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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Talmud

Mesechet Zevachim: Intent and Sacrifices

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 18, 2011

One of the major themes of Zevachim – and the one that opens mesekhet Menachot as well- is that of intent.  The concepts of shelo li’shma, intending the wrong sacrifice, and pigul, intending to eat it at the wrong time, factor very heavily throughout the mesekhet.  Now, when we look at the verses this is Continue Reading »

Mesechet Zevachim: “Sacrifices” Outside the Temple

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 8, 2011

The last two chapters of Zevachim, 13 and 14, deal with the prohibition of bringing sacrifices outside of the Temple, even if they are brought to God. The first mishna in the beginning of the 14th perek (112a), opens with two exceptions: the seir ha’ mishtalayach, the goat sent over the cliff on Yom Kippur, Continue Reading »

Mesechet Zevachim: Torah in the Bathroom

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 25, 2011

The Gemara Zevachim (102b) ends its discussion of the Kohanim who are not entitled to a portion of the daily sacrifices with an analysis of R. Elazar ben R. Shimon.   We had learned that a Kohen who was tamei, and thus not able to do the avoda that day (or, according to another formulation, not able Continue Reading »

Zevachim and Personal and Communal Obligations

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 18, 2011

The end of Zevachim addresses the issue of personal versus collective responsibility.  On 97b, the Gemara asks why a Kohen cannot eat the meat of a sacrifice that has absorbed the juices of an invalid sacrifice.  While it is prohibited to eat an invalid sacrifice, i.e., the absorbed juices, shouldn’t the mitzvah of eating the kosher Continue Reading »

Challenging Authority in Horiyot

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 5, 2010

Tractate Horiyot is the last tractate in Seder Nezikin and the smallest tractate in Shas.  It presumably is part of Seder Nezikin as a type of an appendix to tractate Sanhedrin and Makkot, which deal with the power and authority of the Beit Din – to represent the people, the fix the calendar, to judge Continue Reading »

Mesekhet Avoda Zara and Jewish Identity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on October 29, 2010

The last dapim of mesekhet Avoda Zara which address central issues in Kashrut and end with a discussion of kashering and toveling vessels.  This is a somewhat unusual way to end a mesekhet that is devoted to discussing the world of idolatry and its dangers.  The mesekhet ends with a story, one consistent with this Continue Reading »

Rabbi Eliezer vs. Rabbi Akiva: Two Models of Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 23, 2010

The seventh chapter of Sanhedrin ends with a powerful aggadata: When R. Eliezer fell sick, R. Akiva and his companions went to visit him… The Sages, seeing that his mind was clear, entered his chamber and sat down at a distance of four cubits. ‘Why have ye come?’ said he to them. ‘To study the Continue Reading »

The Evolution of the Mitzvah of Matzah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 19, 2010

 While we rule that it is a mitzvah d’oraitta to eat matzah on the seder night, it is far from clear as far as the simple sense of the verses are concerned. It is interesting to see how Hazal interpreted the verses to come to this conclusion. Regarding matzah, the verses talk of two mitzvot: (a) to eat matzah Continue Reading »

A Pseudo-Korban Pesach

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 12, 2010

There is good evidence that the practice of a pseudo-korban pesach existed – not on bringing it on Har HaBayit without a Beit HaMikdash, but outside of the environs of the Beit HaMikdash and Jerusalem. The Tosefta in Ohalot (3:9) tells of a burial that took place in Beit Dagan on erev Pesach. The men, who had not Continue Reading »

Finding God in the Megillah – How the Megillah Got to be Part of the Tanakh

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 26, 2010

The Gemara (Megilah 7a) raises the question whether Megilat Esther is part of the canon, is part of Tanakh. The halakhic expression of this is whether it is metamei et ha’yadayim, ritually impurifies the hands. As is recorded in Mishna Yadayim (3:5 and 4:6), kitvei hakodesh, holy Scriptures, cause tumat yadayim, impurity of the hands. Continue Reading »

Is the Ketuvah d’Oraitta or d’Rabanan?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 19, 2010

There is a debate in the gemara (Ketuvot 10a) whether the ketuvah is mi’di’orraita, Biblical, or mi’di’rabanan, rabbinic. The position that ketuvah is Biblically-based is an individual one, that of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, and he even states this position somewhat tentatively – mikan samkhu li’ktuvat isha min haTorah, from here the Rabbis found support Continue Reading »

Two Stages of Marriage

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 12, 2010

As is well known, there are two stages of marriage, kiddushin and nissuin. Kiddushin is referred to in the Torah as erusin, and nissuin is referred to as either kicha, taking (“Who is the man who has betrothed a woman and not taken her” – Deut 20:7) or beulat ba’al, a woman who has had Continue Reading »