Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Shoftim: Enabling Evil

August 17, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Evil does not exist in a vacuum. A culture is needed for evil to be nurtured, in which it can grow and develop. And when that happens, aveirah gorreret aveirah; one misdeed leads to another, greater sin. Perpetrators of corporate wrongdoing do not begin by defrauding shareholders of billions of dollars. Rather, they might begin with a little plagiarism in college, and some padding of a resume. They may then move on to...
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Re'eh: Springtime

August 10, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Guard the month of the spring, and make Pesach to the Lord your G-d, because it was in the month of the spring that the Lord your G-d took you out of Egypt at night” (Devarim 16:1). Our rabbis derived from the above verse that we must fix our calendar so that Pesach always falls in the spring. Our holidays celebrate both momentous events in Jewish history and the blessing of agriculture, acknowledging that the G-d of Creation and...
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VaEtchanan: An Extra And

July 27, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Shamor v’Zachor b’dibur echad". This phrase, sung every Friday night, notes the most famous difference between the recording of the aseret hadibrot in parshat Yitro, where we are commanded to “remember, zachor, the Shabbat” and Moshe's recounting of the events 40 years later, where we are commanded to “guard, shamor, the Shabbat...
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Devarim: Where is the Temple?

July 20, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Each one of the five books of the Chumash has a unique central theme, be it the choosing of the Jewish nation, redemption, Torat kohanim or missed opportunities. A perusal of Sefer Devarim, both its law and narrative, will quickly reveal that the main message of this last book of Chumash is Moshe Rabbeinu preparing his beloved people for entry into the land of...
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Mattot: To Speak or Not to Speak

July 13, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“In ten utterances did G-d create the world” (Avot 5:1). It is thus not surprising that many see man’s ability to speak as the clearest manifestation of the Divine image with which we were created. Moshe Rabbeinu argued that his poor speaking skills made him unworthy to be the one to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt; it was only when G-d appointed Aaron as his spokesman that Moshe finally accepted his mission. Interestingly...
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