Chukat: Undressing Aaron

July 03, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Take Aaron, and Elazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; and strip Aaron of his vestments, and dress Elazar his son in them; Aaron shall be gathered in and die there" (Bamidbar 20:25-26). It was only after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden that man had a need for clothing: "then the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve] were opened and they realized that they were naked" (Breisheet 3:7). Up until the point of...
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Chukat: Marching On

July 12, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism is a religion that celebrates life. "Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than the entire life of the world to come" (Pirkei Avot 5:22). It is only while we are alive that we can elevate ourselves through the performance of mitzvot, that we can contribute to the betterment of the world, and that we can become partners with G-d in the process of creation. There is no nobility in death.  Death...
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Chukat: Time to Talk

June 22, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Parshat Chukat marks the transition from the generation that left Egypt to the one that would enter the Land of Israel. This was a transition marked by death and thus, the Torah’s description of the laws of purity and impurity stemming from contact with death form the opening unit of the parsha. The leaders of the nation—Miriam, Aharon and Moshe—would not be spared the fate of the people and would also have to die in the desert...
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Chukat: Unbelievable!

June 30, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is truly astounding how people can actually believe the most ludicrous of claims.  “And Moshe divested Aharon of his vestments, and placed them on Elazar his son; and Aharon died there on top of the mountain. When Moshe and Elazar descended from the mountain, the people realized that Aharon had died; the entire family of Israel mourned Aharon for thirty days” (Bamidbar 20:28-29). Neither Miriam, Aharon, nor Moshe would merit...
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Chukat:It's Only Natural

July 15, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism has always understood that miracles have very little long term impact on one's behaviour. During our nation's infancy in Egypt miracles were necessary in order to awaken us to the fact that there is a G-d who runs the world. Yet it is quite obvious that the many miracles that the Jewish people witnessed and experienced did not prevent them from disobeying G-d. We were a stiff necked, malcontent group wasting no opportunity to...
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