Divrei Torah

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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Yom Ha'atzmaut: Redemption and Return

May 03, 2006 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
Rav Soloveitchik was asked why our generation was the one to merit witnessing the creation of the State of Israel. After all, there were so many generations much more pious than ours, so much more worthy than us. The Rav answered, simply, that our generation needed it. Previous generations were able to flourish in their Judaism even without the benefit of a state. But after the horrors of the Holocaust, Jewish life simply could not continue,...
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Terumah: The Moving Ark

Just as the Shabbat is the pinnacle of physical creation, the Mishkan is the pinnacle of spiritual creation. The Exodus and the revelation at Sinai find their ultimate expression in the Mishkan, which completes the redemptive process. It is for this reason, the Ramban explains, that the command to build the Mishkan is included in sefer Shemot. While Shabbat serves to remind us that G-d is the ultimate...
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Mikketz: Joseph's Pain

December 30, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
That one has a natural love for one's place of birth is a truism long recognized by our Talmudic sages. Emigration is never an easy prospect, even for those who do so willingly. How much more difficult and traumatic is a forced exile? We are all aware of the great difficulties many Jews fleeing anti-Semitism had in integrating into their new-found countries. How much more difficult and painful is it for those forced to leave at the hands of...
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VaYishlach: Changing Names

December 16, 2005 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Names play a significant role in Jewish thought. A cursory glance at the names given to the twelve tribes signifies the importance of each name. Noach, Moshe, and Yitzchak had their names chosen to commemorate events surrounding their births. And of course, the Torah records many instances where a name was changed, signifying a change in the status of the person. Of our three patriarchs, Abraham and Yaakov both had their names changed by G-d....
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