Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

VaYigash: Below the Surface

December 11, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“He kissed all his brothers and wept on their shoulders, and afterwards his brothers spoke with him” (45:14). What a change from twenty-two years earlier when “they hated him and could not speak to him in peace” (37:3). Even while they were plotting what to do with Joseph, the brothers spoke about him—but never to him. Only when the brothers are standing before the Egyptian Viceroy does the Torah tell us that Joseph had been...
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Chanukah: Down Memory Lane

December 02, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to assume that, with the recital of the shir shel yom, the daily psalm—or Aleinu if you daven nusach sefarad, Shacharit is over. Yet a quick glance at the siddur demonstrates that this is not necessarily so. While not widely observed today, there is a custom to recite the shesh zechirot, six remembrances, printed at the end of Shacharit in all standard siddurim. These zechirot...
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Vayishlach: Two is a Crowd

November 20, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is for good reason that co-wives are described as tzarot, literally, problems. Competing as they inevitably must for the same man, their relationship is destined to be one of jealousy, bickering and even hatred. Jewish law, recognizing this sad situation, disqualifies the testimony of one of the tzarot regarding the other—we are afraid that they will simply lie. Despite the best of intentions to make a...
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VaYera: Late Arrival

October 23, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This week’s d’var Torah is sponsored by Arthur and Sheri Little in observance of the Yahrzeit of Arthur's father, Leonard Little, Aryeh ben Avraham Yitzchak z"l. Rabbinic tradition maintains that the Torah existed even before the creation of the world, in essence serving as the architectural blueprint of creation. This is a beautiful concept that teaches that Torah is built into the fabric of the world. Nature and morality...
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Noach: Too Close to G-d?

October 09, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Noach was “righteous and pure”, in the words of the Bible. Twice in the space of few verses the Torah tells us that “Noach did all that G-d commanded him” (6:22 and 7:5). It is through Noach that humanity is descendant, a most worthy reward for “one who walked with G-d”.Yet as is well known, many of our Sages were ambivalent in their attitude towards Noach, finding fault despite the Torah's glowing characterization of this...
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