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Bava Kamma 37-44

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May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel Ben Harav Yoel David Balk a”h.


This week we learned Bava Kamma 39. Here are some highlights.

He trained a pigeon to steal, the pigeon damaged in the act, is the trainer liable for full damage?

Rav Zilberstein dealt with the following...

Chukat: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Bamidbar: 20:9

(Based on a true story)

There are days when I-95 in Connecticut is smooth sailing from Stamford all the way to the New York state line. Then there are days when it is a veritable parking lot, and the drive is a nightmarish hell that makes you wonder why anyone would attempt this commute every day.

April 13 was the latter of those two options. Leon and Chani Dubowitz had been sitting in traffic for 45 minutes, and they were still in Greenwich. They were definitely going to be late for their appointment.

Their 3-year-old son Menachem was a very good boy who usually did very well in the car, but he was beginning to reach the end of his patience. His favorite song was...

Fourteen Hours Inspecting the Teaneck Eruv—Does This Matter to Hashem?

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Did you see the four rabbis last week walking along certain Teaneck streets, carefully examining utility wires? Often they were reviewing the poles and wires from different vantage points and perspectives, sometimes spending quite a while in certain spots. What was this all about?

This unusual sight was none other than the Teaneck Eruv Vaad (consisting of this author, Rav Larry Rothwachs, Rav Zvi Sobolofsky and Rav Michael Taubes), who devoted no less than 14 hours (!) to walking (!) the entire perimeter of the Teaneck Eruv during the past two weeks. Every nook and cranny of the eruv was inspected with an eye to maintaining the Teaneck Eruv’s culture of continuous improvement. The Eruv...

Failing at Perfection

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It seems that every couple of years, somewhere in the world—in Israel, the United States or elsewhere—rumors begin to swirl that a para aduma, a red heifer, has been discovered. For weeks and months thereafter, the cow is observed very carefully. Chazal inform us that there were nine para adumas brought from the time of Moshe through the second Beit Hamikdash. The discovery of a para aduma today would potentially be a sign, some say, that the times of Moshiach may be upon us, as the para aduma is required for the process of ritual purification, needed by all to enter the Beit Hamikdash. In describing the requirements of the para aduma, the Torah says that the animal may not have any...

Parshat Chukat: More Than Just the Para Aduma

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Today’s parsha opens with the oft-discussed law of the para aduma. Due to our familiarity with this portion we may tend to connect the entire Parshat Chukat to this one subject. Our rabbinic authorities, however, do not.

Tellingly, the haftorah selection today is taken from Sefer Shoftim and connects to the main focus of the Torah reading, those events that took place during the 40th year in the desert, specifically the wars against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og. This reading tells the story of Yiftach, one of the later shoftim (judges, or, better, leaders), who, although initially rejected by his family and community, is approached by the elders who entreat him (and his...

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