Dec 142015

The masechet ends with a number of statements describing the difficult historical-political situation after the time of the destruction and discusses what religious factors caused it.  However it ends with a note of hope.

Dec 082015

Who is exempt from war?  Which parts of the speech are said by whom?  A contradiction between two tannaitic sources leads to a discussion about tree grafting and whether it is considered a new growth that will exempt one from going to war.

Study Guide Sotah 43

Dec 072015

More statements about the damaging nature of flattery. The new chapter deals with the kohen who gives a speech to the people before going out to war both to exempt certain people from war as well as to encourage those who are going not to be fearful because God is with them.  From here the mishna (and the gemara in turn) sidetracks to Goliath and extrapolates the verses about him and David’s fight against him.

Dec 042015

What happens if there are only kohanim in the synagogue?  How does the exact timing/chronology of birkat kohanim work?  The kohanim and the people are not to rush things.  What do the kohanim say before and after they bless the people?  Are the congregants supposed to recite verses while the kohanim are blessing them?  Some details regarding piblic torah reading also are discussed.

Dec 032015

There are a number of differences between the blessing of the Kohanim in the Beit Hamikdash and out side of the Beit Hamikdash.  Many details are derived relating to the blessing of the Kohanim – in Hebrew only, while standing, they face the people and the people face them, out loud, etc.  What if there is only one Kohen?   Who calls up the Kohanim?  What if a Kohen doesn’t want to say the blessings?

Study Guide Sotah 38

Dec 022015

Who went into the Red Sea first – the tribe of Benjamin or Nachshon the son of Aminadav from the tribe of Judah?   How were the blessings and curses recited?  How many covenants were formed on that day?  When else were there covenants formed as the ones on that day?