Monday, December 31, 2012

Shabbat Daf 89

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Loyal blog followers - please do not despair! Our study of the Daf will resume on Friday when I return from my brief vacation!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shabbat Daf 16

Small point of clarification: The discussion at the end of the shiur about cloudy and sunny days is speaking about the situation where the bowl was left under the drainpipe, NOT when it was left out in the courtyard. The qualifications being presented are qualifications of the ORIGINAL case.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shabbat Daf 08

Today has been designated by the United Nations as the first annual "International Day of the Girl" in recognition of the fact that "in many countries girls get left behind in all areas of life from school to work and many are prevented from fulfilling their true potential by severe discrimination and prejudice."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shabbat Daf 02

The first piece in Masekhet Shabbat is rather complex. Here is a summary (meant to accompany the recording, not substitute for it) that can help you understand and retain the points:

There are two cases where the poor man standing in the public domain is entirely liable for violating Shabbat. He is liable when he picks up an object in the public domain and sets it down in the private domain. He is also liable when he picks up an object in the private domain and sets it down in the public domain.

There are two cases where the homeowner standing in the private domain is entirely liable for violating Shabbat. One is where he picks up an object in the private domain and sets it down in the public domain. The other is where he picks up an object in the public domain and sets it down in the private domain.

There are four cases where the activity is shared and, therefore, no one is entirely liable.

The first two involve transfers of an object from the public to the private domain, in which the poor man picks up an object in the public domain and the homeowner sets it down in the private domain. In one case, the poor man picks up the object and stretches his arm into the house where the homeowner takes it and puts it down, completing the act. In the other case, the poor man picks up the object and the homeowner stretches his own arm outside, takes it from the poor man and sets it down inside.

The other two cases of shared activity involve transfers of an object from the private domain to the public domain, in which the homeowner picks up an object inside and the poor man sets it down outside. In one case, the homeowner picks up an object and stretches his arm outside, where the poor man takes it and sets it down in the public domain, completing the action. In the other case, the homeowner picks up an object inside and the poor man stretches his own arm inside, taking the object from the homeowner and then setting it down outside.

Both parties are exempt from liability in these four cases. Nevertheless, the Mishnah calls the poor man "exempt" only in two of the four cases and calls the homeowner "exempt" only in two of the four cases. Apparently, in two of the cases, the poor man is "exempt from liability" but the homeowner's role is too insignificant to be counted, and in two of the cases, the homeowner is "exempt from liability" but the poor man's role is too insignificant to be counted.

According to Rashi, whoever initiated the process by lifting the object is called "exempt from liability". So, in the first two cases of shared transfer, the poor person is called exempt. In the second pair of cases, the homeowner is called exempt.

According to Tosafot, the person who stretched out his hand and effectuated the transfer is the primary actor in the case and is referred to as "exempt from liability". Therefore, following the order in which I have listed the cases, in the first and fourth cases, the poor man is the exempt one; in the second and third, the homeowner is called "exempt".

Apparently, there is a deeper level to this dispute. According to Rashi, the essence of the act of carrying is the relocation of the object. Therefore, the person who has picked up the object, removing it from its current place of rest, has begun the process of relocation in a significant way and is the primary actor.

According to Tosafot, on the other hand, the essence of the act of carrying is the transfer. In order to meet the criteria for liability, one must pick up the object in Domain A and set it down in Domain B. Nonetheless, the main action is the transfer - as a result, the one who stretches out his hand is considered to have done a significant action (although he is exempt from liability) while the other participant is not considered to have played a significant role at all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Berakhot Daf 41

The last sentence and a half was cut off, but the point was sufficiently clear already.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Berakhot Daf 37

One point I skipped toward the end of the shiur: According to Rav Yosef, bread that is broken into small pieces is only Hamotzi if the remainder of the original large loaf is still intact. The majority rejects this view and holds that even bread that is totally broken up is still Hamotzi.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Berakhot Daf 29

One point of clarification that I didn't convey so clearly in the recording: The first version of Rav Nahman bar Yitzhaq holds that the only time that a person who forgets Yaaleh Veyavo has to repeat the Amidah is when he BOTH took three steps back AND doesn't add supplications at the end of his prayer. If he EITHER hasn't stepped back OR he has stepped back but typically adds supplications, then he is still considered involved in the prayer and can go back and correct it without starting over. The second version holds that if the person took three steps back he must start over no matter what; in fact, even if he hasn't taken three steps back yet, if he doesn't generally append supplications to the end of his Amida, then as soon as he is finished with it and is READY to step back, he can no longer salvage/correct his prayer.

Another point: In Havinenu, the phrase "Ve-hatoim al daatkha yishapetu" can also be read "al daatkha yishpotu" depending on how it is interpreted. If it means "those who err should be judged by Your wisdom", then the former is correct,  but it seems that Rashi's preferred interpretation - that it means "judges who err should instead judge according to Your wisdom" - fits best with the latter.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Berakhot Daf 22

Unfortunately, the last few minutes of the shiur did not record, mainly because the Ipod's battery failed...I plan to replace it today so that we won't encounter the problem in the future. For a summary of the last few points of the Gemara that are omitted, borrowed from here:

(g) One of the following teachings was taught by R. Yochanan or Reish Lakish, the other was R. Elazar or R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina.
(h) (Chacham A): The first Tana distinguishes between learning himself and teaching others -- this is only for Choleh ha'Margil, but nine Kabim always suffice for Choleh b'Ones, even if he plans to teach others;
(i) (Chacham B): In every case, 40 Se'ah are required if one plans to teach Torah to others.
(j) (Chachamim C and D are from the same pairs as above.)
(k) (Chacham C): R. Yehudah requires 40 Se'ah (an actual miqveh) in any case -- the water must be in the ground, not in a vessel;
(l) (Chacham D): The water may be in a vessel, it need not be a kosher miqveh; a bathtub would be fine.
(m) Question: According to Chacham D, we understand why R. Yehudah said "40 Se'ah in any case," to permit water in a vessel; but according to Chacham C, what does "in any case" include?
(n) Answer: It includes Mayim She'uvim (water that was drawn in a vessel), which is acceptable as long as it is deposited in the ground and doesn't remain in a vessel when used for immersion.

(o) Rav Papa, Rav Huna son of Rav Yehoshua and Rava bar Shmuel ate together; Rav Papa asked to lead Birkat haMazon, because nine Kabim were poured on him.
(p) Rava bar Shmuel: But a Barayta taught that nine Kabim permit one to learn, but not to teach or bless for others until immersing in 40 Se'ah!
(q) Rava bar Shmuel: Rather, I should lead Birkat haMazon, because I immersed in 40 Se'ah.
(r) Rav Huna: I should lead, for I had no need to immerse.
(s) Rav Chama would immerse on Erev Pesach to say berakhot on behalf of others (Rashi; alternatively, perhaps he would recite the Hagadah on behalf of others).
(t) The Halachah does not follow him (nine Kabim suffice).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Berakhot 21A/B

Most of today's lecture is contained in the first video. The recording was cut off midstream, so I went back and re-recorded the rest of the material myself after the class. That section appears below entitled "Masekhet Berakhot 21B".

Here is the second part:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Berakhot Daf 20