Yitro: Yes and No

January 24, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Vayedaber Hashem el Moshe lei'mor is the most commonly occurring verse of the Bible. While it is usually translated as, “G-d spoke to Moshe, saying”, our rabbis saw additional meaning in the word lei'mor. If it only meant “saying”, then it would be superfluous; if the Torah tells us that G-d spoke to Moshe, then surely something was said. Rather, our Sages...
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Beshalach: Great Expectations

January 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Throughout the Exodus story, the Jewish people are silent. We do not know what they were thinking or doing during the plagues. We hear them rejoicing when Moshe first arrives with the message of redemption (Shemot 4:31), and complaining when his initial meeting with Pharaoh ends with an even more onerous slavery. But that is all we hear of them until just before the 10th plague when, to be worthy of redemption, the people were...
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Chulin 42: Heavenly Truth

January 17, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
In the introduction to his responsa, Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that the Sages of each generation are permitted and obligated to issue halachic rulings despite the fact that they may not “decide according to truth in heaven”. Applying the rules of Divine law to evolving human conditions is a most difficult task, and even the greatest of Sages may be misunderstanding G-d’s intent. All that can be asked of a posek...
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Chulin 17: I Would Love Some Pork

January 13, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“And it will be, when the Lord, your G-d, brings you to the land He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things…and you shall eat and be satisfied” (Devarim 6:10-11). The Torah does not define what the “good things” are that we will find in the homes (and which we may eat) when we arrive in...
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Bo: My Dear Enemy!

January 11, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the great difficulties we often have is making a clear distinction between people and the ideas that they espouse. While one might reject an idea, we may not reject the person who espouses it. This is true even of ideas that we find offensive or heretical.  Judaism goes one step further and demands that we even separate the actions of an individual from our feelings towards that person. In a famous Talmudic passage (Brachot 10a),...
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