Divrei Torah

Shemot: A New Leader

January 08, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
In today's world of the 30-second soundbite, good oratory skills are a necessary ingredient for any aspiring politician. Good politicians are often able to talk themselves out of difficult positions spouting half-truths, equivocations, and at times, outright lies. A good politician knows how to talk without saying anything. Yet the greatest political leader of all time, Moshe Rabbeinu was a kvad peh...
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Vayechi: 17 Plus 17

January 01, 2021 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Sefer Breisheet begins with the grandeur of creation, detailing the many new life forms, and with great hope for the human race. This hope was to be short-lived, with story after story of man's pettiness and propensity for evil. By the end of the book, the theme is that of death, and the stage is set for the enslavement of the Jewish people.   The opening verse of this week's parsha, “Yaakov lived in the...
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Some Reflections on the year 2020

December 31, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
“Ezra enacted for the Jewish people that they should read the curses that are recorded in Vayikra before Shavuot and [the curses] of Devarim before Rosh Hashanah. What is the reason? Abaye, and some say it was Reish Lakish, said: In order that the year may end together with its curses” (Megillah 31b). While the above is said regarding the lead-up to Rosh Hashanah, there are...
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Pesachim 29: Enjoying Some Chametz on Pesach

December 29, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
There are few ritual prohibitions as widely and carefully observed than that of the prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach. It is not uncommon for people to start “cleaning for Pesach” weeks or even months in advance of the holiday, ensuring that no chametz is eaten outside of the kitchen. Many a household literally (and unnecessarily, but that is a discussion for another time) turns their house upside down...
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Vayigash: Reconciliation?

December 25, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Hugs, kisses, joy and forgiveness. So appears the reunion of Yosef and his family after twenty-two long years. “Don’t be sad nor reproach yourselves for having sold me here, G-d had sent me ahead of you to insure your survival in the land” (Breisheet 45:5). It sounds almost as if Yosef is thanking the brothers for having sold him into slavery. In fact, Yosef continues, “it was not you who sent me here, but G-d” (...
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