Vaeira: 137 and Counting

January 14, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One hundred and thirty seven is not a number that would appear to have much significance, at least not from a Jewish perspective. Yet the Torah found it necessary to record that Levi lived to that age (Shemot 6:16). A mere four verses later we are told that Amram, Moshe's father, also lived to the age of 137. As Moshe and Aharon are about to set in motion the redemption of the Jewish people, the Torah “digresses” and records the...
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Vaera: It Took A While

January 24, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Moshe was frustrated. Having been coerced by G-d to redeem the Jewish people, things were not going as planned. As Moshe confronted Pharaoh, demanding—as G-d had instructed—that he let them go free, Pharaoh worsened the conditions for the Jewish people. Moshe could not take it and cried out, “O Lord, why do You mistreat Your people? Why did You send me? As soon as I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he made things worse...
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VaEra: The Sons of Korach

January 04, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The initial meeting between Moshe and Pharaoh did not go well. The workload placed on the poor Jewish slaves was increased, and more importantly, the people's morale was shattered. Whereas initially, "the people believed, and they heard that G-d had remembered the people of Israel" (Shemot 4:31), as conditions worsened, "they did not listen to Moshe from shortness of breath and hard work" (Shemot 6:9). Moshe is...
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Vaera: Top Down Morality

January 12, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Whether it is in the sphere of politics, religious life or in the sphere of general morality, one often hears people bemoaning the dearth of leadership that seems to surround us. We yearn for men and women of vision, tenacity, determination and most importantly moral vision to lead us - instead of those who may just be following the latest opinion poll. Sadly, our generation has not always been able to attract the most capable people into...
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Vaera: When the Going Gets Tough

January 27, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The story of the slavery and subsequent redemption of the Jewish people focuses almost entirely on Moshe, Aharon and Pharaoh. Strangely, the thoughts, feelings, and actions of both the Egyptian and Jewish people are barely noted. Although we are privy to the suggestions of Pharaoh's advisors throughout the plagues, we hear nothing of the reaction of the populace. Did they support Pharaoh’s intransigence?  Did they see the plagues...
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