Ki-Teze: On The Way

September 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Until modern times, travel was viewed as something best avoided. It was slow, uncomfortable, and often quite dangerous. Our rabbis even instituted a special prayer (Brachot 29b-30a) to be said when one has to travel.  Spiritually, travel represented rootlessness, detachment from our natural environment. The person guilty of manslaughter had to flee to a city of refuge; and if he accidentally killed someone while he was already in such a...
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Keritot 13: Under the Influence

September 10, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
In our last post, we discussed the serious prohibition of issuing halachic rulings after having had even minimal amounts of alcohol. Yet the practical impact of this prohibition is rather limited.  “Is it possible [the teaching of] Mishna is also [forbidden]?” (Keritot 13b). To this seemingly strange question—why would one think teaching Mishna[1] after having a drink is allowed?—the Gemara says there is no...
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Shoftim: Nothing to Fear

September 06, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The basic duty of every government is to provide security and protect its citizens from both internal criminal activity and external enemies. Parshat Shoftim, which contains the mitzvah to appoint a king, thus also contains the mitzvot of appointing a police force and the laws relating to a Jewish army. Our inability to have a Jewish army for close to two thousand years served to highlight our national degradation. During the battles...
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Keritot 13: Let's Not Drink to That

September 06, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Jewish tradition teaches that we are to celebrate joyous occasions—Shabbat and Yom Tov, brit milah, a wedding—by drinking wine. Used appropriately, “Wine gladdens the heart of man” (Tehillim 104:15); used inappropriately, wine can literally kill.  “Drink no wine or other intoxicant, you or your sons, when you enter the Tent of Meeting, that you may not die. This is a law for all time...
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Keritot 8: The Rabbinic Market

September 02, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
The most basic rule of economics is that of supply and demand. The interaction between these two forces is the key—often the only—factor in determining the price of an object or service. In order to maximize economic efficiency, providing consumers with the goods they want at the lowest possible price, market forces must not be tampered with. Hence, violation of anti-trust laws, which forbid companies from colluding to limit supply...
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