Beitzah 25

Having just read the Kriat HaTorah this morning of VeZot HaBracha, it was lovely to see one of the beautiful pesukim of the parsha quoted by a Beraita found in today’s daf yomi (Beitzah 25b). In the final words of his life, Moshe Rabbeinu recounts how, ‘[The Lord came from Sinai. He shone upon them […]

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Beitzah 24

Much of today’s daf (Beitzah 24a) explores the prohibited melacha of ציד (trapping) on Shabbat and Yom Tov, during which reference is made to doves (who, as the Gemara implies, often appear as if they are free even when trapped) and the specific circumstances in which the catching of doves is considered as trapping.Interestingly, Chazal […]

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Beitzah 23

Early on in today’s daf (Beitzah 23a) we are taught that ‘inverting a fragrant cup on silk garments on Yom Tov is prohibited because it creates a [new] fragrance [in the garment]’. This is codified by the Rema in Orach Chaim 511:4, on which the Mishna Berura (note 26) adds that ‘[this applies] even with […]

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Beitzah 22

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Beitzah 2:6, 21b) that on three matters Rabban Gamliel ruled strictly in accordance with Beit Shammai – of which one was that אין זוקפין את המנורה ביום טוב – ‘we may not straighten a candlestick on Yom Tov’. In today’s daf (Beitzah 22a) this ruling is further scrutinized, […]

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Beitzah 21

In today’s daf (Beitzah 21a) we read that Rav Avya the Elder asked Rav Huna a technical and theoretical question about the laws of Yom Tov concerning slaughtering an animal on Yom Tov that is partially owned by a Jew and partially owned by an idolater. Notwithstanding the fact that, as Rashi explains, Rav Huna […]

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Beitzah 20

 Today’s daf (Beitzah 20a) recounts a dramatic story where the elderly sage and disciple of Shammai, Baba ben Buta, prevented Shammai’s opinion concerning semicha (the leaning upon an animal sacrifice prior to their slaughter as described in Vayikra 3:2 which Shammai ruled was forbidden on Yom Tov) from becoming a rule of law by protesting […]

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Beitzah 19

Early on in today’s daf (Beitzah 19a), we are introduced to a fascinating Talmudic principle of מחשבתו נכרת מתוך מעשיו – ‘a person’s intentions are evident from their actions’. As is clear from the specific case being discussed in the Gemara, there are many occasions where it is impossible to know the intentions of a person […]

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Beitzah 18

In today’s daf (Beitzah 18a-b), reference is made to the mitzvah of immersing in a mikvah where the Gemara raises the question of why immersion is not considered as self-repairing (מתקן כלי) which surely should be forbidden on Shabbat or Yom Tov?The Gemara first answers by explaining that immersing in a mikvah may – at […]

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Beitzah 17

I remember the first time I learnt today’s daf (Beitzah 17a) because through the journey I went on then, I learnt many lessons that have stayed with me till today.I was around 20 years old and was learning Beitzah with a chavruta, and we came to today’s daf where we find a debate about the […]

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Beitzah 16

It is just over an hour after Yom Kippur has finished. I’ve had something to eat with the family, and also checked in with those whom I advised in the days prior to Yom Kippur re: fasting and eating to find out how they are doing. And now I turn to today’s daf (which, admittedly, […]

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Beitzah 15

It is Erev Yom Kippur, and I am looking at today’s daf (Beitzah 15b) which informs us that what we learn from the words זכור את יום השבת – ‘remember the Shabbat day’ (Shemot 20:8) is that we should be sure to remember Shabbat מאחר שבא להשכיחו – ‘when a risk exists that we may […]

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Beitzah 14

In seeking to explain the distinction drawn by Beit Hillel in the Mishna (Beitzah 1:7) in today’s daf (Beitzah 14a) who permits crushing spices with a stone pestle on Yom Tov, but who rules that salt may only be crushed on Yom Tov with a wooden pestle (or another tool other than a pestle), the […]

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Beitzah 13

We learn in today’s daf (Beitzah 13a) that the obligation to take terumah only begins once grain, fruit and vegetables have been gathered and have been readied for use or consumption (גמר מלאכתם). Similarly, our religious progress and our spiritual growth should be determined based on our sense that we have reached גמר מלאכתם wherever […]

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Beitzah 12

In today’s daf (Beitzah 12b), reference is made to terumah – which may not be separated on Yom Tov, and challah – which may be separated on Yom Tov. In terms of the difference, since the former (terumah) can be done prior to Yom Tov, it should be done then – especially since such separation […]

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Beitzah 11

The Mishna (Beitzah 1:5) in today’s daf (Beitzah 11a) notes how Beit Hillel permitted placing an animal hide on Yom Tov in a location where it may be trampled on – for fear that failing to do so would hold people back from slaughtering on Yom Tov (and also lists two further cases ‘where the […]

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Beitzah 10

  Today’s daf (Beitzah 10a) explores the Talmudic principle of ברירה (‘Bereira’ – meaning ‘clarification’) which concerns an ambiguous situation at a particular moment whose ambiguity has halachic ramifications on the people or items involved at that moment. Then, at a later time, the particulars of that situation are clarified, with the question then being […]

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Beitzah 9

 Today’s daf (Beitzah 9a) addresses the prohibition of מראית העין (‘mar’it ayin’) which forbids us from performing permitted acts within a context or in a manner that could be misinterpreted to the extent that others may then erroneously come to perform prohibited acts. Of course, a simple question about מראית העין is why does this apply […]

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Beitzah 7-8

Among the laws discussed in the two dapim we studied over Rosh Hashanah (Beitzah 7-8) is the mitzvah of כיסוי הדם (the requirement that blood of a slaughtered bird or wild animal spill onto earth and be covered by earth so that it is, in a manner of speaking, ‘buried’ within the earth – see […]

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Beitzah 6

Towards the end of today’s daf (Beitzah 6b) we encounter the halachic position of Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov that, even once hatched, a chick is not considered fully alive until it opens its eyes, and since we are about to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, I thought I’d dwell on the message of sight – both in […]

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Beitzah 5

Today’s daf (Beitzah 5a) invokes the halachic principle that כל דבר שבמניין צריך מניין אחר להתירו – ‘any formal halachic decision which has been decided upon by a group of Sages requires a further group of Sages to revoke that decision’. In fact, the Gemara then cites biblical support for this principle from the fact […]

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Beitzah 4

A story is told in today’s daf (Beitzah 4a-b) where Rav Pappa was asked a she’elah (halachic query) about the law of נולד and, following what he had heard was the practice of Rav (who did not answer she’elot on Yom Tov after the first meal since his meals were accompanied with wine and, given […]

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Beitzah 3

Having previously introduced the concept of נולד – whereby an item or substance that either evolved into existence on Shabbat or Yom Tov, or assumed a new form that it did not previously have, may not be used on Shabbat on Yom Tov (with the classic example being an egg laid on Shabbat or Yom […]

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Beitzah 2

Almost all of the first daf of Massechet Beitzah (2) deals with the law of נולד (literally ‘that which is born’) – which is the term used with reference to an item or substance that either evolved into existence on Shabbat or Yom Tov, or assumed a new form that it did not previously have. […]

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Sukkah 56

Mazal Tov! Today we have reached the final daf of Massechet Sukkah (Sukkah 56), yet like many final dapim, there seems to be an assortment of ideas that – on first glance – don’t necessarily fit together.The daf begins by addressing the Mishna (Sukkah 5:7) which speaks of how kohanim served in one of 24 […]

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Sukkah 55

We are taught in the Mishna (Sukkah 5:6) in today’s daf (Sukkah 55b) that a total of seventy bulls were offered as sacrifices in the Temple over Sukkot, and this fact then prompted Rabbi Elazar to ask: ‘To what do these seventy bulls correspond?’, which he then answers by explaining that they correspond ‘to the […]

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Sukkah 54

Having been taught that different songs were sung in the Beit HaMikdash on different holy days, today’s daf (Sukkah 54b) notes that when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat, the song for Rosh Chodesh precedes the song for Shabbat.The problem with this – as noted by the Gemara itself – is that it conflicts with the […]

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Sukkah 53

 Having been taught in the Mishna (Sukkah 5:4, 51a) that ‘חסידים (pious people) and אנשי מעשה (people of deeds) would dance’ during the Sukkot Simchat Beit HaShoevah ceremony, a Beraita in today’s daf (Sukkah 53a) attempts to understand more about who these people were and their personal and spiritual qualifications which made them suitable role […]

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Sukkah 52

 In today’s daf (Sukkah 52b) we encounter a fascinating teaching from the school of Rabbi Yishmael relating to how we should respond to the temptation of our yetzer hara (the evil inclination): ‘If this scoundrel (i.e. the yetzer hara) [attempts to] accost you [to tempt you to sin], draw it to the Beit Midrash (study […]

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Sukkah 51

On first glance, much of today’s daf (Sukkah 51b) focusses on the external beauty and splendour of the most exquisite sacred spaces that have been built in Jewish history – beginning, of course, with the Beit HaMikdash. In fact, we are told ‘whoever did not see the Beit HaMikdash when it stood never saw a […]

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Sukkah 50

 The Mishna (Sukkah 5:1) and subsequent Gemara in today’s daf (Sukkah 50b) discuss the musical accompaniment of the Simchat Beit HaShoevah (literally, ‘the joy of the house of the water-drawing’, which refers – on a basic level – to the drawing of water ceremony from pool of Shiloach which was then used for water libations […]

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Sukkah 49

 Today’s daf (Sukkah 49b) is very special as some of the most exquisite teachings about Chessed are found in today’s daf. Here we are taught that giving tzedakah is greater than bringing korbanot, and here we are taught that performing acts of Chessed surpasses giving charity. Yet notwithstanding this, I would like to turn my […]

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Sukkah 48

While numerous words are used in Tanach and our Tefillot to describe the feelings of joy and happiness, much ink has been spilt in trying to distinguish between the deep meaning of the words שמחה (simcha) and ששון (sasson).In today’s daf (Sukkah 48b), we read a dialogue between two individuals – one called simcha and […]

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Sukkah 47

 In the midst of a detailed halachic discussion in today’s daf (Sukkah 47a) concerning the possible necessity of reciting the bracha on dwelling in a Sukkah on Shemini Atzeret in the diaspora, we are told that ‘Rav Huna bar Bizma and all the great men of the generation visited a sukkah’ on that day and, […]

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Sukkah 46

 Today’s daf (Sukkah 46a) addresses my favourite bracha – Birkat Shehecheyanu – and it is here where we are taught that someone who builds their Sukkah should recite Shehecheyanu.Significantly, many precedents are learnt from today’s daf – as well as from the discussion in Tosfot (DH Ha’oseh) on today’s daf – concerning when Shehecheyanu should […]

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Sukkah 45

 Following the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, Chazal needed to find ways to encourage Am Yisrael to see grandeur within the individual mitzvot that they performed and to appreciate how even the most minor of spiritual acts can have a major spiritual impact, and as it happens, today’s daf (Sukkah 45) provides us with at […]

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Sukkah 44

 Yesterday I received a message about a very dear friend who was recently in hospital for a relatively simple procedure but who has just discovered that he is very unwell. This is someone I have known for many years who, beyond everything else, was not only a daily chavruta of mine, but who is – […]

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Sukkah 43

For those unfamiliar with the way in which Sukkot was celebrated in the Beit HaMikdash, today’s daf (Sukkah 43b) – which expands upon and debates the teachings in Mishna Sukkah 4:1-3 (see Sukkah 42b) – may be hard to comprehend. This is because, as we were previously taught in Mishna Sukkah 3:12 (see Sukkah 41a), […]

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Sukkah 42

 “A child who knows how to wave the lulav is obligated in lulav”. These words, found in the Mishna (Sukkah 3:15) in today’s daf (Sukkah 42b), inform us that the duty of Chinuch (education) of children for the mitzvah of Arba Minim (Four Species) begins once a child has reached the age and stage when […]

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Sukkah 41

 We have previously noted that the hadassim (myrtle) and aravot (willows) are bundled with the lulav such that the lulav is surrounded by these other species (see Sukkah 33a) – and the reason I mention this is because I think that this image of the lulav being surrounded and protected by these other species is […]

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Sukkah 40

 A principle taught in today’s daf (Sukkah 40) and derived from Vayikra 25:6 is that Shemitta sanctity only applies to items whose benefit and consumption coincide (שהנאתו וביעורו שוה) such as food, drink, oils and wax (see Rashi). On the basis of this principle, given that only after wood has begun to burn does it […]

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Sukkah 39

 A major debate relating to the intersection of Shemitta (the Sabbatical year) and Sukkot is recorded in today’s (Sukkah 39b) daf.In terms of an Etrog used during the year of shemitta (nb. for those unaware, we will be starting a shemitta year on Rosh Hashanah), almost its entire growth occurs in the 6th – as […]

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Sukkah 38

 Towards the end of today’s daf (Sukkah 38b), a verse from Sefer Melachim describing an important historical event that occurred during the period of King Yoshiyahu’s (Josiah’s) reign of Yehuda (Judah) is proposed as proof for the halachic principle of שומע כעונה – ‘listening is like responding’. Yoshiyahu was a righteous king. Unfortunately, his grandfather Menashe […]

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Sukkah 37

 In the Mishna (Sukkah 3:9) towards the end of today’s daf (Sukkah 37b), we are informed of the different sections of Hallel when the lulav bundle is waved, and though Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree on the matter, the Mishna concludes (and the custom is codified – see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 651:8) that […]

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Sukkah 36

 The Mishna (Sukkah 3:8) towards the end of today’s daf (Sukkah 36b) records a debate between Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Meir about the type of material that may be used to tie the lulav bundle (lulav, hadassim & aravot) together.According to Rabbi Yehuda, it may only be tied במינו – with material of its own […]

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Sukkah 35

 Today’s daf (Sukkah 35a) provides us with a gorgeous insight about what has unfortunately become a rare yet true pleasure of life. Specifically, the daf presents a variety of explanations about the significance of the word הָדָר (hadar) – which is generally translated as ‘beautiful’ – and which the Torah uses (in Vayikra 23:40) about the […]

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Sukkah 34

When listing the Arba Minim (Four Species), the Torah (see Vayikra 23:40) first mentions the Etrog (פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר), then the Lulav (כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים), then the Myrtle (עֲנַף עֵץ עָבֹת), and then the Willow (עַרְבֵי נָחַל). However, this is not the order in which these items are treated in the Mishna. Instead, when the Mishna […]

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Sukkah 33

Towards the end of today’s daf (Sukkah 33b), attention is given to the term עַרְבֵי נָחַל which is used by the Torah (see Vayikra 23:4) to describe the willow that, as we are also taught in today’s daf (Sukkah 33a), is bound with the myrtle to the lulav. Given that the term עַרְבֵי נָחַל literally […]

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Sukkah 32

 Today’s daf (Sukkah 32a) records a fascinating discussion between Ravina and Rav Ashi relating to the identity of the Lulav. Ravina asks ‘How do we know that the phrase כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים (Vayikra 23:40) – meaning ‘the branches of palm trees’ – refers to the unopened palm frond? Perhaps it means the thorny branches of the […]

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Sukkah 31

 We were previously taught that a dry lulav is invalid because it is not הדר – ‘beautiful’ (see Sukkah 30a). However, today’s daf (Sukkah 31b) relates how there was a period when the residents of large cities were unable to procure fresh lulavim and these residents would bequeath their lulavim to the next generation, such […]

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Sukkah 30

As I have previously explained, I believe that Jewish ethics are found and expressed within Jewish law (and where we struggle to see the Jewish ethics in Jewish law, it is likely that the Jewish law has not been explained or applied correctly). Yet while there are occasions when the relationship between Jewish ethics and […]

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Sukkah 29

Today’s daf (Sukkah 29a) quotes a ruling that ‘if someone was sleeping in a sukkah and it began to rain, they should leave the sukkah whereby even if it stops raining, we do not trouble them to return to the sukkah until it becomes light (עד שיאור)’. In response to this, the Gemara asks whether […]

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Sukkah 28

 The Mishna (Sukkah 2:8) in today’s daf (Sukkah 28a) rules that ‘a קטן (minor) who does not need his mother is [rabbinically] obligated in [the mitzvah of] Sukkah’, which then prompts the Gemara (Sukkah 28b) to explore what is meant by the phrase ‘who does not need his mother’?According to the academy of Rabbi Yannai, […]

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Sukkah 27

Today’s daf (Sukkah 27b) informs us that there is a duty להקביל פני רבו ברגל – literally, ‘to greet the face of one’s teacher on the festival’, but understood to mean that one should visit one’s teacher on the festival. As the Gemara explains, this duty is derived from Melachim II 4:23, and it is […]

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Sukkah 26

 Having previously been taught that ‘the sick and their attendants are exempt from the mitzvah of sukkah’ (see Mishna Sukkah 2:4, 25a), and having previously been introduced to the principle that מצטער פטור מן הסוכה – ‘someone who experiences discomfort by being in the Sukkah is exempt from the duty of being in a sukkah’ […]

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Sukkah 25

 Today’s daf (Sukkah 25b) informs us that a bridegroom is exempt from the mitzvah of sukkah either, as Rava explains, because a bride and groom would feel uncomfortable being physically intimate in a sukkah which is relatively open, or as Abaye explains, because the openness of the sukkah would mean that their guests would come […]

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Sukkah 24

We were previously taught in a Beraita (see Sukkah 23a) about using an animal as a wall for the sukkah, which Rabbi Meir invalidated, and Rabbi Yehuda validated. In terms of why this is the case, it seemed that Rabbi Meir was concerned (according to Abaye) that the animal may die, or (according to Rabbi […]

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Sukkah 23

Today’s daf (Sukkah 23) discusses the unusual scenario of building a sukkah ‘on the back of an animal’ which Rabbi Meir validates, and Rabbi Yehuda invalidates. In explaining this debate, the Gemara explains that Rabbi Yehuda asserts from the words: חַג הַסֻּכֹּת תַּעֲשֶׂה לְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים – ‘the festival of Sukkot you shall make for […]

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Sukkah 22

Today’s daf (Sukkah 22) opens with a Mishna (Sukkah 2:2) stating that ‘a sukkah whose shade exceeds its sunlight is kosher’. As the Gemara (Sukkah 22b) observes, ‘this implies that a sukkah which has equal amounts of shade and sunlight is invalid.’However, as the Gemara then proceeds to explain, this seems to conflict with a […]

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Sukkah 21

Towards the end of today’s daf (Sukkah 21b) we are taught a lesson from Rav that שיחת תלמידי חכמים צריכה לימוד – ‘the casual conversations between Torah scholars are deserving of study’, and as the Ben Ish Chai explains (see Ben Yehoyada on Sukkah 21b), it is particularly noteworthy that Rav is the author of […]

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Sukkah 20

 A curious teaching of Resh Lakish is quoted in today’s daf (Sukkah 20a) where we are told that, ‘initially, when Torah was forgotten from [the people of] Israel, Ezra ascended from Babylon and gave it a proper foundation. When it was again forgotten, Hillel the Babylonian ascended [to Israel] and gave it a proper foundation. […]

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Sukkah 18

Today’s daf (Sukkah 18a) contains two teachings of Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai which seem totally unrelated – other than the fact that they use similar language. In terms of the first, we are told that, ‘Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai taught: “Where the roof of a house was breached and s’chach was placed over the opening, it […]

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Sukkah 17

Today’s daf (Sukkah 17a) continues to discuss the laws of constructing a sukkah and how our Sages imagined relatively small gaps in the roofs and walls of a sukkah as being closed. For example, we learn about the rule of ‘Dofen Akuma’ (literally ‘bent wall’) which asserts that an area of roof above a sukkah […]

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Sukkah 16

Every family and every community have their stories about ‘the time when…[an unusual halachic situation arose and a creative halachic solution was found]’, but as we learn from today’s daf (Sukkah 16b), great care must be taken to accurately share the details of those stories so as to avoid confusion and perhaps even future halachic […]

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Sukkah 15

 The Mishna (Sukkah 1:7) in today’s daf (Sukkah 15a) presents a variety of opinions about what must be done to transform a yet-to-be-finished roof of a house where the beams are in place, to a valid sukkah roof.For example, according to Beit Shammai, the beams must be loosened and symbolically moved (to demonstrate that this […]

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Sukkah 14

In today’s daf (Sukkah 14b) we are told by Rabbi Yehuda how, while living in a period and place of danger, he and others used four-tefachim-wide boards to cover a porch in order to fulfil the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah. However, the Sages then responded to him saying that, אין שעת הסכנה ראיה […]

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Sukkah 13

Today’s daf (Sukkah 13b) quotes a beraita to teach us that, ‘fig branches with figs on them, vines with grapes on them, straws with ears of grain on them, and brooms of palms with dates on them – in all these cases if the non-edible part (i.e. branch/vine/straw) is greater than the food, then it […]

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Sukkah 12

As you will have likely noticed from my daily daf posts, I believe that spiritual messages are often embedded in the words used by our Sages to express technical halachic statements, and I personally take much pleasure in identifying and developing ideas relating to hashkafa (our spiritual outlook and attitude) from halacha (the rules relating […]

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Sukkah 10-11

While learning yesterday (Sukkah 10) and today’s daf (Sukkah 11) over Shabbat (given that today was Tisha B’Av), I was drawn to explore a phrase which is used on four occasions in Sukkah 11b – namely קציצתן זו היא עשייתן – ‘their detaching is their making’.Specifically, this phrase is used in a discussion concerning the […]

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Sukkah 9

The Mishna in today’s daf (Sukkah 9a) presents a disagreement regarding the halachic validity of a ‘sukkah yeshana’ (literally, ‘an old sukkah’) – which actually means a sukkah on which s’chach has sat for over 30 days prior to Sukkot that had not expressly been placed there for the sake of the upcoming Sukkot festival. […]

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Sukkah 8

If you like Mathematics you will likely enjoy the end of yesterday (Sukkah 7b) and much of today’s daf (Sukkah 8a), whereas if you don’t, you may find it a little tricky. This is because the discussion relates to the minimum dimensions of a circular sukkah which requires a journey into the history of pi […]

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Sukkah 7

We were previously taught in the first Mishna of Massechet Sukkot that a sukkah שחמתה מרובה מצלתה – “in which there is more sun than shade” פסולה – “is invalid”, while in today’s daf (Sukkah 7b) we are taught that this rule only applies to the shade provided by the s’chach – whereas if there […]

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Sukkah 6

In addition to considerable discussion about the authority of the Oral Torah, today’s daf (Sukkah 6b) teaches that while a sukkah can have either four of three full walls, a sukkah must minimally have just two full walls and a third mini-wall (which need only be as long as a tefach – approx. 10 cm).Yet, […]

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Sukkah 5

While continuing its discussion about the minimum height of a Sukkah, today’s daf (Sukkah 5b) explains that the measure of 10 tefachim is derived from the gap which existed between the holy Aron (Ark) and the wings of the Keruvim (Cherubim) which sat atop the Aron.Interestingly, the reason for this association is due to the […]

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Sukkah 4

Today’s daf (Sukkah 4a) continues its discussion about the permitted height of the Sukkah which, as Mishna Sukkah 1:1 previously taught, cannot be taller than 20 amot (approx. 10 metres), and must be at least 10 tefachim (approx. 1 metre). Beyond this, our daf also rules that in a situation where the sukkah is exactly […]

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Sukkah 3

 In his preface to his ‘Shemoneh Perakim’, the Rambam urges us to ‘accept the truth [regardless of] which person said it’, and while this is an excellent piece of advice in all situations, the reason for me mentioning it here is in response to an exchange between Rav Shmuel bar Yitzchak and Rabbi Abba found […]

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Sukkah 2

 The first Mishna of Massechet Sukkah begins by teaching us that ‘a sukkah whose s’chach is above twenty amot (approx. 10 metres) is invalid’, and in the subsequent discussion in the daf (Sukkah 2a), the question of מנא הני מילי – ‘from where do we know this rule?’ is asked, to which the Gemara cites […]

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Yoma 88

For today’s final daf of Massechet Yoma, I decided to record my thought which I very much hope you enjoy! הדרן עלך מסכת יומא והדרך עלן.

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Yoma 87

Today’s daf (Yoma 87a) – which is the penultimate daf of Massechet Yoma – references the so-called ‘heter (‘permission’) of Rav Huna’:Rav Huna said in the name of Rav: “When someone commits a transgression, and then repeats it, it becomes permitted to them.” Does it really become permitted to them? Of course not! Instead, it […]

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Yoma 86

As part of its discussion about repentance and atonement, today’s daf (Yoma 86a) speaks about the severity of ‘one who bears the sin of Chillul Hashem (Desecration of the Name)’ and it then proceeds to offer some varied examples of Chillul Hashem. For example, according to Rav, a Chillul Hashem occurs when someone who is […]

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Yoma 85

As I’ve previously explained about my daily learning ritual, each morning I learn the daf, I review it, and I then consider which passage, statement or idea I wish to explore or explain further – at which point I study a range of commentaries relating to that passage or teaching, and then start writing. In […]

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Yoma 84

On five occasions in today’s daf (Yoma 84b) our Sages teach us that where there is even the slightest risk to life, הזריז הרי זה משובח – ‘someone who is quick to do whatever it takes [including the breaking of Shabbat and other commandments] is praiseworthy’, ואין צריך ליטול רשות מבית דין – ‘and there […]

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Yoma 83

As part of today’s daf Yomi (Yoma 83a) discussion about the treatment of the sick of Yom Kippur, a stirring pasuk from Mishlei is quoted to affirm that someone who feels that they need to eat on Yom Kippur should do so – even in a situation where experts do not see it that way. […]

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Yoma 82

 Much of today’s daf (Yoma 82a) is dedicated to the mitzvah of lifesaving (פיקוח נפש), and it is here where we learn that, even on Yom Kippur, אין לך דבר שעומד בפני פיקוח נפש – nothing stands in the way of lifesaving – except for idolatry, sexual immorality, and murder. As Rashi explains (on Yoma […]

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Yoma 81

 Having been taught about the prohibition and liability of eating food and drinking drinks on Yom Kippur, today’s daf (Yoma 81b) considers whether it is prohibited, and whether one is liable from eating non-foods (i.e. products that are generally understood to be unfit for consumption, such as leaves of reed) and from drinking non-drinks. However, […]

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Yoma 80

  We have previously noted in the Mishna (Yoma 8:1) that one who eats the equivalent of a כותבת הגסה (a large date) on Yom Kippur is liable. Additionally, the Mishna also states that ‘all foods combine for the volume equivalent of a large date’ – meaning that if someone ate two or more pieces of […]

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Yoma 79

  Having been taught in the Mishna (Yoma 8:1, 73b) that one who eats the equivalent of a כותבת הגסה (a large date) on Yom Kippur is liable, today’s daf (Yoma 79a) attempts to understand what this unusual measure is, and it is here where we are told that it is an amount that דבהכי מיתבא […]

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Yoma 78

 Today’s daf (Yoma 78b) discusses the prohibition of wearing leather shoes on Yom Kippur. Yet notwithstanding the severity of the prohibition, we are taught that Rabbi Eliezer rules that a new mother (which is understood to mean a woman who has given birth within 30 days) may wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur, and as […]

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Yoma 77

In today’s daf (Yoma 77b) we encounter a fascinating psak which highlights the broad considerations at play when a posek renders a halachic decision. As noted in the Gemara, any form of bathing in water is forbidden on Yom Kippur. However, we are then taught in a Beraita that if a person needs to pass […]

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Yoma 76

Once in a while, especially in the realm of aggadata, we encounter a highly creative interpretation which, on first glance, seem to significantly ‘overstretch’ the meaning of a text or concept which they are seeking to explain. In this spirit, today’s daf (Yoma 76a) contains a Beraita which relates how Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Yishmael and […]

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Yoma 75

Today’s daf (Yoma 75a) contains timeless advice for those with worries – as derived from a somewhat cryptic verse in Sefer Mishlei (Proverbs).The verse, from Mishlei 12:25, states: “Worry in the heart of man ‘ישחנה – yashchena’, and a good word ‘ישמחנה – yesamchena” – and in terms of the second word ‘ישמחנה’, this clearly […]

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Yoma 74

 Much of today’s daf (Yoma 74b) is dedicated to exploring the instruction of ‘תְּעַנּוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם – afflict yourselves’ (Vayikra 16:29), and later on, ‘וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם – and you shall afflict yourselves’ (Vayikra 23:32) – which is commanded with respect to Yom Kippur and which is understood to be the biblical source from where […]

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Yoma 73

Today’s daf (Yoma 73a) begins by exploring the relationship between the Kohen Gadol and the Kohen Mashuach Milchama (the Kohen anointed for battle) and the importance of avoiding enmity between the two, and it then proceeds to discuss the Urim V’Tumim – the divine communication tool that featured on the Choshen (breastplate) worn by the […]

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Yoma 72

Some years ago I delivered a shiur on ‘How the Torah is often used as a defense for things that the Torah finds indefensible’, in which I highlighted a number of modern examples where Torah is misrepresented by Jews and religious leaders across the religious spectrum in the name of Torah, and reflecting on what […]

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Yoma 71

 Today’s daf (Yoma 71a) includes what I believe to be a stunning insight about what it means to live a life that is guided by Torah laws and values.As you may know, many of the verses in Mishlei (Proverbs) are understood to refer to our relationship with Torah wisdom, and it is there where we […]

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Yoma 70

 We were previously taught in the Mishna (Yoma 7:1, 68b) that included among the duties of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur was to read select passages from the Torah about Yom Kippur (specifically, Vayikra 16:1-34 and Vayikra 23:26-32). Having done so, the Kohen Gadol then pronounced: יותר ממה שקראתי לפניכם כתוב כאן – “More […]

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Yoma 69

Twice in today’s daf, reference is made to actions and decisions taken in very particular situations which thereby overrode particular prohibitions. In Yoma 69a we read how Shimon HaTzaddik wore the Bigdei Kehuna (priestly clothes) outside of the Temple when meeting and petitioning Alexander the Great in order to forestall the destruction of the Temple, […]

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Yoma 68

Today in daf yomi we began the seventh chapter of Massechet Yoma (Yoma 68b) whose first Mishna (Yoma 7:1) describes the ritual of how the Kohen Gadol would read passages about Yom Kippur from the Torah text and then by heart while holding onto the Torah. Moreover, we are then told that he followed this […]

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Yoma 67

We are taught in today’s daf (Yoma 67a) that a crimson thread was tied on the outside of the door of the entrance hall of the Beit HaMikdash prior to the se’ir hamishtaleach (the scapegoat) being taken out to the desert: הלבין – if it turned while, היו שמחים – they rejoiced; לא הלבין – […]

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Yoma 66

Today’s daf (Yoma 66b) relates how Rabbi Eliezer was asked a number of questions which he evaded answering, and as the Gemara then proceeds to explain, ‘it was not that Rabbi Eliezer was trying to avoid the topic, but instead, because he was not say anything that he had never heard from his teacher’ (see […]

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Yoma 65

Much of today’s daf (Yoma 65b) is dedicated to exploring which contributions and decisions from one year may be carried over until the next year. For example, we are taught that קרבנות ציבור, communal offerings, should ideally be brought from the donations of the current year and not from the donations of the previous year, […]

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