Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Tetzaveh: Counting Sheep

February 23, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
In his introduction to his Eiyn Yaakov, the classic commentary on the non-legal sections of the Talmud, Rav Yaakov Ibn Chaviv quotes a discussion regarding the most important verse in the Torah. While each verse is the word of G-d, the rabbis debated which verse encapsulates the essence of our Torah. Ben Zomah, the second-century sage, claimed that it is the first verse of the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d,...
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Terumah: I Love My Partner

February 16, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
The Torah begins with G-d’s creation of the world, a world that was purposeless without man. “Fill the earth and conquer it” (Breisheet 1:28) is G-d’s mandate to man to help complete the process of creation.  The mirror image is reflected in the construction of the mishkan. It is man who builds a beautiful structured edifice, to exacting specifications. Yet such a building is purposeless without G-d. “And...
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Mishpatim: Sequel to Sinai

February 09, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
It is common after a major event to have difficulty getting back into our daily routine. Whether it is a child's wedding, an exotic vacation or a summer at camp, rarely do we feel ready to return to our daily schedule. Surely the excitement of the events surrounding the receiving of the Torah at Sinai would seem to affect our daily activities similarly! The thunder, lightning, and masses of people all gathered to hear the first two...
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Yitro: Honouring Parents, Teaching Children

February 02, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
The command to respect our parents, kibud av v'eim, is one that needs little explanation. It is the most rational and logical of mitzvoth, one that we would observe even were we not commanded by the Torah to do so, and one that we expect all human beings to perform. Unlike Shabbat, which precedes it in the aseret hadibrot, no rationale is given for this mitzvah; none is needed. The Talmud (Kiddushin 31a) claims that the...
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Beshalach: The Best of Intentions

January 26, 2018 By: rabbi jay kelman
Whether we are preparing for an exam, a simcha, a job interview, or retirement, our success is directly proportional to our preparatory efforts. Immigrants who arrive in a new country without adequate preparation for what lies ahead face enormous difficulties and challenges beyond those that are a standard part of any migration. The numbers of olim who moved to Israel in the euphoria surrounding the return of...
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