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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Pesachim 67

Toward the end of yesterday’s daf (Pesachim 66b), reference was made to the law of ‘Pesach Sheni’ concerning which we are told: אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי יִהְיֶה טָמֵא לָנֶפֶשׁ – “If any person is ritually unclean from contact with the dead” and are therefore not spiritually suitable to participate in consuming the Korban Pesach, אוֹ בְדֶרֶךְ […]

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Pesachim 66

Twice in today’s daf an exquisite phrase is used which, since the time of the Gemara, has been invoked in numerous halachic writings and rulings. Firstly, in Pesachim 66a when Bnei Beteira asked Hillel HaBavli – with reference to a wider discussion initiated by the Mishna (Pesachim 6:1-2) about the actions that may or may […]

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Pesachim 65

 There are times when the Gemara records a halachic opinion that is supported by proof, or a halachic opinion that is supported by consensus, or a halachic opinion that is supported by authority. And then there are times when the Gemara records a non-halachic opinion of an individual scholar – which while of interest to […]

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Pesachim 64

Within today’s daf (Pesachim 64b), we read of a disagreement between Abaye and Rava concerning the events that occurred in the Beit HaMikdash when the Korban Pesach was offered. According to Abaye (as explained by Rabbeinu Hananel), as many people as possible were allowed to enter the Temple Courtyard, and we rely on a miracle […]

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Pesachim 63

In today’s daf (Pesachim 63b) we read of a disagreement concerning the efficacy of התראת ספק – which has been variously translated as a ‘doubtful’ (Soncino), ‘questionable’ (Artscroll) or ‘uncertain’ (Steinsaltz-Koren) warning. To give some context, for a punishment to be meted out by the Jewish court, the prohibited action for which the individual is […]

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Pesachim 62

 In today’s daf (Pesachim 62b) reference is made to a now-lost work called the ספר יוחסין (literally, ‘a book of lineages’), which is explained by various commentaries to be a profound book that explained various ancestral roots and different spiritual values from verses and names found in sefer Divrei HaYamim (The Book of Chronicles).We are […]

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Pesachim 61

 The Mishna (Pesachim 5:3) in today’s daf (Pesachim 61a) teaches us that the Korban Pesach may not be offered before midday on the 14th of Nissan, with this being derived from Shemot 12:6 (which we will be reading this Shabbat) which states that: וְשָׁחֲטוּ אֹתוֹ כֹּל קְהַל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם – “and the entire […]

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Pesachim 60

 In today’s daf (Pesachim 60a) we are introduced to a fascinating halachic rule of מקצת אוכלין לא פסלא (literally ‘if only some are able to eat, it is not invalid’) – which I would like to explain both in its context in our daf, as well as in terms of how it can be applied […]

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Pesachim 59

 We are taught in the Mishna (Pesachim 5:2) in today’s daf (Pesachim 59b) that the Korban Pesach must be slaughtered ‘lishma’ (literally ‘for its own sake’). What this means is that even if, while being slaughtered, the slaughterer intends that this animal be used for any other purpose or offering than a Korban Pesach, they […]

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Pesachim 58

 Given the commandment that the Korban Tamid be offered every day in the morning and afternoon (see Bemidbar 28:4), the Mishna (Pesachim 5:1) in today’s daf (Pesachim 58a) teaches us the time when the afternoon Korban Tamid was slaughtered and offered, and how these times were brought earlier on an Erev Pesach to ensure that […]

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Pesachim 57

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 57a) contains a number of stinging critiques towards spiritual leaders – including Kohanim Gedolim (High Priests) and members of their family – who used their position for personal gain and power. As the Gemara states elsewhere (Yoma 86b), ‘power buries those who wield it’.Reflecting on this teaching, Rabbi Sacks remarks that ‘it […]

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Pesachim 56

 In today’s daf (Pesachim 56a) we encounter the interpretation of Rabbi Yehuda on the Mishna (Pesachim 4:8) who explains that residents of Yericho did not say the words בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד to separate between the proclamation שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָד (Devarim 6:4) and וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל […]

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Pesachim 55

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 55a) refers to the halachic concept of יוהרא (hubris) – which is the word used to describe the actions of those individuals who choose to practice laws or customs from which they are exempt, or to adopt certain religious behaviours that are not required by the halacha, as a means of suggesting […]

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Pesachim 54

 We are taught in today’s daf (Pesachim 54b) that שבעה דברים מכוסים מבני אדם – ‘seven things are concealed from people’ and they are: יום המיתה (‘the day of death’), יום הנחמה (‘the day of consolation’, i.e. when we will be alleviated from the anxiety and stress that we are experiencing), עומק הדין (‘the depth […]

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Pesachim 53

The Mishna (Pesachim 4:4) in today’s daf (Pesachim 53a) notes how there were divergent customs concerning the eating of roasted meat on Seder night. For some, the eating of roasted meat – which was suggestive of freedom, abundance and the ability to share food as a family – was the ideal food to consume on […]

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Pesachim 52

 Until COVID, I visited different communities around the world as a scholar-in-residence – with the Chag where I was almost always away being Shavuot.Significantly, while Shavuot lasts just one day in Israel, it is celebrated for two days outside of Israel, and this meant that – at least once a year – I was confronted […]

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Pesachim 51

 Chapter 4 of Massechet Pesachim is called מקום שנהגו (“In a place where it is the custom to…”), and it is here where many of the rules pertaining to מנהגים (customs) are derived. For example, in yesterday’s daf (Pesachim 50b) we were taught that once a custom has been adopted by a community, it then […]

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Pesachim 50

 Much of the final lines of the third chapter of Massechet Pesachim is dedicated to exploring the difference between עולם הזה (this world) and עולם הבא (the next world), and embedded in the discussions found in our daf (Pesachim 50a) is a fascinating story involving Rav Yosef, the son of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi who […]

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Pesachim 49

 The Mishna (Pesachim 3:7) lists a number of places where a person may find themselves on the fourteenth of Nissan without having already removed their chametz including a סעודת אירוסין – a betrothal feast – and this leads the Gemara to (Pesachim 49a) to discuss whether attending a סעודת אירוסין is a רשות (optional) or […]

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Pesachim 48

 As we know, any act of baking dough on Pesach runs the risk of it rising and becoming chametz especially if it is not constantly being handled during the kneading process. Given this, we find a teaching from Rav in today’s daf (Pesachim 48) which states that there is a maximum amount of dough which […]

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Pesachim 47

 There is a beautiful rabbinic aphorism, based on the words of Mishlei 31:14 (הָיְתָה כָּאֳנִיּוֹת סוֹחֵר מִמֶּרְחָק תָּבִיא לַחְמָהּ – ‘she is like a merchant ship; she brings her sustenance from afar’), that דברי תורה עניים במקומן ועשירים במקום אחר – ‘the words of Torah are poor in their place and rich in other places’ […]

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Pesachim 46

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 46a) tells us about the (literal) lengths that one should go to in order to perform a mitzvah: ‘Rabbi Abahu said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Ben Lakish: “With regard to a kneader (who kneads dough for others but who needs to immerse their utensils before doing so), or with regard […]

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Pesachim 45

 We are taught in the Mishna (Pesachim 3:2) in today’s daf (Pesachim 45a) that dough which has become stuck in the cracks of a kneading bowl must be removed and disposed of before Pesach if its volume is the equivalent to, or greater than, a כזית (the size of an olive). However, if its volume […]

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Pesachim 44

 Much of today’s daf (Pesachim 44) explores the halachic principle of טעם כעיקר – which is the idea that we treat remnant flavour of a food as if it is the food itself.According to the Sages, this principle is derived from a Beraita which states that a Nazir – who is forbidden to eat grapes […]

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Pesachim 43

The previous Mishna (Mishna Pesachim 3:1, see Pesachim 42a) listed a number of different chametz-based products including ‘kutach’ – which is a Babylonian dip made from sour milk, bread crumbs and salt, and in today’s daf (Pesachim 43a) we are taught that the reason why the Sages specifically listed these products was כדי שיהא רגיל […]

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Pesachim 42

  We are taught by Rabbi Yehuda in today’s daf (Pesachim 42a) that ‘a woman should only knead [the dough for matzah] with מים שלנו (literally ‘water that had slept’, meaning water that had been collected the previous day)”’. As Rashi explains, given the fact that the water drawn from wells and springs in the month of […]

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Pesachim 41

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 41) deals with the Korban Pesach, and specifically, how the Korban Pesach must be cooked. This is because the Torah states that there is requirement for the Korban Pesach to be eaten roasted (Shemot 12:8), and that there is a prohibition for it to be eaten raw or cooked in water (Shemot […]

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Pesachim 40

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 40) makes reference to halachic strictures on Pesach which, though not demanded by halacha, are encouraged to be adopted by a בעל נפש (literally ‘someone who lives their life with a focus on the soul’, but generally understood to refer to those who have adopted a stricter religious lifestyle as an expression […]

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Pesachim 39

 In addition to eating Matzah on Seder night, we also eat Maror, with this requirement being derived from the Torah obligation (see Shemot 12:8 and Bemidbar 9:11) of eating the meat of the Korban Pesach along with both Matzah and Maror (עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרֹרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ).Significantly, the Torah does not inform us what Maror is. Consequently, […]

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Pesachim 38

 ‘A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. “Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife annual and tosses it over his shoulder. “I’m a panda,” he says at […]

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Pesachim 37

 When is bread not bread? This is, in effect, the question addressed in today’s daf (Pesachim 37) while considering which types of doughs require that ‘Challah’ be taken (nb. Challah is a ‘Terumah’ – a donation – taken from dough that has been prepared for bread as commanded in Bemidbar 15:17-21. It is required when […]

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Pesachim 36

 Devarim 16:3 describes matzah as לֶחֶם עֹנִי, and in today’s daf (Pesachim 36a), two different explanations are offered as to the meaning of this term.According to Rabbi Akiva, since the word עֹנִי as spelt without a ‘vav’, it must refer to ‘poverty’ and thus the term לֶחֶם עֹנִי means ‘the bread of the poor’.However, since […]

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Pesachim 35

 ‘Demai’ is the term given to produce grown in the Land of Israel where a doubt exists whether Terumah and Ma’aser has been removed from it.Of course, were it to be known with certainty that Terumah and Ma’aser has not been taken, then such produce would be considered ‘Tevel’ and may not be consumed until […]

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Pesachim 34

 Much of today’s daf (Pesachim 34) discusses the halachic principle of היסח הדעת (i.e. diverting or ceasing to focus one’s attention on a specific matter), and specifically, the necessity, as learnt from Bemidbar 18:8, to safeguard terumah and be attentive that it not be ‘contaminated’ by טומאה (impurity).In general, wherever the principle of היסח הדעת […]

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Pesachim 33

Within today’s daf (Pesachim 33b) we find a curious discussion about the spiritual status of the juice squeezed from grapes that are טמא. According to one position attributed to Rav Yochanan, the juice in grapes is מפקיד פקידי – meaning that it is stored inside the grape, but is not part of the grape – […]

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Pesachim 32

Undoubtedly, the most referenced Torah law in all of Massechet Pesachim is the prohibition of eating Chametz on Pesach. However, precisely because the Gemara loves to draw comparisons, Massechet Pesachim regularly references other foods that the Torah forbids us to eat either on Pesach or on other occasions such as the Terumah – the food […]

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Pesachim 31

 Having discussed the prohibition of owning, eating or benefiting from chametz on Pesach, the Mishna (Pesachim 2:3) in today’s daf (Pesachim 31b) addresses the question of what should be done if chametz becomes totally inaccessible – such as in the case where a wall has collapsed underwhich chametz products, owned by a Jew, have become […]

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Pesachim 30

In today’s daf (Pesachim 30a) we are informed of Rav’s position that earthenware dishes which previously absorbed chametz flavour may not be used after Pesach and must therefore be broken prior to the onset of Pesach. This is because Rav is of the opinion that chametz flavour retained in earthenware dishes can imbue a trace […]

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Pesachim 29

 Today’s daf (Pesachim 29b) presents a variety of opinions about the status of non-chametz food into which biblically prohibited chametz has been mixed on Pesach, as well as the status of non-chametz food into which rabbinically prohibited חמץ שעבר עליו הפסח (chametz which continued to be in the possession of a Jew during Pesach) has […]

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Pesachim 28

We were previously taught in Mishna Pesachim 2:1 (see Pesachim 21a) that while Rabbi Yehuda ruled that ביעור חמץ may only be done by burning the chametz, the Sages disagreed and ruled that chametz may also be disposed of by being crumbled and scattered to the wind, or crumbled and thrown into the sea. Continuing […]

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Pesachim 27

Among the different topics addressed in today’s daf (Pesachim 27b) is whether consecrated items which have been burnt nevertheless maintain their sanctity, and as part of the Gemara’s examination of this topic, it makes reference to the ‘Terumat HaDeshen’ – the ash residue that remained on the altar as a remnant from the sacrifices that […]

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Pesachim 26

As part of the Gemara’s ongoing discussion about הנאה (deriving benefit) from a forbidden object or substance even when this benefit is unintended, a Beraita is cited in today’s daf (Pesachim 26b) which is initially understood to teach that while a person must look after a lost item that they have found, they may still […]

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Pesachim 25

Having spent much of the past few dapim discussing the halachic concept of הנאה (benefit) and the situations when it is permitted to derive benefit from a prohibited substance, today’s daf (Pesachim 25a-b) addresses a variety of cases when it is forbidden to derive הנאה, and the situations when a person must rather give up […]

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Pesachim 24

  Today’s daf (Pesachim 24b) contains an important halachic principle which has numerous practical applications, but which also teaches us about how we should eat and thereby enjoy the food that we have.‘We are taught that Rabbi Abahu said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: “No lashes are given [as a punishment] to someone who consumes […]

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Pesachim 23

  This Sunday* I will be speaking alongside a number of other disciples about Rabbi Sacks zt’l, and while preparing my talk last night, I was reflecting on the concept of discipleship and what this means in terms of the responsibilities of a disciple to continue sharing the wisdom they have received from their teacher.I mention […]

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Pesachim 22

Today’s daf (Pesachim 22b) makes reference to one of the most fascinating mitzvot in the Torah which has, unfortunately, been emphasized too greatly in some areas of Jewish living, and insufficiently in others. ‘Rabbi Natan says: How do we know that it is prohibited to stretch out your hand holding a cup of wine to […]

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Pesachim 21

Shavua Tov & Chanukah Sameach! In today’s daf (Pesachim 21b) two different Amoraim offer a biblical prooftext for the prohibition of deriving benefit from chametz on Pesach. Chizkiyah teaches that this is learnt from the words וְלֹא יֵאָכֵל חָמֵץ – “chametz shall not be eaten” (Shemot 13:3) which he interprets to mean לא יהא בו […]

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Pesachim 20

Today’s daf (Pesachim 20b) returns to the question – previously examined earlier on (see Pesachim 14a) – regarding the disposal of chametz of terumah, and specifically whether chametz of terumah which is certainly טמא may be burnt along with chametz of terumah that is possibly, but not certainly, טמא.According to Rabbi Shimon based on the […]

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Pesachim 19

Towards the end of today’s daf (Pesachim 19b) the Gemara uses a curious phrase with reference to objects whose spiritual provenance is unknown.Specifically, the topic being addressed in the daf is whether we should presume that an object, such as a needle or knife, is טמא (and has therefore conveyed טומאה to an animal)? Or […]

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Pesachim 18

The biblical word that sits at the centre of much of the discussion in today’s daf (Pesachim 18a-b) is יטמא, with the debate being whether this word – which is used in Vayikra 11:33 and 11:34 with reference to foods and liquids that have been in contact with a source of טומאה and is generally […]

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Pesachim 17

A central element of the Chanukah story is that the oil that was used in the Beit HaMikdash was spiritually tainted by the Syrian-Greeks. This point is made in Gemara Shabbat 21b which informs us that they טמאו כל השמנים שבהיכל – meaning that they deliberately rendered all the oil in the sanctuary to be […]

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Pesachim 16

The topic of much of today’s daf (Pesachim 16a) concerns the extent to which liquids are susceptible to טומאה which, though often translated as ‘spiritual impurity’, is better described as an association with death of any sort including the unrealized potential for life.Yet while the liquids that are discussed in the Gemara are those that […]

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Pesachim 15

Today’s daf (Pesachim 15b) quotes a Beraita which informs us of a fascinating qualification which has a significant impact on determining what products are or are not considered chametz and, therefore, may or may not be used on Pesach.Specifically, the Beraita teaches us that bread which has become mouldy and unfit for human consumption, but […]

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Pesachim 14

There is a rule, as derived from Devarim 12:4, that we may not destroy the name of God which is why we therefore either put aside (‘geniza’) or bury (‘kevura’) sacred writings containing the name of God that become unfit for use. However, while Sifrei Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzot must be treated in this manner, other […]

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Pesachim 13

 A major idea in Judaism, one that I particularly focus on in my (upcoming) book on the Shehecheyanu blessing and which is concretized in a variety of halachot, is that to be religious is not to dismiss the physical (as some of my former high school teachers would do by speaking about the physical and […]

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Pesachim 12

Today’s daf (Pesachim 12) discusses time-precision in halacha, and the extent to which margins of error are or are not permitted in terms of witnesses testifying in a court, or the disposal of chametz prior to Pesach. Yet on first glance, this comparison is exceedingly hard to comprehend, because what does the laws of disposal […]

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Pesachim 11

In today’s daf (Pesachim 11a-b) we are taught that אדם בהול על ממונו – ‘a person is in turmoil about their money/income’, and given this observation, the Sages – both in our daf and elsewhere – debate the extent to which halachic latitude should be given to people in financial straits. As the Encyclopedia Talmudit […]

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Pesachim 10

Today’s daf (Pesachim 10a-b) expends much time discussing the laws of searching for chametz and specifically, the chance that mice (and by implication, other animals and also children) may find, move or remove chametz in a home. This is why, having searched the house for chametz and successfully found chametz, the Mishna (Pesachim 1:3, 10b) […]

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Pesachim 9

In today’s daf (Pesachim 9a), we consider the case where chametz has certainly entered a property but may possibly have been destroyed or removed. In such a situation, does the doubt surrounding the possible status and location of the chametz mean that it is now no longer certain that there is chametz in the property? […]

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Pesachim 8

Today’s daf (Pesachim 8a) invokes one of the most fascinating yet misunderstood principles relating to mitzvah performance, namely שלוחי מצוה אינן ניזוקין – ‘those on a mission to perform a mitzvah are not harmed’. In terms of the daf, this principle is invoked in response to a Beraita which teaches that someone need not check […]

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Pesachim 7

Much of today’s daf (Pesachim 7a-b) explores the various formulae used in the brachot that we recite, beginning with the question of whether the bracha recited upon searching for chametz should be לבער חמץ (to remove chametz), or על ביעור חמץ (on the removal of chametz). In fact, as the Gemara continues, it is clear […]

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Pesachim 6

‘It was taught in a baraita: One asks about and teaches the halachot of Pesach thirty days before Pesach’ (Pesachim 6a). This teaching, for which the Rabbis of the Talmud find biblical support in the fact that ‘Moshe was standing at the time of the first Pesach, on the fourteenth of Nisan, and warning the […]

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Pesachim 5

Today’s daf (Pesachim 5a) contains a cryptic aggadic teaching which, upon first glance, seems almost impossible to make sense of. However, having pondered the teaching, and then drawn inspiration from the explanations offered by various commentaries including the Torah Temimah (on Bereishit 25:25), I would like to offer my thoughts. The teaching, which originated from […]

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