Shmini: Seek the Middle

April 13, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Moshe then inquired, darosh darash, about the goat of the sin offering, and it had been burned” (Vayikra 10:16). Judaism has always stressed the importance of the middle position. Ideologically, the Rambam teaches, we should seek the middle ground (the golden mean). We lain with the sefer Torah in the middle surrounded by two people, and a Torah scholar walks in the middle of his entourage. Rosh Hashanah...
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Shmini: Comforting Cousins

April 21, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
At times of crisis, true leaders often emerge, be they political, military or religious. Their ability to effectively provide inspiration, motivation, hope, and comfort when needed sows seeds of evolutionary growth in the life of a nation. This is equally true on a personal level, especially when a sudden tragedy strikes. It is in these situations that great people reach for strength and ability they did not even know they possessed. ...
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Shemini and Parah: What a Story!

April 01, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Moshe said to Aharon: This is what G-d meant when He said I will be sanctified amongst those who are nearest to me” (Vayikra 10:3). So we read of the tragic death of Nadav and Avihu, the two older sons of Aharon. The Book of Vayikra has only two stories, and both involve tragedy and death. Towards the end of parshat Emor (Vayikra 24:10-23), the Torah records the cryptic story of the “blasphemer” who was put to...
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Shemini: Counting to Eight

April 05, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And it was on the eighth day" (Vayikra 9:1). While this verse is the beginning of a new parsha, the Torah clearly links it to the previous parsha in which the seven-day celebratory festivities for the dedication of the Mishkan are described. Interestingly, next week's parsha, Tazria, also begins with a reference to the eighth day. "When a women conceives and gives birth to a boy...
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Shemini: Close to G-d

April 20, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The deaths of Nadav and Avihu have long troubled biblical commentaries. The multiple suggestions put forth demonstrate that—objectively speaking—whatever the true nature of their sin may have been, it does not seem to have warranted the death penalty. Under different circumstances, or had others done what they did, they likely would have been spared. But not Nadav and Avihu. Sefer Vayikra opens with the bringing of voluntary...
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