VaEtchanan: Seeking Comfort

July 31, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages ordained that we should read parshat VaEtchanan on the Shabbat after Tisha B’Av. As they phrased it, “zumu v’tzlu, fast and pray”. On Tisha B’Av we fast, but we cannot pray. We can say words, but not words of prayer. “Though I cry to Him, He has blocked my prayer” (Eicha 3:8). Only after Tisha B’Av can we read of Moshe beseeching G-d to enter the Land of Israel. Only...
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Vaetchanan: Loving G-d

August 10, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Jews of faith, when faced with imminent death, have departed this world with the words of the shma on their lips. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the tragic death of Rabbi Akiva, one of the ten martyrs we read about on Tisha b'Av. As he was being tortured by the Romans, Rabbi Akiva gained a measure of comfort as he could now literally fulfil the mandate, "'and you shall love the Lord, your G-d, with all...
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Va'etchanan: Time for Comfort

July 19, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Life is so unfair. While we believe that ultimately (and ultimately can take an eternity!) justice must and will prevail—to believe otherwise would be to deny the essence of Judaism—it is clear that life is full of injustices. Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest person who ever lived. Yet he was denied his one wish, to be able to walk in and breathe the air of the land of Israel. Moshe continued pleading his case until G-d "angrily...
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Va'etchanan: Easy Money

August 03, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism is that of reward and punishment. Keep the mitzvoth and get rewarded. Violate the laws of the Torah and be punished. This basic theme runs throughout much of the Torah – especially in sefer Devarim. As Moshe prepares his flock to finally enter the land, he repeatedly exhorts them to follow the laws of the Torah, warning of dire consequences if they do not. Yet, most interestingly, the rewards the...
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VaEtchanan: It's Your Fault

July 27, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And G-d was angry at me for your sakes (lemanchem) and would not hear me. And G-d said to me, Enough! Do not speak to me any more about this” (3:26).Moshe wanted nothing more than to enter the land of Israel, the land that G-d chose for His people. It is difficult enough to understand what, exactly, Moshe did wrong to warrant the punishment of denial of entry into the land of Israel. Even more perplexing is His absolute refusal and...
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