Emor: The Setting Sun

May 16, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The major theme of sefer Vayikra is, arguably, that of tumah and taharah, purity and impurity. When one reads the Torah, one senses what seems almost an obsession with this topic. If one happens to violate the special sanctity of the Temple, or of sacrifices, or even of the camp of Israel, the penalties are severe and harsh. While tumah and taharah appear in many contexts throughout the Torah, the...
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Emor: G-d's Name

May 04, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Do not desecrate My holy name. I must be sanctified among the Israelites" (Vayikra 22:31). The role of the Jew is to sanctify the name of G-d. The Rambam, after opening his monumental code of Jewish law with four chapters dealing with issues of metaphysics, begins the legal section of his code with the sentence, "The entire house of Israel is commanded on the sanctification of His great Name" (Yesodei H Torah 5:1)....
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Emor: The Right Balance

May 12, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism measures greatness by spiritual achievements. It should come as no surprise that many of our founding fathers suffered from physical ailments. Yitzchak was blind, Yaakov partially crippled, and Moshe had a speech impediment. Their eminence was such that whatever "handicaps" they might have had were simply irrelevant. Physical limitations are no impediment to greatness. Nonetheless, physical and material attributes are...
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Emor: The Animal Kingdom

May 20, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  When we think of the most important parts of the Torah we may think of the aseret hadibrot, the shema or the mitzva to love your neighbour as yourself.    These sections of the Torah are most noticeable and given with much fanfare; the discussion between G-d, Moshe and the Jewish people as they prepared for Sinai, the call to holiness and the gathering together of the people as the...
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Emor: The Joys of a Kohen

May 02, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Being a kohen today is not what it used to be. While one may receive more aliyot and lead birchat hamazon on a regular basis, a kohen is bound by the many restrictions of the Torah without "reaping its benefits". There are strict restrictions on whom they may marry and whom they may bury. This, despite the fact that there is no Temple for them to work in, no sacrifices to...
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