Jul 2, 2015

Summer is the time for vacation, especially for students who look forward to such activities as camp, sleep, travel, and plain old fun. School…

Nedarim Jun 30, 2015

Dina demalchuta Dina, the law of the land is the law, is one of the most famous teachings of Jewish jurisprudence. While ostensibly a law relating to…

Nedarim Jun 29, 2015

  The Mishna Berura - the most widely used halachic code of the 20th century - in his introduction to the laws of Shabbat explains the crucial…

Nedarim Jun 29, 2015

  Imagine if instead of twenty-four books the Tanach consisted of only six. Strange as it sounds that was the original plan. "Rav Adda…

Chukat Jun 26, 2015

It is in Parshat Chukat that we meet the second generation of the Jewish nation, the one that would conquer the land of Israel. Yet there is precious…

Nedarim Jun 23, 2015

The 1960's sitcom Get Smart[1] had as one of its heroes Hymie the robot. Lacking full human intelligence, he understood language only…

Korach Jun 19, 2015

This week's d'var Torah is dedicated in honour of my father Rabbi Joseph Kelman z"l whose yahrzeit is this week. May his memory be…

Nedarim Jun 17, 2015

In the siddurim commonly in use today, on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh, we pray that we should be blessed to have "chaim she'…

Nedarim Jun 15, 2015

The mitzvah of Talmud Torah has a dual objective. First and foremost, one learns so one will know how to act: "an ignoramus cannot be a…

Shelach Lecha Jun 12, 2015

Parshat Shelach Lecha is perhaps the most tragic parsha of the Chumash. The march of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel came to a…

Nedarim Jun 9, 2015

In our second to last post of Masechet Ketubot we discussed the decision of Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi to put  the Oral Law into writing.…

Nedarim May 31, 2015

“Better is it that one should not vow, than that one should vow and not pay” (Kohelet 5:4). This truism, enunciated by Shlomo HaMelech…

Ketuvot May 26, 2015

One of the major benefits of studying Daf Yomi is that one is exposed to the entire breadth of the (Babylonian) Talmud, something one may not manage…

Shavuot May 22, 2015

Chanukah and Purim. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret. The aforementioned holidays form natural units. When one thinks of…

Ketuvot May 21, 2015

The life of Rebbe, Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, marked a turning point in Jewish history. He was the one who, strange as it may sound, acted in defiance of…

Ketuvot May 20, 2015

  It is a sad spectacle when people fight over a dead man's estate. What can make such disputes more intractable is that often, both…

Ketuvot May 18, 2015

No contract can cover all eventualities, and only through goodwill and compromise can disputes be avoided when the inevitable happens, and something…

Ketuvot May 17, 2015

Many people, upon receiving notice of jury duty, try hard to avoid actually doing such. They have little time, interest, and often cannot afford the…

Behar May 15, 2015

"G-d spoke to Moshe at Mount Sinai saying: When you come the land that I am giving you the land shall rest a Shabbat to G-d" (Vayilkra 25:1-2). Mah…

Ketuvot May 14, 2015

One of the differences between the taxation policies of the United States and that of Canada is that in the United States a couple can choose to be…

Ketuvot May 13, 2015

The importance of informal education is today a given. A solid education requires both formal and informal learning and often it is the latter that…

Kedoshim May 1, 2015

A number of years ago we had the pleasure of being the Toronto coordinators of the Torah Ethics Project. Its slogan was “Some of the most obvious…

Yom Ha'atzmaut Apr 23, 2015

When speaking at a wedding, brit, bar or bat mitzvah and the like, one generally looks to the parsha of the week to find some connection. Some are…

Apr 22, 2015

  “Va-yidom Aharon” - “And Aharon was silent” (Vayikra 10:3).  While these words, read this past Shabbat,…

Ketuvot Apr 19, 2015

Psychologists estimate that the pain of losing money is twice as great as the joy of making money (see here). It is for this reason that Jewish…

Ketuvot Apr 16, 2015

While it may sound unromantic, marriage partners are chosen, more often than we might like to admit, for socio-economic reasons. While this need not…

Ketuvot Apr 14, 2015

In our last post we discussed the challenge of balancing work and family obligations. The Mishnah that discusses the length of a "…

Ketuvot Apr 12, 2015

Finding the proper balance between work and family is a challenge that man has been dealing with since the beginning of time. There never seems to be…

Pesach Apr 9, 2015

There is something most beautiful about a holiday that celebrates our past being focused on future, on our children. Pesach marks the founding of our…

Pesach Apr 3, 2015

"Therefore, in every generation, one must see themselves as if they have left Egypt”. All too often, we can only fully appreciate what we have when…

Ketuvot Mar 30, 2015

One of the most difficult, yet vital, tasks as we learn, is allotting enough time and effort for review. We all find the new more exciting, and…

Tzav Mar 27, 2015

One of the ideological revolutions of the Zionist movement was the notion of the inherent value of physical labour. Jews traditionally like to think…

Ketuvot Mar 25, 2015

  The increasing age for marriage coupled with the high cost of housing has led to a situation of more and more children in their 20's and…

Ketuvot Mar 24, 2015

Our conception of the family unit has undergone revolutionary changes in the last few years. It should come as no surprise that norms of today often…

Vayikra Mar 20, 2015

This week the focus of the Torah reading shifts from the construction of the Mishkan to the korbanot, one (but only one) of the purposes of building…

Ketuvot Mar 15, 2015

"One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with a heavy mitzvah" (Pirkei Avot 2:1). Not every mitzvah is created equal. While all…

Ketuvot Mar 10, 2015

Malcolm Gladwell, in his bestselling book Outliers, demonstrates how so much of our success is a result of factors beyond our control.…

Ketuvot Mar 9, 2015

  In our last post we discussed the fickleness of memory and how and when one may write down testimony for future use in a court of…

Purim Mar 6, 2015

“Kol Yisrael Areivim zeh lazeh”, all Jews are guarantors for one another. While we may not always live up to this ideal, the non-Jewish…

Ketuvot Feb 27, 2015

Our memories are notoriously fickle and even untrustworthy. Yet we have little choice but to rely on such. It is likely due to the unreliability of…

Mishpatim Feb 24, 2015

Modern man loves his freedom. No one is going to tell him how to act. This is why giving criticism, even when constructive, is so hard and usually…

Ketuvot Feb 23, 2015

It is well known that a Jew must give up his or her life only if asked, or ordered, to violate one of the three cardinal sins of Judaism; idolatry,…

Ketuvot Feb 18, 2015

A legal system is much more than a collection of laws. It signifies the values a society holds dear. When one studies halacha, one is…

Ketuvot Feb 15, 2015

Money is a great motivator, impacting so many of the decisions we make. The crucial role money plays in our lives can best be seen by the fact that…

Ketuvot Feb 11, 2015

In our last post we discussed that a betulah should marry on a Wednesday evening so that if it is discovered that the wife is not…

Ketuvot Feb 8, 2015

Planning a wedding is no easy task. One must pick a date, hall, caterer, band, florist, and on and on it goes. For those living in North America (and…

Ketuvot Feb 5, 2015

The Ketuba is one of the best known, but least understood, documents in Judaism. Read at every wedding, many mistakenly believe it is a marriage…

Yevamot Feb 4, 2015

"Rabbi Elazar said, in the name of Rabbi Chaninah: Torah scholars increase peace in the world, as it says, 'and all your children shall be…

Yevamot Feb 2, 2015

We have previously referred to the special leniency that allows a woman to remarry on the testimony of one witness. This was a most revolutionary…

Yevamot Jan 30, 2015

Back in the tenth chapter of Yevamot, we discussed the case of a woman who remarried on the basis of the testimony of one witness who declared that…