Holiday Thoughts

Shmini Atzeret: Election Day

October 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Tomorrow is Shmini Atzeret. It is also Election Day in Canada. While that is no doubt unfortunate for (observant) Jews, these days, Election Day is a bit of a misnomer. People have been able to vote for weeks, and some 4.7 million voters, or 1/6 of all eligible voters, have already voted. And when one considers that in the past nine elections turnout has been under 70%, some 25% of all votes have likely already been cast.  At the same time,...
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Shabbat Chol Hamoed: Opposites Attract

October 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sukkot is a holiday full of contradictions. At the time we celebrate our harvest, we are bidden to leave the comfort of our home and expose ourselves to the elements of nature. Even the two reasons given for sitting in the sukkah are contradictory. According to Rabbi Akiva, the sukkah is meant to replicate the sukkot that the Jews actually resided in as they sojourned in the desert: flimsy huts representing...
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Sukkot: Time to Teach

October 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Holidays are a most opportune time to instill in our children the values and character traits that personify a Jewish lifestyle. At first glance Pesach, more than any other holiday, seems to embody the critical importance of teaching our children. The entire seder is focused on children of all types and stripes; the intense preparation for the holiday and the excitement of the seder make it a most...
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The Day After

October 10, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“It was on the next day…” (Shemot 18:13). Apparently, something of significance had happened on the previous day, yet the Torah makes no mention of it. The day, that special day that needs no mention, can be none other than Yom Kippur (Rashi). And what was it that happened on the day after that first Yom Kippur? “Moshe sat to judge the people, and the people stood by Moshe from the morning until the evening”. Inspired by their repaired and...
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Yom Kippur: A Great Day!

October 07, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our society worships greatness. Whether it be athletes, rock stars, actors or successful business leaders, they are showered with wealth and adulation and pampered wherever they go. People pay great sums of money to be in the presence of, or acquire an object once used by, the perceived greats of our society.  Attaching oneself to greatness is indeed a most noble and worthy endeavour. It is why Biblical exegesis has interpreted the verse...
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