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The Clothes Make the Man Bava Metzia 47 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 15th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph quotes the scriptural source for the chalifin acquisition, whereby transfer of possession is confirmed via exchange of an object, also known as kinyan sudar. In Megillas Rus, Boaz acquires the rights to the field from Plony Almoni and also presumably secures his agreement that he will marry Elimelech’s (their relative) former daughter-in-law, Rus (Rus 4:7):   Now this was an ancient custom done in Israel in cas …
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You Really Can’t Take it With You Bava Metzia 46 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 14th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud beis rules that according to Rabbi Yochanan, by Torah law, money effects acquisition. It is only a rabbinic mercantile protection that required an additional physical acquisition beyond payment for material objects, as the seller might be negligent of the merchandise, while it is still in his possession, since it was fully acquired now by the purchaser. Therefore, the rabbis enacted a protective measure that ownership does not …
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Marriage, God, Tablets and Cryptocurrency Bava Metzia 45 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 12th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud beis describes the effectiveness and limits of the method of acquisition used via exchange (kinyan chalifin):  Money cannot be the item used to effect a transaction by means of exchange, as that form of transaction is effective only with regard to items such as produce and vessels. Rav Pappa said: What is the reason for the opinion of the one who says that money cannot be the item used to effect a transaction by means of e …
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The Perspective of Youth versus Age Bava Metzia 44 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 12th, 2024

Our Mishna on amud aleph discusses when encountering an exchange of one coinage for another, what is considered the coin and what is considered the object? This has an effect on the halacha, as in Jewish commerce, payment of money alone cannot acquire a physical object without the object being acquired through some other means such as picking it up. Yet, an object that is not currency can be acquired via exchange or barter. Thus, when one purchas …
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Repent Early, Beat the Yom Kippur Rush Bava Metzia 43 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 11th, 2024

Our Mishna on amud aleph discusses money that is placed for safekeeping by the money exchanger:   In the case of one who deposits money with a money changer, if the money is bound, the money changer may not use it. Therefore, if it is lost he does not bear responsibility for it. If the money was unbound, the money changer may use it. Therefore, if it is lost he bears responsibility for it. If he deposited money with a homeowner, whether it i …
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Torah and Paradox Bava Metzia 42 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 10th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph makes a number of suggestions regarding money management from a practical and metaphysical point of view.   Rabbi Yitschok advises a person to keep a certain amount of money liquid, presumably, so that he can respond quickly to investment opportunities. He also states that financial blessing is found on matters that are hidden from the eye. Similarly, Rabbi Yishmael says that financial blessings are only found when & …
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Weighing Sin Bava Metzia 41 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 9th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis considers the relative legal severity of two different kinds of watchmen: The free watchman, and the hired watchman. On a simple level, the hired watchman has more legal liability and severity than the free watchman. The hired watchman is liable for theft, and forms of non-negligent loss, while the free watchman can claim the object was stolen and be exempt, so long as he takes an oath that he employed an expected standard …
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Special Eclipse Edition Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 8th, 2024

Eclipses and Torah Thought Psychology of the Daf, Special Edition The Gemara Succah (29a) states: ⁦When the sun is eclipsed it is a bad omen for the entire world. The Gemara tells a parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and placed a lantern [panas] before them to illuminate the hall. He became angry at them and said to his servant: Take the lantern from be …
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Mouse Psychology Bava Metzia 40 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 8th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses how to estimate normal depreciation and spoilage of produce, which has relevance when a watchman is returning an amount of produce deposited, but the original produce is no longer extant.  Thus, if he held 50 lbs of grain, and now is returning it, how much allowance should be made for spoilage?   The Rabbis hold that the amount is dependent according to the measure, and according to the time elapsed. R …
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Toxic Masculinity? Bava Metzia 39 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 7th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses the connotation of the Hebrew word, netisha which translates approximately as, “abandon” or “leave behind”. The Torah (Shemos 23:11) commands that produce be abandoned in the field during the Shemittah year, as no commercial conduct is allowed.    Malbim on this verse notes that though Hebrew has another word for abandon, “Azivah”, the word “Netisha” has …
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What Halachos Will Eliyahu Explain? Bava Metzia 37 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 5th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses several scenarios where there is an unresolved disposition of ownership:   In the case of two people who deposited money with one person, and this one deposited one hundred dinars and that one deposited two hundred dinars, and when they come to collect their deposit, this one says: My deposit was two hundred dinars, and that one says: My deposit was two hundred dinars, the bailee gives one hundred dinars to …
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Bread of Shame Bava Metzia 38 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 5th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph makes an assertion about the psychology of ownership pride in order to explain the following position stated by the Mishna:
In the case of one who deposits produce with another, even if it is lost due to spoilage or vermin, the watchman may not touch it, as it is not his. 
What is the reason that the first tanna said that the watchman should not touch the produce? Rav Kahana says that it is based on the p …
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On Loan from God Bava Metzia 36 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 4th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses the curious Halacha that there are times when one watchman can hand over the object to another watchman and be completely dismissed of any further obligation, even without the owner’s expressed consent.   The phrase used is Shomer Shemasar Leshomer. Midrash Shmuel on Avos (1:1) notes that the Hebrew word “massar” (M-S-R) “to give” has a different connotation than the Hebrew wor …
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Who Deserves Wealth? Bava Metzia 35 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 3rd, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses a judgment that people seem to have when comparing the wealthy to the impoverished. In certain halachic/legal situations, there is an assumption that the borrower trusts the lender’s financial assessment but not the reverse; the lender does not trust the borrower. One reason given for this by the Gemara is that people assume God would not have rewarded this man with wealth unless he was trustworthy. Conver …
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Safeguard Your Body and Soul Bava Metzia 34 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 2nd, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses the responsibilities of a free watchman, who is exempt from financial obligations if he claims it was stolen while adequate safeguards were taken. He must make an oath to affirm this. If he is reluctant to swear (pious individuals avoid making oaths even when true), he has the option to pay for the object. In an interesting twist of fate, if the thief was found, the thief now pays the object plus his additional …
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God Leaves the Driving to You Bava Metzia 33 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
April 1st, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses an interesting intersection between the letter of the law and ethical obligations  beyond legal requirements:   If one finds his lost item and his father’s lost item, tending to his own lost item takes precedence.   The Gemara provides a scriptural source that alludes to the need to ensure one doesn’t save others’ possessions to the extent that he himself becomes impoverished. &n …
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Speaking Up Against Sin Bava Metzia 31 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 29th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the biblical directive to rebuke a sinner. The verse states (Vayikra 19:16): “הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֙יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ You shall admonish, and indeed admonish your fellow country man.”   Biblical Hebrew has an idiomatic word form where a verb is repeated, presumably to connote emphasis.  The halachic implications of this emphasis are discussed in our Gemara: …
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God in Search of Man Bava Metzia 30 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 29th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses an important exemption in the mitzvah to return a lost object. Should the person be of a dignified status, and lost items be of such a nature that the person would not even pick up his own possessions in those circumstances, he is then exempt. For example, imagine a bag of apples that is scattered all over the street, and requires bending down on one’s hands and knees to retrieve them. It is very possible t …
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Sarcasm in the Torah Bava Metzia 29 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 28th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis warns of various careless financial practices: And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the case of one whose father bequeathed him a great deal of money and he seeks to lose it, he should wear linen garments, and should use glass vessels, and should hire laborers and not sit with them to supervise.  A unique feature of this Talmudic passage is that it seems to be resorting to sarcasm. Sarcasm is a particular human style of commu …
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The Circle of Life Bava Metzia 28 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 27th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses the obligation to announce a lost object to alert the owner.  One opinion is that it should be through the entire annual cycle of all three Jewish holidays, Pesach, Shavuous and Succos. Presumably, since people make pilgrimages to Eretz Yisrael at least once a year, this will allow for sufficient interaction that hopefully the person who lost the object will be notified.    Akeidas Yitschok (69) d …
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Miracles, Magic or Technology? Bava Metzia 27 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 26th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the reluctance of a person to loan a wallet or purse to another person, because it is a bad sign.  That is, it symbolically portends that he will give his money to another person.   Tosafos (ibid) raises a concern that this paying attention to signs should be under the prohibition against divination, as stated in (Vayikra 19:26).  Tosafos answers, this is similar to what is taught in Shabbos (67a), …
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Mass Formation Psychosis Bava Metzia 26 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 25th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses social group dynamics.  If a coin fell from one of three people, the finder is not obligated to return it. What is the reason? The person from whom the coin fell certainly despairs of recovering it. He says, “After all, two other people were with me. If I seize this one, he will say: I did not take it. And if I seize that one, he will say: I did not take it.” Since he cannot make a definitive cla …
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The Torah Speaks Through Us, and in Fact, is Us Bava Metzia 25 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 24th, 2024

  Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses a teaching of Rabbi Yitschok Migdla’ah:   שְׁלֹשָׁה מַטְבְּעוֹת זֶה עַל גַּב זֶה. אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק מַגְדְּלָאָה: וְהוּא שֶׁעֲשׂוּיִין כְּמִגְדָּלִין. תַּנְיָא נָמֵי הָכִי: מָצָא מָעוֹת מְפוּזָּרוֹת – הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹ, עֲשׂו …
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Shalach Manos to an Enemy Bava Metzia 32 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 22nd, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses circumstances where one is obligated to assist a fellow Jew in loading and unloading his beast.  The Gemara established that all things considered equal, one should assist in unloading a beast first, before assisting in loading. Logic has it, that the beast and even the owner, is in greater distress when needing to unload versus loading, since the packages might fall or the beast might become injured.   …
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The Harm of Self-Deception Bava Metzia 23 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 22nd, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses why a Talmid Chacham has special credibility; he never lies except for purposes of modesty and privacy. However, even a meticulously honest Torah sage is permitted to alter the truth under circumstances that would violate privacy or modesty, such as if he wants to modestly hide his wisdom, he may publicly deny his achievements. Additionally, he may use deception to prevent others from becoming aware of his and hi …
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Doomed or Not, It is Up to God Bava Metzia 24 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 22nd, 2024

Our Gemara on amud aleph speaks of situations where an object faces inevitable doom, such as a lion is about to consume a sheep.  Even if this is in front of the owners and they protest that they are not giving up, since the consensus reality is that the objects are doomed, it is a de facto giving up (see Shulchan Aruch CM 259:7).  The rescuer may take full possession of the object.   Yismach Moshe (Shemos 30) uses this legality as …
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Minor Issues Bava Metzia 22 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 21st, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the legal status of minors, who do not possess the mental discernment to give proper consent, therefore they cannot forgive a debt or even waive an entitlement. “Yasmi lav bnei mechila ninhu.”   The G”RA uses this idea to understand an emphasis made by the verse in Mishley (23:10):   אַל־תַּ֭סֵּג גְּב֣וּל עוֹלָ֑ם וּבִשְׂדֵ֥י יְ֝תוֹמִ֗ים …
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Buried Treasure Bava Metzia 21 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 20th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the behavioral psychology of money.  One is more likely to become quickly aware of losing currency in comparison to other objects. Since it is the way of people to constantly feel their pockets and check if their money is there, if one found money in the street, he may assume the owner already became aware of the loss.  This has ramifications in terms of the obligation to return lost items, as the owner …
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Seeing is Believing Bava Metzia 20 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 19th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud aleph discusses the legal status of  documents called “Shtarei Berirun”. According to one opinion, is a written record of each litigant’s claims.   The straightforward understanding of why the claims are written and agreed upon is that this way neither party can retract and modify their claims. (Rashbam, Bava Basra 168a, “Shtarei”.)   There also can be a psychological reason for this …
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Cognitive Bias or Sholom Bayis? Bava Metzia 19 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 18th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the laws concerning a death-bed gift. Since the person is giving away his possessions with the tacit understanding that he is mortally ill, should he recover, his gifts are retracted.    The Divrei Mahari relates this (Toldos Bereishis 25:30-34) to Esav’s selling of his rights to the firstborn.     וַיָּ֥זֶד יַעֲקֹ֖ב נָזִ֑יד וַיָּבֹ֥א עֵשָׂ֛ו …
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Inside or Outside? Bava Metzia 18 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 17th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis describes a rabbi’s quest for the correct halakha as “Nafak, Dak, Ve-ashkach - He went out, examined it, and discovered.”How does one “go out” and discover a thought? Is this not something that should be discovered by an inward journey?    Tosafos Yom Tov (2:9) says it refers to an intellectual journey. Midrash Shmuel (ibid) suggests it is a going out, because it is a letting go of a …
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What Do the Dead Know? Bava Metzia 16 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 15th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses the idea that a repentant thief may be disturbed that his reputation as a thief would be discovered after his death. This implies that dead people have an awareness of the goings on in the physical world. However this is subject to debate in Gemara Berachos (18b) with a number of incidents with various sagely and pious persons, the dead and the living.   In one case, a man receives messages from a deceased …
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Buried Treasure Bava Metzia 17 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 15th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis used a particular idiom to describe the discovery of a novel Torah idea: “Drawing up the pearl underneath the clay shard.” Some understand this as a metaphor coming from pearl divers, who find pearls hidden under clay-like clods under the sea (see Tosafos ibid).   I will reflect on this metaphor. The idea that intellectual activity involves a deep dive, associated with risks is certainly meaningful. One ca …
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Gifts and Intimacy Bava Metzia 15 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 14th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses an interesting case where a man attempts to enact marriage to a person to whom he is forbidden, such as a sister. Usually marriage is enacted via an exchange of an object of value (classically, a gold ring). In this situation, since the marriage is obviously impossible, what did he intend to do with the object of value or the money? This is subject to a dispute between Rav and Shmuel:   Rav says: The money h …
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The Unforgivable Bava Metzia 14 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 13th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud aleph asserts a principle of human nature that is used to validate numerous halachic presumptions throughout Shas: “A person will not voluntarily waste their money.”   Thus, if there are certain obvious omissions in a contract, we do not assume the person agreed to such unfavorable terms, and we consider if it was written,    In another Gemara Kesuvos (36b) a similar presumption is made regarding a Co …
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The Frustrations of Daily Life Bava Metzia 13 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 12th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses the status of a promissory note that was lost and found. Ordinarily, these notes with signatures of witnesses have a presumption of validity. However, since this document was dropped, that in and of itself weakens its legitimacy. (Perhaps the loan was canceled or not even enacted, and it was discarded and not lost at all.) Therefore, if one finds this document, he may not be able to return it to the lender, as p …
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Fathers and Roughhousing Psychology of the Daf Bava Metzia 12
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 11th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses why a found item of a minor belongs to the father: “Because the minor does not intend to acquire it for himself, as when he finds it, he runs with it to his father.”   The propensity of this young boy speaks of a form of attachment that fathers specifically enact. A father might toss his child in the air, simultaneously terrifying and delightfing him or her. While mother stands for safety and nu …
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Hidden Treasure, But Open Suffering Bava Metzia 11 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 10th, 2024

Our Gemara on amud aleph discusses the ability of a courtyard to acquire objects for its owner without his awareness.  However, Shulchan Aruch (CM 269) rules that if it is an unexpected object, then it does not acquire it for him, such as hidden treasure.   In Vayikra (14:34) the Torah speaks about tozraas blemishes that will afflict your houses, “upon your entry into the land of Canaan.”  This odd phraseology sounds li …
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Does Religion Make People Anxious? Bava Metzia 9 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 8th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the method of acquisition known as “chatzer = courtyard”, where an object can be acquired by being placed in the person’s domain. A mobile courtyard, such as vessels to be acquired that are placed on one’s moving animal, cannot acquire the objects.  However, a boat is not considered mobile despite moving on the water, as the subjective experience is one of relative stability and stand …
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Dispense With the Middleman Bava Metzia 10 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
March 8th, 2024

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses an important and recurring theme in Jewish religious philosophy that has halachic and metaphorical implications. Under many circumstances, an employee or laborer can quit on the spot. The rationale is that God wants no Jewish person to be encumbered by any mortal. The Gemara declares:   It is written: “For to Me the children of Israel are slaves; they are My slaves whom I brought forth out of the land …
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