Devarim: Have No Fear

August 08, 2009 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
After 40 long and, with important exceptions, mostly uneventful years, the Jewish people stood poised to enter the Promised Land. Undoubtedly, they had much to feel nervous and apprehensive about. It is not by chance that the first episode Moshe mentions in his recounting of the many failings of the Jewish people in the desert is that of the meraglim ; warning the people not to repeat the mistake of their parents, further delaying entry to the...
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Happy With "His" Lot

July 28, 2009 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Money Matters
Rav Yisroel Salanter, the 19th century ethicist, noted that it takes much more moral strength to be a businessman with integrity than to be a rabbi. The moral challenges presented by the rough and tumble of the business environment far outweigh those faced by your typical rabbi, who may be shielded from the realities of the “real” world. While the businessman faces temptation on a daily basis, it is the rare shul where, for example, davening...
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Beha'alotcha: Selective Memory

It is amazing how selective our memory can be. People often yearn for the good old days: days full of poverty, pogroms and peddling. The ability to forget the difficulties of the past is a necessary tool for our mental well-being. It is that which allows us to put our lives back together and rebuild after personal or national tragedies.We often choose to remember what suits us, conveniently forgetting those facts which upset our view of the...
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BeHar: Speaking of Sinai

Our Sages equated farming with faith. Only a man of faith could put in months of backbreaking labour, knowing full well that all his efforts could go for naught with a few days of bad weather. It is the farmer who, more than others, realizes that his success is truly in the hands of G-d. This realization is meant to spur the farmer to “hearken to the commandments which I am prescribing today” in order to have “rains in your land at the proper...
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Kedoshim: Theory and Practice

One of the cardinal principles of Judaism is the belief in the Divine origin of our Bible. While Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest of human beings, his input into the wording of the Torah is minimal at best. In this regard, Moshe was not more than a recording secretary, faithfully transcribing the word of G-d.Yet while G-d is the author of the Torah, He has no say in its development and application in day-to-day life. Lo Bashamayim hee,...
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