Holiday Thoughts

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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Shavuot: Strange Bedfellows

May 22, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Chanukah and Purim. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret. The aforementioned holidays form natural units. When one thinks of Shavuot, the natural association is Pesach. After all, Shavuot has no independent date; it is 50 days after Pesach, a fact we highlight during each and every of the forty-nine intervening nights. The entire purpose of the Exodus was to arrive at Sinai and accept the Torah. Not only are Pesach...
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Pesach: Looking Forward

April 09, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is something most beautiful about a holiday that celebrates our past being focused on future, on our children. Pesach marks the founding of our people, and it is the story of our past that we retell at our seder. “We begin with shame and end with glory”. There is much tragedy in our history, but so much greatness, so much to be proud of. This recounting of the past is so crucial to our way of life that the mitzvah to recall...
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Pesach: Pass the Karpas

April 03, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Therefore, in every generation, one must see themselves as if they have left Egypt”. All too often, we can only fully appreciate what we have when it is missing. Freedom is so much sweeter for those who have experienced slavery. And on seder night, we are to experience both.  “And you shall eat the meat [of the pascal lamb] on that night, roasted with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs you shall eat it...
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The Fast of the Eighth of Tevet: Lost in Translation

December 30, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"I recall with distress that which befell me; with three blows He struck me this month...He surrounded me on the eighth day with darkness, left and right. Behold, all these three [days] are established as a fast, for the Greek king forced me to write in the Greek religion" (Opening of Selichot for the tenth of Tevet). Perhaps the greatest transformation of Torah learning in recent generations is the massive availability of Torah...
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