Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Sukkot: A Look Ahead

October 13, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The history of our nation is linked with Pesach. Many of our mitzvoth—mezuzah, tefillin, Shabbat, honest weights, the prohibition of charging interest—are directly related to our Egyptian experience. There is an obligation to recall the Exodus on a daily basis and to relive that event once a year at the Seder. Sukkot seems like a minor festival in comparison. While we spend weeks if not more preparing for Pesach, Sukkot gets short shrift....
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Yom Kippur: Seeking G-d

October 08, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Seek out G-d when He can be found, call upon Him when He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Our Sages interpret this verse as referring to the Aseret Yemei Teshuva, the ten days of repentance, which begin on Rosh Hashanah and end with the conclusion of Yom Kippur. This is the season when G-d is closer to us and thus our prayers stand a “better chance” of success.These words serve as the opening verse for the haftarah for all the fast days of the...
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Rosh Hashana: From Fear to Hope

September 29, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This d’var Torah is sponsored with the wish for a Shana Tova for our parents, Howie & Hilda Libman, Leon & Ethel Bookman, our Rabbi Jay, Ilana, & family, and the entire community, from David, Karen, & Beca Bookman, Toronto.  Rosh Hashanah celebrates the coronation of G-d as King of the universe. And having G-d as our King is worthy of celebration. Rosh Hashanah is referred to by the Mishnah as the...
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Ki Teze: The Story Behind the Law

September 10, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
A legal brief and a good story are two very different forms of writing. We have even coined a term, legalese, to note the distinct writing style employed by many a lawyer. The departments of law and literature usually have little to do with each other. Such is not the case with the Torah. Narrative often serves as the backdrop to the law, shedding light on its deeper meaning. Narrative tells us how we should live, while...
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Shoftim: Justice for Blemished Animals

September 03, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Do not sacrifice to G-d, your Lord, an ox or sheep that has a blemish; any bad thing, it is an abomination to the Lord, your G-d” (17:1). While it is understandable that our offerings to G-d should be wholesome, the Torah's condemnation of this practice is rather striking. The Torah refers to a blemished offering as a to'evah, an abomination. Such harsh language is generally reserved for sins of great severity, such as having dishonest...
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