Metzora: Open House, Closed Doors

The power of the spoken word is enormous. Even more powerful is the desire to gossip, a vice that has been perfected in our own times, when we have people who earn their livelihood by providing the latest scoop of gossip. To state that Judaism demands restraint in speech would be to understate the case. Just a quick glance of the al chets said on Yom Kippur will reveal just how central is the theme of speech. The Torah spends...
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Horayot 14: Seeking Kavod

April 19, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
We have often commented on the fact that our tradition does not shy away from pointing out the weaknesses and failings of our great Sages. This idea is first found in the Torah itself, which does not hide or excuse the sins – minor as those sins might be – of our greats. Even when it is not necessary to read a story in a negative light, such as Abraham going to Egypt when famine strikes the land of Israel, our commentaries often do...
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Yom Haatzmaut: Some Thoughts at Seventy

April 19, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
“And Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years, and they appeared in his eyes like just a few because of his love for her” (Breisheet 29:20). Seven years is a long time to wait to marry the love of one’s life. Seven years is long to wait for almost anything. But some things are worth waiting for, and while they were painful, Yaakov saw the seven years as a passing phase to be followed by a lifetime of happiness. It was worth the...
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Horayot 14: Standing for Eliyahu

April 16, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Not every question has an answer and not every problem has a solution. This may be depressing for some, especially the young and idealistic (all too often, they tend to be one and the same), but this is something one realizes more and more as one gains life experience. This may be frustrating, but it is also ennobling, pushing us to search further and further to find solutions. While some questions may eventually find answers, some may...
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Horayot 10: A Pure Sin

April 15, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Judaism has long rejected the notion that the ends justify the means. One of the most basic of Talmudic rules is that a mitzvah haba b’aveirah, a mitzvah enabled through the commission of sin, is rendered invalid. The third chapter of masechet Sukkah, lulav hagazul, the stolen lulav[1], gets its name from the fact that a stolen lulav is an invalid lulav and one gains nothing by using one, but...
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