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.

Kelim

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 10

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Ten   Mishnah Ten 1)      A toilet is subject to both midras and corpse uncleanness. a)      If the leather seat was separated, the leather is subject to midras uncleanness and the iron is subject only to corpse uncleanness. 2)      A folding stool whose cover is of leather is subject to both […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      A table one of whose legs was removed is clean.   2)      If a second leg was removed it is still clean. a)      But if a third was removed it becomes unclean where the owner has the intention of using it.     3)      Rabbi Yose says: no intention […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      A bench, one of whose legs was removed, is clean.     a)      If its second leg also was removed it is still clean. b)      If it was one handbreadth high it is unclean. 2)      A footstool one of whose legs was removed is unclean. 3)      The same […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah has two parts, each of which contains three opinions: Bet Shammai, Bet Hillel and Shammai. In both cases, Shammai rules more strictly than Bet Shammai. This is an interesting historical phenomenon. It might demonstrate that in the generation between Shammai and the founding of his eponymous […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five A chair whose seat boards did not project and then they were removed, it is still susceptible to uncleanness, for it is usual  to turn it on its side and to sit on it.   Explanation The seat boards of this chair did not project outside of […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      A chair whose middle seat board was removed but the outer ones  remained, it is still susceptible to uncleanness. 2)      If the outer ones were removed and the middle seat board remained it is also  susceptible to uncleanness. a)      Rabbi Shimon says: only if it was […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      A chair, of which two seat boards were removed, this one next to this one:  a)      Rabbi Akiva says: it is susceptible to impurity; b)      And the sages say that it is clean. 2)      Rabbi Judah said: so too if the seat boards of a bride’s […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      A chest whose top part was removed is still susceptible to uncleanness on account of its bottom; a)      If its bottom was removed it is still susceptible to uncleanness on account of its top part.     2)      If both the top part and the bottom part were […]

Kelim, Chapter 22, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Two, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      A [wooden] block which was painted red or saffron, or was polished: a)      Rabbi Akiva says that it is susceptible to uncleanness,     b)      But the sages say that it remains clean unless [a seat] was carved out.     2)      A small basket or a big one that […]

Kelim, Chapter 23, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Three, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      If a ball, a mould, an amulet or tefillin were torn, one that touches them becomes unclean,   a)      But one that touches what is inside them remains clean. 2)      If a saddle was torn, one that touches its contents unclean, because the stitching joins them.   […]

Kelim, Chapter 23, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction Our mishnah discusses a special type of uncleanness called “merkav” which means “riding” as in riding a camel, horse or donkey. This is a type of uncleanness that only a vessel meant to be ridden upon can contract. Mishnah 1:3 made some mention of special characteristics that characterize […]

Kelim, Chapter 23, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Three, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      What is the practical difference between [the uncleanness of an object used for] riding upon and [one used for] sitting upon? a)      In the case of the former the effect of contact with it is different from the effect of carrying it, but in the case […]

Kelim, Chapter 23, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Three, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      A bier, the mattress and the pillow of a corpse are susceptible to the uncleanness of midras.     2)      A bride’s stool, a midwife’s stool, and a launderer’s stool on which he piles the clothes: a)      Rabbi Yose says: it is not regarded as a seat.   […]

Kelim, Chapter 23, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Three, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      A fishing net is susceptible to uncleanness on account of its bag. 2)      Nets, snares, bird-traps, slings and fishermen’s skeins are susceptible to uncleanness.     3)      A fish-trap, a bird-basket and a bird-cage are not susceptible to uncleanness.   Explanation Section one: The bottom part of a […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah One   Introduction Every mishnah in Chapter Twenty-Four of Kelim has the format of “there are three different types of X.” The differences between the different types of X (in our case shields) means that there are differences as to their susceptibility to impurity. All of the mishnayot have the same […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 10

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Ten   Mishnah Ten There are three different types of mats: 1)      One used for sitting upon is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      One used by dyers is susceptible to corpse uncleanness. 3)      And one used in wine-presses is free from all uncleanness.    Explanation Section one: A mat used to […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 11

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Eleven   Mishnah Eleven There are three different types of water skins and three different types of shepherds’ wallets: 1)      Those that can hold the  prescribed quantity  are susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      Those that cannot hold the prescribed quantity are susceptible to corpse  uncleanness; 3)      And those made of fish […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 12

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Twelve   Mishnah Twelve There are three different types of hides: 1)      That which is used as a rug is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      That which is used as a wrapper for vessels is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And that which is intended for straps and sandals is free […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 13

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Thirteen   Mishnah Thirteen There are three different types of sheets: 1)      One used for lying upon is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      One used as a curtain is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And one used as a mural decoration is free from all uncleanness.   Explanation I think by […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 14

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Fourteen   Mishnah Fourteen There are three different types of napkins: 1)      One used for hands is susceptible to midras uncleanness;     2)     One used for books is susceptible to corpse uncleanness;    3)      And the one used as a shroud or a covering for the harps of the Levites is free from […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 15

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Fifteen   Mishnah Fifteen There are three different types of hip-boots: 1)      Those used by the hunters of animals and birds are susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      Those used by locust gatherers are susceptible to corpse uncleanness. 3)      And those used by fig-pickers are free from all uncleanness.    Explanation The […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 16

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Sixteen   Mishnah Sixteen There are three different types of hair nets: 1)      A girl’s is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      An old woman’s is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And [the hair net] of a woman who “goes out” is free from all uncleanness.    Explanation Section one: A girl’s […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 17

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Seventeen   Introduction The last mishnah of this chapter (yes, we made it there) ostensibly follows the same literary pattern as the first sixteen mishnayot. It begins with the words “there are three types of…” However, the internal structure is quite different. The topic is baskets that are attached to other […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two There are three different types of wagons: 1)      The one made like a cathedra  is susceptible to midras uncleanness;   2)      The one made like a bed is susceptible to corpse uncleanness,  3)      And the one for [the transport of] stones is free from all uncleanness.   Explanation […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three There are three different types of baking-troughs: 1)      If a baking-trough of a capacity from two log to nine kav was split  it is  susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      If it was whole it is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And if it holds the prescribed measure […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four There are three different types of boxes: 1)      A box whose opening is at the sides  is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      If it is on the top it is susceptible to corpse uncleanness;     3)      And if it holds the prescribed measure it is free from all […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five There are three different types of leather covers:      1)      That of barbers is susceptible to midras uncleanness;     2)      That on which people eat is susceptible to corpse uncleanness. 3)      And that for [spreading out] olives is free from all uncleanness.   Explanation Section one: The leather cover […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six There are three different types of bases: 1)      One which lies before a bed or before a scribe is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      One for a side-table is susceptible to corpse uncleanness;  3)      And one for a cupboard is free from all uncleanness.   Explanation Section […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven There are three different types of writing tablets: 1)      That of papyrus  is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      That which had a receptacle for wax is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And that which is smooth is free from all uncleanness.    Explanation Section one: Evidently, a […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight There are three different types of beds: 1)      One that is used for lying upon is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      One used by glass makers is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And one used by weavers is free from all uncleanness.   Explanation Section one: A […]

Kelim, Chapter 24, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Four, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine There are three different types of baskets: 1)      The one for dung  is susceptible to midras uncleanness; 2)      The one for straw is susceptible to corpse uncleanness; 3)      And a camel’s rope bag is free from all uncleanness.   Explanation Section one: The basket used to take […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah One   Introduction Most of chapter twenty-five deals with the differences between cases in which an impure liquid touched the inside of a vessel and cases in which the liquid touched the outside of a vessel. Mishnah six will teach this rule explicitly—if the liquid touched the outside of the vessel, […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      An ox-goad has different laws for its outer and inner parts, a)      [The outer part is] the seven handbreadths from the broad blade and four handbreadths from the point, the words of Rabbi Judah. 2)      Rabbi Meir says: it is not to [subject to such distinction],  […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      Measures of wine or oil, a fork-ladle, a mustard-strainer and a wine-filter have an outer and inner side, the words of Rabbi Meir. 2)      Rabbi Judah says: they do not have.     3)      Rabbi Shimon says: they do have, for if their outer parts contracted uncleanness that […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If [in a measure consisting of] a quarter [of a log] and half a quarter [of a log] the quarter measure contracted uncleanness, the half-quarter measure does not become unclean, and if the half-quarter contracted uncleanness the quarter does not become unclean. 2)      They argued before […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah continues to discuss the measuring vessel that has two sides—one of a quarter log and one of a half-quarter.   Mishnah Five 1)      If the [inside of the] quarter contracted uncleanness, the quarter and its outer side are unclean, but the half quarter and its outer […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      The bases, rims, hangers or handles of vessels that have a receptacle upon which an unclean liquid fell, one dries them and they remain clean. 2)      But [if unclean liquid fell] on any part of any other vessel which cannot hold pomegranates (or in which no […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with the “bet tzviah” the rabbinic word for the place where the vessel is held. This is not a handle but rather an indentation in the wall of the vessel from where the vessel can be held. It is considered part of both the inner […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Today’s mishnah teaches how the laws of the “bet tzviah” the indentation on a cup (or other vessel) through which the vessel may be held applies to clean hands. This was a point of agreement between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yose at the end of yesterday’s mishnah.   […]

Kelim, Chapter 25, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Five, Mishnah Nine   Introduction The final mishnah of chapter twenty-five gives a few general rules concerning the purity of vessels.   Mishnah Nine 1)      Holy vessels do not have outer and inner sides or a part by which they are held. 2)      One may not immerse vessels within one another for sacred […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah One   Introduction Chapters 26-28 deal with vessels made of leather and cloth. The general rule with regard to these vessels was stated in 2:1—if they are simple, they are clean but if they form a receptacle they are susceptible to impurity. Today’s mishnah lists four vessels that are either laced […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      A laced-up bag whose laces were removed is still susceptible to uncleanness; a)      But if it was made flat it is pure. 2)      If a strip of cloth has been put on it below, it is susceptible. 3)      If a bag was within another bag and […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Three   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with various types of protective clothing worn by fruit-pickers.   Mishnah Three 1)      The hand-coverings of thorn-pickers are pure.     2)      A belt and leg guards are susceptible to uncleanness. 3)      Sleeves are susceptible to uncleanness. 4)      But hand-coverings are pure. 5)      All finger-coverings are pure […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      A sandal, one of whose holes was broken but was then fixed, retains its midras uncleanness.     a)      If a second hole was broken and it was fixed, it is free from midras uncleanness but is unclean from contact with midras.     b)      If the second hole was […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      The following hides are susceptible to midras uncleanness: a)      A hide which he intended to use as a rug,     b)      A hide used as an apron, c)      A hide used as the lower covering of a bed, d)      A hide used by a donkey-driver, e)      A […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      A bag or wrapper for garments is susceptible to midras.  2)      A bag or wrapper for purple wool: a)      Bet Shammai says: it is susceptible to midras, b)      But Bet Hillel says: it is susceptible only to corpse uncleanness.     3)      A hide which was made to […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Above, in 25:9 we learned that vessels can become susceptible to impurity by virtue of the fact that a person intends to use them in their current state, even though their manufacturing has not been entirely completed. Our mishnah limits that halakhah.   Mishnah Seven 1)      Whenever no […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      The hides of a householder become susceptible to uncleanness by intention, but those that belong to a tanner do not become susceptible by mere intention. 2)      Those taken by a thief become susceptible by intention, but those taken by a robber  do not become susceptible by […]

Kelim, Chapter 26, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Six, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      If a hide had contracted midras uncleanness and its owner then intended it to be used for straps or sandals, it becomes clean as soon as he put the knife to it, the words of Rabbi Judah. a)      But the sages say: it does not become […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      Cloth is susceptible to five categories of uncleanness; 2)      Sack-cloth is susceptible to four; 3)      Leather to three; 4)      Wood to two; 5)      And an earthenware vessel to one. 6)      An earthenware vessel is susceptible to uncleanness [only] as a receptacle; any earthen vessel that has […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 10

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Ten   Mishnah Ten 1)      If a piece of cloth three [handbreadths] square was divided,  it is pure from midras uncleanness but is still unclean from contact with midras uncleanness. 2)      Rabbi Yose said: but what midras uncleanness has this touched! a)      Only if a zav had  touched it  is it […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 11

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction Today’s mishnah discusses how strong a small piece of cloth needs to be to be susceptible to impurity.   Mishnah Eleven 1)      If a piece of cloth three [handbreadths] square [was found] in a rubbish heap it must  be both sound and capable of wrapping up salt;     a)      […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 12

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Twelve   Mishnah Twelve 1)      [A piece of cloth] three [handbreadths] square that was torn: if he put it on a chair, and his skin touches the chair, it is pure; a)      And if not, it remains pure. 2)      [A piece of cloth] three [fingerbreadths] square one thread of which was […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      Cloth is susceptible to midras uncleanness when it is three handbreadths by three handbreadths, and to corpse uncleanness when it is three fingerbreadths by three fingerbreadths.     a)      Sack-cloth when it is four handbreadths by four handbreadths. b)      Leather, five handbreadths by five handbreadths. c)      And matting, […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)   If one made up a piece of material from two handbreadths  of cloth and one of sack-cloth, or of three of sack-cloth and one of leather or four of leather and one of matting, it is not susceptible to  uncleanness.     2)      If the piece of material […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with a person who takes a piece of one of the materials mentioned in mishnah two and cuts off a swatch one handbreadth by one handbreadth in order to sit on it.   Mishnah Four 1)      If one cut off from any of these a […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      Worn-out pieces of a sifter or a sieve that were adapted for use as a seat: a)      Rabbi Akiva rules that they are susceptible to uncleanness, b)      But the sages rule that they are not susceptible unless their rough ends were cut off.    2)      A child’s […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Six   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that a child’s shirt is measured when doubled, meaning that it needs to be three handbreadths square on both sides. Today’s mishnah teaches that there are other pieces of clothing that are measured doubled.   Mishnah Six 1)      The following are measured when […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      If a piece of cloth was woven to the size of three by three handbreadths, and then it contracted midras uncleanness, and then he completed the rest of the piece, and then one removed a single thread from the original part, it  is free from midras […]

Kelim, Chapter 27, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Eigh   Mishnah Eight 1)      Similarly, if a piece of cloth was woven to the size of three [fingerbreadths] square, and it contracted corpse uncleanness, and afterwards he finished the entire piece, and then he removed a single thread from its original part, it is free from corpse uncleanness but is […]

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