Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Klal u'Prat u'Klal, Oh My!

I am always tickled when someone tells me they don't read all my emails.  I usually response, "Neither do I." My reason for not reading them is simple: I'm lazy.  I am not sure why other people read them at all, to be honest, so figuring out why they don't read them all would seem to be an exercise in frustration.  Being neither a stranger to exercise nor frustration, I am undaunted.  My guess is that it is because I write on a lot of different topics, basically anything that strikes my fancy that day; what strikes my fancy doesn't strike yours.  Today is probably worse than usual.

My morning chavrusa and I were having a lot of trouble with the gemara in Bava Kama regarding which stolen goods are included in the requirement to pay double (keifel) if caught and sentenced by a beis din (as opposed to when one admits his crime).  The basic answer is that rule applies to moveable objects that have an instrinsic monetary value; ie, not land (ain't moveble), slaves (halacha nearly always applies to them in the same way it applies to land), and contracts (no intrinsic value; their value is that they authorize you to collect funds).  How do we know that?  Ah.... now the fun begins.

In broad strokes, the verse that tells us that keifel is owed says: "if the stolen property -- ox, sheep, donkey -- be found alive, the thief pays double".  (Those should really be "paraphrase marks" and not "quotation marks", but English doesn't have those.)  So here we have:

  1. stolen propery -- klal (a general catagory)
  2. ox, sheep, donkey -- prat (a list of specific items)
  3. be found alive -- klal (another general category)
A klal u'prat u'klal is used so say that it applies to anything that is like the list of details.  Why not just ox?  Then I would have said anything that can be brought on the mizbei'ach, which would add what?  Sheep; but sheep is already there, so must mean anything whose b'chor has k'dusha, which would add what?  Donkey; but donkey is already there, must mean anything that is alive.  However, it already says alive, so our conclusion is movable property that has an intrinsic value.

In case you noticed that "alive" was used both as a klal and a prat... well there are two daf and two very long  Tosafos that explains how that works.  Knock yourself out... that's how we spent our last couple of weeks.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…