Yoma 26

In today’s daf (Yoma 26a) we find a debate concerning which Kohanim brought the limbs of a sacrifice onto the ramp and up to the altar. Significantly, this service was performed in two stages: First, the limbs were first brought onto the lower half of the ramp, and then, they were then carried up the […]

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Yoma 25

Other than the fact that he was a Kohen Gadol during the Second Temple period, I know little about Ben Katin who is mentioned in a Beraita in today’s daf (Yoma 25b) as well as later on in Mishna Yoma (3:10, 37a). However, as the Mishna notes, Ben Katin made two significant changes to the […]

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Yoma 24

Today’s daf (Yoma 24a) records a dispute concerning whether the sacred garments worn by the Kohen Gadol on any given Yom Kippur were used again, or whether they were put away never to be used again, and reflecting on this dispute reminded me of a story that I read many years ago in ‘The Maggid […]

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Yoma 23

 Today’s daf (Yoma 23a) tells a story reflecting a low point in the spiritual service and leadership of the Beit HaMikdash where two Kohanim raced each other up the ramp of the altar in order to decide who would lead the sacrificial service. Then suddently, when one Kohen neared the other, he took out a […]

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Yoma 22

 Towards the end of today’s daf (Yoma 22b), Rav Yehuda quotes a teaching of Shmuel who contrasted the reign of Shaul and of David, wondering why the former was so brief (2 years – see Shmuel I 13:1) and did not continue with Shaul’s descendants, while the latter was much longer (40 years – see […]

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Yoma 21

 We often look at the world from the perspective of a person, but not from the perspective of the soul – which is precisely why Mishna Avot 4:22 is such a significant teaching of Chazal as it tells us that: “against your will were you formed, against your will were you born, against your will […]

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Yoma 20

Today’s daf (Yoma 20b) relates an incident when Rav Shila, who had moved from Israel to Bavel, was about to deliver a public shiur, but there was no ‘meturgeman’ – someone to translate his talk from Hebrew to Aramaic – available. As it happens, Rav – who was a senior Amora and who founded the […]

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Yoma 19

Today’s daf (Yoma 19a-b) raises the fascinating question – one that is also addressed in numerous other places in the Talmud – whether Kohanim are primarily שלוחי דרחמנא (an agent of God), or שלוחי דידן (an agent of us, i.e. the Jewish people).Significantly, this discussion arises from a statement in the Mishna (Yoma 1:5) where […]

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Yoma 18

 In the Mishna (Yoma 1:6) at the end of today’s daf (Yoma 18b) we are taught that as a way to keep the Kohen Gadol awake throughout the night of Yom Kippur, if he was a Torah scholar then he would deliver shiurim on matters of halacha or he would study Tanach. And if he […]

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Yoma 17

As we are taught in today’s daf (Yoma 17b), the Kohen Gadol has priority rights to offer any sacrifice he wishes as well as the first right to take any portion to eat, as the Beraita teaches us: “How does he exercise his priority rights to offer any portion? He says, “I will offer this […]

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Yoma 16

 Much of today’s daf (Yoma 16a) explores the structure and dimensions of the Beit HaMikdash while also quoting extensively from Massechet Middot, which then leads the Gemara to note that Massechet Middot was taught and edited by Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov.According to tradition, Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov’s life spanned the final years of the second […]

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Yoma 15

We are taught in today’s daf (Yoma 15a) that the Kohanim were tasked with placing sufficient oil in the Menorah so that it will continue to burn “from evening until morning” (Shemot 27:21) – and this led me to think about the symbolism of the Menorah as a representation of Torah.In general, when teaching Torah […]

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Yoma 14

Today’s daf (Yoma 14b) presents two different views about the order in which the ketoret (incense) was offered and the neirot were prepared (by removing the ashes and old wicks from the Menorah from the previous day) by the Kohen Gadol in the days leading up to Yom Kippur.According to the majority opinion, the preparation […]

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Yoma 13

In today’s daf (Yoma 13b) we are taught the principle that כהן גדול מקריב אונן – meaning that while a regular Kohen who has just suffered a bereavement among one of their seven closest relatives (mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, spouse) is exempt from serving in the Beit HaMikdash, a Kohen Gadol is expected […]

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Yoma 12

While conflicting opinions are initially presented on the topic, the conclusion from today’s daf (Yoma 12a) is that ירושלים לא נתחלקה לשבטים – literally ‘Jerusalem was not apportioned among the tribes’ – and meaning that Jerusalem is not owned by any individual tribe, party or person.Reflecting on this teaching, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein explained in a […]

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Yoma 11

Today’s daf (Yoma 11a) continues with the theme of mezuzah and discusses the types of buildings that do and do not require a mezuzah. For example, we are told that a storage house is exempt from requiring a mezuzah because it does not fall under the category of being ביתך – your “home” (Devarim 6:9).However, […]

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Yoma 10

 A central theme in the first chapter of Massechet Yoma has been how the Kohen Gadol was sequestered in the Parhedrin chamber within the Temple complex for the seven days prior to Yom Kippur, and in today’s daf (Yoma 10a) the Gemara cites a Beraita discussing whether this chamber necessitated having a mezuzah affixed to […]

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Yoma 9

We are taught in today’s daf (Yoma 9a) that in contrast to the first Beit HaMikdash which stood for 410 years and which was served by 18 Kohanim Gedolim, more than 300 Kohanim Gedolim served in the second Beit HaMikdash which stood for 420 years. Still, we are then told that there were a number […]

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Yoma 8

Today’s daf (Yoma 8a) cites a Beraita discussing the limitations placed on a person upon whose skin the name of God has been written. According to the Beraita: Such a person ‘may neither bathe, nor smear oil on their flesh, nor stand in a place of filth’, and if they need to immerse themselves in […]

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Yoma 7

 Towards the end of today’s daf (Yoma 7b) we are taught the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda that when the Torah speaks of how the tzitz (the special golden band engraved with the name of God and worn by the Kohen Gadol) ‘shall be always (תמיד) upon his forehead’ (Shemot 28:38), it means שלא יסיח דעתו […]

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Yoma 6

Today’s daf (Yoma 6a) continues its examination of the Mishna (Yoma 1:1) which informs us that the Kohen Gadol was sequestered for the seven days prior to Yom Kippur. However, it would seem that not only was the Kohen Gadol kept away from his house for this 7-day period, but also from his wife, which […]

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Yoma 5

Much of today’s daf (Yoma 5b) is dedicated to identifying the ceremonies that took place during the 7-day inauguration of the Mishkan and to considering whether these ceremonies were required in future generations. And according to Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, among these ceremonies was מקרא פרשה (literally, ‘the reading of scripture’). To understand what is […]

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Yoma 4

 Today’s daf (Yoma 4b) makes reference to the events surrounding Matan Torah, and it is here – as well as elsewhere in the Talmud – where we are told that the experience of Matan Torah was both one of profound joy, and profound trepidation. In fact, as an attempt to capture the emotions of that […]

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Yoma 3

A word that appears regularly in today’s daf (Yoma 3b) is קח – take – which is discussed with reference to the contributions given and the donations made to the Mishkan.Significantly, the term קח is used in a range of different ways in the Torah. For example, it is used with respect to marriage (see […]

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Yoma 2

 In the first Mishna (Yoma 1:1) of our new Massechet (Yoma 2a) we are told that while the Kohen Gadol was sequestered for seven days before Yom Kippur, a further safety measure was taken to ensure the smooth running of the Yom Kippur service by designating a second Kohen Gadol as his ‘understudy’. This was […]

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Shekalim 22

 As our study of Massechet Shekalim draws to a close, the final lines of Shekalim (22b) refer to the fact that the Mishkan was first erected in the month of Nissan and it wonders in which month the future Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt.Significantly, during the time-period of the Torah, the months did not actually […]

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Shekalim 21

In explaining the position of Rabbi Yosi in the Mishna (Shekalim 8:1), today’s daf (Shekalim 21b) quotes a Beraita describing the way people walked in the streets of Jerusalem throughout the year and during the Festivals: ‘Throughout the year, those people who were טמא (spiritually impure) [who were the majority] would walk in the middle […]

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Shekalim 20

Today’s daf (Shekalim 20a) records a curious exchange between Rabbi Mana and Rabbi Yosi about the mitzvah of Hashavat Aveida – returning a lost object.In general, when an object has been lost with little to no identifying signs in a public location, it is presumed that the original owner would quickly give up hope of […]

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Shekalim 19

Today we begin Chapter Seven of Massechet Shekalim (Shekalim 19a) whose opening Mishna (Shekalim 7:1) addresses the question of how to treat coins that are found in the vicinity of the 13 collection chests in the Beit HaMikdash.For example, the Mishna begins by asking what should be done if coins are found on the floor […]

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Shekalim 18

In today’s daf (Shekalim 18b), and basing itself on the seemingly superfluous word קרבן in the verse ‘if a person offers a mincha offering (קרבן)’ (Vayikra 2:1), the Gemara learns that in addition to bringing an animal as an offering, it was also permitted to bring wood to be used on the Altar as an […]

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Shekalim 17

 Today’s daf (Shekalim 17a) begins with a Mishna (Shekalim 6:3) and it specifies the location by each of the gates of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) where a visitor would perform each of their 13 prostrations. And it then offers an alternative explanation of the Rabbis where the 13 prostrations took place by each of the […]

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Shekalim 16

 Much of today’s daf (Shekalim 16) explores the dimensions and manufacture of the Aron (Ark), and it is here where Rabbi Chaninah explains the meaning of the instruction found in Shemot 25:10-11: “Make an ark of acacia wood, 2½ cubits long, 1½ cubits wide, and 1½ cubits high. Cover it with a layer of pure […]

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Shekalim 15

While the Gemara’s method of communicating various teachings and rulings often involves lengthy dialogues and discussions, as well as detailed interpretations, of biblical verses, there are other times when just a few short words can communicate a profound message that are already embedded in the words of the Tanach.A case in point can be found […]

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Shekalim 14

 We were previously taught (see Mishna Shekalim 5:1) that the House of Garmu were responsible for the production of the לחם הפנים in the Beit HaMikdash, while the House of Avtinas were responsible for the production of the קטורת (incense). In today’s daf (Shekalim 14a), we are informed that each House was very secretive about […]

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Shekalim 13

 The Mishna (Shekalim 5:1) in today’s daf (Shekalim 13a) tells us about Petachiah – better known to use as Mordechai (from the Purim story) – who was a Temple administrator, a member of the Sanhedrin, and who spoke seventy languages.The Gemara (Shekalim 13b) then quotes a Beraita which informs us that a Sanhedrin must have […]

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Shekalim 12

The Mishna (Shekalim 4:6) found in today’s daf (Shekalim 12a) informs us of a dispute between Rabbi Akiva and Ben Azzai about the use of הקדש (items consecrated) to the בית המקדש (Temple) for the בדק הבית (upkeep of the Temple). Interestingly, we are taught elsewhere (Mishna Temurah 7:2) that סתם הקדש לבדק הבית – […]

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Shekalim 11

 Having made reference in the previous Mishna (Shekalim 4:2) to the special ramp that was built for the transportation of the Parah Adumah from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives – whose function was to protect all those involved from the possibility of becoming טמא מת (spiritually impure through contact with the dead) […]

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Shekalim 10

 The Mishna (Shekalim 4:2) found in today’s daf (Shekalim 10b) begins by listing three items that were purchased מתרומת הלשכה – with money from the treasury chamber, namely: פרה – the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) used to purify those who had become טמא (spiritually impure through contact with the dead), שעיר המשתלח – the he-goat […]

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Shekalim 9

Having informed us of the importance of being “נקיים (literally ‘clean’, but generally understood to be ‘free from sin and the suspicion of sin’) in the eyes of God and of Israel” (see Bemidbar 32:22), today’s daf (Shelakim 9b) quotes Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair’s steps of spiritual growth – which includes the trait of נקיות […]

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Shekalim 8

We are taught in the Mishna (Shekalim 3:2) found in today’s daf (Shekalim 8a) that someone who withdraws money from the treasury chamber of the Beit HaMikdash may not do so with a hemmed garment or with anything else that could conceivably be used to hide money. This is because – as we derive from […]

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Shekalim 6-7

A central theme in both yesterday’s (Shekaim 6) & today’s daf (Shekalim 7) is the status of מותר – (surplus) money that was set aside to be given for the half-shekel donation as well as for a variety of other Beit HaMikdash related functions and other charity needs, and fundamentally, the question posed by the […]

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Shekalim 5

The Mishna (Shekalim 2:1) found in today’s daf (Shekalim 5a) informs us that just as there were half-shekel donation boxes for the upkeep of the Beit Hamikdash (Temple) within the Beit Hamikdash itself, so too, every Jewish community outside of Yerushalayim also had half-shekel donation boxes for this same purpose. Thus, wherever a Jew was […]

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Shekalim 4

Today’s daf (Shekalim 4) informs us that donations for the upkeep of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) should not be sought from idolatrous non-Jews, and that if a donation is made, it shouldn’t be a distinctive identifiable object.However, in the Gemara elsewhere (Arakhin 6a) we find that Rav Yosef raises a challenge to this, since we […]

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Shekalim 3

The Mishna (Shekalim 1:1) quoted in today’s daf (Shekalim 3a) informs us that the Beit Din in each city were responsible to repair the physical dangers in a city (eg. roads and streets that require repair); to provide religious services to a city (eg. maintain mikvaot and other צרכי הרבים), and to ensure that the […]

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Shekalim 2

 As part of its discussion about the contribution of the half-shekel for the maintenance of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and later on, the Beit HaMikdash (Temple), today’s daf (Shekalim 2b) offers two different approaches to understanding the behaviour of Bnei Yisrael in terms of what they gave to the Mishkan.One approach offered by Rebbi and presented […]

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Massechet Pesachim Siyum Video

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

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Pesachim 121

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

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Pesachim 120

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

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Pesachim 119

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

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Pesachim 118

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

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Pesachim 117

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

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Pesachim 116

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

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Pesachim 115

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

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Pesachim 114

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

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Pesachim 113

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

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Pesachim 112

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

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Pesachim 111

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

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Pesachim 110

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

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Pesachim 109

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

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Pesachim 108

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

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Pesachim 107

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

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Pesachim 106

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

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Pesachim 105

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

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Pesachim 104

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

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Pesachim 103

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

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Pesachim 102

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

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Pesachim 101

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

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Pesachim 100

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

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Pesachim 99

 The opening Mishna of Chapter ‘Arvei Pesachim’ (Pesachim 10:1) which is found in today’s daf (Pesachim 99b) informs us that the needy in a community must be provided with sufficient funds before Pesach so that they have wine to drink four cups on wine on Seder night, and it is in this spirit that I’d […]

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Pesachim 98

 The Mishna (Pesachim 9:9) found in today’s daf (Pesachim 98b) describes a situation where a group of people who intend to collaborate in the slaughter and consumption of a Korban Pesach then lose the lamb prior to it being slaughtered. The question posed by the Mishna is what is the law if one member separates […]

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Pesachim 97

Today’s daf (Pesachim 97a) addresses the laws pertaining to a lost Korban (sacrifice), and it is here where we are taught Rava’s rule that אבידת לילה לאו שמה אבידה – [a sacrifice that has been] “lost at night is not considered lost”.Reflecting on this message as we celebrate Purim today, it is noteworthy that much […]

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Pesachim 96

 “What is the difference between the Pesach celebrated in Egypt (פסח מצרים), and the Pesach celebrated in subsequent generations (פסח דורות)?” – is how the Mishna (Pesachim 9:5) in today’s daf (Pesachim 96a) begins.In response, the Mishna informs us that when Bnei Yisrael were in Egypt, they took the Korban Pesach on the 10th of […]

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Pesachim 95

 The Mishna (Pesachim 9:3), at the beginning of today’s daf (Pesachim 95), informs us about two rules regarding the recitation of Hallel on Pesach and on Pesach Sheni. Firstly, Hallel is sung during the preparation (i.e. sacrifice) of the Korban Pesach both on a ‘regular’ Pesach (14th Nissan), as well as on Pesach Sheni (14th […]

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Pesachim 94

 You’ve probably heard the idea that if something non-kosher is mixed with a kosher dish that is hot, then if there is 60 times more kosher food than non-kosher, then the mix is permitted (see Rema, Yoreh Deah 98:1) because it is presumed that once this ratio has been reached, the non-kosher food can no […]

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Pesachim 93

 We are taught in a Beraita in today’s daf (Pesachim 93a) that someone who converted to Judaism between Pesach and Pesach Sheni, or someone who has become a halachically-defined adult (12 for girls, 13 for boys) between Pesach and Pesach Sheni is, according to Rebbi, obligated to bring a Korban Pesach on Pesach Sheni.As the […]

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Pesachim 92

The Torah informs us that “if any person is ritually impure from contact with the dead” אוֹ בְדֶרֶךְ רְחֹקָה – “or is on a distant journey”, “then they shall still have the opportunity to prepare God’s Passover offering… [on Pesach Sheni, occurring a month later] on the afternoon of the 14th of the second month […]

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Pesachim 91

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 91) begins and ends with Mishnayot (Pesachim 8:6, 8) which each start by referring to an אונן (Onen) who, as Rashi explains with reference to Zevachim 100b, is someone whose close relative has died but has not yet been buried.And what is the relevance to the status of an אונן to our […]

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Pesachim 90

 When Bnei Yisrael were first commanded in Egypt about the Korban Pesach, they were told that it should be slaughtered and consumed by each individual family. But just like today, while some people had large families, others had smaller families, and some didn’t have families at all. Given this, the Torah informs us that: “And […]

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Pesachim 89

 Although it may sound oxymoronic, I generally avoid generalisations – especially when contrasting women and men. Moreover, while – on a daily basis – I endeavour to find or formulate an interpretation on a segment of the daf yomi, I am acutely aware (as I am reminded by the many commentaries which I study each […]

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Pesachim 88

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 88a) references how each of the three patriarchs referred to Mount Moriah – which was to become the location of the Temple – in three different ways. Specifically, Avraham referred to this location simply as a mountain (see Bereishit 22:14); Yitzchak referred to it as a field (see Bereishit 24:63), while Yaakov […]

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Pesachim 87

 As many of you know, aside from being blessed to learn directly from Rabbi Sacks zt’l on a number of occasions, I have also been teaching a course on his thought for many years, and since his death I have also delivered many shiurim in his honour.I mention this because today’s daf (Pesachim 87) was […]

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Pesachim 86

 The offering and the consumption of the Korban Pesach while Bnei Yisrael was in Egypt was a bold theological statement rejecting idolatry (since the Egyptians idolized the lamb), while the fact that the Korban Pesach was consumed in family groupings (חבורות) was a bold social statement that the strength of a moral society begins in […]

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Pesachim 85

In response to the Mishna’s discussion found in today’s daf (Pesachim 85b) about the boundaries of Jerusalem within which the Korban Pesach may be eaten, which mentions how a doorway is considered to be a boundary, the subsequent Gemara begins with a statement of Rabbi Yehuda quoting Rav that, ‘so too is the law concerning […]

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Pesachim 84

Today’s daf (Pesachim 84a) records an apparent disagreement between Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish highlighting their different approaches to the halachic status of parts of an animal that has been offered as the Korban Pesach. According to what we are told, Rabbi Yochanan asserts that we determine the validity of a piece of meat based […]

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Pesachim 83

 The most significant thesis of the author of the Sefer HaChinuch, which he repeatedly promotes in that magnificent work, is אדם נפעל כפי פעולותיו – a person is ‘acted upon’ according to their actions, and that אחרי הפעולות נמשכים הלבבות – our heart follows the actions that we do. What this means is that rather […]

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Pesachim 82

 We were taught in the previous Mishna (Pesachim 7:8) that if part, or all, of a Korban Pesach became טמא (impure), then it must be burnt on the Temple mount with wood that had been donated and consecrated for Temple use.Contrasting this, if only a small portion of a Korban Pesach became טמא, or if […]

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Pesachim 81

 As previously explained in yesterday’s daf, טומאת התהום (literally “the impurity of the deep”) refers to a situation where, notwithstanding the proximity of a dead body, its presence is hidden and unknown to everyone.In today’s daf (Pesachim 81b), a biblical source is sought for the law of טומאת התהום, to which Rabbi Elazar responds that […]

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Pesachim 80

 The Mishna (Pesachim 7:7) in today’s daf (Pesachim 80b) discusses various cases where a Korban Pesach was offered in the state of טומאה (impurity) but which is nevertheless considered acceptable; and included among these cases is a situation where an individual has unknowingly become טמא מת (impure through contact with the dead) from what is […]

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Pesachim 79

 We have previously discussed the law of פסח שני which states that individuals who are טמא (impure from contact with the dead) do not partake of the Korban Pesach during their state of impurity, and instead, do so a month later.And we have also discussed the concept of אין ציבור נידחין לפסח שני – meaning […]

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Pesachim 78

 While addressing the relationship between the offering and the eating of the Korban Pesach, today’s daf (Pesachim 78b) cites a teaching of Rabbi Natan who interprets Shemot 12:6 (וְשָׁחֲטוּ אֹתוֹ כֹּל קְהַל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם – “and the entire congregation of Israel will slaughter it in the afternoon”) to teach that ישראל יוצאין בפסח […]

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Pesachim 77

 In general, I am a very time-conscious person, and though I don’t think I can speak much about high fashion, I endeavour to ensure that I am dressed suitably and in a presentable manner for whatever place or context I find myself.I mention this because, around 18 years ago, my then boss and I had […]

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Pesachim 76

Halacha teaches that when two foods are cooked together then there is a transfer of flavours between them. Given this, when a kosher food item has been cooked with a non-kosher food item, or when meat and milk have been cooked together, we presume that each have absorbed flavours of each other. Moreover, as noted […]

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Pesachim 75

Last Shabbat we read Parshat Beshalach which concludes with the story of Bnei Yisrael’s battle with Amalek, and this Shabbat we will be reading Parshat Yitro and the story of Matan Torah. And perhaps unexpectedly, both of these relate to today’s daf (Pesachim 75b). In terms of our daf, it’s almost exclusive focus is how […]

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Pesachim 74

 During the discussion in today’s daf (Pesachim 74) about the ways in which the Korban Pesach should be cooked, we find a discussion about how to deal with blood.Significantly, the Torah forbids us from consuming blood (se Vayikra 7:26-27, 17:10-12, Devarim 12:23), and we generally soak and salt meat prior to cooking in order to […]

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Pesachim 73

Today’s daf (Pesachim 73a) cites two rules about the Korban Pesach based on the principle of עלו לא ירדו (once they ascend, they do not descend) found in Mishna Zevachim 9:1-2: 1) If someone slaughtered the Korban Pesach for those who halachically cannot partake of the Korban Pesach, then the person who did so is […]

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Pesachim 72

How would you feel if you suddenly discovered that you weren’t who you thought you were? For example, if you thought that you were your parent’s biological child but then discovered that you were adopted. Or you found out that an error had occurred at birth and that those who had raised you thinking that […]

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Pesachim 71

 Throughout rabbinic literature, the Hebrew word אַךְ is understood to be a word of “exclusion” – meaning that whenever it is used, it informs us that though a particular rule broadly applies, it doesn’t apply in all cases.This is relevant to today’s daf (Pesachim 71a) where we are told with reference to Sukkot that שִׁבְעַת […]

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Pesachim 70

 In today’s daf (Pesachim 70b) we are told about Yehuda Ben Dortai and his son who, one year when the 14th of Nissan fell of Pesach, separated themselves and travelled to the south of Israel which thereby exempted them from the obligation of participating in the offering of the Korban Pesach.Significantly, Yehuda Ben Dortai agreed […]

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Pesachim 69

Among the many different responsa volumes on my shelves is ‘Melumdei Milchama’, in which Rabbi Dr. Nahum Rabinovitch addresses questions posed to him by his students (who combine their Yeshiva study with service in the Israel Defence Forces) on matters of Jewish law and army service. Of course, there are occasions when the protection and […]

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Pesachim 68

 Towards the end of today’s daf (Pesachim 68b) we are told how Rav Sheshet (who, we should recall was blind and who was renowned for memorizing not only Mishnayot, but also Beraitot and Tosefotot) would not let a month go by without reviewing the Torah which he had learnt. Furthermore, he would often do so […]

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