Holiday Thoughts

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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Simchat Torah: Two Days or One?

October 07, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This week’s d'var Torah is sponsored in honour of the 80th birthday of Bashi (Esther) Burack by her children and grandchildren. May she go from strength to strength. “And you shall take for you, on the first day, a beautiful fruit...and rejoice before the Lord, your G-d, for seven days”. Being in the presence of G-d is the ultimate in simcha, joy and happiness. How could it be otherwise? This week’s d'var Torah...
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Sukkot: Leaving Home

September 30, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And you shall take for yourself on the first day a beautiful fruit of the tree, an unopened palm frond, myrtle branches, and willows and you shall rejoice before G-d for seven days" (Vayikra 23:40). The halacha stipulates a number of ways to fulfill the mitzva of rejoicing (simcha); eating meat, drinking wine, buying new clothes, learning Torah, sharing our blessings with others. Yet ultimately, simcha is achieved through feeling the presence...
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