Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Emor: G-d's Name

May 04, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Do not desecrate My holy name. I must be sanctified among the Israelites" (Vayikra 22:31). The role of the Jew is to sanctify the name of G-d. The Rambam, after opening his monumental code of Jewish law with four chapters dealing with issues of metaphysics, begins the legal section of his code with the sentence, "The entire house of Israel is commanded on the sanctification of His great Name" (Yesodei H Torah 5:1)....
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Lag B'Omer: Opposites Attract

May 03, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is hard to imagine two people who had a greater influence on the development of Judaism during the dark period of Roman persecution than Rabbi Akiva and one of his most prominent pupils, Rav Shimon bar Yochai. It is even harder to imagine two people more dedicated to learning Torah. Akiva, an ignoramus until the age of forty, became “Rabbi Akiva” by dedicating 24 years—with the encouragement of his wife—to learning and...
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Acharei-Mot, Kedoshim: Egyptian Business

April 27, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Why were we taken out of Egypt?  Concepts such as freedom, justice, equality, and the recognition of Divine Providence are the themes of the exodus, ideas that the Jewish people are mandated to live by and demonstrate to the world around us. Parshat Acharei Mot (see Vayikra 18:3) teaches that a sexual ethic based on holiness was one of the ways to differentiate Jewish and Egyptian society. And Rashi identifies the opening call...
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Metzora: Open House, Closed Doors

April 20, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The power of the spoken word is enormous. Even more powerful is the desire to gossip, a vice that has been perfected in our own times, when we have people who earn their livelihood by providing the latest scoop of gossip. To state that Judaism demands restraint in speech would be to understate the case. Just a quick glance of the al chets said on Yom Kippur will reveal just how central is the theme of speech. The Torah spends...
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Shmini: Seek the Middle

April 13, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Moshe then inquired, darosh darash, about the goat of the sin offering, and it had been burned” (Vayikra 10:16). Judaism has always stressed the importance of the middle position. Ideologically, the Rambam teaches, we should seek the middle ground (the golden mean). We lain with the sefer Torah in the middle surrounded by two people, and a Torah scholar walks in the middle of his entourage. Rosh Hashanah...
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