Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

VaYishlach: Alone at Night

November 23, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Therefore, the Jewish people will not eat the gid hanasheh, sciatic nerve, that is on the hip joint, to this day” (Breisheet 32:33).  Sefer Breisheet provides much information on how not to act; we read about every kind of social dysfunction—be it drinking, sibling rivalry, jealousy, greed or more violent crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, incest and murder. Unfortunately, many of the...
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Vayetze: The Complexity of Chesed

November 16, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The Torah is a most complex work, and nowhere more so than in sefer Breisheet. Story after story lends itself to multiple and contradictory interpretations. The Torah often leaves out crucial details as it narrates the stories, and rarely passes judgment on the actions of the protagonists. Was Avraham correct to go to Egypt when famine struck Israel? Was it appropriate to enter a peace deal with Avimelech? Did Yaakov act correctly in...
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Toldot: A Second Famine

November 09, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And there was a famine in the land, aside from the first famine that was in the days of Avraham...And G-d appeared to him [Yitzchak] and said: Do not go down to Egypt, dwell in the land that I will tell you” (Breisheet 26:1-2). It is quite clear that this famine was not the same one that occurred during the days of Avraham. Approximately 100 years had lapsed since Avraham went to Egypt searching for food. Presumably, Avraham...
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Chayei Sarah: Anonymous

November 02, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Man has an innate desire to make a name for himself. The fear of being forgotten is a fear that grips us all. For many, this serves as a key stimulus to have children (and in many cultures, specifically male children) who will carry on the family legacy. This desire not to be forgotten motivates some to write books, some to build monuments and even some to enter public life, hoping to attain some measure of immortality. "There are three...
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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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