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Confronting the Esav Within (Vayishlach)
Author: Elan Javanfard, L.M.F.T.
November 30th, 2023

In Parshat Vayishlach, we witness Yaacov Avinu’s dramatic encounter with his brother Esav after years of separation. As Yaacov faces the impending meeting with Esav, the Parasha takes an unexpected turn - Yaacov finds himself in a wrestling match with a mysterious figure, described as the angel of Esav. The struggle is intense, and as dawn approaches, the figure touches Yaacov’s hip, leaving him with a permanent limp. Despite the toll …
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Toxic Anger and Toxic Waste Bava Kamma 30 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
December 1st, 2023

Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses practices of the Chassidim Rishonim, a sect of sages who were distinguished by taking upon themselves strict requirements of piety. תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: חֲסִידִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הָיוּ מַצְנִיעִים קוֹצוֹתֵיהֶם וּזְכוּכִיּוֹתֵיהֶם בְּתוֹךְ שְׂדוֹתֵיהֶן, וּמַעֲמִיקִים לָהֶן שְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָ …
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Entrusted Possessions Bava Kamma 29 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
December 1st, 2023

Our Gemara on amud beis informs us of a legality involving a twilight zone of ownership and non-ownership:   The Gemara states that there are two entities that are not in a person’s legal possession and nevertheless the verse rendered them as though they were in his possession with regard to certain halakhic responsibilities. And these are: A pit that he dug in the public domain and leavened bread remaining in his possession on the eve …
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God is the Baal Tekiah Bava Kamma 28 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 30th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the well-known principle that the Torah does not hold a person liable for sins committed that he could not stop or control, or if he was compelled by an overpowering force, or committed them under life threatening conditions.  The precise language is, “The Merciful One exempts a victim of circumstances beyond his control.” Rav Simcha Bunim Mipeshischa (Kol Mevaser II:Rosh Hashanah) notes the mann …
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The Optics of Retaliation and Rescue from Enemies Bava Kamma 27 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 29th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the principle of Avid Inish Dina Lenafshe, which is to the extent that a person can take the law into his own hands to protect, or recover his possessions. There are times where it may be permitted to even resort to violence to protect one's possessions, see Shulkhan Arukh (CM 4). Of course, the potential for vigilantism and rationalization for out of control behavior is considerable, so one should be both well-v …
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The Universal Principle Of Risk Reward Ratio Bava Kamma 26 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 28th, 2023

Our Gemara and Mishna on Amud Aleph discuss the idea of Adam Muad Le-Olam: “The legal status of a person is always that of one forewarned. Therefore, whether the damage was unintentional or intentional, whether he was awake while he caused the damage or asleep, whether he blinded another’s eye or broke vessels, he must pay the full cost of the damage.” There is a three-way dispute amongst the Rishonim as to the extent of this li …
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Is it Ever OK If Parents Argue? Bava Kamma 25 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 27th, 2023

Our Gemara has on Amud Aleph discusses the source for the principle of Dayo Laba Min Hadin Liyhos Kanidon. Dayo is a limiting principle on the derivation of a Kal Vachomer. A kal v’chomer is the first of the thirteen hermeneutical principles that tradition says we use to understand and derive Torah laws. A kal v’chomer works by making an assumption that if this rule applies to one one situation, surely in a more stringent situation it …
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Vision & Purpose (Parshat Vayeitzei)
Author: Elan Javanfard, L.M.F.T.
November 24th, 2023

In Parshat Vayeitzei we embark on the profound journey of Yaakov Avinu, a path that not only that not only traverses physical landscapes but provides depth into human psyche. At the heart of the Parsha lies the theme of vision and purpose, two psychological concepts that guide Yaakov’s path and offer timeless lessons for ours.   Helen Keller once wrote, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” …
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Engagement Anxiety
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
November 22nd, 2023

Dear Therapist: My son is engaged and has become very panicky about if he made the right decision. Initially we figured it was nerves but it has persisted. He can't really point out any major concerns about the girl but he also is very worried about getting married. More like he feels something is "missing." He acknowledges that he is very anxious but says that he doesn't know if that's just fear or his intuition telling him there is something wr …
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Medication and Dating Revisited
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
November 22nd, 2023

Dear Therapist: As a teenager our son saw a therapist for a while due to some burnout/depression. Baruch Hashem with some adjustments to his yeshiva life and the help he received he is doing amazing and has been for a while. He is still on a low dose of medication which has worked well for him. When he tried going off, he relapsed and our consensus is that it's best for him to stay on it for now. Now that he is starting shidduchim he is very nerv …
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“Ox-shanus” and The Dangers of Legalistic Thinking Bava Kamma 24 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 26th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses a process by which we can discern if an ox who became accustomed to goring can recover its prior status of a docile ox, thereby reducing the owner’s liability back to half damages. וְתָם – שֶׁיְּהוּ הַתִּינוֹקוֹת מְמַשְׁמְשִׁין בּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ נוֹגֵחַ And it reverts to its former innocuous status if children touch it and nevertheless it does n …
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Safeguarding Other’s Possessions Bava Kamma 23 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 23rd, 2023

On amud beis Tosafos (“Velichayev”) infers from our Gemara that there is a stronger moral obligation and expectation that one safeguards his possessions from damaging others than from being damaged. Thus, in the case where a dog enters an area and grabs a cake with a hot coal attached to it, which ends up causing a fire, we expect the owner of the coals to be mindful that a dog might enter and he therefore shares liability with the do …
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God is Responsible Bava Kamma 22 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 24th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the concept of damages caused by fire. There is a principle known as “Isho Mishum Chiytzav”, which means that the fire is not merely treated as a possession that he must watch, but it is like his arrow.  The action of sending a fire has implications as if he caused the damage directly from a physical action. אָמַר רָבָא: קְרָא וּמַתְנִיתָא מְסַיַּיע לֵיהּ …
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The Devil Within Bava Kamma 21 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 23rd, 2023

Our Gemara on amud aleph observes that a desolate, abandoned home seems to deteriorate more rapidly, offering a squatter a rationale for how they benefit the owner. What causes an abandoned structure to become decrepit? The Gemara offers a concrete reason: the occupant makes small repairs on the spot, thereby mitigating larger damage. Consider a home with a small leak—if repaired, the damage is contained. However, if left unchecked, the lea …
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Divine Checks and Balances Bava Kamma 20 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 22nd, 2023

Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses the legal implications where one person derives benefit from someone else, but there was no loss incurred. This is not to say that it is permitted to squat on someone’s property, but the Gemara considers that in situations where there is zero loss and wear and tear, there can be no financial liability on the beneficiary.  Rav Shlomo Kluger (Chokhmas HaTorah, Toldos) uses this legal reasoning to explai …
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Rav Nachman and the Furry Bava Kamma 19 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 21st, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Bais states that while it's expected for an animal to eat, if it eats from a table—this unusual behavior results in categorizing the damage as non-usual, subject only to half-damages. This observation of an animal's atypical behavior brings to mind the well-known Rav Nachman story (found in Sippurei Ma’asiyos). The story, available on the Breslov.org website (https://breslov.org/rebbe-nachmans-story-the-turkey-princ …
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False Pride and Real Guilt Bava Kamma 18 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 20th, 2023

Our Gemara from 17b to 18a discussed how certain actions are viewed, from their inception or from their end point?  For example, if an animal stomps upon a vessel, and the vessel does not break, but then from that force, rolls and breaks. If we follow the initial stomp, it would be the damage of “foot”, requiring full payment.  But if we follow the end, where the vessel broke by banging into another object, this is comparabl …
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A Nation Born of Delayed Gratification (Parshat Toldot)
Author: Elan Javanfard, L.M.F.T.
November 16th, 2023

Parshat Toldot offers a fascinating opportunity to explore the psychological concept of delayed gratification, a concept that is central to human behavior and personal development. In this Parsha, we find a compelling example of delayed gratification through Yaacov, who ultimately becomes the third and most accomplished of the Avot.   The story of the Parsha primarily focuses on the struggle between Yaacov and Esav, two very different brothe …
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5 Somatic Symptoms You May Have When You're Being Gaslit
Author: Esther Goldstein LCSW
November 15th, 2023

  Important note: not all people who gaslight are “bad”. Read disclaimer below for more.   You Have a “Felt Sense” that Something is Not Quite Right…   You've been spending time with someone who has a draw to them, they are compelling, funny and inviting. This may be someone you’ve known for years, someone you spend time with often or someone you get to see once in a while. Or, you may …
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Tags: somatic, gaslight
Avos, Aretz, and the cords that bind us
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
November 14th, 2023

As Israel finds itself in the second month of its war on Hamas - this, following the shocking massacre of 1,400 Israelis and the taking of more than 200 hostages - I’ve decided to share a thought, a meditation. It’s one that grounds me and brings me solace. Perhaps, you too will find meaning. There are deeply disturbing facets to the war: the gruesome murder scenes, the unbearable images of people being tortured, the heart-wrenching r …
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A Story About Gaslighting & What To Do When You're Being Gaslit
Author: Esther Goldstein LCSW
November 13th, 2023

Most people are familiar both with gaslighting and being gaslit in some way, but not everyone notices signs of it in their relationship until irreparable damage has been caused. Join me in this fictitious, yet revealing story about my client Jenny and her relationship experiences with Jhonny as she peels away the layers to find a slow and steady “gas leak” that had been keeping her feeling “off”, fuzzy, disoriented, sluggi …
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Tags: healing, boundaries, gaslighting
Habits of Respect and Decency Bava Kamma 17 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 19th, 2023

At the end of 16b and the top of 17 Amud Aleph we learn that as a tribute to King Chizkiyahu, they set up a Yeshiva by his grave, and studied there.    Tosafos (16b) raises the question how could they have done this, since a dead person is not obligated or able to study torah, this would be a violation of “mocking a poor person.” Meaning the verse in Mishle (17:5) warns against the insensitivity of rubbing a person's deficie …
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The Price of Stubborn Arrogance Bava Kamma 16 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 17th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis tells us: שִׁדְרוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם – לְאַחַר שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים נַעֲשֶׂה נָחָשׁ. וְהָנֵי מִילֵּי דְּלָא כָּרַע בְּ״מוֹדִים״. A person’s spine, seven years after his death, metamorphoses into a snake. The Gemara qualifies the last statement: And this matter applies only to a case where that person did not bow during the blessing of t …
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The Venomous Tongue Bava Kamma 15 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 17th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the status of the snake, and the liability its owners would incur due its tendency to bite.  The damage of “tooth” (what an animal eats) is exempt in the public domain and only obligated if it enters a private domain, because it has a strong desire and benefit from eating, and so the owner is held less liable in the more chaotic, uncontrolled situation of public hustle and bustle.  A snake b …
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The Tzaddik Who Inspires Bava Kamma 14 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 15th, 2023

  Our Gemara on Amud Beis quotes a verse that serves as the source that payment for damages can come from assessing the value of any movable object that has worth. תָּנָא: ״שָׁוֶה כֶּסֶף״ – מְלַמֵּד שֶׁאֵין בֵּית דִּין נִזְקָקִין אֶלָּא לִנְכָסִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶן אַחְרָיוּת. וְהָתַנְיָא: ״יָשִׁיב״ – לְרַבּוֹת …
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The Devil Made Me Do it Bava Kamma 13 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 15th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the halakhic distinctions of an Ox that was set aside for a Shelamim sacrifice and gores another ox.  This is a technically complicated legal discussion, but please bear with me, as it will lead to an interesting moral and psychological observation.  Since according to one opinion, the Shelamim sacrifice is considered to be still a possession of the owner, and when a regular ox gores, half the damages i …
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From Blessing to Reality Bava Kamma 12 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 14th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph references the idea that all land is linked, allowing the act of acquisition of one property to affect the acquisition of another, unlike chattel (movable objects). Sefer Daf al Daf quotes Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Shu”t 4:11) who asks a question based on this teaching. The verse in Bereishis (28:13) tells us that Hashem promises Yaakov that the land he was sleeping on would one day become his possession: הָאָ֗רֶץ …
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Niddah: Is it Taboo, Stigma and Impurity? Bava Kamma 11 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 13th, 2023

Tosafos on Amud Aleph (“D-Eyn”) makes a distinction between what induces the halakhic state of impurity of Niddah, such as for purposes of maintaining ritual purity in the Temple era for sacrificial meats and foods, and the prohibition against sexual intercourse. One might think they are identical, but they are not, and sometimes one state will not necessarily imply the other. Rav Soloveitchik (Reshimos Shiurim, ibid) notes that the K …
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Marriage and Love (Chayei Sara)
Author: Elan Javanfard, L.M.F.T.
November 8th, 2023

Parshat Chayei Sara is often pointed to as the Parsha of Shidduchim, match matching, however it can offer us a powerful insight into the importance of cultivating love. One of the central themes in this parsha is the concept of love and partnership. The marriage between Yitzchak and Rivka provides us with wonderful insights to apply to our own loving relationships.   The passuk says “Vayyikkach et-rivkah vattehi-lo le'ishah vayye'ehave …
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What's the Right Amount of Anxiety?
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
November 6th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I have always considered myself a healthy person and have never been diagnosed with any kind of mental health issue. Recently, due to the current events in Eretz Yisroel, I have this feeling of uneasiness that follows me around all day. I can't say I'm anxious but I certainly don't feel like my regular self. I feel more "alert" when I am walking down the street, considering travel plans, or even dropping my kids off at school …
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Enough Therapy Already?
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
November 6th, 2023

Dear Therapist: Thank you for this forum and for your time and advice. Our son's school recommended that our 7-year-old be evaluated for behavioral issues at the end of last school year and that he may benefit from some extra help during summer vacation. We had him evaluated privately and paid privately for the sessions that he is receiving and b”H have seen improvement in his overall behavior and his ability to follow instru …
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The Stonewalling Therapist
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
November 6th, 2023

Dear Therapist: When I asked my fifteen-year-old daughter’s therapist questions about what was being addressed in therapy and why we needed to continue, she was evasive, making it clear that it wasn’t my place to know and there was no reason for me to be involved. I was quite baffled and rattled. It just didn’t make sense to me at all that I was not being included as an important team member. But I put aside my troubled feelings …
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Take a Pit Stop Before You Get Back into the Race Bava Kamma 10 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 12th, 2023

  Our Gemara discusses how to interpret the following verse in (Shemos 21:33-34): וְכִֽי־יִפְתַּ֨ח אִ֜ישׁ בּ֗וֹר א֠וֹ כִּֽי־יִכְרֶ֥ה אִ֛ישׁ בֹּ֖ר וְלֹ֣א יְכַסֶּ֑נוּ וְנָֽפַל־שָׁ֥מָּה שּׁ֖וֹר א֥וֹ חֲמֽוֹר׃ If a man uncovers a pit, or if a man digs a pit, and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it: בַּ֤עַל הַב …
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Whom Do We Venerate? The Mitzvah or the One Who Performs It? Bava Kamma 9 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 10th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the principle of Hiddur Mitzvah. There is an additional requirement beyond fulfillment of a mitzvah; that is to honor a mitzvah by somehow beautifying it. Rabbi Zeira said that for the embellishment of the performance of a mitzvah, one should spend up to one-third more than the cost. There is an apparent dispute between Rashi and Tosafos regarding the interpretation of "⅓ more." According to Rashi, one should s …
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One’s Portion in the World to Come is REAL Estate Bava Kamma 8 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 10th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph states: רָבִינָא אָמַר בִּדְעוּלָּא פְּלִיגִי דְּאָמַר עוּלָּא דְּבַר תּוֹרָה בַּעַל חוֹב בְּזִיבּוּרִית שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּחוּץ תַּעֲמוֹד וְהָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה נֹשֶׁה בוֹ יוֹצִא אֵלֶיךָ אֶת הַעֲבוֹט הַחוּצָה מָה דַּרְכּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָ …
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I Am Here My Son
Author: Yitzi Horowitz, Mr.
November 3rd, 2023

Ratzon HaTorah                                                                            …
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Does God Owe Us Reward? Bava Kamma 7 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 9th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph notes that the Hebrew form of Yeshalem (“He shall pay”) connotes being involuntarily forced to pay, as opposed to the passive tense, Yushlam (“Payment shall occur” or “It shall be paid”). The Sefer Daf al Daf quotes a question from the Parashas Derachim (Derush 26). Rus Rabbah (5:4) records a seemingly superfluous comment on the following verse (Rus 2:12): יְשַׁלֵּ֥ם ה׳ יְ …
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He Made Me Do It is Not an Excuse Bava Kamma 6 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 8th, 2023

The Gemara on Amud Aleph and Bais delves into a complex lomdishe discussion regarding various forms of damages and factors that influence leniency or stringency. For instance, fire, as a damaging force, also has wind mixed into it, which can propel the fire into another person's property. In contrast, a pit solely causes damage by the fall itself. In a separate scenario, the Gemara addresses the case of someone who directed their sewage pipe into …
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Punishment or Tax? Bava Kamma 5 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 7th, 2023

Rashi, at the beginning of Amud Aleph, makes a distinction between financial restitution and fines. He articulates that when the payment is a fixed amount rather than being contingent on repair or repayment, it is considered a fine. This categorization and differentiation between restitution and fines are logically accepted by the Gemara, indicating that it is recognized, at least in the Oral tradition. This recognition is evident in legal distin …
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An Ox-y-Moron Bava Kamma 4 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
November 6th, 2023

In our Gemara on Amud Aleph, an intriguing expression is employed to delineate the liabilities incurred by an ox that gores, as opposed to one that tramples or eats, and causes damage. The distinction lies in the fact that when the animal eats or tramples, it possesses no "intention" to cause harm, whereas when the ox gores, it "intends" to cause damage. You might wonder if the English word "intent" is a poor translation of the Aramaic term, but …
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