Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

VaYakhel: Seven Days a Week

February 26, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The primacy of Shabbat as the foundation stone of Judaism is self-evident. Shabbat is the culmination of the creation process; two distinct reasons for its observance—creation and the Exodus—are enumerated in the aseret hadibrot; Jewish law prescribes, in theory, the death penalty for its desecration, a punishment we do not have even for the desecration of Yom Kippur. The command to observe Shabbat appears in numerous places...
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Ki Tisa: Striving for 100%

February 11, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We have all been taught that it is the holiday of Shavuot that commemorates the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Interestingly, nowhere is this mentioned in the Torah, which presents Shavuot in an agricultural context only. Many commentaries suggest that the reason the Torah does not mention the date it was received is that each and every day, we must receive the Torah anew. While true, the simple explanation of why there is no mention of...
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Mishpatim: It's Not Who You Know

January 29, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Knowing the right people is, more often than not, the key to success in the modern world. We in North America refer to “connections”, but in Israel it's called by a less diplomatic but more honest name, protektzia.While this is true in almost all aspects of life, it is especially true when one is faced with legal troubles. Having the financial means to hire right lawyer can make all the difference between time in jail and...
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Beshalach: War Time

January 15, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our long sojourn in Egypt was meant to develop those character traits necessary to transform the Jewish into G-d's special nation. We were to appreciate the need for human freedom, develop our sensitivity towards others--especially the downtrodden--and were to forge a community with a shared history and destiny. One thing the slavery in Egypt could not prepare us for was war. Lacking any responsibility or even opportunity for the running of...
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Bo: Alarm Clock

January 07, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Pharaoh awoke, he and all his officials and all the rest of Egypt. There was a great cry, as there was no house where there was no death” (12:30). If the Torah says that Pharaoh awoke, it must mean that until then, he had been sleeping. Clearly, the Torah is not interested in telling us the bedtime habits of Pharaoh or, for that matter, anybody else. All information in the Torah is there to teach us some kind of a lesson, be it...
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