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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Shemot: A New Leader

January 20, 2017 By: rabbi jay kelman
In today's world of the 30-second soundbite, good oratory skills are a necessary ingredient for any aspiring politician. Good politicians are often able to talk themselves out of difficult positions spouting half truths, equivocations, and at times, outright lies. A good politician knows how to talk without saying anything. Yet the greatest political leader of all time, Moshe Rabbeinu was a kvad peh...
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Shemot: It's All In The Name

January 01, 2016 By: rabbi jay kelman
  I imagine most of us have experienced being in a noisy room focusing on the conversation we are engaged in, oblivious to the chatter around us - unless  and until someone mentions our name. At that point we instinctively turn around to see who is speaking. The ability to hear one's name above all else is dubbed the "cocktail party effect" as we focus our auditory skills on the particular stimuli that interest us,...
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Shemot: The Names Are the Same

January 09, 2015 By: rabbi jay kelman
"And these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt". The above verse serves as the opening to the second book of the Torah, setting the background to Jewish life in Egypt. One would also be correct in stating that the above verse is taken from parshat Vayigash, listing those who came to Egypt. In other words, the opening of verse of Shemot appears most redundant, adding no new information to the story of the...
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Shemot: The Ineffable Name

December 20, 2013 By: rabbi jay kelman
"And he saw an Egyptian man hitting a Hebrew of his brothers" (2:11). To the slave in Egypt, being beaten up by our tormentors was the norm, and the Jewish people--having no recourse or justice--suffered in silence. Moshe's act of fighting back on behalf of some "lowly" slave was shocking for those immersed in Egyptian culture, and it nearly cost him his life. With the Jews learning to defend themselves, the process of...
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