Holiday Thoughts

Pesach: A Seder in Sedom

April 09, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"He made a feast for them and baked matzah and they ate" (Breisheet 19:3). The "angels" had come to Sedom to rescue Lot from the destruction that awaited the metropolis of Sedom-Amorah. Rashi, commenting on the strange menu that Lot served to his guests, notes that it must have been Pesach. Presumably, had it been any other time of the year, Lot would have served bread--a more appropriate...
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Parshat Hachodesh: Timing is Everything

March 24, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“In the first month of the second year on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:2). Sefer Shemot concludes with the building of the Mishkan. As the Ramban notes (Introduction to Shemot), the Mishkan was the culmination of the Exodus, fulfilling the promise made to Avraham to make his descendants “into a great nation” (Breisheet 12:1). This meant physical freedom and independence...
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Purim: For the People

March 12, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
What should one do when the needs of the Jewish people conflict with the needs of Judaism? When the only way to keep our people Jewishly involved is to bend (or perhaps break) the norms of a traditional way of life? The Jewish people have been debating this question since the Enlightenment. With the ghetto walls crumbling, most Jews sought out new ways to express their Jewishness, unwilling and perhaps unable to maintain traditional frames of...
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Parshat Zachor: Defeating Evil

March 10, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"He shall surely be put to death".  "They shall be pelted with stones and thus stoned to death".  "He shall be burned with fire".  "His soul shall be cut off from the community of Israel ".  "Both shall bear their guilt and die without children".  "Have him flogged with lashes".  These direct quotes—and there are many more examples from which to choose—have their source in our Torah. Sounds...
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Chanukah: 70 Bulls and 8 Lights

December 25, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Jewishly conscious people in the modern world is figuring out the proper relationship we are to have vis a vis the outside world. Should it be one of rejection, integration or compromise? The above models have all been tried and have all met with varying degrees of success. As the challenges of the outside world are constantly changing, so must our approach; what works in one generation may be a disaster for...
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