Holiday Thoughts

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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Rosh Hashana: From Fear to Hope

September 29, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This d’var Torah is sponsored with the wish for a Shana Tova for our parents, Howie & Hilda Libman, Leon & Ethel Bookman, our Rabbi Jay, Ilana, & family, and the entire community, from David, Karen, & Beca Bookman, Toronto.  Rosh Hashanah celebrates the coronation of G-d as King of the universe. And having G-d as our King is worthy of celebration. Rosh Hashanah is referred to by the Mishnah as the...
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Tu B'Av : The Happiest Day

August 15, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: There were no days more joyous than the 15th of Av (Tu b'Av) and Yom Kippur, for on those days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed white clothing, in order not to embarrass those who did not have...and the daughters of Jerusalem would dance in the vineyards.” (Mishna Ta’anit 4:8). Our tradition teaches that the birth of the Mashiach will take place on Tisha B'Av...
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