VaYishlach: Where Was Rivka?

December 04, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the fascinating (and, at times, frustrating) aspects of the Torah is how much information it does not tell us. We know nothing of Abraham’s first 75 years, are left in the dark regarding most of Moshe’s first 80 years and so many of the laws of the Torah are written in a way that is somewhere between obscure and incomprehensible. Of course, this is intentional; and analyzing what makes it into the text and why, and what does...
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VaYishlach: The Unsung Hero

December 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
How common it is for people to return from a funeral and realize how little they knew about the deceased. All too often, it is only after a person’s death that one realizes the tremendous contributions made by the deceased. Alas, at that point, it is too late and we soon tend to return to our daily activities. “And Devorah, Rivka’s wet-nurse, died and she was buried below Beit-El under the oak, and he [Yaakov] called its name...
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VaYishlach: Alone at Night

November 23, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Therefore, the Jewish people will not eat the gid hanasheh, sciatic nerve, that is on the hip joint, to this day” (Breisheet 32:33).  Sefer Breisheet provides much information on how not to act; we read about every kind of social dysfunction—be it drinking, sibling rivalry, jealousy, greed or more violent crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, incest and murder. Unfortunately, many of the...
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VaYishlach: Do Not Fear

December 15, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Jacob was very frightened and distressed" (Breisheet 32:8). Hearing that his brother was approaching with an army of 400 men, Yaakov was terrified and prepared for the worst. "If Eisav comes and defeats one camp, at least the other camp will survive". However, Yaakov's fear seems misplaced. While Eisav had threatened to kill his brother, he had planned to carry out the threat only after his father's death: "The...
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Vayishlach: Jacob, the Lonely Man of Faith

November 30, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Avraham Avinu is known as "ha'Ivri" as the world was on one side, and he was alone on the other. It is not easy challenging the ideas of society around you - and G-d understood that to be successful, Abraham would have to leave home and travel to a foreign land. While Abraham had to start anew, away from most of his family, he was not lonely. He had a loving wife, seemed to make friends easily, and was heavily involved with political leaders...
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