Holiday Thoughts

Who Is Invited to the Seder?

April 05, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This d'var Torah is sponsored by David, Karen, & Beca Bookman, in memory of Karen's mother, Hilda Libman z”l, of Toronto. May we have a joyous and meaningful Pesach, and celebrate smachot. "And the more one engages in the recounting the story of the Exodus, the more praiseworthy it is". To prove this point, the Haggadah recounts the story of the five Sages who spent "kol otto halayla", that entire night,...
Continue Reading »

Pesach Cleaning: The New Slavery

April 03, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Like so many children, Pesach was my favourite holiday. Some of my fondest memories revolve around the seder. As an adult, not much has changed—save for the fact that I am aware that for many, especially women, Pesach is their least-favourite holiday. Why? Because they spend an entire month on cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. This is sad and unnecessary. The Talmud teaches that all—even the Sefer Torah in the ark...
Continue Reading »

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....
Continue Reading »

Give Tu B'Shvat Fruit to Children with Caution (

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...
Continue Reading »

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...
Continue Reading »