Holiday Thoughts

Tisha B'Av: Doing Nothing

August 12, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza Jerusalem was destroyed.” (Gitin 55b) So begins the most famous Talmudic story relating to the destruction of the Temple and exile of the people, a story epitomizing the sinnat chinam that had taken hold amongst the people of Israel.   We readily understand the role of bar-Kamtza in the destruction. Rightfully angry over being publically humiliated he (wrongly) initiated a plan to...
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Shavuot: A Long Weekend

June 10, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Shavuot this year falls on a Sunday. This rather unremarkable observation is of little import today but had we been living in Temple times, or even in the early Middle Ages, this would have spared us much controversy. As is relatively well known one of the most fundamental, fiercest and far-reaching debates the rabbis faced was the dating of the holiday of Shavuot. It is this debate that eventaully led to the establishment of yom...
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Yom Haatzmaut 68

May 12, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“In every generation one must see himself as if he had left Egypt.” Pesach may seem like a distant memory despite it having concluded less than two weeks ago. Yet it is the legacy of Pesach that hovers so strongly in the 21 st century.    Pesach celebrates Jewish peoplehood and nationhood. Such did not come easily and was preceded by much pain and suffering - anti-Jewish laws, increased taxation, forced labour,...
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Pesach: The Simple Wise Child

April 22, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Much ink has been spilled and much discussion ensued trying to analyze the difference between the question of the chacham and the rasha. There appears, on the basis of the question alone, little reason to identify one as wicked and the other as wise. When all is said and done, the line between good and evil is often very thin indeed. It is not easy to know how and why one child will use his wisdom for good and another for evil...
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Pesach: Old Questions, New Answers

April 22, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  “Chanoch lena’ar al pi darcho, train each child according to their way” (Mishlei). It is at the Seder that we analyze the questions of the “four children”, but their message is relevant all year round. One approach does not fit all, nor is any approach suitable at all times. While the Torah records four discussions between parent and child (hence the four children), a comparison of the...
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