Non-Jews and Nezeeroot (Nazir 61)

October 23, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
    “And G-d said to Abram; go from your land, your birthplace and from the home of your father” (Breisheet 12:1). Rashi notes that Abram left well before his father passed away in Charan but the Torah did not want to specifically say so, lest it appear that Abram neglected the mitzva of kivud av v'eim[1]. The implication of this Rashi is that Abram was “obligated” in the mitzva of honouring...
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You Go First (Nazir 47)

October 19, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Jewish law rules that when one must “desecrate” the Shabbat in order to save a life it is the greatest scholar present who should be the one to do so. It is the rabbi who, if need be, gets in the car and the task should not be delegated to a non-observant Jew who drives anyway, or even to an observant lay leader (see Rambam, Laws of Shabbat 2:3). The rabbis must lead by example, demonstrating that saving a life takes...
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Rav Meir's Legacy (Nazir 49)

October 13, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  While it was Rav Yehuda Hanassi who edited the Mishna it is the teachings of Rav Meir, who lived in the generation prior, that form the basis of much of the Mishna; stam Mishna k'Rav Meir, an anonymous Mishna follows the opinion of Rav Meir (Sanhedrin 88a). Meir means light and it was Rav Meir means who "enlightened the eyes of the sages in [their understanding] of halacha" (Eiruvin 13b). Yet despite his...
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Nazir 23: Time to Sin

September 20, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“For there is no righteous person in the land who does [only] good and does not sin” (Kohelet 7:20). Sinning is part and parcel of being human. Sinning allows us to grow as people as the greater we fall the greater we can rise. Our Sages teach that “great is teshuva for sins can be turned to mitzvoth” (Yoma 86b). By utilizing the lessons learned from our mistakes, those same mistakes become the...
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Nazir 23: Paving the Road of Good Intentions

September 17, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the long standing debates in ethical theory is whether it is actions or intentions that determines the ethical probity of our actions. There is little doubt that in our bottom line oriented society it is actions that count. We reward success, not noble intent. We treat attempted murder much differently than actual murder; though in reality the only difference is that a murderer has better aim. "The road to hell is paved with good...
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