Monthly Archives: June 2013

Weasels Stole My Chametz

This Spring, Adin Steinsaltz came to Princeton to lead a Talmud study session. The local Chabadniks who cohosted the program handed out pages from Tractate Pesachim– a few folios, including today’s daf. Since Rabbi Steinsaltz was stuck in a traffic … Continue reading

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You Got Trouble, My Friend

There are days when most rules are suspended in the face of danger. Today isn’t one of them. In today’s daf, the assumption is that those sent to perform a mitzvah are not harmed, although there is a  question of whether … Continue reading

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Here’s a “Tip”!

In today’s daf, there is a dispute over which are the exceptions to the general rule that one should recite a blessing before performing a mitzvah. A baraisa states that there are two exceptions: (1) immersion in a mikveh and (2) blowing … Continue reading

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Gentiles with Crumbs

Our tradition is a literature of exile. The first Passover was celebrated in the desert. It celebrated a liberation into no-man’s land. Most subsequent celebrations have also taken shape in other people’s lands. How do we balance what we owe … Continue reading

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Resisting the Plain Meaning

For the past few days the dapim have promoted delicate and careful speech. Today, looking at a Scriptural phrase whose meaning is apparently plain, the rabbis sense a disconnect between the text and its intent. Daf 328 (Pesachim 5a-5b) The gemara … Continue reading

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Listen Carefully

Careful speech demands careful listening. It is a delicate matter to communicate the news of the unexpected death of a dear friend. This is a timely daf for me, as I received such news myself only three days ago. In this daf, … Continue reading

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Euphemisms

The discussion of when and how to search for chametz remains suspended as this daf introduces yet another new general teaching: that one should not use coarse language or imagery if one can find a delicate way to say what one … Continue reading

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