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.

Bava Batra

Bava Batra, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5

Bava Batra, Chapter Six, Mishnah Five   Introduction The mishnah which we will learn today deals with a person who owns a cistern behind another person’s property and hence requires a passage through the other’s property to get to his cistern or garden.  The mishnah provides rules to both the property owner and the cistern […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 6, Mishnah 6

Bava Batra, Chapter Six, Mishnah Six   Introduction The mishnah which we will learn today is similar to yesterday’s mishnah, except it discusses access to a garden instead of a cistern.   Mishnah Six 1)                     If he had a garden behind his fellow’s garden, he may go in and out only at the time when […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 6, Mishnah 7

Bava Batra, Chapter Six, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Mishnah seven deals with laws concerning the building and the selling of private and public paths.   Mishnah Seven 1)                     If a public path passed through a man’s field and he took it and gave them [another path] by the side of the field, what he has […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 6, Mishnah 8

Bava Batra, Chapter Six, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Mishnah eight deals with the building of tombs.   Mishnah Eight 1)                     If a man sold to his fellow a place in which to make a tomb, so, too, if a man was commissioned by his fellow to make a tomb, he must make the inside of […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Bava Batra, Chapter Seven, Mishnah One   Introduction The seventh chapter of Bava Batra deals with errors in the measurement of fields discovered after they were sold. The question asked is must the buyer return the error to the seller if the seller gave more than the stated amount and vice versa, may the buyer […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2

Bava Batra, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Two   Introduction Mishnah two continues to deal with error’s made in the measurements of a field and the rules regarding returning the difference in such cases.   Mishnah Two 1)                     [If he said, “I will sell you] a kor’s space of soil as measured by a rope”, and he […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 7, Mishnah 3

Bava Batra, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three   Introduction Mishnah three continues to deal with the measurement of fields for purposes of selling.   Mishnah Three 1)                     [If he said], “I will sell you [a piece of land] as measured by the rope, whether it is less or more” the condition “whether it is less or […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4

Bava Batra, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four   Introduction Mishnah four continue to deal with the measurement of fields for purposes of selling.   Mishnah Four 1)                     If a man said to his fellow, “I will sell you half of the field”, it must be divided between them into portions of equal value, and the buyer […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah One   Introduction The eighth and ninth chapters of Bava Batra deal with the laws of inheritance.  It states in Numbers 8-11 (JPS translation):  “If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall transfer his property to his daughter.  If he has no daughter, you shall assign his property […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 2

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Two   Introduction Mishnah two lists the order of the inheritance, whose inheritance takes precedence over others.   Mishnah Two 1)                     This is the order of inheritance:  “If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall transfer his property to his daughter” (Numbers 27:8)—the son precedes the daughter, and […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 3

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Three   Introduction In Numbers 27 the story is told of Zelophehad’s daughters.  Zelophehad died with no sons and his daughters came to Moses to request that they inherit Zelophehad’s property.  Moses brings the request to God who affirms that if there are no sons then the daughters are the […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 4

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Four   Introduction Mishnah four deals with the difference between the inheritance of the son and the daughter.   Mishnah Four 1)                     The son and the daughter are alike concerning inheritance, save that the [firstborn] son takes a double portion of the father’s property but he does not take a […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 5

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Five   Introduction Mishnah five deals with a father’s ability to decide which of his inheritors will inherit.   Mishnah Five 1)                     If a man says, “So and so, my firstborn son, shall not receive a double portion”, or “So and so, my son, shall not inherit with his brothers”, […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 6

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Six   Introduction Mishnah six deals with a father’s ability to declare that a certain person is either his son or his brother in order that he should be his legal inheritor.   Mishnah Six 1)                     If a man said, “This is my son”, he is believed. a)                                           If [he […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 7

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Seven Introduction The first half of mishnah seven deals with laws concerning a father who gives money to his son before his death, thereby circumventing the lines of inheritance as prescribed in the Torah.  The second half of the mishnah deals with the division of the inheritance amongst the sons. […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 8, Mishnah 8

Bava Batra, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Mishnah eight deals with the division of the inheritance when daughters inherit.   Mishnah Eight 1)                     If he left elder daughters and younger daughters, the elder daughters may not care for themselves at the cost of the younger daughters, nor may the younger daughters claim maintenance at […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 1

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah One   Introduction The ninth chapter of Bava Batra continues to deal with the laws of inheritance, the subject discussed in chapter eight.  The first mishnah of the chapter deals with the division of the inheritance between sons and daughters.   Mishnah One 1)                     If a man died and left […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 10

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Ten   Introduction The final mishnah of chapter nine continuse to deal with the topic of doubtful inheritances in which it is unclear who died first, the inheritor or the one from whom he inherits.   Mishnah Ten 1)                     If the house fell down on a man and his mother, […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 2

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Two   Introduction Mishnah two deals with the division of the inheritance when one of the children is not discernibly male or female and other laws concerning such a child.   Mishnah Two 1)                     If a man left sons and daughters and one that was of doubtful gender, if the […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 3

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Three   Introduction Mishnah three discusses sons who share an inheritance and some of the sons improve the value of the property.  The issue discussed is are the sons who improved the value the only ones to profit or is the profit divided equally between all of the inheriting sons.  […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 4

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Four   Introduction Mishnah four discusses partnerships between brothers sharing their father’s inheritance and the question of the division of the profits and losses to the partnership.    Mishnah Four 1)                     If brothers were partners and one of them fell into a public office, it falls to the common benefit. […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 5

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Five   Introduction Mishnah four, which we learned yesterday, discussed some laws concerning gifts given by groomsmen to the bride and groom.  Mishnah five discusses a related subject, gifts given by a man to his fiancee, after betrothal but before the marriage.   Mishnah Five 1)                     If a man sent […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 6

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Six   Introduction Mishnah six returns to discuss the major topic of the chapter, inheritance law.  The specific subject of this mishnah is laws governing a person who gives away his property while on his death bed and then recovers from his illness.  The question is can he recover his […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 7

Bava Batra Chapter Nine Mishnah Seven   Introduction Our mishnah deals with the formal and legal way in which a person may transfer property.  In the first chapter of Tractate Kiddushin the Mishnah teaches these laws more extensively.  Our mishnah deals specifically with how a dying person transfers his property before s/he dies so that […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 8

Bava Batra Chapter Nine Mishnah Eight   Introduction The final three mishnayoth of chapter nine deal with cases of doubtful inheritances where both the inheritor and the one from whom he inherits die in one incident.  We will explain this scenario in our explanation to each individual mishnah.   Mishnah Eight 1)                     If the house […]

Bava Batra, Chapter 9, Mishnah 9

Bava Batra, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Nine   Introduction Mishnah nine continues to deal with the topic of doubtful inheritances in which it is unclear who died first, the inheritor or the one from whom he inherits.   Mishnah Nine 1)                     If the house fell down on a man and his wife, the husband’s heirs say, […]

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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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