Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Mikketz: Joseph's Pain

December 30, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
That one has a natural love for one's place of birth is a truism long recognized by our Talmudic sages. Emigration is never an easy prospect, even for those who do so willingly. How much more difficult and traumatic is a forced exile? We are all aware of the great difficulties many Jews fleeing anti-Semitism had in integrating into their new-found countries. How much more difficult and painful is it for those forced to leave at the hands of...
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VaYishlach: Changing Names

December 16, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Names play a significant role in Jewish thought. A cursory glance at the names given to the twelve tribes signifies the importance of each name. Noach, Moshe, and Yitzchak had their names chosen to commemorate events surrounding their births. And of course, the Torah records many instances where a name was changed, signifying a change in the status of the person. Of our three patriarchs, Abraham and Yaakov both had their names changed by G-d....
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VaYetze: Why Leave Home?

December 09, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is quite evident that Yitzchak and Rivka had differences of opinion regarding the difficult task of raising their twin boys. Their contradictory assessments of Eisav and Yaakov continued to the end of their days. Rivka sensed that Eisav would not, could not, be rehabilitated from his nefarious ways, whereas Yitzchak never gave up hope that Eisav would ultimately remain a Jew. This dichotomy can be seen in many places, including the opening...
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Chayei Sarah: Growing Old, Staying Young

November 25, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; these are the years of Sarah's life”(source).A famous rabbinic comment elucidating the triple expression of years teaches that Sarah maintained her stunning beauty, intuitive wisdom and sinless innocence throughout her life. Furthermore, the seemingly superfluous ending of the verse “these are the years of Sarah’s life” teaches, in the words of Rashi, that her years "were...
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VaYera: Moderating Chesed

November 18, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism eschews extremism. This obligation to be moderate is codified into law by no less an authority than the Rambam; it is, as he points out, "the path of G-d" (Deot 2:7). Furthermore, the goal is not limited to the development of traits of moderation in our attitude towards money, food, or honour; it is to make them second nature to us.When it comes to character development, our role model par excellence is Avraham Avinu, ...
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