Divrei Torah

VaYera: Family Ties

November 05, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Take your son, your only son, the one you love, v'lech lecha, and go for yourself to the land of Moriah” (Breisheet 22:2). So begins the command of G-d demanding the sacrifice of Yitzchak. After waiting so long to have a child with Sarah, Avraham was commanded to take his child and return him to G-d. In the face of such a command Avraham was silent—or shall we say speechless?—unable to comprehend the Divine...
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For the Sake of Heaven

November 03, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
I often ask my high school students what they consider the most difficult mitzvah to observe. The two most common answers I receive are keeping Shabbat and keeping kosher. Considering that I teach in a communal high school where the overwhelming majority of the students are not shomer Shabbat and few are strictly kosher, this is pretty much what one would expect to hear. From the outside looking in, these mitzvot do appear...
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Lech Lecha: On the Move

October 30, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sefer Breisheet might be described as the book of movement. Beginning with the heavenly spheres and moving to birds, fish, animals and humans sefer Breisheet depicts much movement.  Adam and Eve were forced to leave Gan Eden, Cain was told he must “wander here and there”, Noach had to travel on a boat to be saved. The tower of Bavel began when “the whole earth was one language...and they journeyed from the east” (...
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Noach: From Noach to Avraham

October 23, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to view Adam as a failure at life, unable to obey his only command from G-d. Noach was better, yet many see him as one who could have accomplished so much more than what he did. Only with the advent of Avraham do we have the person capable of bringing G-d’s message to mankind. One of the criticisms of Noach is that he did little to influence others, and ultimately had little impact on society around him. Unlike Avraham, who...
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Eiruvin 65: Time to Laugh

October 21, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Rabbi Elai said: A person is recognized through three ways: b’koso, b’kiso, u’b’kaaso” (Eiruvin 65b).   This teaching of Rav Elai, one of the more famous teachings of our Sages, advises that if one wants to get to know someone, one should look “in their cup, their pocket, and their anger” (it has a much better ring to it in the Hebrew).  Nichnas yayin yatza sod[1...
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