Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av: Doing Nothing

August 12, 2016 By: rabbi jay kelman
Because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza Jerusalem was destroyed.” (Gitin 55b) So begins the most famous Talmudic story relating to the destruction of the Temple and exile of the people, a story epitomizing the sinnat chinam that had taken hold amongst the people of Israel.   We readily understand the role of bar-Kamtza in the destruction. Rightfully angry over being publically humiliated he (wrongly) initiated a plan to...
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The Three Weeks: Through the Eyes of a Child

July 05, 2015 By: rabbi jay kelman
With the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian exile, the period of prophecy came to an end. "Only fools and children continue to prophesize", the Talmud (Bava Batra 12b) declares. While the link between modern-day prophets and fools is quite obvious, it is much less so vis a vis children. Why were children singled out as ones who believe that prophecy is relevant today?  Children are pure, naïve,...
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Tisha B'Av: The Joy of Jerusalem

August 03, 2014 By: rabbi jay kelman
"Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit seeing its joy" (Ta'anit 30b). Our Sages seem to be offering words of comfort to those pious Jews over the millennium, who faithfully internalized the suffering of the Jewish people. Though they would not merit seeing the rebuilding of Jerusalem in their own lifetime—that is a blessing reserved for our generation—they would merit seeing the joy of Jerusalem after they were...
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Tisha B'Av: Greetings

July 15, 2013 By: rabbi jay kelman
“Everything is dependent on mazal, even the sefer Torah in the ark”. Certain mitzvoth just luck out, being widely observed across the Jewish world; whereas other, often much more important, mitzvoth are somehow neglected. Just compare the popularity of, say, the recital of kaddish with mayim acharonim, the obligation to wash one’s hands after a meal. The former is a relatively late custom whose...
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Tisha B'Av: Courage of Convictions

July 27, 2012 By: rabbi jay kelman
“Do not be afraid of [any] man”. Parshat Devarim, which is always read on the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av, begins with Moshe’s exhortations regarding the establishment of a system of justice. Such a system must operate free from outside influences. When fear enters into the deliberations of those who interpret the law, or into other positions of leadership, society is doomed. During the last weeks of his life, Moshe Rabbeinu prepares the people...
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