Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Devarim: Where is the Temple?

July 20, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Each one of the five books of the Chumash has a unique central theme, be it the choosing of the Jewish nation, redemption, Torat kohanim or missed opportunities. A perusal of Sefer Devarim, both its law and narrative, will quickly reveal that the main message of this last book of Chumash is Moshe Rabbeinu preparing his beloved people for entry into the land of...
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Mattot: To Speak or Not to Speak

July 13, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
“In ten utterances did G-d create the world” (Avot 5:1). It is thus not surprising that many see man’s ability to speak as the clearest manifestation of the Divine image with which we were created. Moshe Rabbeinu argued that his poor speaking skills made him unworthy to be the one to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt; it was only when G-d appointed Aaron as his spokesman that Moshe finally accepted his mission. Interestingly...
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Pinchas: Not Fit for Leadership

July 06, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest was the one who so zealously took up My cause among the Israelites, and turned My anger away from them” (Bamidbar 25:10). Whereas normally, the Torah identifies a person with their father’s name, in this instance, the Torah emphasizes the fact that Pinchas was the grandson not just of Aaron, but of Aaron the priest. Pinchas may have been the biological grandson of...
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Balak: Reality Test

June 29, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
In a world in which image and marketing play such a crucial role, perception is often more important than reality. In fact, perception often creates reality—beginning with our perception of what is happening around us. “And Balak, the son of Tzippor, saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites”. Balak became nervous and joined forces with his traditional archenemy, Midian (see Rashi 22:4), in order to try to stop...
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Chukat: Time to Talk

June 22, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Parshat Chukat marks the transition from the generation that left Egypt to the one that would enter the Land of Israel. This was a transition marked by death and thus, the Torah’s description of the laws of purity and impurity stemming from contact with death form the opening unit of the parsha. The leaders of the nation—Miriam, Aharon and Moshe—would not be spared the fate of the people and would also have to die in the desert...
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