Toldot: A Second Famine

November 09, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And there was a famine in the land, aside from the first famine that was in the days of Avraham...And G-d appeared to him [Yitzchak] and said: Do not go down to Egypt, dwell in the land that I will tell you” (Breisheet 26:1-2). It is quite clear that this famine was not the same one that occurred during the days of Avraham. Approximately 100 years had lapsed since Avraham went to Egypt searching for food. Presumably, Avraham...
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Toldot: All My Children

November 17, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is hard to imagine a more disparate couple than Yitzchak and Rivka, the quiet contemplative husband who would "meditate in the fields" (24:63), and the worldly, independent-thinking wife who “ran again to the well” (Breisheet 20:24). Yitzchak spent his entire life in the land of Israel, never traveling the world. He was, as our Sages describe him, "a pure offering", ready to sacrifice himself to G-d. He could...
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Toldot: A Wonderful Sin!

December 02, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"When Eisav heard his father’s words he let out a most loud and bitter scream" (27:34). Our Sages sensitive to even minor failings of our Biblical heroes, coupled with their keen textual analysis saw a parallel between this verse and one appearing well over a thousand years later. "And he [Mordechai] let out a loud and bitter scream" (Esther 4:1). The pain and suffering caused to Eisav by Yaakov would cause his...
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Toldot: The Strength of Yitzchak

November 13, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages identified each of our patriarchs and matriarchs with the character traits that they best exemplified. Abraham the master of hospitality is the exemplar of chesed, of loving-kindness. Yaakov who learned the hard way the effects of mistruth is identified with the trait of Emet, truth. While practicing - even if legitimate - distortions, he suffered his whole life from the deception of others yet is our...
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Toldot: Pray for Others

November 21, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rabbi Yitzchak said: ‘Yitzchak our forefather was barren, as it is written ‘and Isaac entreated the Lord lenochach, alongside, his  wife’” (Breisheet 25:21, Yevamot 64a). The word lenochach is often translated as “for the sake of”, i.e., that Yitzchak prayed on behalf of his wife. However, it can be translated as “together”, meaning that just as Rivka was barren, so,...
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