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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 of the Massechet. We are taught in a Beraita (see Beitzah 40a) that Rebbi is of the opinion that range animals are mukzeh on Shabbat…

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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 only to people by their possessions, and that if one borrows an item on Shabbat or Yom Tov then the item is physically limited to…

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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, at which time he offered up a prayer that his Torah insights be accepted by the scholars in Eretz Yisrael, he became involved in a…

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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 & caring. As we’ve previously learnt in Massechet Eruvin, a person is limited in walking 2,000 amot on Shabbat and Yom Tov based on their location…

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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 to. This includes לא מטפחין ולא מספקים ולא מרקדין – ‘we do not clap nor to we slap our hand to our thighs nor do…

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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 the vessel is filled]”. Significantly, the halachic concern which the Mishna seeks to clarify relates to the rain or drain water that has dripped into…

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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 Shabbat: ‘If one brings the fire, and one brings the wood, and one places the pot in position, and one brings the water, and one…

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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 woods have a fragrance, a further truth is that the עץ חיים – the tree of life – of Torah also has a fragrance.Significantly, the…

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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 permitted to remove the burnt charcoaled section of a wick to make a lamp shine more brightly. Interestingly, when codifying this halacha, the Rambam (Shevitat…

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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 refer to a room that is literally sealed with bricks and mortar.To give some background, the laws of mukzeh teach us that items that are…

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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 difference’. As the Mishna then notes, ‘one who brings pitchers of wine from place to place may not bring them in a basket or box…

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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 immense spiritual energy and inspiration that we have drawn within the past month into the coming year. And it is within this spirit that I…

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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 is raised in the Mishna (Beitzah 3:7) whether one may sharpen a knife on Yom Tov.Significantly, the Mishna answers by ruling that one may not…

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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 a great example of this where, having previously discussed (see Beitzah 26b) the mukzeh status of an item that – through its contact with the…

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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 only unfit for part of Shabbat.As the Gemara proceeds to explain, the case being described involves something (eg. figs that were drying outside) 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 today’s daf yomi (Beitzah 25b). In the final words of his life, Moshe Rabbeinu recounts how, ‘[The Lord came from Sinai. He shone upon them…

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Beitzah 24

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

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Beitzah 23

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

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Beitzah 22

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

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Beitzah 21

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

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Beitzah 20

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

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Beitzah 19

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

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Beitzah 18

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

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Beitzah 17

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

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Beitzah 16

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

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Beitzah 15

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

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Beitzah 14

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

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Beitzah 13

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

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Beitzah 12

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

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Beitzah 11

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

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Beitzah 10

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

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Beitzah 9

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

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Beitzah 7-8

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

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Beitzah 6

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

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Beitzah 5

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

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Beitzah 4

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

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Beitzah 3

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

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Beitzah 2

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

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