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 27, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      If a sheet that had contracted midras uncleanness was made into a curtain, 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 […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)     [A piece of cloth] three [fingerbreadths] square that was stuffed into a ball or was itself made into a ball is clean.   2)      But [a piece of cloth] three [handbreadths] square that was stuffed into a  ball remains unclean.   3)      If he made it into a […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 10

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Ten   Introduction Our mishnah deals with the susceptibility to impurity of a hair-net.   Mishnah Ten 1)      A hair-net that one began to make from its upper hem remains pure until its bottom section is finished. a)      If one began from its bottom section, it remains pure until its hem […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      [A piece of cloth] less than three [handbreadths] square that was adapted for the purpose of stopping up a hole in a bath house, of emptying a cooking-pot  or of wiping with it the mill stones, whether it was or was not kept in readiness for […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      If a bandage is made of cloth or leather it is pure. a)      (Rabbi Yose says: with leather it is pure.) 2)      A poultice is pure if it is on cloth, but if on leather it is susceptible.     a)      Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel says: even if […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      Covers of scrolls, whether they are decorated or not, are susceptible to uncleanness according to the view of Bet Shammai. 2)      Bet Hillel says: those that are decorated are pure, but those that are not decorated are susceptible. 3)      Rabban Gamaliel says: both the former and […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with various cases where one cloth item that is susceptible to impurity is turned into a different item that is also susceptible to impurity. The question is: does it lose its earlier impurity?   Mishnah Five 1)      If a head-wrap that had contracted midras uncleanness […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      If a patch was sewn on to a basket, it conveys one grade of uncleanness and one of unfitness.     2)      If it was separated from the basket, it conveys one grade of uncleanness and one of unfitness, but the patch becomes clean.     3)      If it was […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      The three (fingerbreadths) square of which they have spoken do not include the hem, the words of Rabbi Shimon. a)      But the sages say: exactly three [fingerbreadths] square.     2)      If a patch was sewn on to a cloth by one side only, it is not considered […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      Poor men’s clothes, though made up of pieces none of which is three [fingerbreadths] square are susceptible to midras uncleanness. 2)      If a cloak began to be torn, as soon as its greater part is torn [the pieces] are not regarded as connected.     3)      Exceptionally thick […]

Kelim, Chapter 28, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      A porter’s pad is susceptible to midras uncleanness. 2)      A wine filter is not susceptible to uncleanness as a seat.     3)      An old woman’s hair-net is susceptible to uncleanness as a seat.     4)      A prostitute’s shirt which is woven like a net is not susceptible to […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah One   Introduction Today’s mishnah continues to discuss the strings that hang off a garment and whether they are considered connected to the garment. For certain garments, only part of the strings are considered as connected to the garment. The reason seems to be that anything longer is going to be […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      Three woolen pillow-covers, six linen ones, three sheets,  twelve handkerchiefs, two pant-sleeves, one shirt, one cloak, or one winter-cloak,  can be regarded as connected in respect of both uncleanness  and sprinkling.   2)      If they exceed this number they are regarded as connected in respect of uncleanness […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      The string of a [common] plumb-line is regarded as connected up to a length of twelve [cubits];     a)      That of the carpenters’ plumb-line, up to eighteen [cubits];     b)      And that of the builders’ plumb-line up to fifty cubits. c)      The parts that exceed these lengths, even […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      The cord of the balances of goldsmiths or the weighers of fine purple cloth is regarded as a connective up to a length of three fingerbreadths,     2)      The handle of an axe behind the grip, up to a length of three fingerbreadths.     a)      Rabbi Yose says: […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with how much of a vessel is regarded as connected to the vessel.   Mishnah Five 1)      The cord of the balances of shopkeepers or householders is regarded as connected up to a length of one handbreadth. 2)      The shaft of an axe […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Six   Introduction Today’s mishnah continues to list how much of various cords and shafts are considered connected to the main vessel, be it a balance or a type of axe, or a type of hammer. The principles behind this mishnah are the same as those behind the other mishnayot we […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Another mishnah discussing the lengths of shafts. If you’re getting a bit bored with this (and I’m sure you’re not) don’t worry, we are almost done with the tractate! As with yesterday’s mishnah, I have commented below on the sections that I believe need some extra clarification.   […]

Kelim, Chapter 29, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Twenty-Nine, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      The remnant of the shaft of an ox-goad at its lower end is regarded as connected up to a length of seven handbreadths. 2)      The shaft of a householders’ shovel — a)      Bet Shammai says: to a  length of seven handbreadths, b)      And Bet Hillel says: […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction As we have learned previously, if an earthenware vessel is broken, it becomes clean. “Broken” would include a vessel that has a hole in it. The general rule is that if the hole is large enough to make the vessel unusable, it is clean. Our mishnah begins discussing […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      A jar: the size of the hole must be such that a dried fig [will fall through], the words of Rabbi Shimon. a)      Rabbi Judah said: walnuts.  b)      Rabbi Meir said: olives.  2)      A stew-pot or a cooking pot: such that olives [will fall through]. 3)      […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      A jar that had a hole and was mended with pitch and then was broken again: a)      If the fragment that was mended with the pitch can hold a quarter of a log it is unclean, since the designation of a vessel has never ceased to […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If a jar was about to be cracked but was strengthened with cattle dung, although the potsherds would fall apart were the dung to be removed, it is unclean, because the designation of vessel never ceased to apply. 2)      If it was broken and some of […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      One who lines a sound vessel: Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon say: [the lining]   contracts impurity. 2)      But the sages say: a lining over a sound vessel is not susceptible to impurity, and only one over a cracked vessel is susceptible.   3)      And the same dispute […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      As to dog’s tooth which which they line large jars: anything that touches it becomes unclean.   2)      The plug of a jar is not regarded as connected.   3)      That which touches the lining of an oven is unclean.   Explanation Section one: Dog’s tooth is a […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven   Mishnah Seven 1)      A cauldron which was lined with mortar or with potter’s clay: a)      That which touches the mortar is unclean; b)      But that which touches the potter’s clay is clean.   2)      A kettle which was punctured and the hole was stopped with pitch: a)      Rabbi Yose rules […]

Kelim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      A jar which which was pierced and the hole stopped up with more pitch than was necessary: a)      That which touches the needed portion is unclean, b)      But that which touches the unneeded portion is clean. 2)      Pitch which dripped upon a jar, that which touches […]

Kelim, Chapter 30, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Thirty, Mishnah One   Introduction Chapter thirty, the final chapter of Kelim (phew!), deals with the rules of purity that relate to glass vessels.   Mishnah One 1)      Glass vessels–those that are flat are pure and those that have receptacles are susceptible.   2)      After they are broken they become clean. a)      If he […]

Kelim, Chapter 30, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Thirty, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      A mirror is pure. 2)      A tray that was made into a mirror remains susceptible, but if it was originally made to serve as a mirror it is pure.   3)      A large [glass] spoon that has been placed on a table is susceptible to uncleanness if […]

Kelim, Chapter 30, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Thirty, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with the purity of glass cups.   Mishnah Three 1)      A cup the greater part of which is broken off is pure. 2)      If it was broken in three places extending over its greater part it is pure.  3)      Rabbi Shimon says: if it lets […]

Kelim, Chapter 30, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Thirty, Mishnah Four   Introduction The final mishnah of Kelim (yes, it really is) deals with the purity of various glass flasks.   Mishnah Four 1)      A small flask whose neck  was removed remains susceptible to uncleanness,     2)      But a large one whose neck was removed becomes pure.     3)      [A small flask] of […]

Kelim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Introduction In mishnah 2:2 we learned that a potsherd (broken piece of pottery) which can stand without support and can be used to contain a minimal amount of liquid is still susceptible to impurity. In today’s mishnah we learn that if it cannot stand without support than it is […]

Kelim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      If a jar was cracked and cannot be moved with half a kav of dried figs in it, it is clean.  2)      If a damaged vessel (gistera) was cracked and it cannot hold any liquid, even though it can hold foodstuffs, it is clean, since remnants […]

Kelim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      What is meant by a “damaged vessel” (gistera)?   a)      One whose handles were removed.   2)      If sharp ends projected from it: a)      Any part of it which can contain olives contracts impurity by contact, while any impurity opposite an end conveys impurity to the vessel through […]

Kelim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      An earthenware vessel that has three rims: a)      If the innermost one projects above the others, all outside it is not susceptible to impurity. b)      If the outermost one projects above the others all within it is susceptible to impurity;    c)      And if the middle […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah One   Introduction The next five chapters of Mishnah Kelim will do with the purity of oven and stoves. The oven referred to in the mishnah was like an inverted pot, with a narrow top to let a little air escape and enter. It had no floor, but rather the earth […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 10

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Ten   Mishnah Ten 1)      If he cut the oven up into rings, and then he put sand between each pair of rings,   Rabbi Eliezer says: it is clean.  a)      But the sages say: it is unclean.   b)      This is the oven of Akhnai.   2)      As regards Arabian vats, which are […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 11

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eleven   Mishnah Eleven 1)      An oven of stone or of metal is clean, a)      But the latter is unclean as a metal vessel.    2)      If a hole was made in it, or if it was damaged or cracked, and he lined it with plaster or with a rim of […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two   Introduction Today’s mishnah begins to deal with the “stove” which either had one or two holes on its top upon which they would place pots and pans.     Mishnah Two 1)      A double stove: its original height must be no less than three fingerbreadths and what is left […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      The crown of a double stove is clean.   2)      The fender around an oven: if it is four handbreadths high it contracts impurity by contact and through its air-space, but if it was lower it is clean.   3)      If it was joined to it, even if […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      An oven that was heated from its outside, or one that was heated without the owner’s knowledge, or one that was heated while still in the craftsman’s house is susceptible to impurity. 2)      It once happened that a fire broke out among the ovens of Kefar […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      The additional piece of a householder’s oven is clean, but that of bakers is unclean because he rests the roasting spit on it.   2)      Rabbi Yohanan Hasandlar said: because one bakes on it when pressed [for space].   3)      Similarly the additional part of the boiler used […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      If an oven was half filled with earth, the part from the earth downwards contracts impurity by contact only while the part from the earth upwards contracts impurity [also] from its air- space.   2)      If he put the oven over the mouth of a cistern or […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 7

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Our mishnah discusses how one can purify an oven. To recall, in the time of the mishnah the oven was like an upside down pot, and it was attached to the ground before it was used. To provide with extra insulation, they would cover the walls with clay. […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight   Mishnah Eight 1)      If an oven was cut up by its width into rings that are each less than four handbreadths in height, it is clean. 2)      If he subsequently plastered it over with clay, it becomes susceptible to impurity when it is heated to a degree that suffices […]

Kelim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 9

Kelim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      An oven which came cut up in sections from the craftsman’s house and he made for it hoops and put them on it, it is clean. 2)      If it contracts impurity, and then he removed its hoops it is clean.   3)      If he put them back […]

Kelim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Six, Mishnah One   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with the purity of makeshift stoves.   Mishnah One 1)      If he put three props into the ground and joined them [to the ground] with clay so that a pot could be set on them, [the structure] is susceptible to impurity.  2)      If he set […]

Kelim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      A stone on which he placed a pot, [on it] and on an oven, or on it and a double stove, or on it and on a stove, is susceptible to impurity. 2)      [If he set the pot] on it and on another stone, on it […]

Kelim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah continues the subject of stones lined up in a row to make multiple stoves.   Mishnah Three 1)      If one made two stoves of three stones and one of the outer ones was defiled the half of the middle one that serves the unclean one is […]

Kelim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If two stones were made into a stove and they became defiled, and a stone was set up near the outer side of the one and another stone near the outer side of the other, [the inner half] of each [inner stones] remains unclean while [the […]

Kelim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      The fire-basket of a householder which was lessened by less than three handbreadths is susceptible to impurity because when it is heated from below a pot above would still boil. a)      If [it was lessened] to a lower depth it is not susceptible to impurity.  2)      […]

Kelim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Section Two   Introduction Most of today’s mishnah deals with a protrusion on the side of the oven used to store pots to keep them warm. It is called a “dachon” in Hebrew and is usually translated as a “hob” (a word that I will admit I have never used before).   Mishnah […]

Kelim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 3

Kelim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      A double stove which was split into two parts along its length is clean.   a)      Through its breadth is unclean. b)      A single stove which was split into two parts, by its length or by its width, it is not susceptible to impurity.   2)      As to […]

Kelim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4

Kelim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      If it [the extension] was detached from the stove, whenever it was three fingerbreadths high it contracts impurity by contact and through its air-space, a)      If it was lower or if it was smooth it is clean.   2)      If three props on a stove were three […]

Kelim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 5

Kelim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah contains four debates between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon concerning the purity of the props used to support either the stove or the pot that rests on top of the stove. The basis for this debate seems to be the same in all four cases. If […]

Kelim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6

Kelim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six How do we measure them?   Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel says: he puts the measuring-rod between them, and any part that is outside the measuring-rod is clean while any part inside the measuring-rod, including the place of the measuring-rod itself, is unclean.   Explanation Today’s mishnah asks how […]

Kelim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1

Kelim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      An oven which they partitioned with boards or hangings, and in it was found a sheretz in one compartment, the entire oven is unclean.  2)      A hive which was broken and its gap was stopped up with straw and was suspended within the air-space of an […]

Kelim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 10

Kelim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Ten   Introduction This mishnah deals mostly with the purity of food or liquids that are found in a person’s mouth.   Mishnah Ten 1)      If a person who came in contact with one who has contracted corpse impurity had (food or) liquids in his mouth and he put his head […]

Kelim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 11

Kelim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction This mishnah deals with various liquids that come from an impure woman and defile an oven.   Mishnah Eleven 1)      If milk [of an impure woman] dripped from a woman’s breasts and fell into the air-space of an oven, the oven becomes unclean, since a liquid conveys impurity […]

Kelim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 2

Kelim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      If the hive was complete, and so too in the case of a basket or a skin-bottle, and a sheretz was within it the oven remains clean.   2)      If the sheretz was in the oven, any food in the hive remain clean.   3)      If a hole […]

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