Holiday Thoughts

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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Purim: For the People

March 12, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
What should one do when the needs of the Jewish people conflict with the needs of Judaism? When the only way to keep our people Jewishly involved is to bend (or perhaps break) the norms of a traditional way of life? The Jewish people have been debating this question since the Enlightenment. With the ghetto walls crumbling, most Jews sought out new ways to express their Jewishness, unwilling and perhaps unable to maintain traditional frames of...
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