Holiday Thoughts

Yom Ha'atzmaut: The Most Important Mitzvah

May 06, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the Rambam's principles of faith is the eternity of the Torah. While historical circumstances may prevent the performance of certain mitzvoth, the mitzvah of Talmud Torah encompasses these "theoretical" mitzvoth as we hope that these mitzvoth will soon move from the theoretical realm to the practical. After close to 2,000 years in exile, mitzvoth that were once dormant have come back to life. The Torah is no longer just a...
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Pesach: A Long Short Story

April 14, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And it was at the end of four hundred and thirty years, in the middle of that very day, that the legions of G-d went out from the land of Egypt” (Shemot 12:41). After 430 years, does it really matter what day and what time of the day we left Egypt? Redemption is both an event and a process. It can simultaneously happen both in a day and yet take 430 years. “It was at midnight, that the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land...
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Acharei Mot: Celebrating Pesach on Yom Kippur

April 11, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is quite rare to read parshat Acharei Mot on Shabbat Hagadol. In non-leap years, it is generally parshat Tzav that is read on Shabbat Hagadol. And when we do have a leap year, it is usually parshat Metzora that is read as we get set to usher in Pesach. While this or any other connection between the parsha and Pesach is “coincidental”, there is much that unites Acharei Mot with Pesach. Acharei...
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Purim: Inadvertent Leaders

March 13, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Rare is the person who has the opportunity to knowingly shape the course of Jewish history. Most are happy to be relieved of that responsibility. From Moshe to Yonah, Yirmiyahu to Esther, few are willing to carry such awesome responsibility on their shoulders. And even—or, shall we say, especially—when taken on willingly, the burden can be too much to handle. How can one be confident in a decision made today, the impact of which will...
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Chanukah: Moving Home

November 29, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
On the surface, it is difficult to understand why we celebrate Chanukah, a festival commemorating the rededication of the Temple and Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. We should have ceased to celebrate Chanukah in the year 70 when the Temple was destroyed, as we did all the other holidays (except Purim) listed in Megilat Taanit. That scroll listed the many holidays celebrating joyous events of the second Temple era. With no Temple, there...
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