Divrei Torah

Ki-Tissa: Where is Moshe

The mark of a great leader is the ability to inspire others—even in their absence. A great company operates at peak efficiency even when the CEO is on vacation, just as a great school functions smoothly even if the principal is away. Similarly, a parent’s role is to raise children so that they will become independent. When children and grandchildren embody the values of their ancestors long after they have passed away, we see the mark of a truly...
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Pesachim 99: What's to Eat

March 02, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“On the eve of Pesachim, one may not eat adjacent to mincha time until it gets dark” (Pesachim 99b).  The seder meal is the most elaborate meal of the year. Four cups of wine, an appetizer spread, a meal fit for a king, topped off with freshly barbequed lamb chops for dessert. How could it be otherwise? Seder night is the night we recount and celebrate our special relationship with G-d and our formation as a nation....
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Tezaveh: Beyond Clothes

February 26, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the key ways by which groups self-identify is through the medium of clothes. Almost all religions have some form of dress code or uniforms, which aim to foster a sense of uniformity in action and sometimes in thought and are the norm among such diverse groups as the police force, athletes, fast-food workers and airlines. The more casual business attire now widely accepted reflects the desire for individuality in the workplace ...
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Purim: Shaping Jewish History

February 25, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Rare is the person who has the opportunity to knowingly shape the course of Jewish history. Most are happy to be relieved of that responsibility. From Moshe to Yonah, Yirmiyahu to Esther, few are willing to carry such awesome responsibility on their shoulders. And even—or, shall we say, especially—when taken on willingly, the burden can be too much to handle. How can one be confident in a decision made today, the impact of which will...
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Parshat Zachor: Defeating Evil

February 19, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
"He shall surely be put to death."  "They shall be pelted with stones and thus stoned to death."  "He shall be burned with fire."  "His soul shall be cut off from the community of Israel."  "Both shall bear their guilt and die without children."  "Have him flogged with lashes."  These direct quotes—and there are many more examples from which to choose—have their source in our Torah. Sounds...
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