Tisha B'Av: Evading Responsibility

“But the Second Temple, that they were involved in Torah and Mitzvoth and Gemilot Chasadim (loving kindness), why was it destroyed? Because it contained sinnat chinam" (Yoma 9b). While the cause of the loss of the Temple is quite clearly identified here, its definition is not. Had our Sages said the Temple was destroyed because of sinnah (hatred) amongst Jews, we would have understood. A society full of hatred cannot endure—internal strife is...
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Chukat: Dying of Thirst

One of the most beautiful and impactful aspects of the Torah is its description of the humanity of its protagonists. Their strengths and struggles, heroism and failures, highs and lows are depicted before us, allowing us to much more readily identify with and learn from them. The realization that our Avot and Imahot had many crises within their own lives, or that Moshe himself had to struggle to contain his temper, can guide us...
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Shelach Lecha: Name Change

Of the 12 leaders sent to Israel to help prepare the people for their imminent entry into the land, only Yehoshua is previously known to us. He was Chief of Staff during the Jewish people's first war, when Amaleki terrorists attacked the women and children of Israel soon after the Exodus.However, Yehoshua was not just a great military man, a trait that made him a most appropriate leader of the Jewish people when they eventually did enter the...
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Yom Yerushalayim: Sason and Simcha

June 05, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Numbers play a significant, if usually symbolic, role in Jewish thought. Perhaps the most symbolic number is seven, representing completeness; the most obvious example is Shabbat, the highlight that completes the week. Even our new year, Rosh Hashanah, takes place in the seventh month, and the holidays of Pesach and Sukkot are meant to be seven days long. Shavuot, the culmination of the exodus, is celebrated after seven weeks of seven days. The...
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Day School Tuition

June 01, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Birthright Education
The ever-increasing costs of Jewish education have been the focus of many articles recently, including at least three in the Canadian Jewish News just this past week. The unaffordable cost for many in our community of attaining a Jewish education is not a new phenomenon. The Talmud (Bava Batra 21a) explains that since the obligation to teach one's children is a parental duty, in the early years of our history "whoever did not have a (...
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