Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Re'eh: Conflicting Emotions

August 30, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is difficult to feel two contradictory emotions at the same time. Conflicting, if not contradictory, emotions such as joy and sadness, love and hate, fear and comfort, do not easily co-exist. As human beings constantly struggle with conflicting emotions, Judaism, wanting to give each its proper time for expression, separates differing emotions into separate days.   The fear that gripped the Jewish people during the...
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Eikev: A Long Journey

August 23, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"According to the days that you spent exploring the land, forty days, a year for a day, you shall carry your sin and you will know My actions" (Bamidbar 14:34). The sin of rejecting the land of Israel was not easily forgiven and forty days would turn into forty long years, enough time for an entire generation to die. This is well known and seemingly indisputable.  However, Moshe Rabbeinu, speaking to the second generation weeks...
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VaEtchanan: Learning to Read

August 16, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Torah encompasses all aspects of life: it regulates our existence from the day we are born until the day we die, and from the moment we awake until we retire at night. It is only after one has accepted the binding nature of the Law that one may begin to question the whys of the Law. While clearly some laws are more important than others, our attitude towards them all must be one of absolute obedience. "Be as meticulous in the light...
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Devarim: Equality for all

August 09, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
With old age comes knowledge of life that can only be gained by experience. Thus, Jewish law insists that all elders, even non-observant or non-Jewish ones, must be given honour and respect. There is no substitute for experience. The more the person has experienced, the more they can teach us about life. Moshe Rabbeinu, as the only person to ever speak "face to face" with G-d, surely had much to impart to all of us. Knowing that he...
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Mattot: Split in Half

August 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The centrality of the land of Israel is a basic tenet of Jewish thought. Our Sages note that mitzvot performed outside the land of Israel are little more than practice (see Rashi, Devarim 11:18)—not unlike spring training, which is necessary to get in shape for the regular season, but has no independent meaning.  In asserting this rather radical claim, our Sages refer not to those mitzvot which are dependent on the...
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