Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Emor: Religious Secularism

May 02, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Two of the most dangerous threats to society are religious fanaticism and rampant secularism. The dangers of the former have received more attention in recent years, as people literally fear for their physical safety. Furthermore, violently extremist positions that claim to be divinely based are a desecration of the name of G-d and affect all practitioners of religious faith. When people are convinced G-d is on their side even as they engage in...
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Metzora: Home Sweet Home

April 18, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The home plays a critical—if not the critical—role in the development of Jewish life. The efforts of schools, shuls, camps, Israel trips, and the like are unlikely to have major lasting impact if the messages of Jewish living are not reinforced at home. Passover, the holiday that laid the foundation for Jewish nationhood, is thus centred around the home. It is interesting to note that chapter twelve in Exodus, which...
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Lech Lecha: Finding G-d

October 01, 2006 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d said to Abraham, ‘Go away from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you' (12:1)". Abraham is seventy-five years old when he begins his trek to the anonymous land that G-d has singled out for the Jewish people. Who is this Abram, and what has he done to merit G-d's promise that "I will bless you and make you great. I will bless those who bless...
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Korach: Honour the Enemy

June 23, 2006 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The name Korach is synonymous with Machloket shelo leshem shamoyim, arguments that are not for the sake of heaven. As we read how Korach and his rebel rousers were killed by G-d, exactly as Moshe had predicted, no doubt many feel gleeful as those "who gathered together against G-d" (16:11) receive their due. Yet Judaism demands a much more nuanced approach. True, we must eradicate evil; but we must never confuse evil with evildoers. All...
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Yom Ha'atzmaut: Redemption and Return

May 03, 2006 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Rav Soloveitchik was asked why our generation was the one to merit witnessing the creation of the State of Israel. After all, there were so many generations much more pious than ours, so much more worthy than us. The Rav answered, simply, that our generation needed it. Previous generations were able to flourish in their Judaism even without the benefit of a state. But after the horrors of the Holocaust, Jewish life simply could not continue,...
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