Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Bamidbar: Change for the Better

May 22, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the hallmarks of a strong society is its ability to smoothly effect change. New leaders and policies, crises and confrontations are all dealt with in an orderly fashion without the threat of violence. New ideas are incorporated within the existing structure. It is a process of evolution, as opposed to revolution.  Many people find change—any change—disconcerting and prefer the status quo, no matter the repercussions. The...
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Yom Yerushalayim: Natural and Supernatural

May 21, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Jewish nation waited for close to 1,900 years to regain sovereignty over G-d’s chosen land. It took an additional 19 years until sovereignty was established “in the place that I will choose to place My name” (Devarim 12:11). The famous words of Brigade Commander Motta Gur, “Har haBayit b’yadeinu, the Temple Mount is in our hands,” marked one of the momentous events of Jewish history; the presence...
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Bechukotai: A Proper Ending

May 15, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
A mark of a good book is a clear and coherent structure. The opening chapters set the tone, themes are appropriately developed, and the conclusion ties together the key elements of the story. Thus, when studying the Torah, we must look for instruction not only from its content, but also its form. What is the relationship between law and narrative? Why are certain laws introduced when they are? Why is the chronological sequence not always...
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Emor: A Second Yom-Tov

May 08, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“You shall count seven complete weeks from the day following the Shabbat from the day you brought the omer as a wave offering seven complete weeks they shall be...on the 50th day you shall present a new meal offering to the Lord" (Vayikra 23:15-16). The holiday of Shavuot - marking the beginning of the wheat harvest - lacks its own independent date, its celebration linked to Pesach. We tend to think of...
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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: On Our Way

May 01, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Do not follow the ways of Egypt, where you once lived” (Vayikra 18:2). The Jewish people's formative years were those we spent in the land of Egypt, something for which we are to be eternally grateful. “Do not despise the Egyptian, since you were an immigrant in his land” (Devarim 23:8). Unlike the nations of Amon and Moav, whose [male] progeny are forever barred from joining the Jewish faith, the “children of...
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