Eikev: Lots of Love

August 26, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Talmud declares that wisdom depends on the ability to make distinctions. It is for this reason that havdalah, the ritual marking the end of the distinctive Shabbat day, is recited in the blessing beseeching G-d for wisdom (Brachot 33a). The modern world all too often fails this crucial test of wisdom, preferring sweeping generalizations to nuanced analysis. It is this inability to see the shades of gray that allows extremism to grow,...
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Only One Chance: Bava Kamma 80

August 26, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
When opportunity knocks, answer – you may not get a second chance. Or to quote the language of our Sages “a closed door does not easily [re]open.” (Bava Kamma 80b) One must always be ready to immediately take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. My father z”l would often say that Mazal, can be read as an acronym for makom, place, zman, time and laasot, doing. Being in the right...
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Baa Baa Black Sheep: Bava Kamma 80

August 23, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
One of the beautiful features of the Land of Israel is its wide-ranging topography. The lowest point on earth some 1,300 feet below sea level is mere miles from the hills of Jerusalem some 2,500 feet above sea level. Mountain ranges, desert, lush farmland, great gorges, hills and flatlands are in close proximity to each other - even within walking distance. When one adds in the tiny geographical size of Israel such is all the more remarkable -...
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Man and G-d: Bava Kamma 79

August 21, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
  “The disciples of Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai asked him ‘why was the Torah stricter regarding a ganav, thief than a gazlan, robber?’” (Bava Kamma 79b)    The Torah distinguishes between a ganav, one who steals clandestinely, and a gazlan who steals out in the open, say at gunpoint. The former must pay kefel, double the amount...
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VaEtchanan: World Leaders

August 19, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Attempts to understand the rationale behind the mitzvoth of the Torah have generated much debate and discussion through the millennia. Many have feared that the search for answers is irrelevant at best, and possibly even outright dangerous. What reason other than the Divine command does anyone need?    No less a person than Shlomo Hamelech was led astray by this error, as he incorrectly assumed that he completely understood...
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