.Interestingly, though all three of these practices are generally assumed to be forbidden on account of the concern that […]

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Shabbat 147

Having made reference to the exceptional wine that was produced in Phrygia (a small kingdom in Asia Minor), along with the unique therapeutic powers of the waters of the river Deyomset (found near the Judean city of Emmaus), today’s daf (Shabbat 147b) informs us that Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh travelled [alone] to Phrygia where he […]

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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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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 permissibility of ‘breaking’ Shabbat for emotional, psychological and mental health reasons.Having stated in the Mishna (Shabbat 18:3, 128b) that a midwife may travel in order […]

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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 to focus on the first story.We are told of man from the upper Galilee who travelled to the south of Israel to work for, and […]

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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 considered a weekday activity, is permitted on Shabbat for the purpose of making room for guests or for creating more space for more people to […]

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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 of the 39 prohibited Shabbat Melachot (see Mishna Shabbat 7:2, Shabbat 73a), and given this, bricks would be presumed to be ‘Mukzeh’ as they cannot […]

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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 on Shabbat’) which states that while a needle’s normal usage should mean that it is categorized as ‘Mukzeh’ (set aside from Shabbat usage since sewing […]

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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 Shabbat. However, what we are not told is why the laws of Mukzeh exist.Addressing this question, Rambam (Shabbat 24:12) writes that, ‘the Sages forbade the […]

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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 MA in Jewish Education study programme that was to be run by the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS).Having already taught Judaic Studies for over […]

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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 ‘for themselves’. However, it then adds that if those who assist are savvy, they will arrange getting paid for their help after Shabbat. As the […]

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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 these teachings, along with a further teaching answering this same question found in Bava Metziah 30b. I called this project ‘9 Thoughts for 9 Days’ […]

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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 that if a poor person is passing through a town during the week then the townspeople must give them enough food to last them two […]

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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 of Hamozi, Rabbi Zeira would break a large piece of bread for himself that would be sufficient for him to eat for his entire […]

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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 told that Rav would not attend the debates at ‘The House of Avidan’, while Shmuel was prepared to do so. We are also told […]

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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 and the sacred scrolls in which the words of God are found. Given all this, the halachot presented in today’s daf (Shabbat 115a) aren’t merely […]

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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 must respect and follow the instructions of those who are near death.We are told that when Rav Yannai was near death he told his sons: […]

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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 than they do on the week, and they should speak different on Shabbat than they do on the week.Interestingly, it is often thought that ‘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 think about how to answer, because quite often, embedded in the question are clues that speak volumes about the questioner.A case in point is today’s […]

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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 me and moved me all at once – but to explain, I must first review some basic principles that emerge from our daf. Chapter 15 […]

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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 properties may not be eaten on Shabbat, while foods that have medicinal properties but are also consumed for their nutritional benefits may be eaten: ‘One […]

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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 properties may not be eaten on Shabbat, while foods that have medicinal properties but are also consumed for their nutritional benefits may be eaten: ‘One […]

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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 eye. However, when it came to Hilchot Shabbat, our Sages (see Shabbat 53b) established a rule that non-essential healing was forbidden, and that medicines should […]

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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 know, there is an overall Torah prohibition against צער בעלי חיים (causing anguish to animals), and consequently it should be immediately obvious that none […]

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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 closet or when a deer is trapped in a house, the melacha of צוד is transgressed. Though the Chachamim (Sages) agree with the law […]

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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 or someone who tears their clothes in response to the death of a close relative are פטור – exempt (nb. throughout the laws of Shabbat, […]

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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 previously been discussing the laws of writing on Shabbat and the different shapes of the hebrew letters, the Gemara relates how a group of students […]

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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 part of a word on Shabbat. Rabbi Yossi adds that this rule also includes the writing of two related symbols, since symbols were marked on […]

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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 least on a biblical level – many of the Shabbat melachot, an individual must perform that action for a certain distance (4 amot) or carry […]

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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 other. Here, each boat is a ‘reshut hayachid’ (private domain) and the water on which the boats are floating is a karmelit (open area). Consequently, […]

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