Divrei Torah

Chayei Sarah: Beyond Death

November 02, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our patriarchs and matriarchs did not have easy lives. Each faced problems of famine, of wandering from place to place, of foreign rulers, and of course, problems with their children. Our founding mothers and fathers often disagreed, sharply at times, on the most basic of decisions relating to the raising of their families. The dispute between Abraham and Sarah as to the place of Yishmael in their household was so fierce that G-d had to...
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Noach: A Man For All Generations

October 12, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
As we move through the different stages of life, the challenges we face tend to change, with the concerns of yesteryear giving way to the crisis of today. What is true for individuals is also true in the corporate world, in forging communities, and in the rise and fall of nations. We tend to specialize in certain areas, with strength in one area often matched by weakness in another. It is the rare person indeed who can both nurture a great...
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Ekev: The Big Bribe

August 03, 2007 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The greatness of a person is revealed by the little things that one does. The greater the person, the more he or she is concerned with little things. Rav Yochanan ben Zakai, who was busy worrying about how Judaism could survive after the loss of Jerusalem, also pleaded with the Romans to send a doctor for Rav Tzadok (Gittin 56b), an aging pious individual who had fasted for many years as the destruction neared. In dealing with the...
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VaEtchanan: It's Your Fault

"And G-d was angry at me for your sakes (lemanchem) and would not hear me. And G-d said to me, Enough! Do not speak to me any more about this” (3:26).Moshe wanted nothing more than to enter the land of Israel, the land that G-d chose for His people. It is difficult enough to understand what, exactly, Moshe did wrong to warrant the punishment of denial of entry into the land of Israel. Even more perplexing is His absolute refusal and...
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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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