Noach: Defending Noach

November 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For years, psychologists have debated the impact of the environment (nurture) on the development of human beings. Can we be inherently changed by exposure to our surroundings? Or does our environment act as a mechanism that helps reveal our latent nature? Jewish teachings abound with admonitions regarding the importance of the surroundings we choose. The Rambam (Hilchot Deot 6:1) goes so far as to rule that if one's environment is not...
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Noach: Coming Apart, Coming Together

October 11, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And the entire land were of one language, and the same things” (Breisheet 11:1). What a beautiful description of a world at peace! A world in which people are speaking the same language, literally and figuratively, and pursuing similar goals sounds almost like Gan Eden. Yet apparently, G-d did not approve. “From the place, G-d scattered them all over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city” (Breisheet...
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Noach: Stuck in the Present

October 20, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d said: I will obliterate humanity that I have created from the face of the earth; man, livestock, land animals and birds of the sky. I regret that I created them. But Noach found favour in G-d's eyes" (Breisheet 6:7-8).  What an amazing person Noach must have been. Surrounded by idolatry, corruption, and moral depravity, Noach remained righteous and pure. Single-handed, he managed to save humanity from oblivion. Only...
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Noach: What is Your Name?

November 04, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And Lemech called him Noach saying, this one will bring us relief, yenachmeinu, from our work and the anguish of our hands, from the soil that G-d had cursed" (Breisheet 5:29 ). After ten generations of despair there was hope that Noach would bring relief, nechama, to a cursed world. Due to the sin of Adam HaRishon, "the ground will be cursed because of you. You will derive food from it...
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Noach: The Greatness of Terach

October 16, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Arpachshad lived five and thirty years, and begot Shelah. And Arpachshad lived after he begot Shelah four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters” (Breishseet 11:12-13) .   Once again the Torah has a long list of generations - this time a listing of the names and life spans of the ten generations from Noach to Abraham. There is however a fundamental difference between this listing and the listing of the ten...
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