Behar: Money in Trust

May 11, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In his thematic enumeration of the 613 mitzvoth, the Rambam has as the very first mitzvah that of belief in G-d. It is, in the view of the Rambam, the central component of Judaism. The Rambam maintains that one who denies any of what he believed were the thirteen fundamentals of faith has no share in the world to come, irrespective of the personal piety and level of observance such a person might display. Yet even the most...
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Behar: Legal Loopholes

May 27, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Legal loopholes are a mainstay of the legal profession. People are often frustrated when criminals are let off the hook on a technicality, perhaps subverting the intent of the law. But it is not only secular law that is criticized for its seeming preference of the letter over the spirit of the law.   Halacha has often come under criticism for its use of these same technicalities. Whenever the rabbis felt a law...
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Behar: The End of the Torah

May 09, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Torah was edited with great precision. This is the idea behind the notion that "there is no chronological order to the Torah". Items are placed were they can teach the greatest messages—form can be as important as substance. For example, the Torah records Yitro's advice to Moshe to set up a court system, and to delegate to them much of the task of interpreting Jewish law, immediately prior to the giving of the ...
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Behar-Bechukotai: End of the Story

May 03, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“These are the commandments that G-d has commanded Moshe to the children of Israel on Mount Sinai (Vayikra 27:34).” Though it is the Book of Exodus that we associate with Har Sinai, it is at the end of Vayikra that the Torah actually places us there. “Joseph died at 110 years; they embalmed him, and he was placed in an aron, casket, in Egypt.” So concludes sefer Breisheet. Joseph, who saved so many...
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Behar-Bechukotai: Working for G-d

May 17, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Torah was wary of the employer-employee relationship. Almost by definition, an employee is not much different than a slave; both are told what to do, when to do it and how it is to be done. “For [all of] you are slaves unto Me”. As our Sages teach, we are not meant to be slaves of slaves.It can be quite natural for an employer to treat his employee like a slave, even if the employee is treated with dignity. To help this imbalance, Jewish law...
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