Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Bo: Changing Times

January 19, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
One of the central tenets of our faith is the eternal relevance and unchanging nature of our Torah. The Torah is not only Divinely authored, it is an autobiography of G-d, with each mitzva reflecting a different aspect of the Divine. By observing the mitzvoth, we emulate G-d, actualizing our Divine image. Because each and every aspect of the Torah is an expression of the Divine, our Sages (Avot 2:1) admonish us to be as careful with a “...
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Vaera: Top Down Morality

January 12, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Whether it is in the sphere of politics, religious life or in the sphere of general morality, one often hears people bemoaning the dearth of leadership that seems to surround us. We yearn for men and women of vision, tenacity, determination and most importantly moral vision to lead us - instead of those who may just be following the latest opinion poll. Sadly, our generation has not always been able to attract the most capable people into...
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Shemot: 59 Years!

January 05, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
What a difference 59 years can make. Despite Yaakov's insistence to be buried in Israel, "Yosef dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's household" (Breisheet 50:22). Whether he continued in his role of Viceroy of Egypt or retired from political life, the Torah does not say. Nonetheless, it does appear Yosef did have time to enjoy his old age at ease, spending precious time with his family. "Yosef saw...
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VaYechi: Excellence in Exile

December 29, 2017 By: rabbi jay kelman
"And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were one hundred and forty seven years" (Breisheet 47:28). As the Torah has already told us that Jacob arrived in Egypt at the age of 130, the first half of the verse is redundant. Knowing that Jacob dies at 147, we can easily deduce that he lived for 17 years in Egypt. Therefore, our commentaries point out that the verse must be discussing the...
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VaYigash: Painful Reunion

December 22, 2017 By: rabbi jay kelman
Etiquette and diplomatic niceties are the hallmarks of the world of politics. Political leaders are trained to speak ambiguously and in a way that can allow for future re-interpretation (misinterpretation?) as the need arises. It is only in private, and even then quite rarely, that diplomats may express themselves with candour and frankness. Pharaoh's court—with its butlers, bakers and servants galore—was a place where political...
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