Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

VaEtchanan: Learning to Read

August 16, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Torah encompasses all aspects of life: it regulates our existence from the day we are born until the day we die, and from the moment we awake until we retire at night. It is only after one has accepted the binding nature of the Law that one may begin to question the whys of the Law. While clearly some laws are more important than others, our attitude towards them all must be one of absolute obedience. "Be as meticulous in the light...
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Devarim: Equality for all

August 09, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
With old age comes knowledge of life that can only be gained by experience. Thus, Jewish law insists that all elders, even non-observant or non-Jewish ones, must be given honour and respect. There is no substitute for experience. The more the person has experienced, the more they can teach us about life. Moshe Rabbeinu, as the only person to ever speak "face to face" with G-d, surely had much to impart to all of us. Knowing that he...
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Mattot: Split in Half

August 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The centrality of the land of Israel is a basic tenet of Jewish thought. Our Sages note that mitzvot performed outside the land of Israel are little more than practice (see Rashi, Devarim 11:18)—not unlike spring training, which is necessary to get in shape for the regular season, but has no independent meaning.  In asserting this rather radical claim, our Sages refer not to those mitzvot which are dependent on the...
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Pinchas: Who is Next?

July 26, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Success and great leadership go hand in hand. That is why organizations, sports teams and even countries can continue to excel or flounder year after year. The players may come and go, but the culture of excellence exuded by the management permeates the team. Tragically, many who have the potential for great leadership lack the skills (or sadly, might we say, the ruthlessness) needed to actually reach the top, whereas those who are excellent at...
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Balak: Fearless Leadership

July 19, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Bilaam, the heathen prophet, recognized that the strength of the Jewish people was in their high level of modesty. “How goodly are your tents, Yaakov!” he exclaimed, noting the respect for privacy that pervaded the Jewish encampment in the desert. Yet so soon after his beautiful words, the Jewish people tried to prove him wrong. “Israel was staying in Shittim when the people began to behave immorally with Moabite women” (...
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