Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Shelach Lecha: Confirmation Bias
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...Continue Reading »
Beha'alotcha: Dan and Din
“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...Continue Reading »
Naso: Counting Our Blessings
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...Continue Reading »
Shavuot: A Forced Torah?
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...Continue Reading »
Bamidbar: What's in a Name?
Sefer Bamidbar opens with names and numbers, a theme that continues throughout the book; hence its name, Chumash Pekudim, the book of counting. Apparently, names are much more than mere identifiers. A name represents the essence of a person. "In the merit of not changing our names were we redeemed from Egypt", claims the Midrash. At first glance, it seems quite strange and remarkable that the keeping of our...Continue Reading »