Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman

Shemot: No Names

December 28, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sefer Shemot, literally, “book of names”, seems to be a misnomer for our Parsha.  (Rabbinic writings often refer to it as “book of redemption".) While the Torah lists the names of the 12 sons of Jacob who came to Egypt with their families, the Jewish people quickly became a nameless and faceless people; something that, in all likelihood, contributed to their eventual slavery. While numerous, there were apparently no outstanding leaders...
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VaYigash: Simple Faith

December 14, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
After twenty-two difficult years, Yaakov was informed that his beloved son Yosef was the Viceroy of Egypt. Overcome with joy and disbelief, Yaakov hurried to travel to Egypt to be reunited with his long-lost son. Surely Yaakov could not have been happier. Yet as Yaakov approached the Egyptian border, G-d appeared to Yaakov, telling him "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt” (Breisheet 46:3). Outwardly, Yaakov likely radiated joy, but...
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VaYetze: Ignoring G-d's Promise

November 16, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Yaakov Avinu was on the run. Forced to leave home after "stealing" the birthright from his brother, he was attempting to stay one step ahead of Eisav, who was busy planning for the day when he would "be able to kill my brother Jacob" (27:41). Understandably, Yaakov was fearful. It was at this point, our Sages teach us, that he instituted Maariv, the nightly prayer service, night being the symbol of fear and uncertainty.Tired from being...
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Toldot: Raising Children

November 09, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There is no greater challenge than that of raising refined children. It is a task with so many variables and fraught with such difficulty that many a wonderful home produces children who do not follow in the paths of their parents.Ironically (but quite understandably), it often seems that the greater the parent, the more difficulty raising children to follow his or her example. It should be no surprise that only one of Abraham’s eight children...
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Chayei Sarah: Beyond Death

November 02, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our patriarchs and matriarchs did not have easy lives. Each faced problems of famine, of wandering from place to place, of foreign rulers, and of course, problems with their children. Our founding mothers and fathers often disagreed, sharply at times, on the most basic of decisions relating to the raising of their families. The dispute between Abraham and Sarah as to the place of Yishmael in their household was so fierce that G-d had to...
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