Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Noach: Defending Noach

November 01, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
For years, psychologists have debated the impact of the environment (nurture) on the development of human beings. Can we be inherently changed by exposure to our surroundings? Or does our environment act as a mechanism that helps reveal our latent nature? Jewish teachings abound with admonitions regarding the importance of the surroundings we choose. The Rambam (Hilchot Deot 6:1) goes so far as to rule that if one's environment is not...
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Breisheet: Sin and Sinning

October 25, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The holidays of Tishrei—with their emphasis on sin, repentance, reconciliation, and joy—are behind us. It is time to get back to our “normal” routine and catch up on the many items on our agenda. From a practical point of view, the New Year is really beginning, and along with it, the weekly Torah cycle. It is most unfortunate that with all the catching up to do—along with the short week that follows Simchat...
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V'zot Habracha: From G-d to Man

October 20, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
When writing a book, a good author will introduce the major themes of the book in the opening chapters, develop these and other secondary themes throughout the story, and conclude with a recap highlighting the major themes of the book.  The 31 verses that comprise the creation story tell us little about the origins of life on this planet. They do, however, tell us something much more important; all human beings contain within them...
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Haazinu: The Lessons of History

October 11, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Despite our long and frequently miraculous past, the actual study of Jewish history is an oft-neglected field. It is perceived by many, to a large degree correctly, to be less important than “pure” Torah subjects such as Chumash (which itself is often neglected), Talmud or Jewish law.  Yet the neglect of the study of Jewish history runs deeper. By its very nature, history is a subject which often lends itself to much bias; this...
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Vayelech: Poetic Licence

October 03, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Now, write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites, so that this song will be a witness for the Israelites" (Devarim 31:19). The simple meaning of this verse is a command to write shirat Ha'azinu, the Song of Ha'azinu, which bears witness to the tragedies that await the Jewish people if they do not follow the Torah. Nonetheless, our Sages (Sanhedrin 21b) derived...
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