Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Tzav: The Place of Sin

April 03, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"This is the law of the sin offering, chatat: at the place where the elevation offering, olah, is slaughtered shall the sin offering be slaughtered before G-d, it is holy of holies" (Vayikra 6:18). The korban chatat and korban olah are polar opposites. The korban olah reflects our total dedication to G-d. No part of the sacrifice is to be consumed by humans. It is, literally...
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Vayikra: A Book of Love

March 27, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Perhaps Man’s greatest fear is his ultimate irrelevance, that we really don’t make a difference and that in the greater scheme of things, our lives are for naught. This is why people yearn to leave a legacy, and it is often for this reason that people have children. The historical tendency to value male babies over females is due to the fact that it was (is?) the male who would carry on the family name and legacy. Upon marriage,...
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Pekudei: Time and Space

March 20, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And it was on first month of the second year on the first of the month that the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:17). The first of Nissan is a most special time in Jewish history. It was on this date that Moshe and Aharon began preparing the people for their exodus from Egypt. It is thereby "the head of the months", marking the beginning of national Jewish history. While the actual exodus did not take place until the...
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Ki-Tissa: The Golden Garden

March 13, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And the people saw ki boshesh Moshe, that Moshe delayed in coming down from the mountain" (Shemot 32:1). As a young nation coming from a hedonistic society that had many gods, the transition to a monotheistic people living a disciplined life was not (and is not) an easy one. They needed lots of 'hand-holding' as they matured as a people, and were paralyzed with their leader away. The people wanted a...
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Tezaveh: Consistently Excited

March 05, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For many, when the Torah reading reaches the parshiot of Terumah and Tezaveh interest in the parsha wanes just a bit (or maybe more). It is hard to compare the technical details of these parshiot with the excitement of, say, the Yosef story. Add to that the inapplicability of these parshiot for the past 2,000 years and we can understand the diminished attention paid to them. And yet buried...
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