Holiday Thoughts

Sukkot: No Pain, No Gain

September 18, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Talmud classifies sukkah as a mitzvah kalla, a light and easy mitzvah. Where one must be almost deathly ill before one is permitted to eat on Yom Kippur or to violate many other Torah prohibitions, such is not the case with the sukkah. Here, a little discomfort—some rain, very hot weather, a few bees—and one may leave the sukkah; "mitztaer patur misukah", one who is uncomfortable is exempt from...
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Yom Kippur: 20/20 Vision

September 13, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In trying to develop the potential of man, the Mussar movement[1] developed two different approaches to the sinning of man. One school of thought, exemplified by the approach developed in Novordak, stressed the lowliness of man--our propensity to sin, our animalistic tendencies and our need for repentance. The second school of thought, represented by Slobodka, stressed the greatness of man--created in the image of G-d, tasked with building...
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Rosh Hashanah: A Matter of Time

September 04, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
David, Karen, and Beca Bookman dedicate the Devar Torah in honour of our parents Leon & Ethel Bookman, Howard Libman, and in memory of Karen's mother Hilda Libman z"l.  May G-d grant us all a year of health, happiness, meaning and peace. Ketiva v'chatima tova to you, your loved ones and to the Jewish people the world over.  Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the new year. But...
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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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