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.


Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Seven   Introduction The first part of our mishnah deals with the situations in which vines or produce seeds grow so that the vines cover the produce, without them having been planted this way. The second half of the mishnah deals with the important question at one point it becomes possible […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with seeds of grain that were sown in a flowerpot and then brought in to a vineyard.  This creates a situation of kilayim depending on whether the flowerpot is perforated.  If it is perforated, then that which grows in the pot is treated as if […]

Kilayim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah goes over the various basic laws and prohibitions with all four different types of kilayim.    Mishnah One 1)      Kilayim of the vineyard: it is forbidden both to sow and to allow to grow, and it is forbidden to derive benefit from them.  2)      Kilayim of […]

Kilayim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah teaches that it is forbidden to yoke together all potential combinations of two different species of animal and plow with them or even pull them or lead them while yoked together.   Mishnah Two A beast (behemah) with a beast [of another species]; a wild animal […]

Kilayim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      The person driving [the two different animals yoked together] receives the forty [lashes].   And the person sitting in the wagon receives the forty [lashes].   a)      But Rabbi Meir exempts [the latter].   2)      [The tying of] a third [animal different from the two already harnessed to a […]

Kilayim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      They may not tie a horse neither to the sides of a wagon [drawn by oxen] nor behind the wagon, nor [may they tie] a Libyan donkey to [a wagon drawn by] camels.   2)      Rabbi Judah says: all [mules] born from horses, even though their father […]

Kilayim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with mules and whether they can be yoked together.  It then goes on to categorize a few other animals as a “hayyah,” wild animals.  We shall see below why such categorization has halakhic ramifications.   Mishnah Five 1)      Mules of uncertain parentage are […]

Kilayim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah classifies various animals into “behemah”—domesticated beast or “hayyah”—wild animal.   Mishnah Six 1)      The wild ox—[it is in the category of] behemah. a)      But Rabbi Yose says: [it is in the category] of hayyah. 2)      The dog —[it is in the category of] hayyah. a)      But […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah One   Introduction The final chapter of Kilayim deals with kilayim of clothes, or shatnez, as it is called by both Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Our mishnah also mentions several other halakhot which apply only to wool or linen, the two materials subject to the laws of kilayim.   Mishnah One 1)      […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 10

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Ten   Mishnah Ten 1)      Weaver’s mark’s or launderer’s marks [can be] prohibited because of kilayim. 2)      One who sticks one thread [through material], this does not constitute a connection, nor does [the prohibition of] kilayim apply and one who unties [such a connection] on Shabbat is exempt.   3)      If one […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      Silk and floss-silk do not come under the prohibition of kilayim, but are prohibited on account of appearance.  2)      Mattresses and pillows do not come under the prohibition of kilayim, as long as his flesh does not come into [immediate] contact with them. 3)      There is […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Three   Introduction The next five mishnayot begin to catalogue what items made of cloth are subject to the kilayim prohibition. The basic rule is that anything used to cover a person’s body, even temporarily, may be subject to the laws of kilayim. The reason is that the Torah phrases the […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four 1)      Shrouds for the dead, and the packsaddle of a donkey are not subject to the law of kilayim.   2)      One may not [however] place a packsaddle [made of kilayim] on one’s shoulder even for the purpose of carrying dung out on it.   Explanation Section one:  […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with a mechant who may be selling kilayim garments and in the process of selling them may end up wearing them as well.   Mishnah Five 1)      Sellers of clothes may sell [clothes made of kilayim] in accordance with their custom, as long as they […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah discusses a tailor who may have materials made of wool and linen sitting on his lap waiting to be sewn.   Mishnah Six 1)      Tailors may sew [materials which are kilayim] in their usual way, as long as they do have not the intention in the […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah teaches that there are certain items that are assumed to have mixtures of wool and linen and therefore they need to be checked before they can be worn.   Mishnah Seven 1)      The Birrus blanket or Brindisian blanket, or Dalmatian cloth, or felt shoes, may not […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Eight   Introduction When referring to kilayim, the Torah uses the word “shatnez.”  Our mishnah understands this word as an acronym and derives halakhah from the word.   Mishnah Eight 1)      Only that which is spun or woven is forbidden under the law of kilayim, as it says, “You shall not wear […]

Kilayim, Chapter 9, Mishnah 9

Kilayim, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah teaches various cases in which the kilayim prohibition applies despite the fact that the wool and linen may not seem to actually be woven together. According to some commentators, some of these prohibitions are only “derabanan,” of rabbinic status and not of toraitic status.   Mishnah […]

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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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