Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

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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Yom Yerushalayim: Sason and Simcha

June 05, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Numbers play a significant, if usually symbolic, role in Jewish thought. Perhaps the most symbolic number is seven, representing completeness; the most obvious example is Shabbat, the highlight that completes the week. Even our new year, Rosh Hashanah, takes place in the seventh month, and the holidays of Pesach and Sukkot are meant to be seven days long. Shavuot, the culmination of the exodus, is celebrated after seven weeks of seven days. The...
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Beha'alotcha: It's Good to Complain

June 01, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the causes for disappointment with the generation that left Egypt was their constant complaining.  Each week, as we study Sefer Bamidbar, we witness another complaint, often more than one per week. Whether it's the food, the drinks, the leaders, the religious obligations, the long journey, or the dangers lurking, there is always something to complain about. The lesson some derive from this is the destructiveness of...
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Shavuot: A New Holiday

May 22, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The shalosh regalim of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot are a celebration of great historic events coupled with the recognition of G-d's role in our agricultural success. Even if the land of Israel experiences drought and the like, the knowledge that G-d controls nature is quite comforting. These three pilgrim festivals, with their deep ties to the land, resonate differently in the land of Israel than they do in the Diaspora. Hence it is not...
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