Holiday Thoughts

Pesach: Sunrise in Bnei Brak

May 10, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“It happened that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon were reclining in B’nei Brak discussing the Exodus all night until their students arrived and said to them, ‘Rabbis, the time for reciting the morning Shema has arrived'”.Talmud Torah k’neged kulam”, the mitzvah of learning equals all others and may be interrupted only if there...
Continue Reading »

Chanukah: Down Memory Lane

December 02, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to assume that, with the recital of the shir shel yom, the daily psalm—or Aleinu if you daven nusach sefarad, Shacharit is over. Yet a quick glance at the siddur demonstrates that this is not necessarily so. While not widely observed today, there is a custom to recite the shesh zechirot, six remembrances, printed at the end of Shacharit in all standard siddurim. These zechirot...
Continue Reading »

Sukkot: Seeing Double

September 23, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This week’s d’var Torah is sponsored by Gershon and Leah Vandenbrink with best wishes for a joyous Sukkot. 
In rabbinic literature, Sukkot is known simply as “Chag,” (the holiday), implying that it is the holiday par excellence. It is the most joyous of holidays both thematically and experientially. It is our z’man simchateinu, the time of our happiness.  In Temple times it was marked by the ...
Continue Reading »

Yom Kippur: Just a Minute

September 18, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The death of the righteous atones, our Sages teach, and it is for this reason that during Mussaf of Yom Kippur, just after recounting the special service done in the Temple, we read of the deaths of the “ten martyrs” so cruelly murdered by the Romans."They [the Romans] ordered the Rabbi Chananya ben Tradeyon be brought from his study hall, and they burned his body with bundles of branches. They placed saturated wool sponges on his chest to delay...
Continue Reading »

Rosh Hashanah: The Right Focus

September 09, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“On Rosh Hashanah, it is written; and on Yom Kippur, it is sealed, who shall live and who shall die…” (Machzor). It is doubtful that there is a more powerful, emotional or poignant part of the davening on the yamim noraim than the recital of Unetaneh Tokef. The haunting tune sets the mood of the day, while the stark words highlight the fragility of life. If we are successful in taking its words to heart, we will be...
Continue Reading »

Pages