The Nine Days: Aharon's Yahrzeit

July 21, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Aharon the priest ascended Hor Hahar and died there in the fortieth year... in the fifth month on the first of the month” (Bamidbar 33:38). It is on rare occasions that the Torah actually dates events recorded therein. Even the giving of the Torah at Sinai has no biblical date associated with it. Birthdays, anniversaries and yahrzeits are of little interest to the Bible. The tradition that Moshe dies on the 7th of Adar is one...
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Massei: Living in Canada

July 17, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Canada is a wonderful country, and as residents of this country, we are obliged by Torah law to abide by its laws and also pray for its welfare. However, it is not meant to be the home of the Jewish people. Canada is, after all, galut—exile. This is a hard concept for us to truly grasp, in a land with thriving yeshivot, a strong community infrastructure, financial success, and freedom to adhere to our religious beliefs....
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Massei: Don't Forget the Details

July 21, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And the Egyptians were burying all their first born, who had been killed by G-d” (Bamidbar 33:4).   Occupied with grief and despair, the Egyptians watched—apparently in silence—as their former slaves “left triumphantly before the eyes of all the Egyptians” (Bamidbar 33:3). Interestingly, neither the frantic burials nor the triumphant departure of the Jewish people is mentioned in Parshat Bo,...
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Mattot-Massei: On the Same Page

August 05, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When the eighth day of Pesach falls on Shabbat, those of us living outside of Israel lain the special Torah reading for Yom Tov Sheni[1], while those in Israel read parshat Acharei Mot; and it is only when we conclude sefer Bamidbar more than three months later that the kriat haTorah will be unified throughout the world[2]. That such a split happens on that first Shabbat after Pesach is unavoidable. Yet the...
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Mattot-Massei: A Sojourn in Germany

July 20, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And these are the travels of the children of Israel”. We know little of many of the places the Jewish people encamped during their stay in the desert; the fact that Jews once lived in these places makes them worthy of mention in the Torah. Much of the parshiot of Mattot and Massei (and sefer Bamidbar, for that matter) deals with the issue of one’s place of abode.It is here, in this week’s parshiot, that the tribes of Reuven and Gad ask to be...
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