Pesach: Hope for the Best

April 16, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Pesach is the Jewish holiday of hope. It marks the beginning of the Jewish (lunar) year – and new years are always times of hope. It is celebrated in the spring, the wonderful season of hope and renewal. We read Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, with its allegorical youthful message of love, which is only possible when hope abounds. The Seder night is full of hope for a better tomorrow—a redeemed world living in peace. We look forward to G-d...
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Pesach: Now that is Slavery!

April 10, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our images of Egyptian slavery are those of forced labor and murder by a ruthless tyrant and his many followers. Despite Joseph literally saving Egypt from ruin, "a new king arose who knew not Joseph" (Shemot 1:8). Taxation, hard labor, loss of freedom of movement and eventually murder of Jewish children soon followed. This was a nation who knew not G-d, and even after ten plagues and the death of their firstborn, persisted in their stubbornness...
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Pesach: A Seder in Sedom

April 09, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"He made a feast for them and baked matzah and they ate" (Breisheet 19:3). The "angels" had come to Sedom to rescue Lot from the destruction that awaited the metropolis of Sedom-Amorah. Rashi, commenting on the strange menu that Lot served to his guests, notes that it must have been Pesach. Presumably, had it been any other time of the year, Lot would have served bread--a more appropriate...
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Parshat Hachodesh: Timing is Everything

March 24, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“In the first month of the second year on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:2). Sefer Shemot concludes with the building of the Mishkan. As the Ramban notes (Introduction to Shemot), the Mishkan was the culmination of the Exodus, fulfilling the promise made to Avraham to make his descendants “into a great nation” (Breisheet 12:1). This meant physical freedom and independence...
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Pesach: Old Questions, New Answers

April 22, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  “Chanoch lena’ar al pi darcho, train each child according to their way” (Mishlei). It is at the Seder that we analyze the questions of the “four children”, but their message is relevant all year round. One approach does not fit all, nor is any approach suitable at all times. While the Torah records four discussions between parent and child (hence the four children), a comparison of the...
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