Rosh Hashanah 9

We are taught in today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 8a) that Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said that the first of Tishrei is the New Year for judgement. And how does he…

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Rosh Hashanah 8

We are taught in today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 8a) that Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said that the first of Tishrei is the New Year for judgement. And how does he…

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Rosh Hashanah 7

Many years ago I read a unique book which unfortunately has few parallels before or since. Titled ‘One People, Two Worlds: A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the…

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Rosh Hashanah 6

Much of today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 6a) explores the laws of נדרים (vows), and it is here that a Beraita explains the words of Devarim 23:24 of: מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ –…

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Rosh Hashanah 5

Yesterday, the 7th of Cheshvan, was the 88th yartzheit of Rav Meir Shapiro (1887-1933) who is regarded by many as being the founder of the Daf Yomi movement. A Hasidic…

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Rosh Hashanah 4

Today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 4b) contains a rabbinic aphorism that I regularly invoke which, though mentioned in our daf as part of a highly specific discussion about delayed sacrifices, has…

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Rosh Hashanah 3

There is an interesting phrase used in today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 3b) in relation to Daryavesh (Darius) who, as is claimed by a Beraita, is the same king that is…

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Rosh Hashanah 2

Having been taught in the Mishna (Rosh Hashanah 1:1) that the first of Nissan is the New Year for kings, the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 2b) explains that this is deduced…

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Beitzah 40

When considering what should be my thought for today’s daf (Beitzah 40b) – the final in the Massechet – I was drawn to an observation found within the final lines…

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Beitzah 39

Having previously explained how the laws of ‘techumin’ (i.e. the prohibition of walking more than 2,000 amot beyond a town or city’s boundary on Shabbat and Yom Tov) apply not…

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Beitzah 38

 Today’s daf (Beitzah 38a-b) contains one of the most confusing and cryptic exchanges in the entire Gemara.We are told that soon after Rabbi Abba moved from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael,…

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Beitzah 37

A fascinating principle relating to ‘techumin’ (boundaries) is taught in the Mishna (Beitzah 5:4) found in today’s daf (Beitzah 37a) – from which we can learn much about sharing &…

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Beitzah 36

The Mishna (Beitzah 5:2) in today’s daf (Beitzah 36b) lists a variety of activities which our Sages forbade on Shabbat and Yom Tov for fear of what they may lead…

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Beitzah 35

The Mishna (Beitzah 5:1) in today’s daf (Beitzah 35b) informs us that “We may put a vessel under dripping water on Shabbat [and then move that vessel as and when…

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Beitzah 34

In today’s daf (Beitzah 34a) we are taught a Beraita which describes an unusual situation where a number of people play a role in the forbidden act of cooking on…

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Beitzah 33

Today’s daf (Beitzah 33b) makes reference to woods with a fragrance, noting that ‘we may handle fragrant woods [on Shabbat] to smell them’. And while it is true that some…

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Beitzah 32

     Today’s daf (Beitzah 32b) informs us of a halacha that we may be מוחט a wick on Yom Tov – which is explained to mean that it is…

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Beitzah 31

 Today’s daf (Beitzah 31b) raises the question of whether food may be taken on Yom Tov from a room that was previously sealed – which the Gemara initially understands to…

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Beitzah 30

The Mishna (Beitzah 4:1), as cited in today’s daf (30a), rules that in order to distinguish between Yom Tov and weekday activities, they should be performed with a שינוי, ‘a…

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Beitzah 29

Today is Isru Chag (in Israel) which is when we reflect on the Yamim Tovim that we have experienced throughout Tishrei while also thinking about how we can channel the…

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Beitzah 28

Having been taught in today’s daf (Beitzah 28a) that the only difference between the Shabbat and Yom Tov laws is אוכל נפש בלבד – matters relating to food, the question…

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Beitzah 27

Quite often, while explaining a particular halachic ruling, the Gemara will make a statement which is rich with theological meaning and which deserves further examination. Today’s daf (Beitzah 27a) provides…

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Beitzah 26

Today’s daf (Beitzah 26b) records a question posed by [the Amora] Hillel to Rava concerning יש מוקצה לחצי שבת – the mukzeh status of an item on Shabbat that was…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 –…

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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’,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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) –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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),…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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”,…

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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…

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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…

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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),…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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)’…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Yoma 64

Much of today’s daf (Yoma 64a) examines a disagreement between Rav and Rav Yochanan. According to Rav, בעלי חיים אינם נידחים, ‘living creatures are not rejected’ – which means that…

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Yoma 63

Today’s daf (Yoma 63b) cites a Beraita where we encounter the only recorded ruling of a Tana called חנן המצרי – Chanan the Egyptian – who was of the opinion…

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Yoma 62

Today’s daf (Yoma 62a-b) discusses the two se’irim (he goats) whose different fates provided observers with a dramatic illustration of the different fates that may befall each of us. As…

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Yoma 61

The recent dapim (pages) of Massechet Yoma have been intensely focused on the Avodah – the service – of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, and more recently (from the…

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Yoma 60

The Mishna (Yoma 5:7) in today’s daf (Yoma 60a) begins by stating that all the actions performed by the Kohen Gadol which have previously been described in Massechet Yoma על…

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Yoma 59

While describing the precise activities of the Kohen Gadol’s daubing of blood on the incense altar on Yom Kippur, we were previously taught (Mishna Yoma 5:6, 58b) that once he…

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Yoma 58

In today’s daf (Yoma 58b) we are taught that having performed the blood sprinkling service, the Kohen Gadol then daubed blood on each of the four corners of the incense…

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Yoma 57

A significant disagreement in today’s daf (Yoma 57a) concerns the blood of the Yom Kippur bull and goat offerings that were sprinkled towards the curtain of the Kodesh Kodashim. Specifically,…

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Yoma 56

 Basing itself on Vayikra 16:16 (“and so shall he do in the Tent of Meeting that dwells (HaShochen) among them in the midst of their impurities”) which describes the avodah…

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Yoma 55

Much of today’s daf (Yoma 55a) focusses its attention on the Yom Kippur ceremony and the sprinkling of the blood – above and below – both inside and outside the…

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Yoma 54

Today’s daf (Yoma 54a) quotes from Mishna Shekalim 6:2 to tell a story of a certain Kohen who was מתעסק – a word we shall translate in just a moment…

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Yoma 53

In today’s daf (Yom 53b) Rabbi Alexandri quotes a teaching of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi that someone who has prayed must take three steps backwards and then give (יתן) ‘Shalom’…

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Yoma 52

When Am Yisrael reached the Yam Suf, with the water ahead of them and the Egyptians behind them, Moshe began to pray. However, as Chazal explain, God then spoke with…

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Yoma 51

In today’s daf (Yoma 51b) we are taught a Beraita presenting three opinions about the path taken by the Kohen Gadol as he proceeded towards the Kodesh Kodashim. According to…

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Yoma 50

A curious statement is found in today’s daf (Yoma 50a), which can also be found elsewhere in the Gemara (Moed Katan 24a, Zevachim 93b, Menachot 7b & 26b), and which…

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Yoma 49

In today’s daf (Yoma 49a), two versions of a statement of Rabbi Chanina are recorded, with the second seemingly being the more accurate of the two.In terms of the first…

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Yoma 48

In yesterday’s daf (Yoma 47b) we encountered three questions of Rav Pappa, to which the Gemara responded with the word ‘Teiku’. In today’s daf (Yoma 48a-b), we encountered three further…

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Yoma 47

Today’s daf (Yoma 47a) makes reference to the righteous actions of some of Kimchit’s sons, and it then quotes a Beraita stating that she had seven sons and that all…

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Yoma 46

In today’s daf (Yoma 46b) we are informed of a debate concerning someone who, after scooping up coals from the altar for the incense fire-pan, extinguishes a coal. And why…

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Yoma 45

Mishna Yoma (4:4) teaches that while the incense that was brought each day in the Beit HaMikdash was finely ground, the incense that was brought by the Kohen Gadol on…

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Yoma 44

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Yoma 4:4) that throughout the year when the Kohen scooped up the coals to be used for the Ketoret (incense), he scooped up…

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Yoma 43

We are told in today’s daf (Yoma 43b) that when Rav Yochanan and Reish Lakish delved into the topic of the Parah Adumah with the intention to better understand the…

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Yoma 42

Today’s daf (Yoma 42a) relates that around the time when the Rabbis were exploring the association between Parah Adumah and the se’ir hamishtaleach (the scapegoat), the Amora called Ravya bar…

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Yoma 41

The Mishna (Yoma 2:4) in today’s daf (Yoma 41b) makes reference to a crimson thread that was tied to the se’ir hamishtaleach (the scapegoat) on Yom Kippur, and in the…

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Yoma 40

Today’s daf (Yoma 40b) records a question raised by Rabbi Akiva’s students to their revered teacher concerning the lottery drawn by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. In terms of…

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Yoma 39

An oft-referenced principle that is mentioned in today’s daf (Yoma 39a) and in numerous other places in halachic literature is that התורה חסה על ממונן של ישראל – “the Torah…

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Yoma 38

 Today’s daf (Yoma 38b) makes reference to the phrases זֵכֶר צַדִּיק לִבְרָכָה – ‘may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing’, and וְשֵׁם רְשָׁעִים יִרְקָב – ‘and the…

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Yoma 37

Today’s daf (Yoma 37a) quotes a teaching of Rebbi who draws a beautiful lesson from a Torah verse. In his stirring words of Parshat Ha’azinu, Moshe told the Jewish people:…

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Yoma 36

Today’s daf (Yoma 36b) informs us about the viduy (confession) which accompanied the Kohen Gadol’s offering of a bull as a Korban Chatat (sin offering) on behalf of himself, his…

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Yoma 35

Today’s daf (Yoma 35b) contains a powerful message – requiring almost no further commentary – for each and every one of us as we prepare to celebrate Shavuot tonight.‘The Rabbis…

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Yoma 34

In general, my daf insights on Motzei Shabbat reflect the fact that Shabbat provides me with more focused time for limud Torah than the average weekday, which means that my…

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Yoma 33

Some weeks ago I learnt a fascinating insight explaining a well-known Gemara and then today, when pondering a curious statement in today’s daf (Yoma 33b), I realised that perhaps these…

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Yoma 32

 While discussing the bigdei kahuna (priestly clothes) worn by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur and the changes of clothing performed by a Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, today’s daf…

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Yoma 31

 The Mishna (Yoma 3:5) in today’s daf (Yoma 31b) informs us with respect to the Kohen Gadol’s five mikveh immersions on Yom Kippur that: ‘if the Kohen Gadol was old…

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Yoma 30

The Mishna (Yoma 3:3) in today’s daf (Yoma 30a) states that ‘no one may enter the Azara (Temple Courtyard) for service – even if they are tahor (spiritually pure) –…

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Yoma 29

Today’s daf is Yoma 29a, and today is also the 28th of Iyar – Yom Yerushalayim – when we celebrate the victory of the six-day-war and the reunification of Jerusalem.…

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Yoma 28

 Today’s daf (Yoma 28b) contains an oft-cited and widely misunderstood rabbinic saying that Avraham Avinu kept the entire Torah. In fact, at least one Amoraic opinion mentioned in our daf…

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Yoma 27

Today’s daf (Yoma 27a) quotes from Vayikra 1:8 from where it is learnt that the word וערכו – ‘and they shall arrange’ – comes to teach us that ‘two’ (or…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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’ –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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 –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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,…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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’…

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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…

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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…

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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;…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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’…

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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…

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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…

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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’)…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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’),…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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’)…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Pesachim 4

Today’s daf (Pesachim 4a) draws a comparison between the laws of בדיקת חמץ (searching for chametz) in a rented home, and the laws of קביעת מזוזה (affixing a mezuzah on…

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Pesachim 3

Much of today’s daf (Pesachim 3a-b) is dedicated to the topic of using refined language, and by citing Bereishit 7:8 as an example, Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi demonstrates how the…

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Eruvin 105

  Dear friends, Over the past 104 days we have studied Massechet Eruvin. During this period, we have examined the relationship between the sacred time of Shabbat and the physical…

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Eruvin 104

Having reached the penultimate daf of Massechet Eruvin (nb. I hope to share something special tomorrow to celebrate our completion), I am drawn to the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin…

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Eruvin 103

Sometimes you can read a text in one way, while nevertheless feeling that there is more to it than meets the eye. Then, you can encounter a different reading to…

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Pesachim 2

The first Mishna in Massechet Pesachim (1:1, 2a) teaches us that we perform the mitzvah of bedikat chametz (checking for chametz) with a light on the night (אור) of the…

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Eruvin 102

The Mishna at the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 10:13, 102b) informs us that ‘one may tie up a string [that came loose from a harp which is being used…

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Eruvin 101

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 101) is interested in doors, keys and locks, with Mishna Eruvin 10:9 (101a) focussing its attention on whether it is possible to stand in a…

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Eruvin 100

Today’s daf (Eruvin 100b) contains what I believe to be one of the most enigmatic passages from the entire Talmud:‘Said Rabbi Yochanan: if the Torah had not been given, we…

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Eruvin 99

  One of the Mishnayot in today’s daf (Eruvin 10:6, 99b) informs us that someone who is standing in a reshut harabim (public domaim) may use a cup or other…

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Eruvin 98

‘A person may stand in a reshut hayachid (private domain) and move things in a reshut harabim (public domain), or stand in a reshut harabim (public domain) and move things…

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Eruvin 97

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 10:3, 97b) speaks of someone reading a sacred scroll (i.e. containing biblical verses) in a raised private domain when, suddenly, one end of the…

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Eruvin 96

Today’s daf (Eruvin 96a) mentions Michal Bat Shaul who wore tefillin, and Yona’s wife who ascended to Yerushalayim for the Shalosh Regalim, and in each case לא מיחו בה חכמים…

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Eruvin 95

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 10:2, 95b) presents the creative halachic solution of Rabbi Shimon which was seemingly offered in response to a scenario where someone finds a religious…

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Eruvin 94

Over the past few days of Daf Yomi we have encountered a series of debates between Rav and Shmuel, and we have also spent time considering the halachic status of…

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Eruvin 93

Towards the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 93b), Rav Hoshaya raised the question about the case of a large courtyard that is adjacent to a small courtyard, where the boundary…

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Eruvin 91-92

Yesterday, for the first time in over five months, I did not post a Daf Yomi thought, and this is because I, like so many others around the world, was…

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Eruvin 90

Just as yesterday’s daf contained a debate between Rav and Shmuel about the application of גוד אסיק מחיצתא (i.e. where a partition or wall exists that is at least ten…

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Eruvin 89

 In today’s daf (Eruvin 89) we are taught about the fascinating halachic concept of גוד אסיק מחיצתא (‘extend and raise the partition’) such that where a partition or wall exists…

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Eruvin 88

 Like the past few pages of Massechet Eruvin, today’s daf (Eruvin 88) spends much of its time discussing the rules of transferring water on Shabbat. However, while prior dapim concerned…

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Eruvin 87

In today’s daf (Eruvin 87b) we are taught that Rabbi Chananya Ben Akavya – who was a resident of Tiberias – permitted three practices for the people of Tiberias:1) In…

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Eruvin 86

In today’s daf (Eruvin 86a) we are taught that both Rabbi Akiva and Rebbi would show respect towards those wealthy people who were dedicated to helping the poor by giving…

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Eruvin 85

As part of its ongoing debate examining the halachic position of Rav concerning the use of airspace, today’s daf (Eruvin 85a-b) notes that Rav Nachman quoted Rabbah bar Avuha who…

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Eruvin 84

If I had to identify a Talmudic debate that captures the spirit of Talmudic legal reasoning, it would probably be the first Mishna in Massechet Bava Metziah which examines the…

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Eruvin 83

As part of its discussion about the size of a loaf that can be used for an Eruv, today’s daf (Eruvin 83b) examines the law of ‘Challah’ which, in the…

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Eruvin 82

To date, much of Massechet Eruvin has been focussed on explaining ‘how’ to construct various forms of Eruvin, while far less attention has been given to consider ‘why’ an Eruv…

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Eruvin 81

We have previously noted (see Eruvin 71b and my commentary on that daf) that while various foodstuffs may be used to establish an Eruv Techumin, and while wine can be…

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Eruvin 80

In today’s daf (Eruvin 80a) we are told how Rabbi Chiya rendered a controversial halachic ruling where he forbade the use of an Eruv established by a mother-in-law for her…

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Eruvin 79

Towards the end of todays’ daf (Eruvin 79b) we are taught three rulings from the Elders of Pumbedita – whom we are told in Sanhedrin 17b were Rav Yehuda and…

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Eruvin 78

Today’s daf (Eruvin 78b) continues its discussion of walls that divide courtyards, and how the access provided by a ladder to a tall window in such a wall can –…

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Eruvin 77

Today’s daf (Eruvin 77b) contrasts two types of ladders and their respective efficacy in terms of ‘reducing the height’ of a wall – as defined by the ease with which…

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Eruvin 76

  The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 7:1, 76a) discusses the status of a wall containing a window that divides between two courtyards. We are told that if the window…

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Eruvin 75

 The Mishna (Eruvin 6:9-10, 75a) in today’s daf examines the interrelationship of two courtyards, A & B, such that to reach courtyard B you must walk through courtyard A.The problem…

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Eruvin 74

 In his interpretation of Mishna Eruvin (6:8, 73a), Rav explains that a מבוי (an alleyway adjoining a public domain) can only be transformed into a private domain by use of…

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Eruvin 73

‘Baruch Shekivanti!’ (which loosely translates as ‘Thank you G-d for directing me [to the same conclusion as someone far greater than me in Torah knowledge and Torah understanding]’) is a…

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Eruvin 72

While addressing the need to establish an Eruv by independent householders, the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 6:7, 72b) speaks of a situation of ‘brothers who eat at their father’s…

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Eruvin 71

Today’s daf (Eruvin 71b) informs us that while various foodstuffs may be used to establish an Eruv Techumin, and while wine can be used for an Eruv in order to…

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Eruvin 70

Over the past few dapim we’ve been discussing the concept of ‘Bittul Reshut’, meaning ‘renouncing rights to a domain’, which is a halachic solution to a situation where some of…

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Eruvin 69

Today’s daf (Eruvin 69) contains a fascinating halachic discussion about core Jewish beliefs and practices, and it is here where we encounter the ruling of Rav Huna that someone who…

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Eruvin 68

Today’s daf (Eruvin 68a) includes a fascinating ruling relating to Hilchot Shabbat, medical needs and mental health.The case begins by telling us that, on a Shabbat, the hot water that…

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Eruvin 67

At the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 67b) we are taught a fascinating principle – originally formulated by Rav Yehuda – relating to halachic authority and the halachic process. Specifically,…

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Eruvin 66

 Today’s daf (Eruvin 66) explores two possible halachic models relating to the establishment of an Eruv by Jewish tenants who are renting property owned by a non-Jew. According to one…

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Eruvin 65

Today’s daf (Eruvin 65a) contains a teaching which – if taken at face value – would likely provide a justification for almost all of us to almost never pray:‘Rav Chiya…

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Eruvin 64

Today’s daf (Eruvin 64a) makes reference to an oft-quoted (yet oft-misunderstood) teaching of Mari bar Rav Huna which informs us that ‘a person should only take leave of their friend…

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Eruvin 63

Today’s daf (Eruvin 63b) contains a crucial insight into how to maintain a healthy marital relationship and it is a source that I have referenced every time I have taught…

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Eruvin 62

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 62) is dedicated to explaining the halachic position of Rabbi Eliezer Ben Yaakov as stated in the previous Mishna (Eruvin 6:1, 61b), and towards the…

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Eruvin 61

Eruvin 61 contains two debates which – though discussing very different laws – each address how the residence of others in a place where we symbolically or physically live can…

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Eruvin 60

In yesterday’s Mishna (Eruvin 5:6, 59a) we were taught that in order to construct an Eruv for a town that was previously publicly owned which then became privately owned, a…

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Eruvin 59

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 5:6, 59a) discusses the case of towns that change ownership from public to private or vice versa, and whether Eruvin need to be reconfigured…

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Eruvin 58

Having been taught in yesterday’s daf that the techum Shabbat may only be measured with a 50-amah rope, today’s daf (Eruvin 58a) cites a teaching of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Chananya…

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Eruvin 57

Having provided a series of detailed measurements relating to spaces that surround or that separate different towns, the Mishna at the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 5:4, 57b) informs us…

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Eruvin 56

Today’s daf (Eruvin 56b) returns back to a theme previously referenced in Eruvin 51a, where biblical support for the 2,000 amot Shabbat limit is derived from the Arei Miklat (Cities…

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Eruvin 55

Today’s daf (Eruvin 55a) begins with three different interpretations to Devarim 30:12-13 which states that, ‘[This mitzvah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote…

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Eruvin 54

There are times in our lives when all we need to do is to truly listen – with our hearts – to the messages being shared by sincere, passionate and…

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Eruvin 53

Today’s daf (Eruvin 53) is rich with insights and examples about what can be learnt from those who are thoughtful and precise with their words, and how a failure to…

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Eruvin 52

As we know, one of the most revered prayer services throughout the Jewish year is Kol Nidrei, which is a prayer that annuls the vows that we make with God.…

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Eruvin 51

In attempting to provide a biblical support for the rabbinic concept of the 2,000 amot Shabbat limit, today’s daf (Eruvin 51a) contains a fascinating Gezeira Shava (word association) ‘chain’ and…

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Eruvin 50

[As this is the first year when part of my Motzei Yom Kippur activities includes learning and writing a short thought on the Daf, I wanted to begin this thought…

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Eruvin 49

The Mishna in today’s daf (4:7, 49b) describes someone who is travelling on Friday afternoon and who, notwithstanding their best efforts, is unable to make it home for Shabbat. However,…

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Eruvin 48

Today’s daf (Eruvin 48a) begins by quoting a Beraita taught by Rabbi Chiya stating that where a water-filled ditch separates between the Shabbat boundary of two towns, an iron partition…

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Eruvin 47

Jewish law prohibits a Kohen from having contact with the dead (see Vayikra Ch. 21), and consequently, a Kohen may not enter a בית הקברות – a cemetery – with…

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Eruvin 46

  When laypeople, Torah scholars and rabbis discuss concepts of halacha (Jewish law), they invoke various halachic principles in order to help understand and determine a particular halacha. In particular,…

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Eruvin 45

In today’s daf we are taught in a Mishna (Eruvin 4:4, 45a) that a traveler may designate a symbolic residence for themselves (e.g. a nearby city) for Shabbat which can…

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Eruvin 44

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Eruvin 43b), an innovative halachic solution was offered in response to a situation where someone had veered beyond their ‘techum shabbat’ and was now…

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Eruvin 43

In today’s daf (Eruvin 43b), reference is made to the timing and the coming of Moshiach (the Messiah), and as the Gemara explains, we learn from Malachi 3:23 that this…

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Eruvin 41-42

Shana Tova! In April of this year, while reflecting on the severe impact of the Coronavirus pandemic as well as the oft-used remark that “We are all in the same…

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Eruvin 40

As many of you will know, I have a particular affinity with the Shehecheyanu bracha and that I am writing a book on the subject (which I’d love to complete…

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Eruvin 39

Nowadays, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated both in Israel and the Diaspora as a two-day festival. However, it is noteworthy that the Torah mandates only one day of Rosh Hashanah (see…

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Eruvin 38

Given that the concept of an Eruv is to establish a symbolic home, the Rabbis were insistent that for any given Shabbat or Yom Tov period, a person can only…

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Eruvin 37

Today’s daf (Eruvin 37) is tricky to follow. Having previously been taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 3:5, 36b) about the concept of ברירה (literally, ‘selection’, but referring to the retroactive…

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Eruvin 36

We often forget that there is a big difference between something that is technically available, and something that is practically and easily accessible.In today’s daf (Eruvin 36a) we are told…

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Eruvin 35

In attempting to make sense of the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 3:4, 35a), we are informed that Rabbi Meir concurs with the opinion of his teacher Rabbi Akiva that…

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Eruvin 34

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 3:3, 34b) discusses the question of whether we may rely on an Eruv (Chatzeirot) which cannot be accessed in the Bein Hashmashot period of…

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Eruvin 33

Today’s daf (Eruvin 33) discusses the status of an Eruv which has been placed or hung on a tree, and while doing so, it also teaches us an important lesson…

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Eruvin 32

On a number of occasions in today’s daf (Eruvin 32a-b) reference is made to a חבר (chaver) which, though generally translated as ‘friend’, actually refers to someone who is very…

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Eruvin 31

Towards the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 31b), while discussing the extent to which various people can be relied upon to deposit an Eruv Techumin in the right location, we…

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Eruvin 30

  As previously mentioned, an Eruv Techumin allows someone to walk beyond 2,000 amot from the boundaries of a town or city on Shabbat by establishing a symbolic home –…

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Eruvin 29

In general, I only comment on passages in the Gemara whose meaning I believe I have grasped at least on a basic level. However, once in a while I encounter…

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Eruvin 28

Today’s daf (Eruvin 28b) informs us that when Rabbi Zeira felt weak from his Torah studies, he would go and sit at the entrance to Rav Yehuda bar Ami’s Beit…

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Eruvin 27

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 27a) is focused on exploring Rabbi Yochanan’s principle of אין למדים מן הכללות ואפילו במקום שנאמר בו ”חוץ”, which means that ‘we cannot deduce laws…

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Eruvin 26

One of my all-time favourite movies is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. However, what many people don’t realise is that while ‘Shawshank’ tells a series of powerful stories about prisoners, Shawshank is…

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Eruvin 25

Today’s daf (Eruvin 25a) makes reference to various acts used to halachically ‘shotgun’ (i.e. claim rights and acquire) an ownerless field (i.e. what is known as a קנין חזקה), with…

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Eruvin 24

I have an admission to make which is that I love watching TV shows – like the British DIY SOS – where a house in need of significant improvements and…

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Eruvin 23

The Mishna in today’s daf (2:5, Eruvin 23a) discusses a garden or what is known as a קרפף – an enclosed non-residential space which, despite it being an enclosed and…

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Eruvin 22

Today’s daf (Eruvin 22a) contains a Mishna (2:4) wherein Rabbi Yehuda and the Chachamim (Sages) debate whether the unique private enclosure created by affixing four right-angled posts – known as…

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Eruvin 21

In contrast to the various detailed discussions about the finite physical boundaries of different types of Eruvin, today’s daf (Eruvin 21a) includes an exquisite teaching – quoted by Rav Chisda…

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Eruvin 20

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 2:2, 17b) about the enclosure created by affixing four right-angled posts around a public well to enable pilgrims to feed their animals…

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Eruvin 19

There are times when the Halachic and Aggadic masters of the Gemara teach ideas and laws that are clearly understandable, while there are other times when we encounter veiled and…

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Eruvin 18

Among the many fascinating lessons found in today’s daf (Eruvin 18b) are a series of teachings from Rabbi Yirmiyah Ben Elazar – one of which I had known for quite…

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Eruvin 17

Like most people, one of my greatest fears is being alone and in need of assistance – yet when I call out to others to come and help me, they…

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Eruvin 16

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 16a-b) discusses the various ways in which partitions (מחיצות) can be constructed to create halachic boundaries and to thereby enable carrying on Shabbat.Having already discussed…

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Eruvin 15

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 15a) addresses a disagreement between Abaye and Rava concerning a לחי (sidepost) found at the side of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public…

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Eruvin 14

There is a fascinating contrast found in today’s daf (Eruvin 14a-b) which speaks volumes about a tension within – as well as the ingredients of – the halachic system. For…

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Eruvin 13

While there are certain dapim (pages) in the Gemara that, on first glance, seemingly contain a variety of disjointed themes, it is often the case that, upon closer examination, a…

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Eruvin 12

Today’s daf (Eruvin 12a) tells us about an incident that occurred in a shepherds’ village, where an inlet of the sea breached the outer wall of the courtyard (חצר) of…

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Eruvin 11

Today’s daf (Eruvin 11a-b) discusses the צורת הפתח (‘a form of a doorway’ – consisting of two vertical sideposts [לחי], on which sits a horizontal beam, pole or twine [קורה],…

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Eruvin 10

 We have previously discussed how a קורה (crossbeam) or a לחי (sidepost) placed at the entrace of a מבוי enable carrying in the מבוי. However, as should be clear from…

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Eruvin 9

In addition to my belief that rich Jewish values can be found in nuanced halachic details, I also believe that halachic writings are deeply spiritual texts which are even, on…

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Eruvin 8

One of the great fascinations of the Rabbis of the Talmud were threshholds and boundaries in space and time, and in today’s daf (Eruvin 8b) we encounter a lengthy discussion…

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Eruvin 7

Yesterday, in the Torah reading of Parshat Re’eh (Devarim 13:15), we encountered a fascinating phrase which appears once again in the Torah reading of Parshat Shoftim (Devarim 17:4) that we…

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Eruvin 6

Today’s daf (Eruvin 6a-b) is one of the most fundamental throughout Massechet Eruvin in outlining the principles and details necessary for the contemporary eruvin that surround various cities around the…

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Eruvin 5

We have previously explained that a קורה (cross-beam) can be placed across the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway adjoining a public domain and leading to a residential area which,…

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Eruvin 4

Kohelet 4:12 famously states that ‘a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken’ – which is understood to teach us that a three-stranded cord has a level of strength…

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Eruvin 3

In yesterday’s daf (Eruvin 2a) we contrasted the law of the מבוי with the law of the Sukkah, and in today’s daf (Eruvin 3a) we continue this discussion and are…

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Eruvin 2

The opening line of the first Mishna of Massechet Eruvin (Eruvin 1:1, 2a) informs us that an קורה (cross-beam), which has been placed across the entrance of a מבוי (an…

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Shabbat 157

 Today, after 157 days, we reach the final page of Shabbat, and with this, the final lines of this Massechet close with reference to the rabbinic decree against measuring on…

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Shabbat 156

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 156), which is the penultimate page of Massechet Shabbat, primarily focusses on two quite different themes: i) A brief analysis of the laws of kneading on Shabbat,…

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Shabbat 155

In today’s daf (Shabbat 155b) we are told that Rabbi Yona shared a biblical exposition at the entrance of the house of the Nasi.Basing himself on the words of Mishlei…

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Shabbat 154

In yesterday’s Mishna (Shabbat 24:1, 153a) we were taught that if someone arrives at a city once Shabbat has commenced, they may directly remove any non-mukzeh items from their donkey.…

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Shabbat 153

Having already spent much of the past few pages presenting various philosophical teachings relating to the preciousness of life and how to lead a good life based on the wisdom…

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Shabbat 152

This morning I will be delivering my penultimate shiur on Sefer Mishlei (The Book of Proverbs) to a fabulous and incredibly learned group of women. Yet, notwithstanding the significant Jewish…

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Shabbat 151

While much of today’s daf (Shabbat 151b) considers the halachot pertaining to what may and may not be done for the dead on Shabbat, it also includes various philosophical teachings…

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Shabbat 150

Today’s daf (Shabbat 150a) explores the halachic implications of the verse ממצוא חפצך ודבר דבר – “[Refrain] from pursuing your business [on Shabbat] and [from] speaking words [about non-Shabbat] issues…

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Shabbat 149

Much of the 23rd Chapter of Massechet Shabbat concerns permitted and forbidden actions and expressions that may lead to, or that appear similar to, financial dealings on Shabbat, and in…

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Shabbat 148

In today’s daf (Shabbat 148b), reference is made to the rabbinic decree, originally stated in Mishna Beitzah (5:2, 36b), that one may not clap hands together, clap one’s body (thigh/chest),…

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Shabbat 147

Having made reference to the exceptional wine that was produced in Phrygia (a small kingdom in Asia Minor), along with the unique therapeutic powers of the waters of the river…

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Shabbat 146

Today’s daf (Shabbat 146a) teaches us a key principle about the biblical melacha of מכה בפטיש (literally ‘one who strikes with a hammer’, but understood to refer to any activity…

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Shabbat 145

Today’s daf (Shabbat 145b) cites a heartrending verse from Sefer Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 9:9 describing the emptiness and loneliness of the land of Israel following the destruction of the First Temple…

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Shabbat 144

In yesterday’s daf, the Mishna (Shabbat 22:1, 143b) stated that ‘we may not squeeze (סוחטין) fruits [on Shabbat] to extract liquid from them’ because, as Rashi explains, סחיטה (squeezing) [certain]…

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Shabbat 143

Today’s Mishna (Shabbat 21:3, 143a) discusses the treatment of seemingly purposeless small crumbs of food that remain on a table after a meal – which we are told may be…

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Shabbat 142

Today’s daf (Shabbat 142a-b) discusses a number of questions concerning various forms of בורר (selecting/separating). Firstly, it addresses the words of Rabbi Yehuda taught in the previous Mishna (Shabbat 21:1,…

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Shabbat 141

Today’s daf (Shabbat 141a-b) discusses the question of whether it is permissible to scrape mud/clay from shoes with a sharp object on Shabbat. As Rashi explains, this is due to…

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Shabbat 140

Two brief incidents recorded in today’s daf (Shabbat 140a) raise the important question of finding the right balance between loyalty to halachic strictures and maintaining Shalom Bayit (harmony in a…

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Shabbat 139

In today’s daf (Shabbat 139a) we are told that members of the community of Bashkar sent a question about creating a canopy on Shabbat, and in response, Rav Menashya wrote…

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Shabbat 138

As someone who spends much of their life either learning, writing or teaching Torah, it is difficult to express the spiritual and emotional fright that I felt when reading the…

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Shabbat 137

While we often presume that the text that we have in our Gemara is a perfect rendition of what was originally said by the Tanaim and Amoraim in Israel and…

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Shabbat 136

Towards the end of today’s daf (Shabbat 136b) Ravina testifies that he had heard Rava render a particular halachic ruling which then confused, surprised and even seemingly angered one of…

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Shabbat 135

TRIGGER WARNING: MY ANALYSIS OF TODAY’S DAF ADDRESSES STILLBIRTH & INFANT DEATHEarly on in today’s daf (Shabbat 135a) we are taught a Beraita stating that while it was assumed that…

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Shabbat 134

Not long after Abaye was conceived his father sadly died, and during childbirth, his mother tragically died (see Kiddushin 31b). From then on, while much of Abaye’s Torah training was…

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Shabbat 133

Today’s daf (Shabbat 133b) cites a Beraita presenting two approaches to the verse זה אלי ואנוהו – ‘this is my God and I will beautify God (lit. ‘Him’)’ (Shemot 15:2).According…

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Shabbat 132

Much of today’s daf (Shabbat 132a) is dedicated to identifying a suitable biblical prooftext to support the halacha that a Brit Milah (circumcision) may be performed on Shabbat, and though…

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Shabbat 131

In the Mishna (Shabbat 19:1) found in yesterday’s daf (Shabbat 130a) we were introduced to the halachic principle, conceived by Rabbi Eliezer, that ‘Machshirei mitzvah dochin et hashabbat’ – which…

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Shabbat 130

In today’s daf (Shabbat 130a) we are taught a principle that ‘any mitzvah that [the Jewish people] accepted upon themselves with joy (בשמחה)…is still performed with joy (בשמחה)’, while ‘any…

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Shabbat 128

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

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Shabbat 127

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

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Shabbat 126

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

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Shabbat 124

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

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Shabbat 123

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

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Shabbat 122

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

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Shabbat 121

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

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Shabbat 120

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

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Shabbat 119

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

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Shabbat 118

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

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Shabbat 117

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

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Shabbat 116

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

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Shabbat 115

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

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Shabbat 114

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

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Shabbat 113

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

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Shabbat 112

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

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Shabbat 111

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

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Shabbat 110

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

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Shabbat 109

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

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Shabbat 108

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

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Shabbat 107

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

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Shabbat 106

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

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Shabbat 105

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

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Shabbat 104

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

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Shabbat 103

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

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Shabbat 102

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

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Shabbat 101

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

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Shabbat 99-100

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

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Shabbat 98

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

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Shabbat 97

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

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Shabbat 96

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

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Shabbat 95

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

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Shabbat 94

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

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Shabbat 93

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

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Shabbat 92

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

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Shabbat 91

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

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Shabbat 90

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

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Shabbat 89

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

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Shabbat 88

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

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Shabbat 87

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

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Shabbat 86

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

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Shabbat 83-85

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

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Shabbat 82

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

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Shabbat 81

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

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Shabbat 80

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

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Shabbat 79

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

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Shabbat 78

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

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Shabbat 77

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

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Shabbat 76

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

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Shabbat 75

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

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Shabbat 74

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

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Shabbat 73

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

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Shabbat 72

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

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Shabbat 71

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

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Shabbat 70

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

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Shabbat 69

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

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Shabbat 68

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

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Shabbat 67

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

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Shabbat 66

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

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Shabbat 65

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

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Shabbat 64

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

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Shabbat 63

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

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Shabbat 62

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

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Shabbat 61

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

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Shabbat 60

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

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Shabbat 59

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

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Shabbat 58

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

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Shabbat 57

Whenever halacha as codified does not allign with halacha as lived I am fascinated to explore why this is the case, and a great example of this is the first…

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Shabbat 56

In today’s daf (Shabbat 56a) we are told that an edict was made during the period of King David that the (male) soldiers who went out to war wrote a…

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Shabbat 55

Today’s daf (Shabbat 55a) records an incident that I wish I could say has not been repeated since. It describes how a woman came to a court where the senior…

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Shabbat 54

In our previous Mishna (Shabbat 5:2, 52b) we were taught that ewes may go out in a public domain on Shabbat while כבולות. In today’s daf (Shabbat 54a) the Gemara…

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Shabbat 53

In our previous Mishna (Shabbat 5:2, 52b) we were informed that rams may go out in a public domain while לבובין. In today’s daf (Shabbat 53b) the Gemara asks what…

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Shabbat 52

Today’s daf (Shabbat 52a) continues its discussion of the previous Mishna (5:1, 51b) concerning the use of a halter or a leash on an animal on Shabbat, and whether a…

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Shabbat 51

In today’s daf (Shabbat 51a) Rav Huna cites a teaching of Rebbi (i.e. Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi) that הטמנה (insulating) of cold food is forbidden on Shabbat. However, the Gemara then…

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Shabbat 50

Today’s daf (50a) records a debate whether date-palm branches intended for firewood may be used as a seat on Shabbat. According Rabbi Chanina Ben Akiva this can only be done…

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Shabbat 49

In today’s daf (Shabbat 49a) we are taught in a Mishna that it is permitted to insulate a hot pot of food for Shabbat with clothing, with produce (e.g. wheat…

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Shabbat 48

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Shabbat 47b) we started our study of Chapter 4 with the question: ‘With what may we insulate (במה טומנין) [hot food for Shabbat] and…

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Shabbat 47

The final Mishna in Perek Kirah (Shabbat 47b) – as understood by the Gemara – states that it is permissible to place a plate or bowl under a lamp on…

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Shabbat 46

As previously mentioned, Mishna Shabbat (3:6, see Shabbat 44a) records a debate whether an unlit lamp is mukzeh on Shabbat. According to the Sages any lamp may not be handed…

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Shabbat 45

Today’s daf (Shabbat 45a) continues its examination of the laws of mukzeh, but rather than examining items that are mukzeh by dint of their prohibited use (eg. a Shabbat lamp),…

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Shabbat 44

Today’s daf (Shabbat 44a) discusses the question of whether a lamp – which in this case would have been an earthenware lamp either simply shaped like a cup or more…

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Shabbat 43

Today’s daf (Shabbat 43a-b) focusses its attention on the laws of mukzeh and the situations that may justify infractions of, or the overriding of, the mukzeh laws. Specifically, much of…

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Shabbat 42

Today’s daf (Shabbat 42a) addresses a very practical question that arises in my house every Friday night, but to explain the details of the question a little background is necessary.…

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Shabbat 39

Having discussed the prohibition of cooking with fire on Shabbat as well as any act that manipulates an already lit fire on Shabbat, today’s daf (Shabbat 39a) addresses whether it…

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Shabbat 38

In today’s daf (Shabbat 38a) we encounter a rabbinic disagreement with significant halakhic ramifications – especially for those who are religious who are living in a less religious home. As…

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Shabbat 37

Today’s daf (Shabbat 37a-b) intensely debates the implications of the case presented in the opening Mishna of Perek Kira: Does it refer to the retaining of food on a Kira…

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Shabbat 36

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 36a-b) ends our study of Perek BaMeh Madlikin (i.e. the 2nd chapter of Massechet Shabbat primarily focussing on the types of oils and wicks that may be…

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Shabbat 35

   Today’s daf (Shabbat 35b) cites a Beraita recording a custom of how the shofar was blown six times in Jewish villages, towns and cities in Israel on Erev Shabbat…

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Shabbat 34

 Moadim LeSimcha! Today’s daf (Shabbat 34a) continues its discussion about Shabbat eve preparations and it reviews the checklist provided in the Mishna of three things that should be verified on…

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Shabbat 33

   In today’s daf (Shabbat 33b) we are told the story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Elazar who, under the threat of death by the Romans,…

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Shabbat 32

 Much of today’s daf (Shabbat 32b) is very hard to digest since its discussion attempts to attribute specific spiritual transgressions for untimely deaths. For example we read that ‘for three…

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Shabbat 31

 Today’s daf (Shabbat 31a) is the source of the famous story of the prospective convert who approached both Hillel and Shammai and asked to be taught the entire Torah while…

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Shabbat 30

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

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Shabbat 29

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

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Shabbat 28

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

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Shabbat 27

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

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Shabbat 26

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

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Shabbat 24

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

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Shabbat 23

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

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Shabbat 22

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

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Shabbat 21

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

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Shabbat 20

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

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Shabbat 19

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

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Shabbat 18

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

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Shabbat 17

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

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Shabbat 16

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

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Shabbat 15

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

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Shabbat 14

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

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Shabbat 13

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

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Shabbat 12

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

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Shabbat 11

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

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Shabbat 10

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

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Shabbat 9

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

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Shabbat 8

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

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Shabbat 7

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

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Shabbat 6

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

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Shabbat 5

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

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Shabbat 4

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

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Shabbat 3

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

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Shabbat 2

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

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Brachot 64

Brachot 64a, the last page of Massechet Brachot, contains a number of fascinating teachings. In one teaching Rav Avin informs us that when we depart from a friend we should…

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Brachot 63

Brachot 63 contains a variety of rabbinic teachings on the beauty and importance of Torah study – which is a timely message as we draw near to the end of…

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Brachot 62

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

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Brachot 61

In today’s daf (Brachot 61b) we encounter a profound teaching of Rava who, while addressing the spiritual potential of each human being, stated that לידע אינש בנפשיה – ‘each person…

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Brachot 60

  In today’s daf (Brachot 60b) we are taught about the ‘Asher Yatzar’ bracha which is recited after going to the toilet. However, the Gemara then records a fascinating debate…

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Brachot 59

We were taught in Chapter 9 of Mishna Brachot (see Brachot 54a) that if someone sees a comet in the sky, experiences an earthquake, hears thunder, encounters significant winds or…

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Brachot 58

Today’s daf (Brachot 58b) includes an exquisite rule about my favourite bracha – that if we are overcome with heartfelt joy upon seeing close friends (and family) whom we haven’t…

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Brachot 57

While learning today’s daf (Brachot 57) I had a bit of a revelation which I think is deserving of sharing. We learnt in Brachot 55b/56a that כל החלומות הולכים אחר…

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Brachot 56

  Today’s daf (Brachot 56) contains a curious collection dreams along with a wider discussion about the relationship between dream interpretation and dream realization, and it is here (56a) where…

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Brachot 54

Today’s daf (Brachot 54a) opens with the full text of the final chapter of Mishna Brachot which both begins and ends with a fascinating teaching. The Mishna begins by stating…

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Brachot 53

Today’s daf (Brachot 53b) makes reference to what I believe is one of Chazal’s most exquisite metaphors describing the collective spiritual identity of Am Yisrael, but to truly understand the…

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Brachot 51-52

Chapter 8 of Mishna Brachot (Brachot 51b) lists a series of disputes between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai concerning the laws of Kiddush, Birkat HaMazon and Havdalah, and like each…

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Brachot 49

So the story, as recorded in our daf (Brachot 49a), begins with Rav Zeira asking his mentor and teacher Rav Chisda to engage in deep Torah study. Yet rather than…

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Brachot 48

In today’s daf (Brachot 48b) Rabbi Nachman informs us that the first bracha of Birkat HaMazon – otherwise known as ‘Birkat HaZan [Et HaKol]’ – was composed by Moshe in…

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Brachot 47

Today’s daf (Brachot 47b) describes an encounter between Rami bar Chama and Rav Menashya bar Tachlifa that led to a tragic outcome. Rami bar Chama was a highly capable and…

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Brachot 46

In today’s daf (Brachot 46b) we find a series of discussions about the section of Birkat HaMazon, known as ‘HaTov VeHaMeitiv’, which celebrates all the good that God does for…

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Brachot 45

  Today’s daf (Brachot 45b) records a fascinating episode where Yehudah bar Mereimar, Mar bar Rav Ashi and Rav Acha of Difti shared a meal and are just about to…

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Brachot 44

In today’s daf (Brachot 44a-b) we explore the laws of the ‘Borei Nefashot’ bracha (which is recited after consuming a wide range of foodstuffs) which, as I hope to explain,…

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Brachot 43

In his book ‘The Upside of Irrationality’ Professor Dan Ariely describes one of his research projects which sought to understand how people become attached to the things that they create.…

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Brachot 41

Today’s daf (Brachot 41a-b) contains a fascinating halacha which, embedded in it, communicates an exquisite message. On Brachot 41a we are taught that when food is served from the seven…

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Brachot 37

Brachot 37a-b contains a series of detailed debates about the brachot to be recited on foods eaten during the Talmudic period. According to some, the key question that we must…

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Brachot 35

There is a famous story – made even more famous by Rav Yehuda Amital – about the founder of Chabad Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, otherwise known as the Ba’al…

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Brachot 34

Today’s daf (Brachot 34a-b) includes a discussion about the spiritual significance of errors in prayers by those leading prayers and also a reference to the spiritual greatness of Ba’alei Teshuva.…

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Brachot 33

‘And now, Israel, what does God your Lord ask of you? Merely to fear God your Lord, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, and to serve God…

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Brachot 32

I recently had use of a rental car which had an indicator on the dashboard that lit up when any of the tyres had low pressure. As a driver of…

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Brachot 30

Some years ago I gave a shiur on ‘Why we face towards Jerusalem in Prayer’ (see http://bit.ly/2UjbzpY). In the shiur I made reference to various pesukim relating to the importance…

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Brachot 27

Gemara Brachot (27b) makes reference to the student-teacher relationship, and in particular, to what extent must a student adopt the teachings of their teacher and when can a student take…

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Brachot 26

Gemara Brachot 26b records a debate concerning the origins of our three daily prayers and according to R’ Yossi the son of R’ Chanina, “the prayers were instituted by the…

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Brachot 22

  Today’s daf (Brachot 22a) contains perhaps one of the most exquisite ideas that I have ever encountered in the Gemara –  an idea that I love thinking about, and…

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Brachot 19

Today’ daf (Brachot 19a) includes citation from Mishna Eduyot (5:6) where, in response to the claim that Akavya Ben Mehahalalel was excommunicated, Rabbi Yehuda invoked the phrase חס ושלום to…

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Brachot 17

According to Brachot 17a, Rava who would often say: ‘The objective of [Torah] wisdom is [to foster a commitment to] teshuvah and [the performance of] good deeds. [He would also…

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Brachot 9

In today’s daf (Brachot 9b) we read about Rav Bruna who, on one occasion, juxtaposed the blessing for redemption with his amida prayer with such profound focus and intensive concentration…

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Brachot 16

In today/tomorrow’s daf (Brachot 15b-16a) we read a beautiful drasha presented by Rav Chama B’Rabbi Chanina based on the words of Bilam. Having proclaimed ‘How good are your tents (אהליך),…

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Brachot 11

Today’s daf (Brachot 11b) includes a short passage that led me, around 20 years ago, to spend over 100 hours trying to comprehend. The passage itself considers which Torah texts…

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Brachot 7

In today’s daf (Brachot 7), reference is made to the impact that our blessings can have on others, as well as the importance of acknowleging the emotions of others which…

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