Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

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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Pinchas: Idolatry for Adultery

July 14, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And they called the people to their religious sacrifices, and the people ate and worshipped the Moabite gods" (Bamidbar 25:2).  How could the Jewish people—on the threshold of entering the land that the "eyes of G-d, your Lord, are on it at all times"—violate the most cardinal of Judaism's precepts? Nothing shakes the foundations of Judaism more than worship of other gods. Had they learned nothing...
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Balak: Missed Opportunities

July 07, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
What a waste of talent. “No other prophet like Moses has arisen in Israel who knew G-d face to face” (Devarim 34:10).  Our Sages, in an astounding comment, assert that in Israel, no prophet arose like Moshe—but that amongst the nations of the world, there did arise an equal to Moshe, namely Bilaam.  Here was a gifted prophet recognized throughout the world for his immense abilities. A man who, greeted by the...
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Chukat: Unbelievable!

June 30, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is truly astounding how people can actually believe the most ludicrous of claims.  “And Moshe divested Aharon of his vestments, and placed them on Elazar his son; and Aharon died there on top of the mountain. When Moshe and Elazar descended from the mountain, the people realized that Aharon had died; the entire family of Israel mourned Aharon for thirty days” (Bamidbar 20:28-29). Neither Miriam, Aharon, nor Moshe would merit...
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Korach: Power Outage!

June 23, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The lust for power can destroy a person. It is amazing how people who are otherwise very competent are blinded to reality when the smell of power is in the air. We need look no further than the central character of this week's parsha, KorachAs our Rabbis tell us (see Rashi Bamidbar 16:7), Korach was a smart man. What did he think he would gain by trying to oust Moshe and Aharon? Did he really think he would be...
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