Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Ekev: The Big Bribe

August 03, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The greatness of a person is revealed by the little things that one does. The greater the person, the more he or she is concerned with little things. Rav Yochanan ben Zakai, who was busy worrying about how Judaism could survive after the loss of Jerusalem, also pleaded with the Romans to send a doctor for Rav Tzadok (Gittin 56b), an aging pious individual who had fasted for many years as the destruction neared. In dealing with the...
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VaEtchanan: It's Your Fault

July 27, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And G-d was angry at me for your sakes (lemanchem) and would not hear me. And G-d said to me, Enough! Do not speak to me any more about this” (3:26).Moshe wanted nothing more than to enter the land of Israel, the land that G-d chose for His people. It is difficult enough to understand what, exactly, Moshe did wrong to warrant the punishment of denial of entry into the land of Israel. Even more perplexing is His absolute refusal and...
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Tisha B'Av: Evading Responsibility

July 24, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“But the Second Temple, that they were involved in Torah and Mitzvoth and Gemilot Chasadim (loving kindness), why was it destroyed? Because it contained sinnat chinam" (Yoma 9b). While the cause of the loss of the Temple is quite clearly identified here, its definition is not. Had our Sages said the Temple was destroyed because of sinnah (hatred) amongst Jews, we would have understood. A society full of hatred cannot endure—internal strife is...
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Chukat: Dying of Thirst

June 22, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the most beautiful and impactful aspects of the Torah is its description of the humanity of its protagonists. Their strengths and struggles, heroism and failures, highs and lows are depicted before us, allowing us to much more readily identify with and learn from them. The realization that our Avot and Imahot had many crises within their own lives, or that Moshe himself had to struggle to contain his temper, can guide us...
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Shelach Lecha: Name Change

June 08, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Of the 12 leaders sent to Israel to help prepare the people for their imminent entry into the land, only Yehoshua is previously known to us. He was Chief of Staff during the Jewish people's first war, when Amaleki terrorists attacked the women and children of Israel soon after the Exodus.However, Yehoshua was not just a great military man, a trait that made him a most appropriate leader of the Jewish people when they eventually did enter the...
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