Beha'alotcha: Selective Memory

June 11, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is amazing how selective our memory can be. People often yearn for the good old days: days full of poverty, pogroms and peddling. The ability to forget the difficulties of the past is a necessary tool for our mental well-being. It is that which allows us to put our lives back together and rebuild after personal or national tragedies. We often choose to remember what suits us, conveniently forgetting those facts which upset our view of the...
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Beha'alotcha: Dan and Din

June 21, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  “Then journeyed the camp of Dan, m’aseif, the gatherer, of all the camps” (Bamidbar 10:25). As the Jewish people prepared to march to the land of Israel—no one imagined it would take forty years until they would arrive—they formed a precise pattern with four groups of three tribes each, with the tribe of Levi and the Mishkan in the middle of the camp. The tribe of...
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Beha'alotcha: Out of Order

June 01, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert in the second year of the Exodus from Egypt, in the first month” (Bamidbar 9:1). Pesach Sheni presents a second chance, the opportunity for those who were unable to bring the pesach sacrifice at the right time to do so. Pesach Sheni’s stories and laws, to which the above verse refers, are the chronological opening to the book of Bamidbar. Yet this verse appears only in...
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Behalotcha: Running Away

June 09, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"The Israelites marched for a three day journey “mei'har Hashem”, from G-d's mountain (Bamidbar 10:33). The Torah has been received, the Mishkan built and the gifts of the leaders brought. All that remains to complete the exodus is the journey to the land of Israel. The covenantal promise made to Abraham is about to be fulfilled. Yet disaster was about to strike. The Jewish...
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Behalotcha: Mr. Humble

June 24, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is the rare occasion when the Torah actually characterizes an individual. Rather through an analysis of the Biblical narrative, we are meant to draw appropriate conclusions, nuanced as they may be. It is, for example, the actions of Yosef and his brothers that are described in the text, without the Torah assigning blame for this tragic dispute. Of course this leads commentaries to differing conclusions, which no doubt is the intention of the...
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