Holiday Thoughts

Tisha B'Av: Evading Responsibility

July 24, 2007 By: rabbi jay kelman
“But the Second Temple, that they were involved in Torah and Mitzvoth and Gemilot Chasadim (loving kindness), why was it destroyed? Because it contained sinnat chinam" (Yoma 9b). While the cause of the loss of the Temple is quite clearly identified here, its definition is not. Had our Sages said the Temple was destroyed because of sinnah (hatred) amongst Jews, we would have understood. A society full of hatred cannot endure—internal strife is...
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Yom Yerushalayim: Sason and Simcha

June 05, 2007 By: rabbi jay kelman
Numbers play a significant, if usually symbolic, role in Jewish thought. Perhaps the most symbolic number is seven, representing completeness; the most obvious example is Shabbat, the highlight that completes the week. Even our new year, Rosh Hashanah, takes place in the seventh month, and the holidays of Pesach and Sukkot are meant to be seven days long. Shavuot, the culmination of the exodus, is celebrated after seven weeks of seven days. The...
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Shavuot: A New Holiday

May 22, 2007 By: rabbi jay kelman
The shalosh regalim of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot are a celebration of great historic events coupled with the recognition of G-d's role in our agricultural success. Even if the land of Israel experiences drought and the like, the knowledge that G-d controls nature is quite comforting. These three pilgrim festivals, with their deep ties to the land, resonate differently in the land of Israel than they do in the Diaspora. Hence it is not...
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Yom Ha'atzmaut: Redemption and Return

May 03, 2006 By: rabbi jay kelman
Rav Soloveitchik was asked why our generation was the one to merit witnessing the creation of the State of Israel. After all, there were so many generations much more pious than ours, so much more worthy than us. The Rav answered, simply, that our generation needed it. Previous generations were able to flourish in their Judaism even without the benefit of a state. But after the horrors of the Holocaust, Jewish life simply could not continue,...
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