Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Bamidbar: Natural Life

May 26, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sefer Bamidbar can be viewed as a book of missed opportunities. A small group of Jewish slaves—the midrash claims no more than one in five—showed great faith and resolve as they marched through a barren desert to hear the word of G-d. Under the leadership of Moshe, Miriam and Aharon, they were preparing to enter the land of Israel and thus Sefer Bamidbar opens with the counting of the soldiers who would triumphantly conquer the land.  However,...
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Bechukotai: Living Together

May 18, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Jewish people have never been a large nation. Our strength lies in quality, not quantity. Nonetheless, precisely because we are so few in number, every Jew counts. Our vulnerability makes it incumbent upon us to work together as we strive to meet our mandate of being a holy nation that is a light unto the rest of the world.  Sina'at chinam, indifference towards others, is something that is much more deadly to us than most...
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Emor: The Right Balance

May 12, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism measures greatness by spiritual achievements. It should come as no surprise that many of our founding fathers suffered from physical ailments. Yitzchak was blind, Yaakov partially crippled, and Moshe had a speech impediment. Their eminence was such that whatever "handicaps" they might have had were simply irrelevant. Physical limitations are no impediment to greatness. Nonetheless, physical and material attributes are...
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Kedoshim: Holiness and Happiness

May 05, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Knowledge is much more than the accumulation of facts. It is the analysis and application of those facts that is crucial. Underlying factual knowledge is a philosophical outlook on life. Science is not a series of formulas and raw data but a way of looking at the world with each scientific discipline taking a slightly different approach to understanding nature. It is most interesting that until recent times, mathematics and philosophy...
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Tazria: Back to the Beginning

April 28, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Perhaps there is no parsha less studied than Tazria (and its frequent partner, Metzora). With its focus on the detailed laws of tzara'at, a "disease" that we would have great difficulty defining or even recognizing were we to see it—and with its laws no longer applicable—many prefer to focus on the eight verses that open the parsha. These verses, detailing the laws of childbirth, follow...
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