Holiday Thoughts

Shushan Purim: United People, Divided Holiday

March 09, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Haman said to King Achashverosh: There is a certain nation scattered and divided amongst the nations” (3:8). Haman was well aware of the Achilles heel of the Jewish nation, the divisiveness that so often characterizes our community. As a small nation, lacking (at that time) a homeland, such unity is much more crucial for our survival than for that of other nations. When we are divided, we are weak; and when we are weak, we are vulnerable....
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Give Tu B'Shvat Fruit to Children with Caution (JPost.com)

February 01, 2012 By: tim
Consumers have already begun shopping for a multitude of varieties of fruits and nuts to hold a Tu Bishvat Seder marking the new year of trees Tuesday night and Wednesday next week.   But while the products are very nutritious, though fattening, the tasty treats pose dangers when small children get their hands on them.   The minor holiday – on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, is one of four traditional “new...
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Shmini Atzeret & Simchat Torah: Peace, Faith and Learning

October 21, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The 14th-century legal code, the Arba Turim, the Four Rows, begins the laws of Sukkot by noting that when one sits in a sukkah, one must be cognizant of the fact that our sukkot commemorate the clouds of glory that guided and protected us during our sojourn in the desert. Our rabbis teach that it was in the merit of Aharon that we were blessed with the annanei hakavod, the clouds of glory, and that upon his death the clouds...
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Sukkot: A Look Ahead

October 13, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The history of our nation is linked with Pesach. Many of our mitzvoth—mezuzah, tefillin, Shabbat, honest weights, the prohibition of charging interest—are directly related to our Egyptian experience. There is an obligation to recall the Exodus on a daily basis and to relive that event once a year at the Seder. Sukkot seems like a minor festival in comparison. While we spend weeks if not more preparing for Pesach, Sukkot gets short shrift....
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Yom Kippur: Seeking G-d

October 08, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Seek out G-d when He can be found, call upon Him when He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Our Sages interpret this verse as referring to the Aseret Yemei Teshuva, the ten days of repentance, which begin on Rosh Hashanah and end with the conclusion of Yom Kippur. This is the season when G-d is closer to us and thus our prayers stand a “better chance” of success.These words serve as the opening verse for the haftarah for all the fast days of the...
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