Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Shemot: No Thank You

December 28, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Moshe was frightened and he said, behold the incident is known. And Pharaoh heard about the affair and he sought to kill Moshe” (Shemot 2:14-15). How did Moshe's killing of an Egyptian become public knowledge? Did not Moshe “look this way and that way” and see “that there was no man” (Shemot 2:12)? While it is possible that Moshe simply failed to notice some passing Egyptian, such an...
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Vayechi: The Inconsistent Truth

December 21, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And they said, should they make our sister like a harlot?" (Breisheet 34:31). So ends round one of the debate between Yaakov on one side, and Shimon and Levi on the other, over the killing of the people of Shechem for the rape of Dinah. The Torah moves on to record Yaakov's return to Beit El as the family enters a new phase in their travels. It is on Yaakov's deathbed that we hear his response: "Shimon and Levi, the...
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VaYigash: Looking Ahead

December 14, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Since the time of Joseph, infighting has been the Achilles heel of the Jewish people, causing untold pain, suffering and national calamity. So much of our collective energies are wasted on disagreements with others; many of them are so trivial when viewed from the perspective of history. The schisms of the 19th century, caused to a large extent by such topics as sermons in the vernacular or the placement of the bimah in a shul, are...
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Mikketz: Boom and Bust

December 07, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the central motifs of the biblical narrative is food. Matzah, manna, and mei merivah help to highlight the crucial role of food in shaping the course of Jewish history. The entire course of human destiny was changed due to Adam and Eve’s eating from the eitz hada'at. To a great extent our holiest days of the year, Shabbat and Yom Tov, centre on food. Even Yom Kippur is preceded by a Biblical...
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VaYeshev: Respectfully Declined

November 30, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Yaakov ripped his garments and put sackcloth on his loins, and he mourned for his son many days” (Breisheet 37:34). Thinking—with good reason—that Yosef, his favourite son, was dead, Yaakov was inconsolable, and he “refused to be comforted” (Breisheet 38:33). His misery was compounded by the fact that there was no body, no funeral, and thus, no possibility of closure. Yet our Sages (Megillah 17a)...
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