Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Tazria and Hachodesh: Home Building

April 05, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The first of Nissan and the first of Tishrei mark the beginnings of the Jewish year. The solar aspect of our calendar—representing the fixed laws of nature—begins in Tishrei; whereas the lunar cycle—symbolizing the ups and down of Jewish history—begins on the first of Nissan. The solar year mirrors the agricultural cycle and begins as the rainy season approaches, whereas the lunar year, reflecting the supernatural...
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Shmini: Tragic Lessons

March 29, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When tragedy strikes there is a tendency to search for some rational explanation as we subsequently attempt to find meaning and a degree of comfort, however inadequate. Tragic events often afford an opportunity to learn from what transpired, thereby creating something positive, and possibly helping to prevent further tragedies. The attempt to find some rationale for what is almost by definition irrational dates back to Biblical times. While...
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Shmini: Seek the Middle

March 26, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Moshe then inquired, darosh darash, about the goat of the sin offering, and it had been burned” (Vayikra 10:16). Judaism has always stressed the importance of the middle position. Ideologically, the Rambam teaches, we should seek the middle ground (the golden mean). We lain with the sefer Torah in the middle surrounded by two people, and a Torah scholar walks in the middle of his entourage. Rosh Hashanah...
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Tzav: Time to Change?

March 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Excitement and consistency: We tend to view these terms as contradictory. Man gets excited over discovering new things and views variety as the spice of life. Modern man is bored with a consistent routine and eschews the seeming monotony that accompanies lack of change. It is the new and exciting that we seek. Even investors find the “old economy” boring and are willing to pour billions of dollars into new and untested, but “...
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Vayikra-Zachor: Remembering Sacrifices

March 15, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the fiercest debates amongst Biblical commentators of the medieval period was to what extent, if at all, parts of the Torah may be seen as allegorical. No less a personage than the Rambam claimed that stories such as the three angels visiting Avraham, or Yaakov’s struggle with an angel, were prophetic visions that did not actually occur. As one can imagine, views such as these—and more radical ones, which allegorized such ...
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