Divrei Torah

Tu B'Av: Breaking the Glass

August 05, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
One of the best-known wedding customs is the breaking of a glass during the chuppah. The common explanation given for this custom is that it serves as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple. Our breaking of the glass is meant as a fulfilment of the verse, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten; let my tongue stick to my palate if I do not mention you, if I do not raise Jerusalem above my highest joy...
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VaEtchanan: Beyond the Law

The most obvious connection between Tisha b’Av and parshat Vaetchanan—which is always read on the Shabbat following this saddest of days—lies in the opening lines of the parsha, where Moshe pleads to enter the land from which his beloved people would be exiled hundreds of years later.   The origins of Tisha B’Av stem from the chet hameraglim, the sin of...
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Marriage over Mourning

July 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
A Jewish wedding consists of two distinct parts: eirusin and nisuin. In eirusin (also known as kiddushin), the chatan gives the kallah something of monetary value—the universal custom is to give a ring—and declares, Harei at mekudeshet li b’taba’at zo k’dat Moshe v’Yisrael, "Behold, you are betrothed to...
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Tisha B'Av: Back to School

July 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
If someone gives you ten answers to a question, the one thing you can be assured of is that none of the answers is a very a good one. If one has a good answer to a question, one has no need for an additional answer, which may actually serve to weaken one’s arguments.  One of the most common expressions of the Gemara, v’tzreecha, “it is needed”, is used where the Gemara is forced to explain why it...
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Shabbat 139: It's Good to Forget

July 27, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: Three thousand halachot were forgotten during the days of mourning for Moshe” (Temurah 16a). All too often, we take things for granted, only realizing what we were blessed with when we no longer have it.  It had never entered the mind of the Jewish people that they would have doubts regarding issues of Jewish law. If ever a question arose, they could simply...
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