Toldot: The Strength of Yitzchak

November 29, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages identified each of our patriarchs and matriarchs with the character traits that they best exemplified. Avraham, the master of hospitality, is the exemplar of chesed, loving-kindness. Yaakov, who learned the effects of mistruth the hard way, is identified with the trait of emet, truth. While practicing distortions, even if legitimate, he suffered his whole life from the deception of others; yet Yaakov...
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Niddah 31: A Great Mitzva

November 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
In our last post, we discussed that seven days after giving birth to a boy and 14 after a girl, the newborn mother purifies herself in a mikvah. Any bleeding over the next 33 days for a boy and 66 for a girl is considered dam tohar, blood of purity, and does not render her a nidah. Yet while the mother is no longer considered tameh regarding her status as a nidah, with regards to entering the Temple...
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Niddah 31: The Joy of Being Jewish

November 26, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Death, as we have often noted, is the primary source of tumah, impurity, with a corpse classified as avi avot hatumah, the grandfather of tumah.  Ironically, life itself can also create tumah and hence, after giving birth, a mother is tameh; seven days for a boy and 14 for a girl. Apparently, the Torah wants to remind us that the process of death begins the moment life begins. The ritual...
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Chayei Sarah: Growing Old, Staying Young

November 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; these are the years of Sarah's life” (Breisheet 23:1). A famous rabbinic comment elucidating the triple expression of years teaches that Sarah maintained her stunning beauty, intuitive wisdom and sinless innocence throughout her life. Furthermore, the seemingly superfluous ending of the verse “these are the years of Sarah’s life” teaches...
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Niddah 2: Shammai and Hillel

November 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
It is hard to imagine more influential institutions of Jewish learning than those of Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. These two great schools set in motion much of the foundation of the Oral Law. It was regarding their some 316 disputes recorded in the Mishna that a heavenly voice declared, “These and those are the words of the living G-d” (Eiruvin 13b).  With the Torah consisting of so much that is gray, no one view can capture...
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