VaYetze: From Yaakov to Yisrael

December 06, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Yaakov was a pure man, dwelling in the tents” (Breisheet 25:27). Like his father before him, Yaakov had little interest in the wider world surrounding him, preferring to remain near home, engrossed in study. He was the direct opposite to his twin brother, who was “a man of the field”. The fact that Yaakov was cooking soup while his brother was out hunting exemplifies their very different personalities.  But...
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Toldot: The Strength of Yitzchak

November 29, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages identified each of our patriarchs and matriarchs with the character traits that they best exemplified. Avraham, the master of hospitality, is the exemplar of chesed, loving-kindness. Yaakov, who learned the effects of mistruth the hard way, is identified with the trait of emet, truth. While practicing distortions, even if legitimate, he suffered his whole life from the deception of others; yet Yaakov...
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Niddah 31: A Great Mitzva

November 28, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
In our last post, we discussed that seven days after giving birth to a boy and 14 after a girl, the newborn mother purifies herself in a mikvah. Any bleeding over the next 33 days for a boy and 66 for a girl is considered dam tohar, blood of purity, and does not render her a nidah. Yet while the mother is no longer considered tameh regarding her status as a nidah, with regards to entering the Temple...
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Niddah 31: The Joy of Being Jewish

November 26, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
Death, as we have often noted, is the primary source of tumah, impurity, with a corpse classified as avi avot hatumah, the grandfather of tumah.  Ironically, life itself can also create tumah and hence, after giving birth, a mother is tameh; seven days for a boy and 14 for a girl. Apparently, the Torah wants to remind us that the process of death begins the moment life begins. The ritual...
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Chayei Sarah: Growing Old, Staying Young

November 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; these are the years of Sarah's life” (Breisheet 23:1). 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...
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