Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

V'zot Habracha: From G-d to Man

October 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When writing a book, a good author will introduce the major themes of the book in the opening chapters, develop these and other secondary themes throughout the story, and conclude with a recap highlighting the major themes of the book.  The 31 verses that comprise the creation story tell us little about the origins of life on this planet. They do, however, tell us something much more important; all human beings contain within them...
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Haazinu: The Lessons of History

October 11, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Despite our long and frequently miraculous past, the actual study of Jewish history is an oft-neglected field. It is perceived by many, to a large degree correctly, to be less important than “pure” Torah subjects such as Chumash (which itself is often neglected), Talmud or Jewish law.  Yet the neglect of the study of Jewish history runs deeper. By its very nature, history is a subject which often lends itself to much bias; this...
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Vayelech: Poetic Licence

October 03, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Now, write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites, so that this song will be a witness for the Israelites" (Devarim 31:19). The simple meaning of this verse is a command to write shirat Ha'azinu, the Song of Ha'azinu, which bears witness to the tragedies that await the Jewish people if they do not follow the Torah. Nonetheless, our Sages (Sanhedrin 21b) derived...
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Nitzavim: Pass the Water

September 27, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"You are standing this day all of you before the Lord your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel: your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of the camp, from the hewer of wood unto the drawer of water” (Devarim 29:9-10). As Moshe’s life nears an end and the Jewish people are poised to enter the Land of Israel, Moshe, as he has been doing...
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Ki-Tavo: Speak Up

September 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the key aspects of our being created in the Divine image is the gift of speech. As the world was created with ten Divine utterances (Avot 5:1), our tzelem elokim, divine image, allows us to create, or G-d forbid, destroy, many little “human” worlds through our speech. Yet strangely—perhaps brilliantly is a more apt description—there is very little a Jew must actually say.  Mitzvoth, the core of...
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