Terumah: Child's Play

February 28, 2020 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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Brachot 48: Pumpkin, Pumpkin Look to the Sky

February 27, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
I imagine that many of us had elementary school classmates whom we knew were going to reach great heights. Their intelligence and drive to succeed was obvious, and their success was easily foretold. While some are late bloomers, many, likely most, who attain greatness in fields ranging from athletics to zoology and everything in between, show their talents at a young age.  And it is no different in the world of Torah. For every Rabbi Akiva...
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Brachot 43: Learning from Tamar

February 26, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
We have often noted that the Talmud was edited with great precision. A simple example is the extreme to which it goes to record who, and in whose name, teachings were made. When the teachings of the same person on a variety of subjects are juxtaposed, a most common occurrence, more times than not it is much more than a mnemonic device. Upon closer examination one notices that these seemingly unconnected teachings are deeply related to each...
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Brachot 43: Sweet Smells

February 24, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
When one is consumed with hatred, one is liable to act in ways that are out of the norm, to say the least. “Sina’ah mekalkelet et hashura, hatred breaks down one’s straight thinking” (Rashi, Bamidbar 22:21). Bilaam, consumed with hatred of the Jewish people despite his protestations of following only G-d, rose early and saddled his donkey by himself, a break from royal protocol. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt—...
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Mishpatim: Free the Slaves

February 20, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the revolutions that Judaism brought to the world was its attitude towards, and its treatment of, slaves. Whereas in the ancient world slaves were considered to be no more than chattel, Judaism taught that slaves are to be accorded the same rights and privileges as their masters.  Parshat Mishpatim, following immediately after the Divine revelation at Sinai, opens with the laws of slavery. On the heels of Sinai,...
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