Good Habits: Kiddushin 40

April 28, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
We are creatures of habit. We tend to do what we have done in the past, which is why it is so important to get things right the first time. Learn it wrong initially, and the mistakes can stay with you a lifetime. Practice does not make perfect. It is proper practice that makes perfect, practice only helps to form our habits.    This explains why the mitzva of chinuch, educating our children, applies only when a child...
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This or the Other: Kiddushin 39

April 27, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
There is no more tragic figure in Talmudic literature than that of Acher, the Other. Destined for greatness, the teacher, colleague and friend of Rav Meir left the path of Torah, becoming perhaps the most famous apostate in Jewish history. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, his rejection of Judaism he was figure of great interest to his colleagues. They implored him to return but he was unwilling or perhaps unable, to return. "Return...
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Pesach: The Simple Wise Child

April 22, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Much ink has been spilled and much discussion ensued trying to analyze the difference between the question of the chacham and the rasha. There appears to be little reason to identify one as wicked and the other as wise. (see here and here for some possible approaches to this question.)   Of course when all is said and done so often the line between good and evil is very thin indeed. It...
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Pesach: Old Questions, New Answers

April 22, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
  “Chanoch lena’ar al pi darcho, train each child according to their way” (Mishlei). It is at the Seder that we analyze the questions of the “four children”, but their message is relevant all year round. One approach does not fit all, nor is any approach suitable at all times. While the Torah records four discussions between parent and child (hence the four children), a comparison of the...
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Pesach: The Wise and Wicked

April 22, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
The Seder night brings together Jews from all orientations and perspectives. The future redemption of the Jewish people, a theme which is central to the seder, is dependant on different types of Jews learning how to respect each other even as we may disagree. Sukkot which like Pesach commemorates the exodus and looks forward to future redemption also revolves around the theme of uniting the different segments of our...
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