Oct 262017

Details of Yeravam and Achav are brought to explain why they have no portion in the World to Come.  Despite the fact that they did terrible things, the rabbis also highlight that they did good things in their lives, particularly as it related to talmud torah or talmidei chachamim.

Oct 252017

What verses in ben Sira are we permitted to learn?  Can one sing verses from Shir HaShirim in a tune other than the taamei hamikra?   What about from other books?  What is “someone who uses incantations” that according to the mishna will not get a part in the world to come?  Are there ways to do this that are permitted?  Is calling to demons allowed? Some stories are told about the rabbis visiting Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanus while he was sick and the conversations that took place relating to suffering.  Yeravam is mentioned in the mishna as one who has no portion in the world to come.  What did he do wrong?  What is the meaning of his name?

Oct 242017

What is the definition of an Apikoris?  What is the definition of one who disgraces the Torah?  What is the definition of “external literature” that if one reads it, one does not get a portion in the world to come, according to Rabbi Akiva?

Oct 222017

Will the Mashiach come because the people have returned to God or will it come regardless of that?  Will it come either for a generation of people who are all good or are all bad?  What are signs of events that will precede the coming of that mashiach?  Some rabbis say they know the mashiach will come but they prefer not to see him as they are worried that their sins will; cause them to be destroyed in the “chevlei mashiach.”

Oct 202017

The story of Sancherib’s death is described.  How did Avraham beat te four kings?  Why do evil people live good lives?  An example is brought from Nechuchadnetzer.  A story is told of Nevuzaradin, the army officer of the Babylonians, who got to the temple and saw the blood of Zecharia boiling.  As a result he kills many Jews until he eventually decides to convert to Judasim.  How did Nevuchadnetzer decide to go conquer Jerusalem?  He was encouraged by Israel’s neighbor’s Amon and Moab who gave him inside information.

Oct 192017

Sancheriv had the opportunity to destroy Jerusalem also but he delayed and missed his chance.  The day he got to Jerusalem was the last day to finish up the punishments relating to the city of Nov but he waited until the next morning and therefore didn’t succeed.  The gemara diverges to King David’s punishment for what happened in Nov, holding him indirectly responsible for the death of all the inhabitants of the city.  A whole encounter between him and Yishbi, the brother of Goliath is described as having a connection to this.

Oct 182017

The story of the battle between Hizkiyahu and Sancheriv is discussed in detail, beginning with the tradition that Hizkiyahu was meant to be the messiah but was deemed unworthy for not showing thanks to God.  In the context of the description of the story, the gemara uses it as a platform to stress the importance of learning Torah.

Oct 162017

More sources are brought to prove that there will be resurrection of the dead.  In addition, other sources are brought which indicate things that will be in the world to come.  The gemara brings the verses in Ezekiel where Ezekiel brings the bones back to life.  Various interpretations are brought to explain whether he really resurrected the dead and if he did, whether they lived for a few moments or went on to lead full lives.  Another question is who were the people who Ezekiel resurrected?