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.


Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah One   Introduction Chapter eight deals almost exclusively with the wayward and rebellious son mentioned in Deut. 21:18-21.  According to this famous passage in the Torah, if parents have a son who does not obey their words they may take him to the elders of the city, pronounce him to be […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 2

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Two   Introduction Mishnah two defines the actions that a son must take in order to be defined as “wayward and rebellious”.   Mishnah Two 1)                     When does he become liable [to be stoned]? a)                                           Once he has eaten a tartemar of meat and drunk half a log of wine.  b)                                          […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 3

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Three   Introduction Mishnah three contains further restrictions with regards to the “wayward and rebellious son”.   Mishnah Three 1)                     If he stole from his father and ate it on his father’s property, or of strangers and ate it on the property of the strangers, or of strangers and ate on […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 4

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Four   Introduction Mishnah four contains further restrictions with regards to the “wayward and rebellious son”.   Mishnah Four 1)                     If his father wants [to have him punished], but not his mother; or his father does not want [to have him punished] but his mother does, he is not treated as […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 5

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Five   Introduction Mishnah five discusses an important Rabbinic conception of the punishment of the wayward and rebellious son, namely that he is not punished on account of the sins that he has already committed but on account of the sins that he will commit in the future.   Mishnah Five […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 6

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Six   Introduction Mishnah six discusses the permission that one has to kill a thief who has tunneled into one’s home.   Mishnah Six 1)                     [The thief] who burrows his way in [to someone’s home] is judged on account of his outcome. 2)                     If he burrowed his way in and broke […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 8, Mishnah 7

Sanhedrin, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Seven   Introduction The final mishnah of chapter eight continues to discuss this concept of “preventive punishment” and its limited applicability in Jewish law.   Mishnah Seven 1)                     The following can be saved [from sinning] even at the cost of their lives: he who pursues after his neighbor to slay him, […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Mishnah 1

Sanhedrin, Chapter Nine, Mishnah One   Introduction The first half of mishnah one discusses those who are executed by burning, while the second half discusses those executed by being decapitated.   Mishnah One 1)                     The following are burnt: he who has sexual relations with a woman and her daughter, and a priest’s adulterous daughter. a)                                           […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Mishnah 2

Sanhedrin, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with a murderer who intends to kill either in a certain manner or a certain person but does not fulfill his intention and yet nevertheless he kills someone.  The question is, since he did not fulfill his intention is he liable to the death penalty.  […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Mishnah 3

Sanhedrin, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Three   Introduction The opening clause of this mishnah deals with a murderer who is mixed up with others who are not murderers, and the court does not know which one was the murderer.  The second clause deals with people condemned to die by different forms of execution who become mixed […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Mishnah 4

Sanhedrin, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Four   Introduction Mishnah four discusses a person who through one act incurs two different types of death penalty.   Mishnah Four 1)                     He who incurs two death penalties imposed by the court is executed by the severer. 2)                     If he committed one sin for which a twofold death penalty is […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Mishnah 5

Sanhedrin, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Five   Introduction Mishnah five deals with special punishments for a repeat criminal and for one who commits murder without witnesses.  These punishments are what I would call extra-halakhic punishments.  They don’t seem to have been prescribed by the Torah, but rather by the Rabbis desire to shape their legal system. […]

Sanhedrin, Chapter 9, Mishnah 6

Sanhedrin, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Six   Introduction Mishnah six continues to list what I have termed “extra-halakhic” punishments.   Mishnah Six 1)                     If one steals the sacred vessel called a “kasvah” (Numbers 4:7), or cursed by the name of an idol, or has sexual relations with an Aramean (non-Jewish) woman, he is punished by zealots.   […]

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

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