Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Korach: No Unity Without Diversity

July 05, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is in times of crisis that effective leadership is most important—and the years spent wandering in the desert represented the first major crisis of the Jewish people. Aimlessly wandering with little to look forward to, knowing that they would die in the desert, the hope and excitement of the Exodus was long gone. It is not surprising that, when faced with a crisis, instead of looking inward, people often look to blame others for their...
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Shelach Lecha: Confirmation Bias

June 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
How can two people witness the exact same events and yet offer two distinct and different reports? This question is one that jumps out as we examine the story of the meraglim. The Torah had been received, the mishkan built and dedicated, the census taken. All that remained was the march to the Promised Land of Israel to implement the Torah way of life.  The Jewish people were nervous, wondering about the...
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Beha'alotcha: Dan and Din

June 21, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  “Then journeyed the camp of Dan, m’aseif, the gatherer, of all the camps” (Bamidbar 10:25). As the Jewish people prepared to march to the land of Israel—no one imagined it would take forty years until they would arrive—they formed a precise pattern with four groups of three tribes each, with the tribe of Levi and the Mishkan in the middle of the camp. The tribe of...
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Naso: Counting Our Blessings

June 14, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
A Jew is commanded to recite one hundred blessings each and every day (Menachot 43b). We need constant reminders to ensure that we recognize the blessings of G-d and to remind ourselves that in all of our actions we are to reflect the Divine image. While most of the brachot we make consist of man acknowledging G-d as the master of the world, the priestly blessings are an exception to this pattern. In this particular blessing...
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Shavuot: A Forced Torah?

June 07, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our attitude towards Torah is a most fickle one. On the one hand, the Jewish people demonstrated great faith in following Moshe into a barren desert and it is this we recount as we plead for G-d's mercy on Rosh Hashanah. On the other hand, these same people complained at every turn in that same desert. We jumped at the opportunity to accept the Torah, instinctively declaring "na'aseh v'nishma"—yet...
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