Yoma 47: Raising Great Children

December 29, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is nothing more challenging and important, for a parent and for a community, than raising children. There is no formula for producing wonderful children, and siblings can be so different that it makes us wonder how they came from the same home. The fact that our founding families had great difficulties with their own children should be both frightening and comforting. If Abraham, the paragon of loving kindness, could only inspire one of...
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Yoma 38: What a Loser

December 23, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And [we remember] these for degradation: those of Beit Garmu didnot want to teach on the matter of the lechem hapanim; those of Beit Avtinus did not want to teach on the matter of the ketoret" (Yoma 38a). In our last piece, we discussed those righteous people whose mere mention is a cause for the offering of blessing. Unfortunately, they were not the only ones remembered for posterity. ...
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Yoma 37: Winning the Lottery

December 22, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the central features of the Yom Kippur service was that involving the two goats: one offered as a sacrifice whose blood was sprinkled on the curtain of the Holy of Holies, and one on which the kohen gadol would offer confession for the sins of the Jewish people before it was led to the desert to be thrown off the mountain. A lottery was held to determine which fate would await which goat. The Mishnah (Yoma 37a)...
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Yoma 36: What Sin Comes First?

December 20, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The kohen gadol performed vidui, confession, three times on Yom Kippur. The first two were done using his own personal bull offering, asking for forgiveness for the sins of his family and for his fellow kohanim. The third vidui, for the sins of the people of Israel, was done with the shair hamistalech, the "scapegoat" that would then be led off to the desert and hurled off a...
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Yoma 35: Not Such a Good Excuse

December 18, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the most difficult things for we humans to do is to admit that we are wrong. Even when we know we have acted in ways that leave much to be desired, we are great at offering excuses, rationalizations, justifications, and the like. This is especially so when we are dealing with an act of omission, rather than one of commission. There are always good reasons to explain why we did not do something. There is little that is more...
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