Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.


Introduction to Tractate Kinim

Introduction to Tractate Kinim   Kinim is the plural of the word “ken” and it refers here to a pair of birds brought as a sacrifice (in Biblical and modern Hebrew, ken is a nest). There are several cases in the Torah where a person has to bring a pair of birds, either turtledoves or […]

Kinim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Kinim, Chapter One, Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah of our tractate deals with a few general rules regarding bird and other sacrifices.   Mishnah One 1)      A bird hatat is performed below [the red line], but a beast hatat is performed above [the red line].  a)      A bird olah is performed above, but […]

Kinim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Kinim, Chapter One, Mishnah Two   Introduction Our mishnah begins to discuss different types of bird-offerings that get mixed up one with the other, and what can be done to best remedy the situation.   Mishnah Two 1)      If a hatat becomes mixed up with an olah, or an olah with a hatat, were it […]

Kinim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Kinim, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      When is this so?  When obligatory offerings [get mixed up] with voluntary offerings.  2)      When, however, obligatory offerings get mixed up one with another, with one [pair] belonging to one [woman] and the other pair to another [woman], or two [pairs] belonging to one and two […]

Kinim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Kinim, Chapter One, Mishnah Four   Introduction Our mishnah is an explanation of the last line of yesterday’s mishnah, which referred to different “names.”   Mishnah Four 1)     What is meant by one “name”? For a birth and a birth, or for zivah and zivah, that is one name.  a)      And “two names”? For a […]

Kinim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Kinim, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction You might call our mishnah “the pigeon that escaped.” It deals with a case where a single bird from an “unassigned ken”—one in which it has not been determined which bird is a hatat and which is an olah—escapes. The question is: what is the status of the […]

Kinim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Kinim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah explains the end of yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Two How is this so?  1)      Two women, this one has two pairs and this one has two pairs, and one bird flies from the [pair of] one to the other [woman’s pair], then it disqualifies by its […]

Kinim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Kinim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah continues to illustrate the principle that a bird that leaves a pair disqualifies by flying away and a bird that returns also disqualifies another pair, lest it is not the same bird that flew away. This mishnah uses large numbers, but I think that the principle […]

Kinim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 4

Kinim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      An unassigned pair and an assigned pair:  if one bird from the unassigned [pair] flew to the assigned [pair], then a pair must be taken for the second [bird]. 2)      If one bird flew back,  or if in the first place a bird from the assigned […]

Kinim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5

Kinim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      Hatat [birds] are on one side, and olot [birds] are on the other and an unassigned [pair] is in the middle: a)      If from the middle pair one bird flew to this side, and one bird flew to this side, then he has not lost anything, […]

Kinim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Kinim, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah of chapter three relates to the halakhot found in mishnayot 1:2-3 regarding pairs of sacrificial birds that become mixed up.   Mishnah One 1)      When are these words said?  When the priest asks advice. 2)      But in the case of a priest who does not […]

Kinim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Kinim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction Our mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah. In yesterday’s mishnah we discussed scenarios where the two women brought the same number of pairs of birds. Today’s mishnah deals with cases where one woman has more pairs than the other.   Mishnah Two 1)      If one [pair] […]

Kinim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Kinim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Introduction Up until now, this chapter has discussed cases where two women bring pairs of sacrificial birds; in each case one of each pair is supposed to be offered as a hatat and one as an olah. In today’s mishnah, one woman brings birds that will all be offered […]

Kinim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Kinim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If a hatat, an olah, an unassigned pair of birds and an assigned  pair [became mixed up], and he offered them all above, then half are valid and half are invalid. 2)      [Similarly] if he offered all of them below, half are valid and half are […]

Kinim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Kinim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      If hataot birds were mixed up with [unassigned birds that were] obligatory offerings, only the number of hataot among the obligatory offerings are valid.   2)      If the [unassigned] obligatory offerings are twice as many as the hataot, then half are valid and half invalid;   3)      But […]

Kinim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Kinim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six   Introduction As we know, when a woman gives birth she will have to bring a pair of birds, one of which is offered as a hatat and one as an olah. She does not need to voluntarily take on this obligation. It is automatic. Our mishnah deals with a […]

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Mishnah Yomit

Learn one Mishnah each day with the Conservative Yeshiva's Mishnah Yomit, prepared by faculty member Dr. Joshua Kulp.

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