Holiday Thoughts

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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Shavuot: Whose Torah Is It?

May 14, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The holiday of Shavuot is, outside of the observant Jewish community, a much-neglected holiday. It lasts only one day (two in the Diaspora), comes just as the summer is arriving and, unlike our other holidays, has no rituals associated with it--no shofar, matzah, or sukkah. The Torah itself makes no mention of any historical event associated with the holiday. Rather, it describes how, seven weeks after Pesach, "you may present a new grain...
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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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