Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Shavuot: An Evolving Torah

May 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Rav Yossi said: It would have been appropriate had the Torah been given through Ezra, but Moshe preceded him… and even though the Torah was not given by him [Ezra], it was changed by him” (Sanhedrin 21b). The Talmud explains that this change relates to the “font” of the Torah, which was changed from ketav Ivri, the initial font in which the Torah was given, to ketav Ashurit, the “font...
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Bamidbar: Change for the Better

May 22, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the hallmarks of a strong society is its ability to smoothly effect change. New leaders and policies, crises and confrontations are all dealt with in an orderly fashion without the threat of violence. New ideas are incorporated within the existing structure. It is a process of evolution, as opposed to revolution.  Many people find change—any change—disconcerting and prefer the status quo, no matter the repercussions. The...
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Yom Yerushalayim: Natural and Supernatural

May 21, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Jewish nation waited for close to 1,900 years to regain sovereignty over G-d’s chosen land. It took an additional 19 years until sovereignty was established “in the place that I will choose to place My name” (Devarim 12:11). The famous words of Brigade Commander Motta Gur, “Har haBayit b’yadeinu, the Temple Mount is in our hands,” marked one of the momentous events of Jewish history; the presence...
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Bechukotai: A Proper Ending

May 15, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
A mark of a good book is a clear and coherent structure. The opening chapters set the tone, themes are appropriately developed, and the conclusion ties together the key elements of the story. Thus, when studying the Torah, we must look for instruction not only from its content, but also its form. What is the relationship between law and narrative? Why are certain laws introduced when they are? Why is the chronological sequence not always...
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Emor: A Second Yom-Tov

May 08, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“You shall count seven complete weeks from the day following the Shabbat from the day you brought the omer as a wave offering seven complete weeks they shall be...on the 50th day you shall present a new meal offering to the Lord" (Vayikra 23:15-16). The holiday of Shavuot - marking the beginning of the wheat harvest - lacks its own independent date, its celebration linked to Pesach. We tend to think of...
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