Yitro: Nine Commandments

February 13, 2009 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
 This week's d’var Torah is sponsored by Dr. Charles and Nathalie Piwko in observance of the yahrzeit of Charlie's mother, ob”m, and in celebration of the bar mitzvah of their children, Jeremy and Imanuel. Mazal tov to the extended family.It is customary in most shuls to read the aseret hadibrot in what is known as ta'am elyon, the upper cantillation. Whereas the ta'am tachton (the lower...
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VaEra: Status Quo

January 23, 2009 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And they did not listen to Moshe, from short spirit and hard work" (7:9). Moshe had a daunting dual task before him. Not only did he need to demonstrate to Pharaoh that he must free his slaves, he needed to convince the Jewish people that they would be better off following him into the desert. And the latter was a prerequisite for the former."Even the Israelites will not listen to me; how can I expect Pharaoh to listen to me?" (7:12). Moshe...
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VaYechi: Dual Loyalty

January 09, 2009 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"If you really want to do me a kindness... act towards me with truth and kindness and do not bury me in Egypt" (47:29). So begins Yaakov's exhortation to Yosef as he realizes that the end is near. Though Yosef promised to carry out his father's request, Yaakov was not yet satisfied and demanded that Yosef take an oath that he would do as Yaakov asked. Could it really be that Yaakov could not trust his "favourite" son to carry out his will?...
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Mikketz: Boom and Bust

December 26, 2008 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the central motifs of the biblical narrative is food. Matzah, manna, mei merivah highlight the crucial role of food in shaping the course of Jewish history. The entire course of human destiny was changed due to Adam and Eve’s eating from the eitz hada'at.To a great extent our holiest days of the year, Shabbat and Yom Tov, centre on food. Even Yom Kippur is preceded by a Biblical mitzvah to eat. Our tradition...
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VaYeshev: Coats and Goats

December 19, 2008 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to divide the Bible into narrative and law. The former teaches ethical and moral values while the latter instructs us on how we must conduct our life on a day-to-day basis. Yet it would be a mistake to see these as two separate realms. The stories, many concentrated in Sefer Breisheet, often serve as the background to the law as later promulgated in the Torah. Perhaps the most obvious example is Yaakov's struggle with the angel, which...
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