Shmini Atzeret & Simchat Torah: Peace, Faith and Learning

October 21, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
The 14th-century legal code, the Arba Turim, the Four Rows, begins the laws of Sukkot by noting that when one sits in a sukkah, one must be cognizant of the fact that our sukkot commemorate the clouds of glory that guided and protected us during our sojourn in the desert. Our rabbis teach that it was in the merit of Aharon that we were blessed with the annanei hakavod, the clouds of glory, and that upon his death the clouds...
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Sukkot: A Look Ahead

October 13, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The history of our nation is linked with Pesach. Many of our mitzvoth—mezuzah, tefillin, Shabbat, honest weights, the prohibition of charging interest—are directly related to our Egyptian experience. There is an obligation to recall the Exodus on a daily basis and to relive that event once a year at the Seder. Sukkot seems like a minor festival in comparison. While we spend weeks if not more preparing for Pesach, Sukkot gets short shrift....
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Yom Kippur: Seeking G-d

October 08, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Seek out G-d when He can be found, call upon Him when He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Our Sages interpret this verse as referring to the Aseret Yemei Teshuva, the ten days of repentance, which begin on Rosh Hashanah and end with the conclusion of Yom Kippur. This is the season when G-d is closer to us and thus our prayers stand a “better chance” of success.These words serve as the opening verse for the haftarah for all the fast days of the...
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Lessons from Steve Jobs

October 08, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Money Matters
The saintly sage Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan (the Chafetz Chaim, 1838-1933) once commented that every technological innovation carries within it a moral message. As one who literally wrote the book on the laws of gossip and slander, he saw the invention of the telephone as teaching—warning, perhaps—that what one says over here is heard over there. He would be kept very busy today with daily moral messages.If a machine can teach morality, then we must...
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Preparing to Die, Learning to Live

  Dear Sir,    Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the upcoming High Holidays. You want to know why it is that people who have palpably little Jewish involvement for the other 362 days of the calendar bother to attend synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. On the other hand you are puzzled by Jewish tradition, which places so much emphasis on these three days, as though God is unavailable on a cold...
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