Divrei Torah

Beshalach: War Time

January 15, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our long sojourn in Egypt was meant to develop those character traits necessary to transform the Jewish into G-d's special nation. We were to appreciate the need for human freedom, develop our sensitivity towards others--especially the downtrodden--and were to forge a community with a shared history and destiny. One thing the slavery in Egypt could not prepare us for was war. Lacking any responsibility or even opportunity for the running of...
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Bo: Alarm Clock

January 07, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“And Pharaoh awoke, he and all his officials and all the rest of Egypt. There was a great cry, as there was no house where there was no death” (12:30). If the Torah says that Pharaoh awoke, it must mean that until then, he had been sleeping. Clearly, the Torah is not interested in telling us the bedtime habits of Pharaoh or, for that matter, anybody else. All information in the Torah is there to teach us some kind of a lesson, be it...
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VaYigash: Below the Surface

December 11, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“He kissed all his brothers and wept on their shoulders, and afterwards his brothers spoke with him” (45:14). What a change from twenty-two years earlier when “they hated him and could not speak to him in peace” (37:3). Even while they were plotting what to do with Joseph, the brothers spoke about him—but never to him. Only when the brothers are standing before the Egyptian Viceroy does the Torah tell us that Joseph had been...
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Chanukah: Down Memory Lane

December 02, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
We tend to assume that, with the recital of the shir shel yom, the daily psalm—or Aleinu if you daven nusach sefarad, Shacharit is over. Yet a quick glance at the siddur demonstrates that this is not necessarily so. While not widely observed today, there is a custom to recite the shesh zechirot, six remembrances, printed at the end of Shacharit in all standard siddurim. These zechirot...
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An 'A' for Effort

November 30, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Money Matters
One of the key aspects of the world of business is the crucial importance of the bottom line. And that is the way it should be. The primary—and some would argue, only—goal of business is to make money, or as Milton Friedman famously noted, “the business of business is business”. It is not the role of the private, profit-driven sector to address social needs, crucial as they may be. That is the role of government, private philanthropy and the non...
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