Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Lech Lecha: In Defence of Terach

November 08, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our rabbis famously debate the righteousness of Noach. Was he a tzadik only relative to the corrupt society in which he lived, or was his righteousness that much greater because he attained it in such in a corrupt generation? While they debate the righteousness of Noach, there seems to be little debate regarding Terach. He was an idolater—not just any standard idolater, but a purveyor of idols thereby spreading idolatry far and...
Continue Reading »

Noach: Defending Noach

November 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For years, psychologists have debated the impact of the environment (nurture) on the development of human beings. Can we be inherently changed by exposure to our surroundings? Or does our environment act as a mechanism that helps reveal our latent nature? Jewish teachings abound with admonitions regarding the importance of the surroundings we choose. The Rambam (Hilchot Deot 6:1) goes so far as to rule that if one's environment is not...
Continue Reading »

Breisheet: Sin and Sinning

October 25, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The holidays of Tishrei—with their emphasis on sin, repentance, reconciliation, and joy—are behind us. It is time to get back to our “normal” routine and catch up on the many items on our agenda. From a practical point of view, the New Year is really beginning, and along with it, the weekly Torah cycle. It is most unfortunate that with all the catching up to do—along with the short week that follows Simchat...
Continue Reading »

V'zot Habracha: From G-d to Man

October 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When writing a book, a good author will introduce the major themes of the book in the opening chapters, develop these and other secondary themes throughout the story, and conclude with a recap highlighting the major themes of the book.  The 31 verses that comprise the creation story tell us little about the origins of life on this planet. They do, however, tell us something much more important; all human beings contain within them...
Continue Reading »

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...
Continue Reading »

Pages