Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Re'eh: A Special Place

August 18, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The land of Israel is a special, holy land and thus, all produce grown on it has properties of holiness. This is the underpinning of such laws of terumah, ma’aser, bikurim, challah, shmitah and yovel. Unfortunately, many of us see the main distinction between life in Israel and in the Diaspora in relation to the laws of agriculture. We often lose sight of the fact that it is only in Israel where all of...
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Eikev: The Big Bribe

August 11, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The measure of a human being is revealed by the little things. The greater the person, the more one understands the significance of the small details, not just the “big picture”. Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai, who was busy worrying about how Judaism could survive after the loss of the Temple, also pleaded with the Romans to send a doctor for Rav Tzadok (Gittin 56b). Rav Tzadok was an aged, pious individual who had fasted for many years as the...
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VaEtchanan: The People and Moshe

August 04, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“At that time I pleaded with G-d, saying, ‘O G-d, Lord…please let me cross the Jordan. Let me see the good land across the Jordan, the good mountain’”(Devarim 3:23-25). Moshe Rabbeinu had not yet given up his hope to enter the land of Israel. He pleaded, prayed, cajoled, negotiated, just so he could enter the Holy Land any which way, even as a foot soldier in Joshua's army. If only we had one iota of the depth...
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Devarim: Heading Home

July 28, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The narrative portion of the Torah has come to an end. The last book of the Chumash, that of Devarim, concentrates on the charge that Moshe gave to the second generation of the Jewish nation as they were poised to enter the land of Israel. Though Moshe himself would be denied the opportunity to join his beloved nation in Israel, he spared no efforts warning them not to repeat the mistakes of the past....
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Massei: Don't Forget the Details

July 21, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And the Egyptians were burying all their first born, who had been killed by G-d” (Bamidbar 33:4).   Occupied with grief and despair, the Egyptians watched—apparently in silence—as their former slaves “left triumphantly before the eyes of all the Egyptians” (Bamidbar 33:3). Interestingly, neither the frantic burials nor the triumphant departure of the Jewish people is mentioned in Parshat Bo,...
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