Shabbat Apr 30, 2020

The Torah is full of mitzvot relating to farmers. Whether one is plowing, planting, or harvesting, the Torah has clear guidelines to direct…

Yom Ha'atzmaut Apr 29, 2020

“Shimon ben Azzai said: I have received a tradition from the seventy-two elders on the day when they appointed Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah…

Shabbat Apr 22, 2020

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your G-d demand of you but l’yirah, to revere the Lord your G-d, to walk only in His paths,…

Pesach Apr 13, 2020

Seemingly, one of the more depressing debates in rabbinic literature is one that the houses of Hillel and Shammai argued about for two-and-half years…

Pesach Apr 7, 2020

Much ink has been spilled and much discussion ensued in trying to analyze the difference between the question of the chacham and the rasha. On the…

Shabbat Apr 7, 2020

“Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot!” (Avot 4:1). This teaching of Ben Zoma is undoubtedly one of the best known, most…

Tzav Apr 3, 2020

"This is the law of the sin offering, chatat: at the place where the elevation offering, olah, is slaughtered shall the sin offering be…

Shabbat Apr 2, 2020

The Talmud quotes some 316 debates between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. “Since both these and those are the words of the living God”,…

Apr 2, 2020

The Talmud quotes some 316 debates between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. “Since both these and those are the words of the living God”,…

Shabbat Mar 30, 2020

When it was still forbidden to write down the Oral Law, one of the very few written texts was that of Megillat Taanit, the scroll of fast days. This…

Vayikra Mar 27, 2020

Perhaps Man’s greatest fear is his ultimate irrelevance, that we really don’t make a difference and that in the greater scheme of things…

Shabbat Mar 25, 2020

“Rava bar Machsseya said in the name of Rav Chama bar Gurya in the name of Rav: One who gives a gift to another must inform him” (Shabbat…

Pekudei Mar 20, 2020

“And it was on first month of the second year on the first of the month that the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:17). The first of…

Shabbat Mar 16, 2020

One of the hardest mitzvot to properly fulfil is that of rebuke, “hocheiach tocheech et amitecha” (Vayikra 19:17). We are…

Ki Tisa Mar 13, 2020

"And the people saw ki boshesh Moshe, that Moshe delayed in coming down from the mountain" (32:1). As a young nation coming from…

Shabbat Mar 12, 2020

“The carrying out on Shabbat are two that are four [for one] inside [a home] and two that are four [for one] outside [the home]” (Shabbat…

Purim Mar 9, 2020

Purim marks a transition point in Jewish history. It ushers in the time period of hester panim, the transition from G-d's obvious and active…

Berachot Mar 5, 2020

Leadership is not for the faint of heart. A leader, by definition, must make decisions that are going to hurt people. That does not mean the…

Terumah Feb 28, 2020

Judaism sees the sparks of the Divine within the most mundane of activities. Revelation at Sinai is followed by a series of laws dealing with such…

Berachot Feb 27, 2020

I imagine that many of us had elementary school classmates whom we knew were going to reach great heights. Their intelligence and drive to succeed…

Berachot Feb 26, 2020

We have often noted that the Talmud was edited with great precision. A simple example is the extreme to which it goes to record who, and in whose…

Berachot Feb 24, 2020

When one is consumed with hatred, one is liable to act in ways that are out of the norm, to say the least. “Sina’ah mekalkelet et hashura…

Mishpatim Feb 20, 2020

One of the revolutions that Judaism brought to the world was its attitude towards, and its treatment of, slaves. Whereas in the ancient world slaves…

Berachot Feb 19, 2020

“Rav Hamnuna said: How many important halakhot can be derived from these verses of the prayer of Hannah?” (Brachot 31a).…

Berachot Feb 16, 2020

“Our Sages taught: Shimon Hapekuli arranged the eighteen blessings before Rabban Gamliel, al haseder, in order, in Yavne…

Yitro Feb 13, 2020

Fulfilling G-d's commandments is the essence of Torah. "If not for my covenant, day and night, the laws of heaven and earth, I would…

Berachot Feb 13, 2020

It is hard to think of a mitzvah that has undergone as much change over time as that of prayer. Originally, prayer was a spontaneous pouring out of…

Berachot Feb 12, 2020

It is fair to say that, if not for the leadership of Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai, you would not be reading these words. Judaism as we know it today could…

Beshalach Feb 7, 2020

“And Pharaoh approached...they saw the Egyptians marching at their rear, and the people became very frightened. The Israelites cried out to G-d…

Berachot Feb 6, 2020

The years following the destruction of the Temple were fraught with great danger and uncertainty. The infighting that had so weakened the Jewish…

Berachot Feb 2, 2020

As we transition from the third to the fourth chapter of masechet Brachot, our focus shifts from the mitzvah of kriat shema to that of…

Bo Jan 31, 2020

Judaism places great emphasis on the proper use of time. For serious students there is practically no greater sin than that of bitul Torah—the…

Berachot Jan 29, 2020

Shehechiyanu vekemanu vhegeyanu lazman hazeh. It was when daf yomi last reached Brachot 27 that I wrote my first “Daily Daf”. For…

Berachot Jan 26, 2020

One of the things I love about the Gemara is how realistic and human it is—how it portrays people, rabbis and laypeople alike, in all their…

Vaera Jan 24, 2020

Moshe was frustrated. Having been coerced by G-d to redeem the Jewish people, things were not going as planned. As Moshe confronted Pharaoh,…

Berachot Jan 23, 2020

“A jewel in the mouth of Rava. The purpose of chochmah, wisdom, is teshuva and maasim tovim, good deeds”(Brachot 17a…

Berachot Jan 19, 2020

“The appointed one [assistant kohen gadol] said to them [the priests in the Temple]: ‘Recite a single blessing.’ They…

Shemot Jan 17, 2020

Amongst the unsung heroes of the Jewish people are Shifra and Puah. Despite the genocidal decrees of the Egyptian regime against Jewish newborns,…

Berachot Jan 16, 2020

“Rabbi Chelbo said in the name of Rav Huna: All who have yira’at shamayim, fear of Heaven, his words are heeded, as it is…

Berachot Jan 13, 2020

What should one pray for? If we were to take a survey of the typical shul-goer, or even one who is not, I suspect we will hear such ideas as health,…

Vayechi Jan 10, 2020

People often mistakenly think that truly righteous people are somehow different, perhaps not totally "normal".  Somehow we assume that…

Berachot Jan 9, 2020

In our post discussing the last lines of the Talmud Bavli, we wondered why the Gemara ends with a teaching by Eliyahu Hanavi. As Daf Yomi begins its…

Berachot Jan 6, 2020

“From when may one recite the kriat shema in the evening? From the time the kohanim enter to eat their terumah until the end of the…

Berachot Jan 5, 2020

Rashi begins his commentary to Chumash asking why the Torah begins with the story of creation and not with the first mitzva given to the Jewish…

Nidah Jan 4, 2020

“Tanna devei Eliyahu, the school of Eliyahu, taught: Kol hashoneh, all who study (and review) halachot every day are guaranteed that they…

Vayigash Jan 3, 2020

"And he [Yaakov] sent Judah ahead of him l'horot, to make preparations, in Goshen (Breisheet 46:28). With great fear and trepidation, Yaakov, along…

Nidah Jan 1, 2020

There is something surreal about 92,000 people gathering at a football stadium on New Year’s Day to make a siyum on the entire Talmud. That…

Chanukah Dec 30, 2019

Before there were clocks and standard time, time was determined in relation to the position of the sun—hence, the importance of the sundial. As…

Miketz Dec 27, 2019

That one has a natural love for one's place of birth is a truism long recognized by our Talmudic sages. Emigration is never an easy prospect,…

Chanukah Dec 23, 2019

One of the painful realties of Jewish life is that the Jewish people are often judged by a double standard. What in other cultures is done with…