My Favorite Day of the Year -15th of Av and Sanhedrin 22

Today is the most important day of the year. It reminds us that before there can be Bat Mitzva’s, little league and fond memories, a man must marry a woman. Unfortunately, that seems to be harder every year.   However, the 15th of Av is the day we remember that the Talmud in tractate Taanis recalls how the young women would borrow dresses and run in the fields and entice men to marry them.

Today’s daf eerily makes mention of the Heavenly voice which proclaims that a man is destined to marry a certain woman.    Why is this so important. ? The answer is that there is someone for everyone. Hashem made the match.  It is up to us to make sure the people come together. The work is for each and every person to always think of people and try to match them.

Let us pair up with Hashem in this heavenly work.

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Shabbat Nachamu and Sanhedin 19

This Shabbat is the famous Haftorah known as Nachamu. The prophet says, “Be Comforted Be Comforted My Nation, speak to the heart of Jerusalem and say the exile is completed  and sins forgiven by Gd.  ”

Interesting  the Daf Yomi of the last few days, Sanhedrin 18-19 speak of comforting a Cohen Gadol when he is in mourning.  The Mishna also says when a Cohen is comforted by others, the people visiting say  “We are your atonement” and he says : “Be blessed by heaven”

Coincidence in the theme of comforting?  This is the heart and soul  of Judasim.  Hashem through his prophet comforts us.  Tell us things will improve.  Our work is to mimic the paradigm Hashem show us.  He comforts us and we comfort each other.

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Sanhedrin 9: Hashem’s Yardstick

Sanhedrin 8-9 continues the debate between Rabbi Meyer and the Rabbis about whether accusing one’s wife of infidelity (dont know a nicer way of saying it) needs a court of judges of 3 or 23.

The debate scrolls down and comes to a fascinating statement.  Normally, in order to be held responsible  for doing a sin one must receive “warning” or “hasroah”. However, one opinion is that if  the person is a “Chaver” or learned, the requirement of a warning is dispensed with.

Strange? Is not  the law equal to all. ?  The Shikkerdovid would like to use this as proof that we are all held to different standards: Our own capacity.  Only Hashem knows what we are truly capable of.  We cannot say, “most  people do this or that so I will.” We must commit ourselves to be the best and strive in all things. Only Hashem knows what we are capable of and he judges each of us on our own ability.

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Parshas Masei and Sanhedrin 5

There are no coincidences. Today’s daf and this week’s parsha intersect in a beautiful thought.

Let us start with the Parsha Maasei. In Chapter 33, sentence 29 the pasuk tells us the Israel traveled from to Beit Hashimus until Avil Hashitem by the plains of Moav. Rashi says: Here it teaches us that the camp of Israel was 12 mil, as stated by Rabba Bar Chana in Eruvin.

Turn now to today’s daf of Sanedrin 5 where authorization to judge or gives ruling is discussed. Rabbah Bar Channa is mentioned stating that he had authorization to rule as given by the head of the Jews in exile (Rash Galusa) and the Nasi in Eretz Yisrael.

What is the connection: Authority. Israel only had authority to move when directed by Hashem.  As Rashi says, they were  a unified camp of 12 mil.

Judges gave ruling when they were empowered by authority either the Nasi in Israel or the Rash Galusa in Bavel as Sanhedrin tells us.

We live in a world where we must submit to authority. The authority by Hashem or to people that Hashem gives authority -like the rabbis. It is not a popular thought. It is hard to recognize and swallow the will of a higher authority. But to see the hand of Gd in the world, is to subordinate our will to the higher authority.

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No Coincidences: Bava Basra 166

Today’s daf of Bava Basra 166 takes a dry legal concept and soars with existentialism. The daf deals with inconsistent terms in a legal document. Such as inconsistent amounts of loans. The Talmud then cites an inconsistent term. The Talmud states what if the upper portion of a document says someone borrowed a “Kefel” which is termed a cup and in the latter portion of the document states ‘sefel” which is a shirt.

Rav Puppa asks: Are we concerned that a fly swooped down and erased part of the first letter thereby changing the wording and making the document inconsistent.

The Shikkerdovid as I am sure most of the daf yomi people minds must have wandered back to the story in Genesis where Pharoah puts his butler in jail when he finds a fly in his cup. The butler meets Joseph in jail and the rest is history. The Shikkerdovid would like to suggest that the example in the Talmud parallels the story of Genesis to teach a lesson.

A fly can alter history. A fly can alter a document. Is it really a fly? Is life so random? The lesson is clear. Be humble. Be merciful as Hashem can alter someone life with the smalles most insignificant creature.

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Life is Not Fair-Parshat Chukat

IN the parsha of Chukat Israel complains of no water after death of Miriam. Hashedm tells Moshe and Aaron to assemble the people and then commands Moshe to talk to the rock. We all know that instead of talking he hits the rock and an abundant amount of water comes out.

Because Moshe failed to talk to the rock, Gd tells Moshe and Aaron that they both will not enter Israel. Huh? what did Aaron do? He assembled the people just as he was told.

This makes no sense. Now the Shikkerdovid has started reading Rav Tzadok Hocohen or the Pri Tzedek. Rav Tzadok suggests that both Moshe and Aaron were told to assemble the people for different reasons. Moshe was to teach the whole Torah to Aaron and the people and Aaron was to teach the oral tradition to the people, or as Rav Tzadok says, he was to make sure the people could integrate the Torah into the hearts. The fact that the people acted with no faith demonstrates that Aaron did not accomplish his mission.

Again, it begs the question, Aaron did his job. Why is he punished here. The answer is simple but hard to swallow. You can achieve your objectives, you can meet the goals, you can ostensibly be successful and still ultimately fail. This is really the ultimate reminder that all in his the hands of Gd.

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Blowing in the Wind: Bava Basra 147

The Talmud is discussing the validity of declarations of gifts made by a dying person. In the middle of this technical discussion, the Talmud goes off on a tangent. It says if the wind is blowing north that is good for the poor people because the crops will be cheap. If it blows south it is good for the rich (or maybe the other way?) Only if blows in one direction is it good for both.

The answer is simple life is not fair. It sometimes blows good for you, sometimes blows bad and sometimes it blows good for all.

The job is a Jew is to hope and pray that his needs, desires and wishes align with the good of all so we can all enjoy.

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