Holiday Thoughts

Some Thoughts on Yom Yerushalayim

May 09, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"There are ten [levels of] holiness; the land of Israel is holier than all other countries, and what is its holiness? That we bring from it the omer offering, the bikkurim [fruit] and the two loaves of bread" (Mishnah Kelim 1:6). The omer allows a person to enjoy his crops, the bikkurim, his fruit; and the two loaves of bread allow new produce to be used in the...
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Yom Ha'atzmaut: From Yom HaZikaron to Yom Ha'atzmaut

April 15, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This d'var Torah is dedicated in honour of the participants in Chidon HaTanach, the 50th International Bible Contest taking place on Yom Ha'atzmaut in Jerusalem. Hatzlacha Rabba to all!   "Two verses that contradict each other, until the third verse comes and reconciles them". So reads the 13th and final principle of Rabbi Yishmael's methodology of elucidating the biblical...
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Pesach: Shaping Tomorrow

March 24, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Adam and Eve, Noach and his anonymous wife, Abraham and Sarah (and Hagar), Yitzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and his multiple wives, Moshe and Tziporah, all had one thing in common: they all had great difficulty raising children. Many--in some cases, most--of their children left a most negative legacy. It is as if the Torah wants to highlight the difficulty of raising children, something that is both somewhat depressing yet at the same time, most...
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Asara B'Tevet: Torah in Translation

December 23, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Language plays a crucial role in national identity. Those of us living in Canada know how sensitive issues of language can be. Theodore Herzl devoted his life to the Zionist movement, yet—as hard as it is for us to imagine—he envisioned German as the language of the Jewish state. “For these three events I instituted a fast: The Greek King forced me to write (translate) the Torah to Greek”. So begins the selichot of Asara...
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Chanukah: Clothes Make the Man

December 12, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is no more powerful symbol than light in our tradition. It is how we usher in the Shabbat, march down the wedding aisle, mark the yahrzeit of a loved one. Light is the symbol of spirituality, which, unlike matters physical, is not diminished when shared. Our spiritual legacy endures long after our physical demise. Our Torah is “Torah Ohr”, the Light of Torah, uniting generations past with those not yet born. It is through...
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