Yitro: Honouring Parents, Teaching Children

February 02, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
The command to respect our parents, kibud av v'eim, is one that needs little explanation. It is the most rational and logical of mitzvoth, one that we would observe even were we not commanded by the Torah to do so, and one that we expect all human beings to perform. Unlike Shabbat, which precedes it in the aseret hadibrot, no rationale is given for this mitzvah; none is needed. The Talmud (Kiddushin 31a) claims that the...
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Yitro: I Love My In-Laws

February 17, 2017 By: rabbi jay kelman
“Moses went to greet his father-in-law, bowing down low and kissing him” (Shemot 18:7). Unfortunately, relations between children- and theri in-laws are not always so rosy and are often marred by jealousy, power struggles and outright animosity. One need look no further than the eternal king of Israel, Dovid Hamelech, and his troubles with his own father-in-law, Shaul. In fact, the Talmud tells us that even in a case of...
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Yitro: A Joint Project

January 29, 2016 By: rabbi jay kelman
What kind of book is the Torah and who is it meant for? Rashi begins his commentary to the Torah, with the supposition that the Torah is primarily a legal book instructing the Jewish people how to lead their lives. This is the premise of his query as to why the Torah starts with the story of Creation and not with the first mitzva given to the Jewish people. In answering his question Rashi fundamentally changes our...
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Yitro: Hear Ye, Hear Ye

January 17, 2014 By: rabbi jay kelman
"And Yitro, the priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moshe, heard all that G-d did for Moshe and to Israel his people, that G-d had taken the Israel out of Egypt" (Shemot 18:1). Of course, Yitro was not the only one who heard all that G-d had done. Yet he was the only one who was listening; the only one who cared enough and was moved enough to actually do something. While others likely were impressed to hear that a slave...
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Yitro: Day of Rest

February 01, 2013 By: rabbi jay kelman
The aseret hadibrot present two very different reasons why we are to keep Shabbat. In parshat Yitro, it is “because in six days, G-d made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in it; and He rested on the seventh day” (Shemot 20:11). Forty years later, when Moshe recounts them to the children of those who were at Sinai, we keep Shabbat so that “you shall remember that you were slaves in the land of...
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