Some Concluding Thoughts on Seder Moed

October 05, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Jewish people had sinned, and their future stood in the balance. G-d's initial plans to destroy the people were thwarted by the intense prayers of Moshe, and it was on Yom Kippur that our covenant with G-d was reestablished. And on the very next day, the construction of the Mishkan began. But that is not the only thing happening on the day after Yom Kippur. "Vayehi meemacharat, and it was on the...
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Chagigah 16: Good Intentions, Bad Results

October 01, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"The gates of repentance are always open". Yom Kippur is predicated on the possibility of teshuva at all times for all people[1]. Even a convicted murderer, prior to being put to death, is to recite vidui, a contrite confession, allowing some form of teshuva (Sanhedrin 43a).    Yet such teshuva can only help the perpetrator of sin. For the victim of...
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Chagigah 14: Acher, Please Return

September 29, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the hallmarks of the Western world is its inclusiveness. Great attempts are made to make all feel included, no matter their ability or their lifestyle. This is a most beautiful sentiment. Society has become more sensitive to the needs of people who not so long ago were shunned. Yet at the same time, being welcoming and inclusive does not mean that we are to accept any and every lifestyle choice as proper. We must learn to separate the...
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Chagigah 10: Where Is the Text?

September 23, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
A question I have often been asked by non-observant Jews runs as follows: Since cars were not yet invented when the Torah was given, how can one claim that Biblical law prohibits driving? While the answer to that question is relatively simple--it is just a modern application of the Biblical verse, “Do not light a fire in all your places on Shabbat”--the idea behind the question has much merit. Shabbat, as described in the...
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Chagigah 9: FOMO--Don't Miss Out

September 21, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
With the beginning of selichot season (at least for Ashkenazim), we turn our thoughts to the notion of teshuva. This most difficult concept allows past deeds to be forgiven and at times, even to be turned into mitzvot. But no matter how much we may try, we cannot just undo the past (Yoma 86b). We can learn from the past and, by learning from our past mistakes, we can be better people moving forward...
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