The Power of Kaddish

I wrote the thought below on that last day of saying kaddish for my father, Harav Chaim Yosef ben Harav Zvi Yehudah, z"l, four years ago. It generated more comments than any other piece I have ever written. As we ready to observe his Yahrzeit tonight, I would like to share these thoughts again for the many who have since joined the TiM mailing list. For those reading it again, I hope you feel it is...
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Acharei Mot: Preparing for Yom Kippur

“And G-d spoke to Moshe after the death of the two children of Aharon when they came close before G-d and they died” (16:1). The Torah then proceeds with the elaborate details of the special Yom Kippur service.What is most unclear is why the Torah mentions the death of the Nadav and Avihu as the prelude to the Yom Kippur service. Mention of their deaths at this point is especially strange as their death took place more than six months...
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Terumah: The Aron of Eden

February 19, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Judaism sees the sparks of the Divine within the most mundane of activities. Revelation at Sinai is followed by a series of laws dealing with such topics as slavery, property damage, assault and battery, lost objects, and court procedures. While all societies have civil codes, Judaism sees these laws as rooted in the Divine system of justice. Their observance embodies the essence of Judaism no less—in fact more—than the “...
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Beshalach: Ahavat Yisrael, Defined

January 30, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The book of Shemot details the emergence of the Jewish people as a nation. Though descending from spiritual giants, the nascent nation displayed great fickleness in their relationship to G-d. On the one hand, they showed tremendous faith in following Moshe into an unknown desert. These same Jews, however, wasted no time complaining whenever things were a little tough. G-d's past benevolence was quickly forgotten. This behaviour was to...
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VaEra: The Right Reason

January 04, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sometimes the reason why one does something can be even more important than what was actually done. While our Sages note that one should strive to perform mitzvoth even for the wrong motives, the commentaries note exceptions to this rule (see, for example, a fascinating responsa of the Netziv, Meisheev Davar 1:46, in which he notes that the opening of new synagogues in an established neighbourhood is generally forbidden). It appears...
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