Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Devarim: Justice Justice You Shall Not Pursue

July 23, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The true state of health of any society can be determined by an examination of the justice system that it provides for its citizens. Are rich and poor, famous and infamous, powerful and weak treated alike, or does the degree of justice depend on one’s status in society, or ability to afford an expensive lawyer? Do people have confidence that illegal behaviour will not go unpunished?  We have seen time and time again that,...
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The Nine Days: Aharon's Yahrzeit

July 21, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Aharon the priest ascended Hor Hahar and died there in the fortieth year... in the fifth month on the first of the month” (Bamidbar 33:38). It is on rare occasions that the Torah actually dates events recorded therein. Even the giving of the Torah at Sinai has no biblical date associated with it. Birthdays, anniversaries and yahrzeits are of little interest to the Bible. The tradition that Moshe dies on the 7th of Adar is one...
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Massei: Living in Canada

July 17, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Canada is a wonderful country, and as residents of this country, we are obliged by Torah law to abide by its laws and also pray for its welfare. However, it is not meant to be the home of the Jewish people. Canada is, after all, galut—exile. This is a hard concept for us to truly grasp, in a land with thriving yeshivot, a strong community infrastructure, financial success, and freedom to adhere to our religious beliefs....
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Pinchas: Three Models of Leadership

July 10, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Parshat Pinchas presents us with at least three distinct models of leadership. Our parsha gets its name from the zealotry of Pinchas who, without warning, killed a leader of the tribe of Shimon and the Midianite women with whom he was sinning. Ironically, his act of violence earned him a covenant of peace; Pinchas merited both safety from those who might have sought revenge, and inner peace and calm allowing him not to feel guilty over...
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Chukat: Undressing Aaron

July 03, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Take Aaron, and Elazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; and strip Aaron of his vestments, and dress Elazar his son in them; Aaron shall be gathered in and die there" (Bamidbar 20:25-26). It was only after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden that man had a need for clothing: "then the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve] were opened and they realized that they were naked" (Breisheet 3:7). Up until the point of...
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