Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

VaYerah: Living in Sedom

October 26, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And the people of Sedom were evil and sinners towards G-d beyond all measure” (Breisheet 13:13). Despite their depravity, Avraham Avinu argued, challenged, pleaded and negotiated with G-d for their welfare. It is specifically this trait of caring and concern for “evil” people—a trait that characterized all the Avot and Imahot—that demonstrates their greatness. They may...
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Lech Lecha: Counting Sheep

October 19, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And there was an argument between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock, and the Canaanite and the Perizite were then in the land" (Breisheet 13:7).   Abram, Sarai, and Lot returned to Israel after their stay in Egypt, one which had brought them great financial success. As is too often the case, with increased wealth comes increased fighting. Instead of being thankful for one's...
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Noach: Coming Apart, Coming Together

October 11, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And the entire land were of one language, and the same things” (Breisheet 11:1). What a beautiful description of a world at peace! A world in which people are speaking the same language, literally and figuratively, and pursuing similar goals sounds almost like Gan Eden. Yet apparently, G-d did not approve. “From the place, G-d scattered them all over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city” (Breisheet...
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Breisheet: Purposeful Ambiguity

October 05, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d said: What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is screaming to Me from the ground" (Breisheet 4:10). G-d approached Cain after the murder of Hevel with a question, hoping that Cain would do teshuva for the murder of his brother. Did he? The text is unclear: "And Cain said to G-d: gadol avoni mi'n'so, [Is?]my sin is too great to bear" (Breisheet 4:13). Whether this is a...
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V'zot Habracha: A Man of G-d

September 30, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Even though Parshat Vezot Ha'beracha is read over and over again during Simchat Torah it is probably one of the least understood and studied parshiot of the Chumash. With all the hustle and bustle of the Yamim Tovim in general, and with the atmosphere of Simchat Torah in particular, serious study of the parsha tends to be neglected. Compounding the problem is the generally obscure nature of the parsha, with its difficult...
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