Holiday Thoughts

Yom Haatzmaut: Some Thoughts at Seventy

April 19, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“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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Pesach: Preparing to Eat

March 30, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Twice a year, on Yom Kippur and at the Pesach seder, we conclude with the prayer L’shanna haba’ah b’Yerushalayim. It is specifically on these two days when the loss of the Temple is most felt that we express our yearning for Yerushalayim. Yom Kippur centres around the elaborate service in the Temple, one that we re-enact to this day through our Yom Kippur Mussaf davening. With the destruction of...
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Purim: Where is Haman?

February 28, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Where is Haman recorded in the Torah?" So asks the Talmud (Chulin 139b), in a seemingly incomprehensible question. Surely one would not expect to find Haman, living approximately 1,000 years after the close of the Torah, to be mentioned there. The Talmud, seemingly undisturbed by the question, has no problem locating Haman in the Torah, in a verse in Parshat Breisheet: "And He said: Who told you that you are naked...
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Chanukah: Looking Backward and Forward

December 13, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The holiday of Chanukah is a most beloved one. Lighting the candles is the only mitzvah that has, built into its performance, a three-tiered system: what we may call good, better and best. We begin with the basic mitzvah of one candle per household on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. We may opt for the more beautified version, mehadrin, where we light candles according to the number of people in the home on each night. Finally,...
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Sukkot: All in One

October 04, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sukkot marks the beginning of the end of the holiday season. As the fall season commences, and as the days get progressively shorter and colder, festivities become more difficult. Travelling to Jerusalem for inspiration is no longer feasible and we must rely on the spiritual renewal gained during the previous six months of holidays. Our sages noted that in reality, Sukkot should be celebrated in the spring. After all, the Torah tells us that...
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