Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Pinchas: Three Models of Leadership

July 10, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Parshat Pinchas presents us with at least three distinct models of leadership. Our parsha gets its name from the zealotry of Pinchas who, without warning, killed a leader of the tribe of Shimon and the Midianite women with whom he was sinning. Ironically, his act of violence earned him a covenant of peace; Pinchas merited both safety from those who might have sought revenge, and inner peace and calm allowing him not to feel guilty over...
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Chukat: Undressing Aaron

July 03, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Take Aaron, and Elazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; and strip Aaron of his vestments, and dress Elazar his son in them; Aaron shall be gathered in and die there" (Bamidbar 20:25-26). It was only after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden that man had a need for clothing: "then the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve] were opened and they realized that they were naked" (Breisheet 3:7). Up until the point of...
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Korach: When Silence is Not Golden

June 26, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is most difficult to solve a problem if the protagonists will not meet with each other and hear each other out. While there is no guarantee that talking will solve an issue, there is a guarantee that silence will perpetuate the problem. Moshe was faced with a hopeless situation as Korach and his entourage challenged his leadership. Korach, Datan and Aviram, On the son of Pelet and 250 malcontents "demonstrated against Moshe and Aaron...
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Shelach Lecha: You Can Quote Me

June 19, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Great people are not afraid to put their name behind their convictions. “And Calev quieted the people for Moshe and said, ‘We will rise and rise and inherit the land, as we can surely do it’” (Bamidbar 13:30). Those of lesser quality prefer to hide behind the cloak of anonymity. “And the people who were with him said, ‘We will not be able to go up’”. It is easy to criticize, complain and condemn;...
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Beha'alotcha: Selective Memory

June 11, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is amazing how selective our memory can be. People often yearn for the good old days: days full of poverty, pogroms and peddling. The ability to forget the difficulties of the past is a necessary tool for our mental well-being. It is that which allows us to put our lives back together and rebuild after personal or national tragedies. We often choose to remember what suits us, conveniently forgetting those facts which upset our view of the...
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