Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Breisheet: Guardians of the Garden

October 16, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it, l'ovdah, and watch it, l'shomrah" (Breisheet 2:15). A perfect world beckons. Everything is "very good" and man, as the centre of creation, is free to enjoy the fruits of G-d's labour. He is to “fill the earth and conquer it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every beast...
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Haazinu: The Joy of Sinning

September 25, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sinning is meant to be enjoyable. If not, there would be no point to it. How ironic, then, when a person sins and does not derive any pleasure. A person experiments with non-kosher food and does not like the taste. Or, one decides that in order to get ahead financially, one must work on Shabbat. And, lo and behold, one is passed over for a promotion, which instead goes to your Shabbat-observant colleague.  This, Rav Soloveitchik explains,...
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Vayelech: Naming Rights

September 11, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to think that the names of the weekly parshiot have little intrinsic meaning; they are just taken from the opening word or two of the parsha. Thus, breisheet, being the first word of the Bible, becomes the name for both the first book and the weekly parsha. Upon closer examination we begin to realize that it might not be quite that simple. For example, two of the parshiot in sefer...
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Ki Tavo: Language Barriers

September 04, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Those of us living in Canada are especially sensitive to the importance of language to the fabric of a country. The language that one speaks is, more often than not, indicative of cultural norms and attitudes. It is thus no surprise that on many an issue, the views of the people of Quebec differ sharply from those residing in the rest of the country. While it may seem strange to us today, the modern-day Zionist movement debated the question...
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Ki-Teze: Let's Make a Deal

August 28, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"All of man's earnings are decreed on Rosh Hashanah, except for expenses regarding Shabbat and Yom Tov and expenses relating to Jewish education" (Beitzah 16a). The more we spend in the latter two areas, the more G-d will graciously grant us. Though the above is hard to prove, it reflects the fundamental notion that while we are required to work for our sustenance, ultimately it is only through the...
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