Last Day(s) of Pesach: Reach for the Top

April 25, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
As we all know too well, there is often a gap between the ideal and reality. In trying to implement our goals, we all too often fall prey to conflict, apathy, inertia and reality. The Jewish people faced this same problem as they approached the sea. Behind them was the advancing Egyptian army with its mighty chariots; in front of them was a foreboding sea. Yet their miraculous escape from the most powerful country on earth seemed to have finally...
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Chulin 142: Do You See What I See

April 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
It is an amazing but all too common phenomenon that two people can witness the same event and yet “see it” very differently. This is the simplest explanation as to why Jewish law requires two witnesses to convict someone in a court of law. No matter how honest and trustworthy a person may be, our inherent human biases—conscious or not—are such that we may only see part of the picture. However, if two people report seeing...
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Pesach: Have You Left Egypt?

April 19, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
“In each and every generation, one must see oneself as if they had left Egypt”.  In Judaism, we not only commemorate the past, we attempt to experience it, even to re-live it. Why else do we actually have to eat matzah and maror at Pesach, dwell in some flimsy booths each fall, or sit on the floor on Tisha B’Av lamenting the loss of a Temple some 2,000 years ago?  Yet thankfully, for most Jews today, it is...
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Chulin 139: Where is Moshe?

April 18, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Thoughts from the Daf
“Where is Moshe [mentioned] in the Torah?” It is hard to imagine a more—let's be gentle here—superfluous question. A better question would be where isn’t Moshe mentioned in the Torah. Who knows if without Moshe there would even be a Torah. Perhaps the only question that can match it in incomprehensibility is asking where Haman, Esther and Mordechai are mentioned in the Torah. Considering they lived some 1,...
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Metzora: Covering the Lips

Judaism teaches that everything has the potential for holiness; after all everything in this world was created by G-d. But it is up to man to actualize that potential and imbue the world with holiness. Eating, marital relations, and earning a livelihood are not only a means to an end, but if done properly are acts that are instinctively holy and the fulfilment of a divine mitzvah. The physical and spiritual worlds are not meant to be in conflict...
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