Holiday Thoughts

Shavuot: Messianic Origins

May 30, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And these are the generations of Peretz…. Shalmon begot Boaz…and Yishai begot David" (Rut 4:18-22). So ends the Book of Rut, read on Shavuot, detailing the link from Peretz to David, the forerunner of the Mashiach. The birth of Peretz himself is described in sefer Breisheet, and what an unholy birth it was. Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Yehudah, who lost two husbands and found herself in limbo waiting for a third, “took off her widow’s garb and...
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Pesach: Hope for the Best

April 16, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Pesach is the Jewish holiday of hope. It marks the beginning of the Jewish (lunar) year – and new years are always times of hope. It is celebrated in the spring, the wonderful season of hope and renewal. We read Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, with its allegorical youthful message of love, which is only possible when hope abounds. The Seder night is full of hope for a better tomorrow—a redeemed world living in peace. We look forward to G-d...
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Pesach: Now that is Slavery!

April 10, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our images of Egyptian slavery are those of forced labor and murder by a ruthless tyrant and his many followers. Despite Joseph literally saving Egypt from ruin, "a new king arose who knew not Joseph" (Shemot 1:8). Taxation, hard labor, loss of freedom of movement and eventually murder of Jewish children soon followed. This was a nation who knew not G-d, and even after ten plagues and the death of their firstborn, persisted in their stubbornness...
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Pesach: A Seder in Sedom

April 09, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"He made a feast for them and baked matza and they ate" (Breisheet 19:3). The "angels" had come to Sedom to rescue Lot from the destruction that awaited the metropolis of Sedom-AmorahRashi commenting on the strange menu that Lot served to his guests notes that it must have been pesach. Presumably had it been any other time of the year Lot would have served...
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Parshat Hachodesh: Timing is Everything

March 24, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The first of Nissan is a most special time in Jewish history. It was on this date that Moshe and Aharon began preparing the people for their exodus from Egypt. It is thereby "the head of the months" (Shemot 12:2), marking the beginning of national Jewish history. While the actual Exodus did not take place until the 15th of Nissan, the process of redemption began on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, leading the haggadah to raise the possibility that...
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