Emor: Religious Secularism

Two of the most dangerous threats to society are religious fanaticism and rampant secularism. The dangers of the former have received more attention in recent years, as people literally fear for their physical safety. Furthermore, violently extremist positions that claim to be divinely based are a desecration of the name of G-d and affect all practitioners of religious faith. When people are convinced G-d is on their side even as they engage in...
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Metzora: Home Sweet Home

The home plays a critical—if not the critical—role in the development of Jewish life. The efforts of schools, shuls, camps, Israel trips, and the like are unlikely to have major lasting impact if the messages of Jewish living are not reinforced at home. Passover, the holiday that laid the foundation for Jewish nationhood, is thus centred around the home. It is interesting to note that chapter twelve in Exodus, which...
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Pesach: Where Is Hallel?

April 02, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
It is the holiday of Pesach that celebrates our becoming a nation and is the cornerstone of Judaism. Remembering the Exodus provides the backdrop to so many of our mitzvoth, whether it is Shabbat or Yom Tov, tefillin, mezuzah, kindness to strangers, or our sexual ethics. On Pesach, we focus on the meaning of freedom; but the mitzvah to remember the Exodus, zechirat yetziat mitzraim, is one that must be fulfilled each and every day, if by nothing...
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Lech Lecha: Finding G-d

October 01, 2006 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d said to Abraham, ‘Go away from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you' (12:1)". Abraham is seventy-five years old when he begins his trek to the anonymous land that G-d has singled out for the Jewish people. Who is this Abram, and what has he done to merit G-d's promise that "I will bless you and make you great. I will bless those who bless...
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Korach: Honour the Enemy

The name Korach is synonymous with Machloket shelo leshem shamoyim, arguments that are not for the sake of heaven. As we read how Korach and his rebel rousers were killed by G-d, exactly as Moshe had predicted, no doubt many feel gleeful as those "who gathered together against G-d" (16:11) receive their due. Yet Judaism demands a much more nuanced approach. True, we must eradicate evil; but we must never confuse evil with evildoers. All...
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