VaYera: Family Ties

November 05, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Take your son, your only son, the one you love, v'lech lecha, and go for yourself to the land of Moriah” (Breisheet 22:2). So begins the command of G-d demanding the sacrifice of Yitzchak. After waiting so long to have a child with Sarah, Avraham was commanded to take his child and return him to G-d. In the face of such a command Avraham was silent—or shall we say speechless?—unable to comprehend the Divine...
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VaYera: Moving Out of Town

November 15, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the fundamental issues of debate amongst observant Jews regards the degree of openness with which one meets the surrounding culture. Should we “ghettoize” ourselves, trying to avoid the negative and pernicious influences of the outside world? Or must we engage the world about us, influencing it and being influenced by it, even if it entails some degree of risk? One must weigh many factors in determining the answer to this...
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VaYerah: Living in Sedom

October 26, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And the people of Sedom were evil and sinners towards G-d beyond all measure” (Breisheet 13:13). Despite their depravity, Avraham Avinu argued, challenged, pleaded and negotiated with G-d for their welfare. It is specifically this trait of caring and concern for “evil” people—a trait that characterized all the Avot and Imahot—that demonstrates their greatness. They may...
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VaYera: The Man of Prayer

November 03, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our tradition teaches that the founder of the Jewish people, Abraham, is the one who introduced the notion of daily prayer to the world. “And Abraham awoke in the morning to the place, el hamakom, where he had stood, asher amad sham, before G-d” (Breisheet 19:27). Though prayer is not actually mentioned in the above verse, our sages interpreted the word amad, where he stood, as a reference to prayer,...
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Vayera: Time to Sleep

November 18, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Avraham awoke in the morning” (Breisheet 22:3). It is from this verse that the Sages (Pesachim 4a) derive the principle zerezim makdimim lemitzvot, that the meticulous promptly fulfil mitzvot. What makes this teaching so much more poignant is the context, that of akeidat Yitzchak. It is easy to eagerly await and greet the arrival of Shabbat or the Yamim Tovim with their beautiful atmosphere; it is...
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