Some Concluding Thoughts on Masechet Megillah

August 13, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And I have given them statutes that are not good, and laws that they do not live with" (Yechezkel 20:25). In our last post, we discussed the application of this verse to those who learn Torah without singing. While there is much to be gained in using song in study, Abaye is startled that one who does not learn via song is in fulfillment of this verse--a seemingly harsh appraisal for one who is, in actual fact, learning Torah....
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Megillah 32: Torah Tunes

August 11, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Learning Torah is meant to be enjoyable. It is for this reason that a mourner is not permitted to learn (Moed Katan 21a) [1]--the joy that learning engenders is not appropriate for a mourner. One of the ways we express joy is through song and music, and it follows that Torah is to be expressed in song. In fact, the Torah itself is self-described as a song--the last of the 613 mitzvoth being to "write down this song" (...
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Megillah 21: We Stand on Guard for Thee

August 07, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the ways we show respect for a person is to stand in their honour, and such an honour is not only bestowed on people. The notion of the “changing of the guard”, with those guards standing at attention, is one of the ways we demonstrate honour to institutions of great importance. “We stand on guard for thee” has even been incorporated into our (Canadian) national anthem. One of the most widely observed Jewish laws...
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Megillah 17: Must We Pray?

August 03, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the most central requirements of Jewish life—both in time and importance—is that of daily prayer. Yet most fascinatingly, the source of the obligation to pray—or whether such an obligation even exists—is a matter of great debate. It is the Rambam, and few (if any) others, who claim that there is a biblical obligation of daily prayer—and even such obligation is fulfilled by prayer once daily. The Ramban, who...
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Megillah 14: The Songs of Israel

August 02, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Pesach is the foundational holiday of the Jewish people, and the Exodus is the defining moment of Jewish history. A group of slaves formed a nation that, a mere seven weeks, later stood at Sinai so they could become a nation of priests and a holy nation. Mitzvah after mitzvah is observed zecher lyetziat mitzraim, to remember the Exodus. And these mitzvoth are in addition to the stand-alone mitzvah to remember the Exodus. While...
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