Divrei Torah

Vaeira: 137 and Counting

January 14, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One hundred and thirty seven is not a number that would appear to have much significance, at least not from a Jewish perspective. Yet the Torah found it necessary to record that Levi lived to that age (Shemot 6:16). A mere four verses later we are told that Amram, Moshe's father, also lived to the age of 137. As Moshe and Aharon are about to set in motion the redemption of the Jewish people, the Torah “digresses” and records the...
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Pesachim 43: Chametz at the Seder

January 13, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
In our last post, we discussed the fascinating view of Rabbi Yehuda (at least, as understood by Rashi) that the prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach does not apply to chametz that is owned by a non-Jew. In this post, I would like to discuss a hava aminah, a theoretical possibility, raised by the Gemara that women might not be included in the prohibition of eating chametz, allowing them to feast on some...
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Shemot: A New Leader

January 08, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In today's world of the 30-second soundbite, good oratory skills are a necessary ingredient for any aspiring politician. Good politicians are often able to talk themselves out of difficult positions spouting half-truths, equivocations, and at times, outright lies. A good politician knows how to talk without saying anything. Yet the greatest political leader of all time, Moshe Rabbeinu was a kvad peh...
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Vayechi: 17 Plus 17

January 01, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sefer Breisheet begins with the grandeur of creation, detailing the many new life forms, and with great hope for the human race. This hope was to be short-lived, with story after story of man's pettiness and propensity for evil. By the end of the book, the theme is that of death, and the stage is set for the enslavement of the Jewish people.   The opening verse of this week's parsha, “Yaakov lived in the...
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Some Reflections on the year 2020

December 31, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
“Ezra enacted for the Jewish people that they should read the curses that are recorded in Vayikra before Shavuot and [the curses] of Devarim before Rosh Hashanah. What is the reason? Abaye, and some say it was Reish Lakish, said: In order that the year may end together with its curses” (Megillah 31b). While the above is said regarding the lead-up to Rosh Hashanah, there are...
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