Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

VaYishlach: The Unsung Hero

December 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
How common it is for people to return from a funeral and realize how little they knew about the deceased. All too often, it is only after a person’s death that one realizes the tremendous contributions made by the deceased. Alas, at that point, it is too late and we soon tend to return to our daily activities. “And Devorah, Rivka’s wet-nurse, died and she was buried below Beit-El under the oak, and he [Yaakov] called its name...
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VaYetze: From Yaakov to Yisrael

December 06, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Yaakov was a pure man, dwelling in the tents” (Breisheet 25:27). Like his father before him, Yaakov had little interest in the wider world surrounding him, preferring to remain near home, engrossed in study. He was the direct opposite to his twin brother, who was “a man of the field”. The fact that Yaakov was cooking soup while his brother was out hunting exemplifies their very different personalities.  But...
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Toldot: The Strength of Yitzchak

November 29, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages identified each of our patriarchs and matriarchs with the character traits that they best exemplified. Avraham, the master of hospitality, is the exemplar of chesed, loving-kindness. Yaakov, who learned the effects of mistruth the hard way, is identified with the trait of emet, truth. While practicing distortions, even if legitimate, he suffered his whole life from the deception of others; yet Yaakov...
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Chayei Sarah: Growing Old, Staying Young

November 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; these are the years of Sarah's life” (Breisheet 23:1). A famous rabbinic comment elucidating the triple expression of years teaches that Sarah maintained her stunning beauty, intuitive wisdom and sinless innocence throughout her life. Furthermore, the seemingly superfluous ending of the verse “these are the years of Sarah’s life” teaches...
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VaYera: Moving Out of Town

November 15, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the fundamental issues of debate amongst observant Jews regards the degree of openness with which one meets the surrounding culture. Should we “ghettoize” ourselves, trying to avoid the negative and pernicious influences of the outside world? Or must we engage the world about us, influencing it and being influenced by it, even if it entails some degree of risk? One must weigh many factors in determining the answer to this...
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