Haazinu: The Joy of Sinning

September 25, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sinning is meant to be enjoyable. If not, there would be no point to it. How ironic, then, when a person sins and does not derive any pleasure. A person experiments with non-kosher food and does not like the taste. Or, one decides that in order to get ahead financially, one must work on Shabbat. And, lo and behold, one is passed over for a promotion, which instead goes to your Shabbat-observant colleague.  This, Rav Soloveitchik explains,...
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Haazinu: The Lessons of History

October 11, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Despite our long and frequently miraculous past, the actual study of Jewish history is an oft-neglected field. It is perceived by many, to a large degree correctly, to be less important than “pure” Torah subjects such as Chumash (which itself is often neglected), Talmud or Jewish law.  Yet the neglect of the study of Jewish history runs deeper. By its very nature, history is a subject which often lends itself to much bias; this...
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Haazinu: Action Reaction

September 21, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Jewish thought teaches that the physical and spiritual worlds are meant to function harmoniously. Both are essential, and a proper balance must be maintained between them. "If there is no flour there is no Torah, and if there is no Torah there is no flour" (Pirkei Avot 3:17) is not only a statement of fact, but one of theology. Furthermore, Judaism posits that in addition to its physical properties, the universe itself has spiritual...
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Hazeinu: Straight Talk

October 14, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
 “The deeds of the Mighty One are perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a faithful judge; never unfair, righteous and straight is He" (Devarim 32:4). This statement is recited at every funeral as the mourners, though perhaps feeling distant from G-d, accept the decision of the ultimate Judge. Undoubtedly, this acknowledgement of G-d as the perfect judge is difficult for us to see in this often imperfect, unfaithful, immoral...
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